Sunday, November 30, 2008

Woods Memorial Natural Area

Woods Memorial Natural Area

Woods Memorial Natural Area


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Photos from a brief jaunt to Woods Memorial Natural Area, one of several large, but little-known, nature parks scattered around the hilly southwestern corner of Portland.

Woods Memorial Natural Area

Woods Memorial is your basic forested canyon type of place. There's a bunch of these in town, and they're all basically variations on the same theme, so you'll have to forgive me if none of the photos show anything particularly unique to this one park. Which is not to say there's anything wrong with it; it's quite nice actually, and I'm sure it's nicer when the weather's better.

The cynic in me is quite certain that the real reason we have all these woody ravine parks around town is that the city always ends up with all the unbuildable bits nobody else wants. This particular park was donated, sure, but it's possible that happened after someone realized it was unbuildable and they might as well get a tax writeoff for it. I don't really know. The park sure looks unbuildable, at least.

Woods Memorial Natural Area

The park's crisscrossed with trails heading off in all directions, so you could easily get lost if you don't have a map or know your way around. They seemed to be just out of maps on the day I visited, and I didn't know my way around, and I had a meeting at 10:30 and couldn't afford to get lost (as fun as that can be at times), so I didn't wander quite as far as I otherwise would've liked to. That might've been for the best, though, as it was also pretty cold that morning, and numb fingers tend to drop cameras, which would be Very Very Bad. Although it's also true that the shiny new Canon 50D is out now, and it offers a number of compelling technological advances over my old (as in year-old) 40D. So, you know, if I was somehow forced to buy a replacement, it wouldn't be all bad.

Woods Memorial Natural Area

The city's vegetation survey page rates much of the place as having "Poor" ecological health, with a few areas rating "Fair" and others coming in as "Severely Degraded" (I'm not sure whether that's better or worse than "Poor"). And here's a recent invasive species report about ivy in the park. Although it hasn't completely taken the place over like it has in other areas around town, like Marquam Nature Park for example.

The US Fish & Wildlife Service has a doc about restoration efforts here that occurred back in the 90's. And I've come across at least one report of an elk sighting here. So I imagine the place can't be too degraded, if you get elk showing up now and then. Unless maybe they come to eat the ivy. I'm not really sure how that works.

Woods Memorial Natural Area

Elsewhere on the interwebs:
  • ExplorePDX has a trail map and a couple of pages on trail construction, with a few photos. The park also gets a mention in the site's "Jay Walk #5" through the surrounding neighborhood. If you ever think I tend to get a bit obsessive and pedantic at times here, I suggest you go to ExplorePDX and check out the pages on map errors. I always come away from that feeling that I'm relatively normal and well-adjusted in comparison, although I'm also pleased that someone's doing this, and I can see how one could easily get sucked in to that sort of undertaking. It's a slippery slope, I tell you.
  • An old 1987 Oregonian article, "City May Have Money Tied Up In Land Holdings, mentions the park as a potentially surplus chunk of land the city could sell to raise money. I don't recall what sort of budgetary straits the city was in back then that would've put this idea in play, but it obviously didn't go far. The parks director at the time is quoted as saying the bureau doesn't have any surplus land, just undeveloped parks. This may explain why they now use the term "Natural Area" instead of "Park" for places like this, to convey the idea that the place has been left "undeveloped" on purpose, so (in theory) nobody at City Hall will get any funny ideas about selling the land to their greedy developer friends. Ideally.
  • The park and a few others like it are explored in a post on Around the Sun, "Exploring SW Portland on Foot With Ten Toe Express".
  • A cool photo in someone's portfolio on photo.net.
Woods Memorial Natural Area Woods Memorial Natural Area Woods Memorial Natural Area Woods Memorial Natural Area Woods Memorial Natural Area Woods Memorial Natural Area Woods Memorial Natural Area

Friday, November 28, 2008

Wilsonville Railroad Bridge

Wilsonville Railroad Bridge


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So here are a few photos of the Wilsonville Railroad Bridge, taken this morning along with the Boone Bridge photos I posted earlier. As you can see, I had a much better view of this one, and the photos kind of suck less, or at least I like to think so.

Wilsonville Railroad Bridge

There's not much to say about it really; there's a Structurae page about it, and what appears to be an unfinished draft Wikipedia page too. The latter has a few more links, including an old photo courtesy of the Wilsonville library. That photo seems to be of a previous bridge on this spot, actually. I'd be happy to share the history of bridges on this spot and so forth, if only I could find it, but I haven't run across it yet. And neither, apparently, has the author of the embryonic Wikipedia page, as a lot of dates and vital stats are just X's for the time being.

