30 April 2024

Amongst The Willamette Archipelago


The highway along the Cascade Piedmont, Hwy 213, sometimes has a surreal aesthetic to it. I mean, the highway winds along side the hills and looks out over the farmland of the eastern Willamette Valley and the feeling is nothing so much as being in a speedboat on a peculiar sea, dotted with islands.

There'll be large stretches of flat tilled land with a massif in the distance that's really an island of trees rising from the generations-tilled flatland.

There's a vague feeling of otherworldliness to the landscape there.

29 April 2024

You Can Almost Hear The Train Whistle


On South Water, in Silverton, at the end of the park that centers on the Library, there's a building that looks quite a bit like an old railroad depot.

That's because it is an old railroad depot. When I was a lad, this building stood on North Water on the north side of the train tracks. Even when I was a kid, though, the era of passenger train service had come and gone, and the building was just used as storage by then. Some time during the 1970s, some enterprising group moved it about half a mile south on Water Street, to where it is now. 

And it's now a museum of local history, because if there's one thing Silverton knows, it's her history

The signage is preserved on the gables of the the building.

The picture depict the end of the building that points toward Silver Creek. The end of the building that fronts on Water Street will tell you that Portland is 47 miles away. Which it is, more or less, though since the building's not where it once was, some negligible error has been introduced.

The idea of a passenger train connecting Silverton to The World Outside is so damned romantic, though. This is why people think they'd be happier born in an earlier era, or at least one reason. My experience as a child in Silverton was that the place, despite its nearness to Salem, was pretty isolated. It would have felt different if we'd had rail service, though. 

The Words of the East Portland Prophets are Written On Freeway Overpasses


They have to be. We still don't have subways here in Smug Transit Town, USA.

Seen some months ago, westbound on Division at the I-205 overpass:

Here's a poet, who knows it.

As much as I fancy someone out there knows something we don't, I think the reality is they're saying something we all instinctively know but can't necessarily connect. But we will one day or another, one supposes.

28 April 2024

Margaret Plumb Paints the Wolf Building En Plein Air


Sherman, set the Wayback Machine for that warm fall afternoon last year, when we larked to Silverton and stumbled into the Sidewak Shindig. We met Gary Quay there, and that was excellent in and of itself, but I did find this example if en plein air art in action and the memory still warms the heart.

It should be developing now that the Wolf Building in downtown Silverton is unique and beloved. It makes a fine subject for photography, and that I've proven. But plein air acrylic painting? Well, there could, I suppose, be a question, but really, if one has any common sense, that question should pretty much answer itself.

And if it doesn't, consider this:

The artist is a woman from the Eugene area named Margaret Plumb and what has become a fond memory is her allowing me, a still-aspiring artist, to look over her shoulder while she created this work. 

She's an impressionist, working in saturated colors which warm the eye and the heart (her Facebook page is here, her page at Lunaria Gallery, where she was standing in front of, is here). Most admirable technique and an accomplished talent. 

This one she was painting that day in front of Lunaria was sold, in short order, to a buyer in Virginia; testimony to that and the finished panting can be seen at this Facebook post. I had a great experience watching an artist create lovely art in real-time, and I'll ever be grateful to Margaret for allowing the house of Klein to invade her personal space, answer little questions about her process, and tolerate inane observations about what she did.

It can be problematic to get an artist to allow you to watch them create as they do it, so if you ever get the chance, savor this. Nothing quite like it, I can guarantee you. 

15 April 2024

It's All Eyes on 162nd


There's much murally goodness at 162nd and Stark. Those adventurous enough to venture round back of the 76 Station at the corner can also have a look at a community-oriented mural.

The mural is titled The Eyes of All, and is credited to ATS and "Rosewood", which is the name of the community improvement non-profit centered in the neighborhood. It was created in 2012, making it 12 years old, and it's in splendid shape for being out there as long as that.

It's a colorful, cheerful tableau of a vibrant community that just happens to also be populated by a whole bunch of one-eyed creatures as well. 

So, magical realism? 

Whatever it is, they got their eyes on you. Don't try anything funny.

