Monday, April 27, 2009

cherry trees, portland center park

cherry blossom, portland center park

cherry blossom, portland center park


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A few cherry blossoms in Portland Center Park, which turns out to be the name of the little park that's home to Rusting Chunks #5. Or so I've concluded. There's no actual sign anywhere giving the name. And to confuse matters further, the page on the Parks Bureau's website has a photo of the Chimney Fountain instead of the park itself -- the fountain's a good two blocks north, it's maintained by the Water Bureau, and the land it sits on is city street right-of-way. But other than all that, sure it's part of the park. I mean, if we're going to be all pedantic and fussy about it, which I am, as usual.

cherry blossom, portland center park

Oh, and the city's official SW Portland Walking Map shows the actual park but doesn't give a name, and attaches the "Portland Center Park" label to another chunk of greenspace that doesn't actually exist in the real world. It would be directly under the Lovejoy Fountain Apartments swimming pool, if I'm not mistaken.

cherry blossom, portland center park

But of course you knew all this already, because you number among my nano-legion of truly longtime Gentle Readers, and you remember my previous hair-splitting episode about the place back in this post from back in May '06. I suppose this humble blog's reached the point where everything old is new again, but with better photos this time. Or whatever.

cherry blossom, portland center park

In any case, these photos are closeups of a couple of the cherry trees ringing the Rusting Chunks plaza. Cherry blossom season is by far the best time to visit the park -- the rest of the year it's basically just rust and chunkiness. And I'm afraid you've already missed cherry blossom season '09. So mark your calendars, I guess.

cherry blossom, portland center park

cherry blossom, portland center park

cherry blossom, portland center park

cherry blossom, portland center park

cherry blossom, portland center park

cherry blossom, portland center park

Friday, April 24, 2009

Oregon Park expedition

Cherry Tree, Oregon Park

Oregon Park


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Today's thrilling adventure takes us to obscure little Oregon Park, at NE 29th & Hoyt, just south of Sandy & I-84. I was kind of intrigued by the ultra-generic name, although it turns out that comes from NE Oregon St., which runs along the north end of the park, so no real mystery there. The name kind of fits, in that it's your basic generic neighborhood park. Nice and everything, but nothing to go out of your way to go see. I figured that would be the case, so I decided it'd be an interesting challenge to go and try to make it look interesting. To up the challenge, I went with a cheap vintage 25mm wide angle lens with a sticky aperture that I picked up at Goodwill a while back. Also, it was a grey rainy day so I thought I'd go with all black-n-white, although I dropped that rule when I ran across a few flowers. So if you come away from this post thinking there's this weird, magical place hidden away in inner NE Portland, well, you'll probably be disappointed by the actual park. Your kids/dogs will probably love it, though.

I keep a TODO list for this humble blog, including various places and things I mean to check out sooner or later, and Oregon Park wasn't anywhere near the top of the list. But it was a short drive, and it didn't take very long to see everything, so it was doable on a weekday before work. And right now that counts for a lot...

Azalea, Oregon Park

Oregon Park

Oregon Park

Oregon Park

Cherry Tree, Oregon Park

Oregon Park

Oregon Park

Oregon Park

Oregon Park

Oregon Park

Oregon Park

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

tulips, 1st avenue

tulips, 1st avenue

Another batch of spring flowers, this one almost sort of timely. In recent years we've had a dot-com bubble and a real estate bubble, but it seems like people are still on the lookout for the next irrational speculative mania. Might I suggest another tulip bubble? It'll be just like all the other bubbles, except with flowers!

tulips, 1st avenue

tulips, 1st avenue

tulips, 1st avenue

tulips, 1st avenue

tulips, 1st avenue

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Harvey Scott, Mt. Tabor

Harvey Scott statue, Mt. Tabor

Harvey Scott statue, Mt. Tabor


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So here are few photos of the Harvey W. Scott statue, which lurks in a lightly-used, forested area near the top of Mt. Tabor. Don't feel bad if you're unfamiliar with Mr. Scott. Despite the statue's semi-prominent location and grandiose pose, he's more or less a historical footnote. Or maybe "historical speedbump" is more like it. Scott, you see, was an ultraconservative, curmudgeonly editor of the Oregonian back in the Victorian era. When he's remembered at all these days, he's remembered for being on the wrong side of history on a wide range of issues -- public high schools, women's suffrage, that sort of thing. Scott's sister, Abigail Scott Duniway, was a prominent suffragette and the two had a long and bitter public feud. After a long struggle, Duniway became the first woman registered to vote in Multnomah County. It's a shame (if you ask me) that Scott didn't live to see that day and gag on his caviar or something.