Wilsonville Railroad Bridge

There's a (probably unofficial) trail leading up to the railroad tracks, where it ends. All I can figure is that it's for people walking across the bridge. Which I assume you aren't technically supposed to do, similar to the situation at the Lake Oswego RR bridge. I considered it for a moment, just a moment, before chickening out, I mean, coming to my senses, like I usually do. There's even less of a walkway here than there is on the Lake Oswego bridge, and I expect this bridge gets substantially more train traffic. So I walked up and took a quick peek, and then scuttled off to the car. Hey, I saw Stand By Me; I know this is a bad idea.

Wilsonville Railroad Bridge

North of here, this rail line will soon host our fair city's new WES commuter rail train. There's speculation that once the first bit is up and running, they'll want to extend the line further south, possibly even to Salem, so this bridge would have a bit higher profile than it does now (and would be even more risky to cross, too).

Wilsonville Railroad Bridge

Wilsonville Railroad Bridge

Wilsonville Railroad Bridge

Wilsonville Railroad Bridge

Wilsonville Railroad Bridge

Wilsonville Railroad Bridge

Wilsonville Railroad Bridge

At 13th & Holman

ne holman & 13th


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ne holman & 13th

So here's a tiny city park the city just calls NE Holman & 13th. The one feature of the place is the yellow-orange semi-groovy blobby thing pictured here. It looks like art, or what passed for art in the 70's, but apparently it's a play structure instead. From space (see above Google Map), it can be awfully tough to tell the difference sometimes. From space it looked like it might be some kind of neglected sculpture or something, so I dropped by to take a look.

I realize I'm not the intended audience for the thing, and possibly it might be fun (and maybe even safe) for an especially imaginative (and well supervised) child -- but if you ask me it looks pretty crappy, as far as play structures go. There's a road caution sign nearby indicating this is a playground, with the usual see-saw graphic. If I was a small child, I'd see that sign, and then see the actual playground, and feel cheated: The government promised me a see-saw, dammit, and instead all they gave me was this pastel checkered whatzit. But then, I was a cynic from an early age.

Taken as Art, on the other hand, the thing is perfectly fine, I guess. I do like the cheery color scheme, at least.

ne holman & 13th

According to the local neighborhood association, there's a plan, or at least a hope, to revamp the little space here. I'm not so sure about bringing in the City Repair Project people, though. They usually build stuff out of mud, no, seriously, they do, and it tends to be kind of blobby and hobbitty in a semi-groovy 70's Whole-Earth-Catalog sort of way. So anything they did here would likely not be much of a change. Probably less brightly colored, but I'm not sure that would be a step up, really.

I just can't get into this idea that everything ought to be built out of mud, I mean, "cob". I always heard stories from my grandmother about growing up in a sod house in Oklahoma (which wasn't even a state yet, and was called "Indian Territory" at the time). People will probably tell you that a sod house is green and sustainable and all that, and she definitely was "living off the grid" at the time, if involuntarily so. When I was little, she had a single-wide trailer in one of those over-55 mobile home parks, with electricity courtesy of the nearby Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Green or not, you could tell she thought this was a real improvement.

I'm not trying to be an ignorant know-nothing about this, I'm really not. It could very well be true that grubby little mud hovels, I mean, "cob houses", will save the world someday. It's just that people should understand there was a reason everyone stopped living in soil-based dwellings. Just sayin'.

ne holman & 13th

The neighborhood may be fortunate that this object is allegedly a play structure rather than Art. A play structure you can just rip out and replace as needed, while Art has to go through a lengthy and expensive de-accessioning process. There are hearings to hold, and interested parties to appease, and I gather it's all very complicated. Buying a new play structure would also be much easier, and cheaper, than buying a new sculpture, for similar reasons. This would remain true even if the "sculpture" and the "play structure" were otherwise identical objects. Because, well, that's just how it is.

This probably says something about our societal priorities, but I'm not sure what that might be.

ne holman & 13th

It wouldn't be a post about a small and obscure city park without getting pedantic about who owns it, or what it's really called, or something along those lines. As far as ownership goes, it seems the Portland Development Commission actually owns the land here. So if it ever comes time to redo the place, the neighborhood just might get a shiny new condo tower instead of a better playground for the kiddies. Gaah!