The Sign at the Village Square


Village Square is a shopping center at the corner of SE 162nd and Stark, where Portland meets Gresham. It was probably built some time in the 1960s, judging by the architecture; the original tenants, whomever they were, have moved on, the current tenants being somewhat typical of the area: the centerpiece is a Latino supermercado, Su Casa; there's a church on one end, and the other end has a smoke shop, a social-service non-profit, and a tavern.

The sign is still vintage and proud of it. 

It does kind of show its age though. This is the side facing east, which I chose because it still has all the vintage letterforms. Several are missing from the western face.

11 April 2024

Silverton's Crows' Nest


Even if you're in a town as modestly-sized as My Little Town of Silverton, you might miss something if you don't look up when you would otherwise be looking down, or sideways, or whatever.

Now, I will cop to a bit of disingenuity here. As we are finding out about one of The Most Oregon Places That Ever Existed, Silverton has enough architectural quirkitude and charm for a town many times its size; that's what happens when you let the old buildings stay and don't break your neck trying to remake the place in a fashionable mode (yes, Eugene Field School is no longer there, but that was a sad necessity). Indeed, Silverton's architectural vicissitudes are east to spot ... but sometimes, you do have to trouble yourself to take a moment and look up

The facade of the Palace Theatre, with its Art Deco detail comes immediately to mind, but a half-block south of that, on the same side of North Water Street, there's, this:

Stand in front of Mac's Place, turn south, and look up, and there is this enigmatic cupola perched on the northwest corner of the Wolf Building, which I've mentioned before, just a few articles ago.

Now, I was born in Silverton, and lived there until my early teens. And I knew the Wolf Building, remembered Hande Hardware and its wood floors. I was borne of ancestors who had lived in the area since the 19th Century. I guess I knew Silverton about well as any kid would, but it wasn't until I was an adult that I knew that crows' nest even existed. 

And now I'm hungry for a look out those windows. And I know of no other town that can claim a weather vane on the peak of the tallest building in town, but there it is. Silverton, you never stop surprising even this jaded former resident. 

It's true; Silverton contains enough architectural wonder of more than one Silverton, but the Wolf Building contains enough design interest for one Silverton, one Molalla, a Gervais and about half a Scotts Mills.

08 April 2024

They're Building a New Library in Gresham


At the corner of NW Division St and Eastman Parkway in Gresham, a new library is going up. Multnomah County Library is growing like a weed (a weed of knowledge, yo) and Gresham is lucky to host a huge new branch.

They've started and they have the crane in, as can be seen. When completed, in 2026, it'll be more than just a branch, but an east-side flagship; nearly as big as the Central Library. 

From the page about the project at https://multcolib.org/building-libraries-together/east-county-library:

Completion date: Mid-2026. Be there or be severely uninformed.

07 April 2024

It's an Art Trading Card Exchange at I've Been Framed


Something I tucked toward the end of the post, two back, about IBF and our new M'Reptunian friend is something that deserves to be broken out on it's ownsome, so here I go with that.

Artist Trading Cards are a delightful thing, and in this era of existential dread about AI ruining art for artists who want to make their livings in it and just make it a commodity, ATCs are just the tonic we need to remind us that art is a personal thing and a human thing and can still not only be an industry but also a personally liberating thing.

There is literally nothing wrong with ATCs. They're small, 2.5 by 3.5 inch (64 mm by 89 mm), the same size as a sports trading card. You put some art on it, your own stuff, simple or complex, whatever moved you. You meet other artists. You trade cards.

Seriously, that's all there is to it. Simple, honest, elevated, personal. Democratic? You bet. Literally anyone who likes to art can do this; they can't keep you out.

They've been around for a bit. They were started in 1997 by a Swiss artist, name of M. Vänçi Stirnemann, at his second-hand book shop in Zuerich. They've been a presence ever since, a low-stakes way of doing and sharing art with a highly emotional payoff. Better info you can find at the Wikipedia page

Here's how you can get in on the conspiracy (they aren't all sinister and evil) and have some fun too:

In June, I've Been Framed Art Supply Center is staging a gallery show. If you get an ATC to them before the 15th of May, you'll be included in the ATC swap after that show. Basic details are available in this photo I've inserted above, or, hey, how about going to IBF at 4950 SE Foster Road some time and ask them about it? They'll tell you all you need to know and send you off with an ATC blank to do your bit on, and you return it to them. No money required, they just do this because IBF is a revolutionary place that way (small quiet revolutions are just as important as the big noisy ones). Pick up a pencil or a brush or a little paint while you're at it, you're on the way.

