Thursday, May 28, 2009

Battleship Oregon Memorial

Battleship Oregon Memorial

Battleship Oregon Memorial


View Larger Map

Today's episode of Unfashionable History takes us to Waterfront Park and the Battleship Oregon Memorial, which is all that remains of the old USS Oregon. As I've said before, I'm not a big fan of war, or of grandiose war memorials for that matter. What I find kind of fascinating is that people went to a great deal of trouble, decades ago, to put this in place. They felt this was deeply important and needed to be preserved for future generations -- and now, well, I'm not going to say nobody cares about the Spanish-American War, but I wouldn't be too far from the truth if I said so. Portland is full of grandiose memorials to this brief and ugly little war of imperial expansion. I've never figured out quite what that was all about.

Battleship Oregon Memorial

This post has lingered in my Drafts folder for months, because (like most people) I just can't muster a lot of enthusiasm about the thing, as peculiar as it is. There's probably more research I could do beyond what I've got here, but if I wait until I feel like doing that, this post may never go live at all, period. Which would be a shame, since I think some of the photos turned out ok, at least.

Battleship Oregon Memorial

Various bits of info about the ship. Fortunately, in the event that you're curious, there are people who are vastly more fascinated with naval history than I am. Actually there was a point where I was, believe it or not, but I got over it when I was about 12 or so. Seriously.
  • Oregon Historical Quarterly: "A Chronicle of the Battleship Oregon"
  • NavSource Online: BB-3 USS OREGON 1920 - 1956
  • NYT, March 20, 1922: "TO KEEP THE OREGON AS A MEMORIAL; But Teeth of Famous Bulldog of the Navy Will All Be Drawn."
  • A mention on the "Bits & Pieces" page at Pre-Dreadnought Preservation,
  • Homeport: "Battleship USS Oregon, BB-3"

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    A couple of links about the war. Which I hope you'll agree was an ugly, and needless, little episode, one that led to additional ugly episodes in Panama and the Philippines, and a troubled relationship with Cuba that lingers to the present day.
  • Library of Congress: "The World of 1898: The Spanish-American War"
  • The Spanish American War Centennial Website
  • "Remember the Maine" at a larger site about "The Age of Imperialism".

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    Not too many photos of the memorial around the 'tubes, that I've noticed. Here are a couple I ran across:
  • USA Travel Pal
  • salem-stayton.com

    A couple of photos of the long-lost art deco Teddy Roosevelt memorial on the waterfront, with the Oregon in the background:
  • The Oregonian, Sept. 30, 1941
  • Also appears here on Portland Public Art

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    One little tangent to mention: It turns out there've been a variety of other Navy ships named after places in Oregon. In particular, at one time there was a USS Willamette, which -- ironically, given our local eco-pious inclinations -- was an oiler, basically a floating gas station for other ships. I mention this because it had an unfortunate tendency to collide with other ships, earning it the nickname "USS WIll-Ram-It". Which you have to admit is kind of funny, even if you don't normally care about this sort of thing.

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    Oh, and during the Civil War there was a CSS Oregon, a small Confederate blockade runner based out of New Orleans -- which is weird because Oregon was a Union state. There's probably a mildly fascinating story behind that, if I was interested enough to go look for it.

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    This shield thingy you can kind of see in the above phot was apparently part of the ship as well. More detail on that:

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    Battleship Oregon Memorial


    One surprising thing about the memorial is the number of plaques and signs commemorating various aspects of the ship's career, and some that don't obviously relate to the ship at all.

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    Battleship Oregon Memorial

    Battleship Oregon Memorial
  • spawn-of-satan redux

    This isn't usually a tech blog, or a work blog, or a whining blog, but I'm going to have to make an exception today. Remember how I once described Windows Vista as the Spawn of Satan? Alas, the demonic saga continues.

    For the last year or so I've been saddled with a Vista desktop box, because I was tasked with making one of our apps run on Vista & Win2k8. Yesterday I noticed the damn thing was running even slower than usual and generally acting weird, and I decided it was time to reboot. Only to discover I've got a couple of corrupted registry hives, and the "backups" Windows allegedly makes are unreadable. And, as a result, the machine is unbootable. Fie!

    Possibly the backups are unreadable because I BSOD'd the box a few days ago, while trying to update video drivers so I could rotate my 2 monitors into portrait mode like my WinXP-using colleagues can do. (Ok, technically there *is* a way to do that in Vista, hidden away in the Tablet PC Settings control panel, believe it or not, but it only knows how to rotate the display in one direction, and the Dell monitor only rotates in the other direction.) And I didn't even install any new drivers -- the box BSOD'd while the installer was trying to detect existing hardware. But I digress.