Harvey Scott statue, Mt. Tabor

If you're intrigued by Scott for some reason, you might be interested in his New York Times obit [registration required]. In that you'd be more fascinated than I am -- I'm passing the link along, but I didn't bother to log in and actually read the thing.

Harvey Scott statue, Mt. Tabor

Also, here are two two photos of Scott from the Oregon Historical Society, with little biographical blurbs. The second photo shows Scott posed remarkably like the statue, except wearing a top hat. Apparently it's not the sculptor's fault the statue's so bombastic and pompous. Scott, it seems, really was like that. Except the real Scott was substantially fatter, or so I've heard.

The pose does kind of fascinate me -- from some angles Scott looks vaguely Lenin-esque, boldly leading us into the glorious future (which just so happens to look exactly like the even gloriouser distant past). From other angles -- most angles -- he merely looks like an angry rich guy dismissing his entire kitchen staff after the chef botched his Oysters Rockefeller for the very last time.

Harvey Scott statue, Mt. Tabor

Which brings us to the statue. It's the work of Gutzon Borglum, who's better known for, well, Mt. Rushmore. So it's fair to say this is one of Borglum's more minor works, relatively speaking.

Harvey Scott statue, Mt. Tabor

The statue has fallen into disrepair over the years, and a post at Portland Public Art laments its state of disrepair. The post suggests maybe the Oregonian ought to step in, seeing as Scott used to be their editor and all. Which would be fitting and appropriate, if only newspapers had any money at all to spare these days. More to the point, other than the Oregonian, I can't think of anyone offhand who might be interested in taking up the cause. Maybe the state or county Republican Party would be interested, assuming they still exist, and have any money lying around, and are able to discuss the matter with the city without it devolving into an ugly partisan brawl. Not holding my breath, in other words, and I'm actually fine with the current disrepair. Not for ideological reasons, either, or at least not strictly for ideological reasons; the bird-related corrosion gives it an interesting texture and makes for better photos.

Harvey Scott statue, Mt. Tabor

Harvey Scott statue, Mt. Tabor


Other photos at Portland Ground and Mike's Portland Word on the Street, if you don't like mine.

Harvey Scott statue, Mt. Tabor

In a few previous posts I went on about the importance of not naming things after living people, or putting up statues to them, or generally honoring them in any way while they're still around to enjoy it. That's not quite what happened here -- Scott had been pushing up daisies (or thistles, more likely) for a couple of decades by the time they put up a statue, and gave it prime real estate in the heart of the city. And despite the passage of time, we still ended up with a major monument to a man little remembered and less revered. Oh, well. Maybe a more realistic approach would be to do the opposite of what I've been suggesting: Build monuments and name things based on the immediate impulses and manias of the day, and not try to guess what future generations will make of your efforts. The bits they care about, they'll maintain. The rest will slowly corrode away and go back into the soil. And maybe that's as it should be. I dunno. It's my latest theory, at any rate.


Harvey Scott statue, Mt. Tabor

Harvey Scott statue, Mt. Tabor

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Of beer & novocaine

Spent all morning in one stressful meeting after another, while attempting to fix a bug or two between meetings. And then I spent all afternoon at the dentist. Oh, and I paid taxes today too. I got the full combo today, basically. So now I'm at Tugboat, trying to figure out how to drink beer with a numb upper lip. You get the hang of it eventually. This will come in handy in the future, as I'll be seeing a lot of my dentist going forward.

On the bright side, I can still *taste* the beer, and I'm not dribbling all that much of it, really. And now I can smile again without being all self-conscious about it. So even with the meetings and the taxes and the numbness and the stress -- and the crappy weather for that matter -- despite all of that, it's a beautiful day.

Perhaps you'd like to hear my funny novocaine story, while I'm at it. Back when I was 12 or so, I was having work done in preparation for getting braces a couple of years later on. Had to have a couple of teeth pulled to make room for the others, which required a lot of novocaine. For some reason, we went to the library right after that. So I was sitting in an aisle, reading a book, not noticing what a pitiful drool creature I was. I realized I wasn't alone. I looked up and noticed a mother and child staring at me. Mom to child: "He can't help it, some people are just born that way." Offended, I tried to explain that I'd just been to the dentist, and had never ridden a single short bus in my entire life, and in fact I was in the middle of a fascinating book on astrophysics (seriously) when I was so rudely interrupted, etc. Which came out as "uuugh glurrrgh (drool) mwwghh".

They fled.

So all things considered, my immediate "drinking problem" is really not so bad.

Mmmwghhh.... beeeerrr....




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