And you're doing it just the way the founder did, back in Zuerich in '97. 

There is literally no reason not to do this, all else being equal. 

Division Street at the Portland City Line


Back on the outer east side of Portland, as Portland as you can go because the Gresham city line is literally at my back here, at SE 174th Avenue and Division Street, looking west.

This is another example of my poor-man's telephoto, which mostly involves a long sightline and a tight zoom ... but I've always liked the result.

Of interest, off on the horizon, is a hill called Kelly Butte. If you're down Division at about 101st and look south off Division, that's the hill you'll see there; yet another notable member of the Boring Volcanic Field, which is the constellation of nobbly hills starting at Mount Tabor and straggling out into Clackamas County until it merges into the Cascade foothills.

Kelly Butte has a place in Portland Civil Defense and cinematic history, because from 1955 through about 1974, the bunker there hosted Portland's emergency Civil Defense nerve center, to which city officials would rush in the event of a Soviet nuclear attack. In 1957, CBS broadcast a movie titled The Day Called X, a documentary narraated by actor Glenn Ford, dramatizing Portland's response to a notional Soviet bomber assault (this was in the days before ICBMs, when nukes came delivered Dr. Strangelove-style, from the bellies of big planes and the city had time to get out of the way), and that bunker - staffed in the film by people who were really Portland city officials at the time, including Mayor Terry Schrunk - was a key location in the film. In 1974, the bunker became the 911 headquarters for the Bureau of Emergency Communications, and in 1994, the bunker was decommissioned and sealed when 911 moved to a more modern location.

Kelly Butte's current job is holding a lot of Portland's drinking water in underground tanks that once went to the now-decorative reserviors at the foot of Mount Tabor, near SE 60th and Division. 

There was also a legendary honky-tonk out this way, the Division Street Corral, also known as the "D Street"; a legendary venue, it hosted acts from John Mayall to Johnny Cash and Paul Revere and the Raiders. 

The page as https://pnwbands.com/divisionstreetcorral.html, has a pretty complete list of all the musical goodness that passed out that way, and some of the pictures are still up (some have died due to net rot). 

One other thing to note is the wiggliness of what would seem on paper to be a rather straight road, and that's another reason I enjoy creating these pictures. Surveying was precise but I guess sometimes it was never perfect, and drawing straight lines on a sphere, which strikes me as one of surveying's great challenges, introduces quirks of its own. 

It also makes pictures like this look nifty. 

The Path of The Eclipse, Via Google Maps: An Experiment You Can Try


Recently I saw a map tracing out the anticipated path of this weekend's solar eclipse across the eastern USA using bookings from AirBNB has a guide and I remembered there was another way to mark it, but it won't work until just as and after the eclipse happened.

As detailed in a blog post I made on the 23rd of August, 2017, you can see the effect on traffic if you turn on the Traffic layer on Google Maps and zoom it properly. I did, that day (after being inspired by a Facebook observation Mike Selvaggio made), and this was the result:

This comes from the fact that, despite entreaties from various local and state DOTs to the contrary, people are going to clog the roads going into the path of totality and create multi-hour traffic jams that ought to be reflected on Google Maps. As it can be seen from my own mapping above, the path it picks out is pretty faithful.

Was it really seven years ago? Damn. Tempus is fugiting all over the dam' place. 

The M'Reptunians Walk Amongst Us, And Other Things At I've Been Framed On Foster


This is why I've Been Framed is a place one cannot do without. Not only it it just a great place with revolutionary artistic energy, but you meet extraterrestrials.

The extraterrestrial was in her full camouflage as a terribly charming 7-year old young woman possessed of a firey, fierce creativity. I will explain.

We wanted to stop by this. our favorite art place and the best one in the world, because Spouse was looking for pink fluff for cat toys. Our youngest feline, Tabitha, loves fluff toys, but she's very particular. They must be a specific shade of pink. And she's annihilated the ones we had for her and finding that pink, which seemed quite common, is proving unexpectedly, uncommonly difficult to do. 