And naming? I don't think the place has a proper name, other than the street intersection. You can't call it Holman Park (although the 2002 Parks Levy mistakenly did so), because a different place already has that name. It's an equally obscure chunk of land up in the West Hills that's usually counted as part of Forest Park. So now you know.

ne holman & 13th

And that's not the only Holman Park -- there's a notorious state park by that name just west of Salem, which was closed a few years ago due to persistent "lewd behavior" issues. Seems there was trouble with guys cruising the public restrooms, as if this was 1950. Or Idaho, which is essentially the same thing. Seriously, this still happens? In Oregon, in the 21st century? Who knew?

None of the mugshots seem to be of Republican state legislators, but I suspect the park was really popular among them. It just stands to reason, based on everything I know about Republicans.

ne holman & 13th

Updated 10/13/09: We have -- not linkage exactly, but a photo credit in this Examiner piece about further efforts to freshen up this benighted little spot. Scoring the occasional photo credit is one of the little fringe benefits you get from blogging about stuff nobody else on earth, or at least in town, is remotely interested in. Hey, at least there is an upside to all this...

Updated 8/31/10: We also have linkage from the "It Happened on Dekum Street" group on Facebook.

Boone Bridge

Boone Bridge, Willamette River


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Couple of so-so photos of the Boone Bridge, the I-5 bridge over the Willamette at Wilsonville. Built in 1954, made of concrete, yawn. Even the Structurae page for it is kind of perfunctory, as if even they couldn't get excited about the thing. I figured I ought to at least drop by and take a couple of photos of it for the sake of completeness, as part of the ongoing bridge project. Well, that plus the fact that I was in the neighborhood anyway, unwisely braving the wilds of Fry's Electronics on Black Friday. That part didn't go so well, actually -- I took one look at the checkout line snaking through the store, and decided it wasn't worth it. But at least I got some photos, for whatever that's worth.

Since the Boone Bridge replaced the earlier Boone's Ferry, I thought I'd make a project of it and drive the length of Boones Ferry Road, from Portland down to Wilsonville. That wasn't actually very interesting. Miles and miles of suburbia from start to finish. There's a couple of old buildings in Tualatin, and it turns out there's a rather small and rustic "old town" to Wilsonville, too, along Boones Ferry south of Wilsonville Road.

Boone Bridge, Willamette River

One forgets that until I-5 went in, this was absolutely not a major transportation corridor. Most people used 99E down through Milwaukie, Oregon City, & Canby, and others used 99W, which heads SW out to McMinnville and cuts south from there. The idea of a ruler-straight, non-river-following highway between Portland and Salem is a relatively recent innovation, as it turns out. For some reason, the route of I-5 south from about Tigard runs exactly along the Washington-Multnomah and then Washington-Clackamas county lines. I've never seen a good explanation for why it turned out that way. Was the land cheap? Was it to build political support by splitting the road-building jobs among all 3 metro counties? It's a curious thing, and I don't have a good answer for it.

At the far south end of Boones Ferry Road is Boones Ferry Park, site of the old ferry terminal. That's where I took these, along with a bunch of photos of the nearby railroad bridge. The marina across the river is, I think, the site of the other ferry terminal on the south bank of the river.

Boone Bridge, Willamette River

In theory, I could do the whole schmear and walk the bridge. It's legal, believe it or not, and a few hardy souls (cyclists, mostly) actually use the damn thing. I didn't, at least not this time. Since I can't predict the future all that accurately, I won't absolutely say I never will, but I will say that I probably won't. It looks dangerous, and not the fun kind of dangerous, either. People do this because right now there's no good way to get across the river by bike or on foot, and the only way to go by car is on the freeway. There've been discussions in the past about adding dedicated bike/ped space to either the Boone Bridge or the railroad bridge just upstream, but the preferred approach now seems to be to build a very shiny new bridge just for bikes, pedestrians, and the occasional emergency vehicle. Which is undoubtedly the right approach, if the money exists to do it.

One thing that isn't in the cards, apparently, is building a new bridge for regular auto traffic. My understanding is that the Willamette at Wilsonville is seen as a sort of moat against urban sprawl. A car bridge would cause subdivisions, the theory goes, and if the sprawl monster leaps the Willamette, there aren't any further natural barriers between Portland and Salem. If the line isn't drawn right here, the whole north end of the Willamette Valley inevitably becomes a cold, dreary, repressed version of L.A. I think this is probably the same reason Canby still has a ferry over the river instead of a bridge, even today.

