26 September 2022

The Rink at Oaks Park


The bluff above Oaks Bottom afforded us this view, too.

There you see the building that contains the famous Oaks Park Roller Rink, still all-skatin' it for going on for nearly 118 years. It's survived eras, ruinous floods, and periods of less-than-optimal maintenance. It's appeared on TV shows and in childhoods of several generations.

It remains immaculate. 

Downtown Portland from Five Miles Away, On Sellwood Boulevard


SE Sellwood Boulevard isn't a main-street sort of boulevard. It's one of those little, short, charming boulevards that is sprinkled around Portland that rewards you for following it.

This one rewards you with a stellar view of downtown.

I bet I've taken this approximate picture before and if I could only find the picture I took whenever I took it, I cold do one of those throwback pairs, but there's no time right now, and I have so many pictures to look through. 

The hill to the left is topped, of course, by OHSU. I'll be going there tomorrow for reasons which I may reveal at a later time. It the middle distance is, of course, Ziggurat Central, beautiful downtown Portland, with building both recognizable and un-, and I have been in this town long enough to know that it used to be strikingly different.

At our feet, the base of the bluff, is Oaks Bottom, an official wildlife refuge and something we collectively try to keep natural. We are doing a pretty good job over all, because here you can mash together the built and the primitive in one photo ... and it don't look too bad.

Portland is still a beautiful place, after all these years. 

A Swing Sets In Sellwood-Moreland


Along SE Sellwood Boulevard, right about where SE Flavel Street and 11th Avenue intersect it, there's a child's swing.

The old-fashioned type. Two ropes and a board. The kind that would send Ray Bradbury off writing a story.

Calls no real attention to itself really ... which means you can't possibly miss it. 

As we left the area, as a matter of fact ... a child started to use it. 

17 September 2022

NE Broadway near the Rose Quarter, Nov 2017


I'm not quite sure why we were traveling west on NE Broadway on a November day in 2017, but we were, and the composition spoke to me (as long shots down streets tend to do).

The red lights in order of increasing distance are NE Victoria Ave, N Williams Ave, N Vancouver Ave. Ahead are the grain facilities just north of the Rose Quarter along the river; just on the right hand side girders of the arch of the Fremont Bridge can be seen. 

15 September 2022

Sunlight Downpour, Rockwood, 181st and SE Stark


Just more shafts of sunlight I saw coming back home from work today. 

Rockwood, 181st and SE Stark. 

It's been like this the past couple of days, with the clouds and air the way it's been. 

13 September 2022

Yoshida's Haven at the Other End Of Stark


Oblique Coffee is at the 'lower' end of Stark Street. This is at the bitter end of the road.

From the river in the middle of Portland to the end that crosses Sandy in nearly sixteen miles. Stark has a great deal of history to it, and a lot of that history has to do with the automobile and city-to-city transport. An artifact of that is located on the south side of Stark, just before it crosses the Sandy River. 

Stark Street begun to evolve into its current form at about the time the automobile became popular. Back then, not long after the first years of the Twentieth Century passed by, roads existed but were poor; various car-ownership societies formed something of a national movement (the "Good Roads" movment) to promote the building of suitable facilities that would let them go out and enjoy thier newfangled 'cars' in the forests and wilderness. 

The utmost end of Stark Street is, then, the way it is because of an organization called the Portland Auto Club. They wanted a nice place to drive to and that urge eventually became an auto campgrounds and a destination picnic spot for car owners of the day.

Down the years it eventually came into the hands of Junki Yoshida of Yoshida's Sauces fame, and I understand he lived there for a while. More latterly the property has been donated to the Mt. Hood Community College Foundation. It's an event venue now: weddings and things of that nature. Across from that is a fine-dining spot, Junki's Riverview Restaurant. 

The view is still free. 

12 September 2022

More Oblique Art On Stark


The A-Frame sign in front of Oblique Coffee is delightful enough it deserves its own entry. It totally echoes the decor ethic of the shop.

Constructed of doors and paint and creativity and hand work. In the place where the old hours were, it even sports a palimpsest. 

Oblique Art On Stark


I do not know if anyone at Oblique Coffee was responsible for nailing this to the 'phone pole outside their shop, but it is an apt depiction of what some days feel like without the coffee.

We can call it The Decaffienated Scream. 

11 September 2022

Just A Bit Of SE Stark Near 30th


No agenda here, no message, no intended subtext.

Just an angle on SE Stark St from just east of SE 30th Avenue up to about 28th (that's where that little crest is). It's a particularly cozy corner of the universe with an atmosphere that Portland progress still hasn't completely covered over. 

There's a real antique of a building on the SE corner of 28th and Stark that used to be a old-school service station, back in the day when cars were new, you can tell it by the architecture. The Goodfoot lounge is still there; there's a pizza joint next to that and, in a small tin-sided building, an art gallery and a place that used to be the home of an ultra-left alt-media operation called The Portland Alliance, though I understand that has a Beaverton address now, which is ironic. 

Well, clearly I need to get some shots of that corner, if I'm going to rhapsodize so.

I'll never fall out of love with this town.

Oblique Coffee Co.


There's a lovely small-batch coffee roaster at SE 30th Place and Stark Street, across the street from Laurelhurst Village care center, a place that, at one time, had been known as Mount St. Joseph. 