Prairie thought she might be of help, so off we went. 

Once we were there, I wandered about looking at art supplies while Spouse's attentions were more directed. Chatted with Prairie, which is always a pleasure. She showed me a bottle of linseed oil which is part of her extensive collection of vintage art supplies. I should have gotten a picture of this ... it had to be from the 1940s or so, it had the label of a downtown Portland pharmacy that had a phone number that a named exchange (CEdar, I think it was). And the vintage bottle was gorgeous and the contents still looked okay, though I think one has to go beyond mere looks when it comes to eighty-year-old linseed oil.

It was at that point I crossed paths with the young lady from M'Reptune. She was engaged in animated extemporaneous discourse with Prairie, who had moved down to that end of the room by then. This small brown-haired force of nature was there with an older woman we'll presume for the moment was posing as this incredible being's mother; their down jackets - properly pillowy in PNW construction - had identcal colors. And she had so much to tell us about her treks and travels. 

At first it was not revealed that she was extraterrestrial; her first representation was that she was technically a cat. She then demonstrated moves that suspiciously echoed the chaotic interaction our cat Ralph had with the belt on the fuzzy pink robe we kept on the bed for the itty bitty kitty committed to make biscuits on, so her claim actually has come credence.

She then clued us in on the M'Reptunian connection after that, while letting us know enroute that she was technically also a squirrel. 

It was impossible not to be entertained by her banter, and I'm not kidding, it was non-stop, on fire but unconsumed. Tiny TED talks about the amazing culture and technology of M'Reptune reeled out of this young woman's imagination at a rate of knots, tales of her hyperspatial travel (it takes her two milliseconds to go from here to M'Reptune, for what that's worth) and I just bathed in this tiny delightful sun of instant creativity. So much unafraid, unabashed exposition, such joy in telling us of her worldbuilding, I couldn't help but smile and just listen. 

There is a quote variously attributed to Beaudelair and Rimbaud, that goes "Genius is the recovery of childhood at will". I've always had the rational grasp of that, but here, displayed in front of me, unfiltered and unabashed, was that childhood that those of us who strive for creativity seek to capture. Most all of us had periods in our childhoods where we had these daft kid-ideas that we played with, created stories with, made drawings and paintings. I've for years, in the way of Proust, tried to get it back. Now that I've seen it up close with someone who couldn't help but share it, maybe it'll be a little easier to find.

As for our alien interlocutor, she left the shop about the time me and Spouse did, but as she left she gave me a gift, asked me if I wanted of her technology, and into my hand she dropped a M'Reptunian ray gun. 

It's mine now, this M'Rretunian ray gun, given freely, and nobody can take it away. 

It's unlikely, but I hope I remain the world long enough to see what direction she takes that fabulous ball of happiness in. They might stop by IBF again, who knows?

That drove back some shadows on my brow, and I tell you no lies there.

For me, what did I get? Feast your eyes.

It's a vintage Grumbacher Gainsborough oil paint box. When originally sold it carried 24 tubes of Grumbacher Gainsborough oil paint in the two middle compartments, painting accessories in the long compartments left and right, and brushes across the bottom, at least I think that's the way it works. And it'll carry some art accoutrements for me, I just have to figure out which ones and why. 

Also! I've Been Framed Art Supply Center is holding a showing in June and an Artist Trading Card swap at the end of it. Anyone not familiar what ATCs are and why they're nifty, well, Google that stuff, or even better, stop in IBF's Art Supply Center at Foster and Powell and ask 'em about it. They'll fork over a single blank ATC media - either smooth or textured, a little 2.5" x 3.5" card and you go wild and drop it by and at the end of the showing we all swap 

ATCs are a fun, low-stakes way of dipping a toe into the grassroots art world. All sorts of media happen, acrylic, mixed media, oils, watercolors, and the lot, but I personally find it's a great pairing for drawing and cartooning. However, it's all great fun and the trading cards one gets out it are decidedly delightful and the very definition of unique.

IBF's Art Supply Center is located where it always has been, 4950 SE Foster Road, here in Portland. It's a one-of-a-kind place, Prairie is our hero, and anyone reading this owes it to themselves to stop by.