Boone Bridge, Willamette River

Monday, November 24, 2008

Nothing to see at NE 47th & Sumner

ne sumner & 47th


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This, believe it or not, is yet another ultra-obscure city park, this time on NE Sumner St. one house in from the corner with 47th Avenue. It looks exactly like an empty vacant lot. I suppose it actually is an empty vacant lot, just one where the grass is occasionally mowed with your tax dollars. The place does show up on the city's Park Services Zone Map, and you can find it on both PortlandMaps and Metro's GIS system if you really care to. But beyond that, there's no info about it anywhere on the interwebs, not that I've been able to find.

ne sumner & 47th

So I really don't know what the rationale is behind the place. The only thing I can figure is that they're hanging on to it for possible future expansion, either when ever-scarce park funds become available, or when the adjoining properties go on the market, or a well-connected developer puts up a condo tower across the street. If any of that ever happens, and they do something truly fabulous with this place, you can look at the photos here as the "before", and be astonished.

I like to think I'm performing a valuable public service here, but it's a real stretch sometimes.

ne sumner & 47th

The Thompson Elk

Thompson Fountain


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So apparently I'm doing a little series about fountains now. I recently realized I had a bunch of Flickr photos of various fountains around town, most of which I hadn't ever done a post about. So I figured, hey, I've already done a lot of the legwork, now I just need to search the interwebs a little and mash everything into a semi-coherent jumble, and I've got a new series of posts going. It's a simple and easy formula, I've found, except for the mashing-together part.

Thompson Fountain

So this stop in the shiny new fountain series takes us to the Thompson Elk Fountain, located right in the middle of Main St., downtown, between 3rd & 4th avenues, with Chapman Square on one side and Lownsdale Square on the other. The latter page (at the city parks website) describes the fountain thusly:

Between the two Plaza Blocks, Main Street curves around a huge elk fountain given to the city by David P. Thompson. Thompson arrived in Portland driving sheep over the Oregon Trail. He served as Portland's mayor from 1879-1882. One day looked out of the office window in his New Market Building at the Skidmore Fountain and decided that he wanted to dedicate a fountain to the city as well. Thompson commissioned Roland Hinton Perry, whose work adorns the Library of Congress and the dome of the Pennsylvania state capitol, and in 1900, he presented the city with a bronze elk fountain to commemorate elk that once grazed nearby. Local architect H.G. Wright designed the stone base of eastern granite, which included drinking troughs for horses and dogs. The Exalted Order of Elks refused to dedicate it because they considered the statue "a monstrosity of art." Many have tried to have Thompson's elk removed because it can be considered a traffic obstacle, but the elk statue remains. In 1974, after a debate about disturbing the blocks in order to complement the then-new General Services Building, Thompson's elk and the Plaza Blocks were designated as Historic Landmarks.


I'm not sure everyone realizes the elk is, technically, a fountain. Mostly what you see is the big statue of the elk, but there's running water at the base of it. Like the Skidmore Fountain over in Old Town, it serves a practical purpose as a drinking fountain for horses and dogs. That's not completely archaic, either; I've seen police horses drinking from both fountains before. And let's not forget the cute little Water Bowl fountain in the North Park Blocks, which is kind of a Benson Bubbler shaped like a dog bowl. I've seen dogs drinking from the regular Benson Bubblers too, come to think of it. C'mon, stop going "eeww" -- it's much more likely for you to catch cooties from a rich guy in a suit than you are from some street kid's pit bull. Think about it.

Thompson Fountain

Regarding the statue, it's not a "monstrosity of art", it's just a plain old elk. I don't actually have much of an opinion about the elk, one way or the other. Possibly familiarity breeds indifference, I dunno. I suppose it's unusual to put up a statue of an elk, and we Portlanders just forget how weird this is because it's been here forever.

In a way, the elk is our little taste of the rural Oregon experience (except without the banjos and ritual cannibalism): You're driving along, and then you swerve at the last minute to avoid a huge elk in the road that won't freakin' budge. Or even look at you, since the statue faces away from oncoming traffic. I recently figured out why this is, incidentally. Portland got the statue in 1900, and downtown's one-way street grid was instituted much later by Mayor Dorothy McCullough Lee, some time between 1948 and 1952. So the elk started out facing the right way, and nobody thought to rotate it once the traffic layout changed. So now you know.

