06 May 2023

Fujii Farms Ramping Up For The Season


This is a thing I also see on my commute.

At one time, of course, there were farms all along the long streets east of Portland and going through the area we once commonly (thought inaccurately) called East County, interrupted only by Gresham and Troutdale and Fairview, which were just small burgs at that time. 

Eastern Multnomah County ... small-town Oregon. Now, of course, it's a totally different planet. 

There are at least a couple of working farms still surviving. One I've visited to take a bunch of Wy'east pictures, as anyone who's followed this knows, Rossi Farms, on NE 122nd and Shaver, between Fremont and Sandy, adjacent to Parkrose High. This is a corner of a similar working farm: Fujii Farms, a farm mostly specializing in berries.

This is the northwest corner of SE Stark and S Troutdale Road, and this is where Fujii Farms has a seasonal fruit and produce stand operating from approximately June through the summer. They have more than one.

The fields behind that stand are predominantly berries but there are also grapes. There have been school buses and porta-commodes during the summer; echoes of my going out and picking strawberries out around Silverton when I was a kid are ringing most strongly.

For those of you who like this sort of thing, they have the fresh produce and berries coming. 

You, Too, Can Create Portland's New Council Districts


This last election, the citizens of the City of Portland (or at least a majority thereupon) at long  last deemed it time to move off the old city commission format for the City Council and evolve into district-based representation.

The system that is replacing our old at-large Council is kind of surprising. Portland likes to take chances, and chances were, we were going to find ourselves in a city made of representative districts eventually. A city of more than 650,000 needs a more sophisticated approach than a council suited to a much smaller town can provide. 

If someone had told me we'd be dividing the city into four districts each sending three representatives to the city's legislature, I'd have told you you knew not what of you spake. Well, history has called me the fool. Ranked-choice voting, too! Daring, even for this place.

But, as the throught-terminating cliche goes, it is what it is. And, now, that's what it is. So, let's lean in. And the CoP has those of us in mind: I just found out that the city has a web app that lets you take a crack at it. 

Go to the page the Independent District Commission's put up at https://www.portland.gov/transition/districtcommission/districts. You'll find yourself at the Submit A District Map page and there are a number of options to explore, If you want to jump in and try your hand, go straight to OPTION 3: Draw & submit your own district map and get your apportionment on. The web mapping app "Districtr" is employed, and it's pretty easy to figure out; the most exciting thing about it is that you 'paint' areas with a brush that assumes the shapes of the census tracts as you go, and you can adjust the width of that brush with a slider in the upper right. 

If it seems non-intuitive, don't fret; there are simple tutorial PDFs available via links that can be found.

I gave it a try, and here's what I got:

Each one of those districts holds about 163,000 Portlanders. The bare and direct way about it is just to create districts with approximately-equal population. By providing access to data on ethnic population and other things, it invites you to explore the various communities in Portland and how one might group and/or divide. 

This sort of thing has been done before. Back in 2013, I investigated Washington DC's city government's "Redistricting The District" game, and it was quite informative. Given then-current population figures, one reapportions ward boundaries and explores the same things.

In Portland's implementation of Districtr you can not only play with districting Portland but also save and post your results, link to them, and even submit your ideas to the Independent District Commission.

It's a great deal of fun, and it's the sort of fun you can have again and again.

04 May 2023

Stark Stuck Truck


I'm quite frankly surprised this doesn't happen more often.

The Stark Street Bridge over the Sandy River is a narrow truss. The modern breed of large consumer pickup feels like they challenge it. 

The day before yesterday, I'm coming down the hill from Troutdale past SE Kerslake Rd toward the bridge, and right as the road bottoms out, right by the Riverview Restaurant and the Yoshida estate, there's this harried guy in the street flagging people down ... which seems portentious ... but when I come abreast, he's going on about how we have to turn around because a truck has blocked the bridge. 

I have to see this, so I inch forward. Yep. It's the truth, and here's what that looks like:

It's a fact. That bridge is closed right now.

I had to backtrack through Troutdale via Troutdale Road and Historic Columbia River Hwy and cross the river there (My destination is in Springdale, where I work now. I've not said much about that due to my erratic posting style of late). 

I didn't have a chance to pict from the other side, but there was MCSO advertising a blue-light special. The truck wasn't so much stuck itself, as, when turning from HCRH eastbound right onto the bridge, the driver turned wide to account for the length of the trailer but maybe underestimated or maybe it was all wishful thinking, and the box fetched up against the end of the truss and the low wall on that corner of the intersection.

I had a pretty good day at work; most days at my new job are quite satisfying. But if I'd have had a bad day, I could think of this poor guy, and feel better about things. 

Midland Library, 3 May 2023 (With Closeups)


The prep of the site seems to continue at a steady pace though not at breakneck speed. Not only has the interior been gutted but also parts are beginning to disappear from the outside.

Here's the overview:

If I understand the design I've seen, the east, and south sides (you see the east side on the right, here) are going to remain and the building is expanding to the north and the west. Good thing; there are lovely poetry verses on the east side, bracketing that window.

Two details caught my eye.

One can be seen here. Note the two large flat russet-red squares on the right there, as seen through the fence directly below the no-trespassing and danger signs. 

Another pair of them can be seen n the far left. In the middle of the picture is where two of them used to be. Before this evolution each one of those had a concrete tile with a bas relief of some sort of biology ... the curling of a fern frond, a tree leaf. They're gone, obvs. I hope there's room in the new design.

And, here's a detail of the old main entry. The truck is parked approximately where the clock tower porch (of which we still mourn) was. The plywood immediately behind it plugs a hole which used to serve as the book return. 

There were two: a traditional chute, and this straight-up cyberpunk automated return slot which was kind of fun to use, in a 2001-Open-the-pod-pay-doors-HAL sort of way.