06 April 2024

The Wolf Building, The Antique Heart of Silverton


I've picted this building before, but it was a Creative-Commons pict. This one is copyright mine, mine, ALL MINE. 

Adolf Wolf is another one of Silverton's small gods. Silverton's city center is loaded with historic architecture and the more I think about it, the more this building must be considered one of Silverton's crown jewels that way. It has immaculate cast iron detail (which I enthused about here). It was erected in 1891 which, I think, makes it the oldest extant building in Silverton:

I remember it as a boy for Carl Hande Hardware, continuing the mercantile tradition Wolf started and marketing implements to the little farming metropolis Silverton was at the time. Of course, just like every charming old building in Oregon currently, there's a bisro there, so there's that.

The biggest charm in this image is the lovingly-preserved painted ad on the Water Street side there. 

And I might be a little sarcastic about it all, but if I wanted to open some creative concern and brand it with Silverton's charm and quirk, I'd certainly consider the second floor of that building. 

The Covered Pedestrian Bridge, Silverton


In the last missive (and maybe one or two previous) I made mention of the pedestrian bridge that connects Town Square Park, next to downtown Silverton and across the creek, to Water Street at Lewis. 

Illustrated here is the bridge if you aren't on it taking pictures:

The covered bridge is something personal to Silverton; one of the most historic covered bridges in the state, the Gallonhouse Bridge, is located about two miles north of here, just outside of town (follow First Street to Hobart Road, left on Hobart to Gallonhouse Road, and right on Gallonhouse to the Bridge itself, as we will do sometime soon). So this charming little bridge, which makes it all of a piece.

The Gallonhouse Bridge was named for what people would trade at that point, during Prohibition years. The nature of the substance traded in gallons is an exercise left to the reader, but I'm sure I've left enough clues that the reader can intuit it.

The trade may have involved an ancestor; my mother liked to tell me one of the things my grandfather, the first Samuel John Klein, did, was hide 'shine on his dairy farm, which was located northeast of town about halfway between Silverton and Scotts Mills.

It's a family legend which will have to stay that way, because of reasons. But it's a fun story to hint at.

04 April 2024

Town Square Park, Silverton, and My History Thereupon


As mentioned in the last posting, there is a park in the middle of Silverton now, along West Main, between the bridge and Fiske Street, which is terribly charming and comfortable, and they call it Town Square Park.

It's roughly square in shape and goes back some 100-150 feet from West Main. If one goes to the south side of it, and looks north from the ramp to the covered footbridge, just past the war memorial, the view one gets approximates the picture, thenceforth and herewith.

This is a patch of ground I have intimate history with. I'll explain.

In the middle background, in front of that brick building (which at one time was the local phone company building and probably still is telco propertry, though not in the way it was when I was young), is a length of West Main Street that runs about 160 feet in length, give or take fifteen feet or so. And along that brief bit of road, if you drove west from the bridge, there were the following three buildings on that side of the street in this order:

  1. A building that looked as though it once provided services to cars which, even in my youth, looked dusty and disused for decades
  2. Hoyt's Grocery
  3. A gas station on the corner of Fiske that started out as Hancock and later was a Fina station.
Hoyt's Grocery remains a treasured, if attenuating, memory. My mother worked there for a few months while I was a toddler and we were rooming with my Grandma Klein on South Second in the months before we moved up to, and I commenced my formative years on, Steelhammer Road. And many times during that childhood we stopped in for this and than at Hoyt's.

It was the old-school kind of small market, unlike today's quick-shops, c-stores, and roadside markets: it was stocked with dry goods, a small selection of produce and meat, and essentials that you could stop for on the way home if you didn't feel like going over to Roth's or the Safeway. I mean, we knew the owners. They were sweet people. I remember old Lillian Hoyt, how she was just this sweet old lady who ran the grocery store with the assistance of her family, how she lived in the apartment in the small triplex that was tucked in behind that gas station on the corner. I remember how the sign over the front of the store had HOYT'S GROCERY in big, chunky, curvily voluptuous letters, the way that sign was bracketed by two big 7UP (I think it was 7UP, anyway) signs, and the way the front wall was actually set on a track and could be opened like a closet door if they had to. I remember the wooden floor of the place.