Thompson Fountain

The best part about the Thompson Elk isn't the elk, though. The actual fountain part of the fountain has a bunch of tiny spouting animal faces, which are adorable. And since the elk sits between two lanes of traffic, you have to brave gruesome vehicular death to see the little faces. They're pretty obscure, and there's an element of pseudo-danger involved in seeing them, so they're basically perfect for this humble blog, hence most of the photos are of the little animals and not the elk itself. Hell, everybody's got photos of the elk.

Thompson Fountain

Like many (but not all) of the city's fountains, the Thompson Elk is part of the Water Bureau's bailiwick. They're a bit more clued in about the whole "series of tubes" thing than most government agencies, and the Elk occasionally shows up on their surprisingly entertaining Water Blog.

A while back, they ran a mini-bio of Mayor Thompson, "The Man Behind Elk Fountain", as part of a limerick contest about the Elk. No, seriously. A limerick contest. Apparently they do these contests on a semi-regular basis.

And get your mind out of the gutter -- they're only interested in family-friendly limericks. Or haikus. Or whatever poetical form they decide to do next. Maybe they should go for more of a challenge next time and do sonnets, or Icelandic-style sagas, maybe. That could be interesting.

Thompson Fountain

So here's the inevitable bullet-point list of Elk-related items from around the net:

Thompson Fountain In the unlikely event you noticed & wondered why the photos have an odd look about them, I used yet another old vintage lens for these. This time I used an old screw-mount Vivitar 50mm f/1.8. It was getting dark, so I think I shot these either wide open or close to it. Not a bad lens overall, but definitely some funky stuff going on with the out-of-focus highlights and so forth. The lens came off an old Vivitar 220/SL, so I'm pretty sure it was made for Vivitar by Cosina. FWIW. Updated: We have linkage from Midnight Movie Guy, in a hilarious rant about 2009's awful G.I. Joe movie. So the elk statue isn't really the main point of the post by any means, but hey. Chances are you'll enjoy his post more than you're enjoying mine right now, so I figured I ought to pass it along. So now you know. And like G.I. Joe always said, knowing is half the battle.

Tideman Johnson foray

tideman johnson park


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Here are a few photos from a quick trip out to Tideman Johnson Natural Area, a little park on Johnson Creek over near Reed College. I dropped a week ago, on a sunny Friday afternoon, and found the place busier than I expected. Plenty of bike commuters along the Springwater corridor, of course, but also a lot of people just out for a walk. So the place isn't exactly obscure, although I'd never been there before.

tideman johnson park

I found it an exceptionally pleasant spot, although that might have been the place, or it might have been the time, or both, perhaps. You can't really disentangle the two. Warm(ish) sunny afternoons in November are uncommon in this part of the world, and unexpected when they do occur, and there was a sort of giddy, yet determined feel about the place. It was as if people knew this was bound to be the very last hurrah, for real this time, and they weren't going to let a moment of it go to waste. I know that's how I felt, at least.

tideman johnson park

It had already been an unusual day. I'd spent the morning packing up and moving out of the office where I'd worked for the last eight years. Not changing jobs, just the company moving to new offices a few blocks away, and it'd be back to business in the new digs, with the same coworkers, come Monday. Still, although nothing really changed, I spent the day boxing up books and taking things down off walls and taking a photos of the place for "posterity". It felt like the last day of school. (I understand the usual word for this feeling is "valedictory", but I was never a valedictorian and can't say for certain exactly what that feels like. I suspect a morbid fear of public speaking is a large part of it, though, or at least it would've been for me. But I digress.)

When I finished packing and went home, I knew I needed to get outside. Immediately. I already knew I was going to be sore from all the packing and moving, and going for a hike after that wasn't the obvious logical choice, but it's what I felt like doing, and it's what I did. So I picked a spot off my to-visit list, grabbed the camera and map, and set out on another foray. If not the last foray of the season, probably the last sunny one of the season, at least. This time I obviously, very obviously, picked the right place at the right time.

tideman johnson park

Tideman Johnson is not a very big place, just 7 acres in a long skinny strip between the Springwater trail and Johnson Creek, along the bottom of a sort of gully. So if you visit and want to make it last a while, slow down, or you'll run out of park.

As it turns out, a lot of the park is fenced off because they're trying to restore this stretch of the creek to something resembling a natural state. There's a walkway through the park, and you're expected to stay on it.