The place is called Oblique Coffee Roasters and it's in a extraordinarily charming rehabbed corner store at the corner of SE 30th Place and Stark Street. They've survived the pandemic in fine style and have great tasting coffee and lattes. The caffe Americano I had had a broad-chested flavor but was pleasantly smooth; bold without sharp edges and nuanced smoothness.

They have little cinnamon pull-apart muffins that were also quite tasty.

I've given but two glimpses here but they set the tone. The building and the business revels in its history. It's old-old Portland combined with old-Portland touches like antique Blitz-Weinhard beer cans and I also saw a book about Bill Walton there. The charm and the quality of the coffee there both sold me hard.

And the Brown-Eyed Girl has testified she'd not had a better au-lait from any other place for a while. 

Mulugeta Seraw


In 1988, an Ethiopian immigrant was murdered in inner southeast Portland. 

But I get ahead of myself.

On a number of street blades on corners near SE 28th and Stark, and a little north and a little east of this, you will see this topping them:

A lot of people know about it, but a lot don't, and I see the questions about them, so I figured I'd leave this here to be found.

It's an unusual design. The gentleman's photo, the unfamiliar script, the lifespan meted in one set of numbers on one side and another set, with seven years' difference, on the other. I'll tell you a little about that, now. For the back story, one can check out this Wikipedia page on Mulugeta Seraw; if you don't go there, understand this much: on a night in 1988, on SE 31st Avenue between Stark and Burnside, three local white supremacist skinheads affiliated with the White Aryan Resistance and another group called East Side White Pride encountered the then-28-year-old man and, indicting him on being African and an immigrant, beat him to death with a baseball bat, because amongst white supremacists this amounts to a capital crime.

The top of display is a cameo depiction of Mulugeta Seraw, which should be an obvious point. His name is rendered in the Amharic language in the Ge'ez script which is the lingua franca of the Ethiopian nation and its graphic method of expression, respectively. The difference in the years comes from the fact that, in Ethiopia, they reckon years a little differently; there is a seven years' difference. Mr. Seraw was born in 1960 by our calendar but 1953 by the Ethiopian one.

So it's a memorial to Mulugeta Seraw in the area which he was murdered, an attempt to never forget what happened and also a way to remember why. These are battles which we still fight today and are still waging. Strangely, there are those amongst us who still insist that this is the proper way to treat other human beings, and so the reminders must persist.

08 September 2022

An Old Motorcoach Decays In SE Portland


Saw this old workhorse parked - more or less permanently it looks - on SE 78th Avenue near Taylor Street.

The plates were Florida. 

Just another Florida Man seeking shelter in the Pacific Northwest. 

Old Restroom/Shelter, Mount Tabor Park


Mount Tabor is a magical place. An extinct volcano of the Boring Volcanic Field*, it tops out at scarcely 650 in elevation and only 400 feet of prominence, but it's just so gorgeous and lovely in the park that encompasses the peak that it feels much taller sometimes. And it has that park architecture that, in my childhood in Silverton, made me think of stereotypical Big Towns in the television I glutted myself on in those days.

The building here looks as though it was up-thrust with the rest of the peak and just kind of waited for the town to grow up around it. It kind of feels eternal, and you kind of feel that way next to it. 

It was here before us and will be here after us. 

07 September 2022

The Reason I Like This Hawthorne Address


This is charming, no?

It's the transom of The Meadow, a shop next to Powell's and The Fresh Pot that sells chocolate, gourmet salts, bitters, and other trendy comestible impedimenta, and even though the font and the treatment wears its designedness with a smug pride, I love it.

I live the way the abbreviation "No." is in front of the address. That elevates it for me at the same time I kind of resent the way it knows it will charm me. 

You might say it has my number. 

The Eternal Bagdad Theater


First run, second run, brewpub, back to first run ... it doesn't matter.

The Bagdad will always, always, be the Bagdad: Dated Orientalist decor and all.

I remember, a looong time ago, when me and The Brown-Eyed Girl was concluding an evening at Powell's, back when there was the cook's bookstore there, and someone was playing music and projecting an iTunes visualization from somewhere over our heads to the big wall of the theater opposite.

The reason this memory is dear is ineffable, I guarantee you. 

06 September 2022

Hawthorne Blvd, Sept 2022


There's been so much change (and so much money rushing in) but somehow it still looks and feels the same.

Mostly, anyway. 

A Slice Of SE Portland Gingerbread


While we were near the Hawthorne Powell's Books on Labor Day, we saw this little confection:

The architectural style, says my wife, is 'gingerbread'. It's painted up like a delightful bit of candy. And that easel on the front? Stanning for Ukraine, of course.

We found this on SE 37th just north of Hawthorne Blvd, just beyond the Three Doors Down Cafe. 

05 September 2022

Wy'east from Tabor, In September Mode


Happy Labor Day 2022 from the north east slope of Mount Tabor, where the visage presented by Wy'east looked thusly:

The peak is sans snowcover, which reminds us of last year in August when the record-setting torrid wave swept through, deleting all remaining snow cover in one swell foop. 

Despite weather records attesting that this August was the warmest August in the history of Augusts that have been recorded hereabouts, this is more in line with the usual. About this time, September, what remains of Wy'east's snow enrobement is gone, or at least as near as makes little difference from the POV of any spot in the Rose City offering a view. 

Some Flowers from a PBN


A flower break, as we take an existential breath from what we've just been through and in anticipation of what may or may not come.

04 September 2022

Dramatic Clouds, October Morning


Another one from the files: One October morning six years ago there were low clouds partially obscuring Wy'east from view and the sun was illuminating it dramatically.