And now here am I, wandering through this park and there's no trace of those places. I hope pictures of the old grocery store exist somewhere. I'd like to see them again. 

And now here am I, wandering through this park and in spaces that I couldn't have walked to when I was small, and thinking about how we think as we grow aged the world moves on without us and we can think that way if we want, but we can also think that things change and the world does move on but it moves on with us as passengers and the views from the ride are actually quite lovely, if we accept what we see. 

Getting too philosophical means I've maundered a bit too prolix, and I should leave this here. 

And that I shall. 

The Back Stairs To Silver Creek


We return to Silverton to get to know Silver Creek a little better. It's changed and gotten incredibly charming, and deserves the tarry.

Along West Main Street, just the other side of the creek from the center of town and Water and Main, is a park, Town Square Park. Quite a lovely place and with it I'm rather smitten. It is roughly square in shape, fronting West Main between the end of the bridge and Fiske Street, with a small parking lot at the corner and a charming public toilet (Portland has its Loos, but leave it to Silverton to make a public convenience charming), and at the south side of the park, the pedestrian path winds past a war memorial to cross a covered footbridge over Silver Creek that'll connect you back to Water Street a block south of Main.

If you stand on the bridge ... which has ample room for those who want to take it slow and absorb the charm ... and look upstream, in the general southward direction, you see this, a property on Fiske Street backing up to the creek itself and this stairway from that property going right down to the creek bank which is all so adorable I say, without trace of irony, that I can't even here.

It has occurred to me that the owner of that property is quite the fortunate person. 

It, and the presence of Riverfront Park in Salem, speak of a quantum leap in how Valley communities relate to the streams that flow through them. In Salem, as I said earlier, downtown ended for most of us at Commercial Street, Front Street was a railway-laced nightmare for your car's chassis, and riverfront access for downtown Salem was the veriest of oxymoronic things to say. Silverton's relationship with Silver Creek was similar though not as brutal; an unbroken line of buildings along the west side of Water Street made the creek a thing you glanced in passing over the bridge.

No longer. Silver Creek is still screened from downtown Silverton by the buildings but there are more and more personal ways to get closer, and Town Square Park, a lovely thing, which allows one to come right down to the side of the stream that inspired Silverton's name. 

03 April 2024

Rest in Power, Dabney Spring


There's a spot on Historic Columbia River Highway, just a few seconds east of the entry to Dabney State Park, along the Sandy River, and just before Neilsen Road forks off and goes up the hill, on the north side of the road.

One year ago, it looked like this:

That stream of water coming out of the pipe in the cement block was termed a spring by people who visited on a constant basis. Now, HCRH is not a wide road and there is literally no safe shoulder there. During dark winter months when I was coming home essentially at night one had to take great care, and especially when it was a heavy rain, there were great opportunities to hydroplane.

During the autumn of last year, though, the Oregon Dept of Transportation and Oregon Parks and Recreation called an end to the free water party. In these days where everything has an electronic constituency, roadside springs do, too, and there was great discussion about it on Find A Spring, at https://findaspring.org/spring/locations/north-america/usa/troutdalespringdale-by-dabney-troutdale-oregon/. There was a lot of dismay in evidence, people upset over it, blaming City of Troutdale and that, but a correspondent posting as Michelle S laid this upon us:

ODOT and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department have decommissioned the reservoir overflow pipe along the Historic Columbia River Highway near Dabney State Recreation Area because of increasing road safety concerns at the site.

The area has become a danger with motorists stopping, often partially blocking the travel lane, to fill water jugs. The drainage ditch is often blocked by illegal dumping of material and damaged by vehicle traffic, which causes water to overflow onto the highway and creates dangerous driving conditions.

Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department posted signs and shared the pending plan with the Northeast Multnomah County Community Association before decommissioning the overflow, which is located along the north side of the Historic Columbia River Highway near Dabney State Recreation Area, east of the Stark Street Bridge.

The pipe originally supplied water to cool car radiators at the time of the Historic Highway’s construction over 100 years ago and was one of a handful of similar water access points, most of which have already been decommissioned. The water that supplies the pipe was not intended as drinking water.

ODOT and OPRD will evaluate the feasibility of creating safer access in the future.