(Note: The next few paragraphs are full of earnest earth-saving do-good-ness. I usually try to avoid lecturing people about Important Issues Of The Day -- no, really, I do -- but the environmental stuff is really the core story of the place this time. I'd feel irresponsible if I wrote about the park without at least mentioning it, and when I write about something I try to do a reasonably thorough job. If this isn't really your thing, feel free to just scroll down and look at the photos. You probably ought to care, but I won't be offended (and won't know) if you don't.)

tideman johnson park

Restoring the creek is going to be tough. I'd never heard about this before, but back during the Depression Johnson Creek was "improved" as part of a major WPA public works project. The creek's always been prone to flooding, and the thinking was that it wouldn't flood so often if it drained its watershed more efficiently. The idea was that if the rain all flowed to the willamette as quickly as possible, it wouldn't pool up and back into people's basements and so forth. So they straightened the creek and lined the entire creekbed with stone, from the vicinity of Powell Butte basically all the way to the Willamette. Naively, that sounds like a fantastic idea, but in practice it turns out not to work very well. The creek, reportedly, floods just as much as it ever did. They may have moved the flooding around a bit, but they didn't solve it. They may have even made it worse.

tideman johnson park

And this being the Northwest, you can't tinker with local waterways even a little without running into salmon trouble, as we've repeatedly discovered. They're very picky and fragile fish, it seems, and an engineer simply looking at a river or stream here is apparently enough to trigger a Salmon Apocalypse. So, in short, the ultimate goal is to put the creek back to something like it was before people started improving it, and hope the fish are appeased, the tasty little bastards.

(For more on the salmon situation, check out a doc from the city, "Where are salmon in the City of Portland?" Which, I should point out, was not written with fishermen in mind.)

tideman johnson park

Anyway, that's a long stretch of creek they're talking about, and a lot of rocks to pull up, and a lot of habitat to restore. It would only be fair to get a massive federal grant and take care of it all at once, after all, since the problem was originally caused by a previous massive federal grant. But in the absence of that, it looks like the work proceeds a bit at a time, in fits and starts. I find it interesting that this particular part of the creek runs through a relatively nice area, at least by Johnson Creek standards. Further east, the creek flows through the heart of an area commonly, and unkindly, known as "Felony Flats". Maybe the city cares more about upscale-ish parts of town (and it wouldn't be the first time). Maybe they're simply afraid to venture out into Tonya Harding country. I don't know. Less cynically, I'm sure it doesn't hurt if your local neighborhood association takes an interest in the local park's eco-troubles, and I suppose that's more likely to happen the more upscale-ish an area happens to be.

tideman johnson park

tideman johnson park

One complication is that you can see the old WPA stonework in a few places, and (as WPA work tends to be) it's well done, attractive, and historically significant. So what do you do when you have what turned out to be a really bad idea, implemented in a beautiful way? Especially now, at a point in history where a lot of us (myself included) are kind of nostalgic for programs like the WPA, and all things FDR?

tideman johnson park

tideman johnson park

There's one bit in the park where the creek goes over a sort of man-made waterfall, with stone railings on both sides. It looks to have been restored in recent years, so I imagine this part is a keeper, at least for now. While I was taking photos, a guy mentioned he'd just seen a fish trying to jump the waterfall. I missed that, unfortunately, or that would be the photo I'd lead with. Anyway, if the falls turn out to be a barrier to salmon, they may have to go too, historic or not.

tideman johnson park

Salmon aren't the only wildlife here. At one point I passed a group of older people out for a stroll, and a younger woman was telling them about the park's family of beavers. I didn't see any of those either, unfortunately, but there are a few photos of them in someone's extensive photoset about the park up on Pbase. Not that the presence of beavers is really all that rare or surprising. I'll grant that they're kind of unusual animals. As far as large rodents go, though, porcupines are much cuter.

tideman johnson park

There isn't all that much on the interwebs about the area, but I've come across a few things worth reading.

You really want to read "Pilgrim at Johnson Creek". The author tries paddling the length of the creek, and talks with the locals in some of the more Appalachian parts of the Johnson Creek area. I'm not sure which is braver. Either way, that, my friends, is true urban exploration. Me showing up with a camera and wandering around for an hour or so, not so much, really. I do have photos, though. Have I pointed out yet that I have photos? Because I do. Which is something.

tideman johnson park

The area also figures in a weirdly fascinating Mercury article: "The Accidental Exorcist".

And a post on Derivations titled "I kid you not", which I really don't think I can describe. Intriguing, though.

tideman johnson park

tideman johnson park

tideman johnson park

tideman johnson park