ODOT has already seen crashes at the site and is taking this step to help ensure there are no more.

The nearest publicly available free water can be found 3.2 miles north along the Historic Columbia River Highway at Lewis and Clark State Recreation Site.

Coming up a year later, you can see that they were serious about it. Here's what it looks like now ...

Pipes are gone, and the one that dispensed the water has been sawed off to the level of the block. 

The concrete baffle blocks are all gone, and the sign spells it out plainly.

Don't tell the officer you didn't see the sign.

Now, one will notice that there is water flowing in the roadside ditch. It's not coming from here; it seems to be seeping out of the hillside by the intersection of Nielsen Road about 100 feet east from there. 

Maybe there is some sort of spring. Still, the idea of a series of water cooling stations for early automobiles has a certain logic to it.

Anyone going out that way will notice a few signs up on telephone poles along the road:

It's a real thing, they also have a website, https://www.restoredabneyspring.org/. It's one of those pre-desgined, out-of-the-box websites, and it's kind of tasteful, actually. but there's been no further change in the status of this roadside water port, so I'm guessing they aren't getting very far in their efforts, or at least not yet.

I mean, never say never, but I think the likelihood of Dabney Spring returning is vanishingly small. 

Sic transit gloria mundi.

02 April 2024

Perhaps, a Memorial


This face, giving off vibes of manga, are on the door side of the storage container that has Barney Rubble on:

This face is enigmatic and somewhat forlorn. It floats in a cloudy sky. The look on the face is passing a vague despair. The ear gauge is peace sign; the caption forever speaks of wishes and memory. And there's a halo up there in the upper right corner.

A memorial, perhaps? A forlorn wish for a better world? Both ... or some other deeper meaning? 

This Is Not The Barney You're Looking For


Stark Street is a great source of street art. You have to know where to find it though.

The intersection of 162nd and SE Stark St sits at the place where Portland leaves off and Gresham picks up. There's a shopping center there, Village Square, which is a vintage edge-of-town suburban shopping center built back when this was the edge of town and suburban.

At the corner is a 76 Station, and alongside that station is a container used as storage. It has be gloriously decorated with joie de vivre. And a Flintstone character.

It's a little bit of a surprise, actually. You think Barney and what comes to mind is a purple dinosaur which used to be ubiqutious on public television, not the second banana to Fred Flintstone.

So, for letting ol' Barney Rubble be the star of the show/ Nothing but respect here from me. Actually, I liked the character of Barney better than Fred. He seemed to be a little bit smarter, in his way. 

01 April 2024

The Center Street Bridge, Salem


Salem's Bridges, like Salem itself, are contradictory.

They're essential, but unremarkable. They're crucial, but you don't think about 'em much. There's nothing preposessing about them, but you'd miss 'em if they were gone.

Salem, depending on the year, is either the Oregon's Second City or Oregon's Third City: after Eugene holding a slim lead for the greater part of my life, they've been one or two thousand apart and swap the position once every couple of years. Right now, I think Salem's number two. And for a city as big as it is now, with only two bridges linking the two halves ... well, that's just kind of absurd.

If you want to go from the eastern half of Salem to the western half, you have to go through downtown. And if you're going to the west side, you're just as likely to be bypassing west Salem as you are likely to be destined there. It comes from the two sides' shared history, of course: founded in 1913, West Salem, Oregon was city of its own until it merged with Salem to form the kernel of the present-day town.

They needed infrastructure work and didn't have the money, is the story I always heard.

So, West Salem, before it was merely west Salem, was a suburban destination. 

And to this day, there's only one way into West Salem, and one way out. The bridge pictured is the way out. West of here, State Hwy 22 forms a very brief riverfront expressway bypassing the West Salem business district, Edgewater Street NW, before dividing, in a manner shared by Albany and Corvallis, into two main city center streets. This bridge feeds Center Street NE. 

It's a muscular bridge, as is its older sister, the Marion Street Bridge, immedately north. Has to be: it's not only the only way across the river for miles in either direction, but it's the main highway west out of Salem in toto. And, unlike our Portland bridges, it just does its job without calling attention to itself.

Pretty much like Salem itself. State capital, political power center of the state, but outside of the Capitol Mall ... it's just this Oregon town.