    We had an iso for the Vista install DVD on the network, which is good since my MSDN subscription seems to have changed in a negative way while I wasn't looking, and it won't let me fetch the iso anymore. While that was downloading, I went off in search of some DVD-R's -- I don't often deal with physical media anymore and didn't have any handy, so I had to run off to Office Depot for that. The downtown Office Depot was really empty, with a bunch of extra-clingy employees asking if there's anything else I could, please oh please, possibly need or want. My only machine with a DVD burner is a Macbook, actually, but at least that part of the process is pretty straightforward.

    That part accomplished, I quickly realized that the various "recovery" options on the Vista install dvd are utterly useless, as far as I can tell, and it looks like nuke-n-pave time. Fortunately, when it's nuke-n-pave time, you have many options when it comes to the "pave" step, and Vista is just one of many. I've pretty much settled on the latest Ubuntu instead of a fresh Vista install this time around. (And no, I don't plan on buying myself a SCOSource license for it, in case anyone's curious.)

    Now, to be fair, it may not be strictly Vista's fault. I can't yet rule out the possibility that the disk itself is on its last legs. But the registry being a single point of failure -- total failure -- is something I'm more than happy to point fingers over.

    I'm not in a position to swear off Windows entirely at the office, what with being the resident Win32 coding guru and all that, but right now I'm thinking that if I ever have to do any more fresh installs, I'm doing them inside VMWare, and never again on the bare metal.

    Wednesday, May 20, 2009

    82nd Drive Bridge, Clackamas River

    82nd Drive Bridge, Clackamas River

    82nd Drive Bridge, Clackamas River


    View Larger Map

    The ongoing bridge project takes us down Clackamas way again, this time to the old 82nd Drive Bridge, also known as the Park Place bridge or the South Washington St. Bridge, depending on who you ask. Whatever you call it, it's old and small and is now reserved for pedestrians and bikes only. I mentioned this bridge briefly in an earlier post, back when it was still closed due to arson with no ETA on when (if ever) it might reopen. I used that as an excuse to declare "Mission Accomplished" for the Clackamas River, but as you might've noticed I keep declaring "Mission Accomplished" on this project and it never seems to help. So here we are.

    82nd Drive Bridge, Clackamas River

    As always, on the Clackamas River, the obligatory "not dying" angle means not jumping from the bridge into the river, getting hypothermia, and being swept away by the current, never to be seen again. This actually happens fairly often, despite all the warning signs, public service announcements, and even lifeguards posted in popular swimming areas during the summer. So you end up with situations like the one you see here, where the bridge was retrofitted with tall, maximum-security-style chain link fences to hopefully make it impossible for anyone to ever jump off the thing. And signs that sternly tell you it's prohibited to jump, since explaining that it's a bad idea didn't seem to help.

    82nd Drive Bridge, Clackamas River

    Not a huge amount of info about this unremarkable little bridge out there on the 'tubes. The city of Gladstone's history page indicates there've been a number of bridges at this location, dating all the way back to the 1840's, and an Indian-operated ferry before that. The Structurae page linked to up above just mentions it was built in 1921 and is 67 meters long. Here's a map indicating the bridge is officially part of the I-205 bike path, since there's no bike access to the actual I-205 bridge over the river just upstream from here. And that's about it, I'm afraid.

    82nd Drive Bridge, Clackamas River

    I'm certainly not going to argue that the arson fire and subsequent extended closure was a good thing, but at least this way there's a little stuff out there on the intertubes about the bridge. Otherwise I'm not sure there'd be much of anything at all out there. So here's a sampling of fire & repair related items.

  • Clackamas Review: "Fire severs link between OC, Gladstone" and (over two years later) "The bridge is back".
  • East County News: "Bridge repair plans advance... slowly"
  • GoLiNiel: "SE Portland bridges you can’t yet use" followed by "82nd Drive Bike/Pedistrian bridge is finally open"
  • PR from Clackamas County: "Thanksgiving Day: Troubled bridge over Clackamas waters to reopen!", with a brief update in the next month's newsletter. It might seem kind of weird that the county "water environment services" (i.e. sewer) department is behind the repair, but apparently they own the bridge, and technically its primary function is to carry an, uh, "water environment service" pipe across the river, and all this bike/ped stuff is just a nice fringe benefit. Technically speaking. Although maybe it's better, and less gross, to not think about all that "water environment" flowing just beneath your feet as you walk the bridge.
  • They cycling community was pretty stoked about the bridge finally reopening, as you might imagine. BTA Blog: "Alice Award Nominee: 82nd Ave Bridge Team"
  • BikePortland: "Clackamas River bike/ped bridge re-opens tomorrow after two year closure"
  • The Clackamas County Arts Alliance's project page mentions there's supposed to be some new public art at the bridge some time in May. Wasn't there yet when I visited a few weeks ago, at least not that I could see. The page isn't very specific about the art, so maybe it was there and I didn't realize it. That's been known to happen on occasion. It does mention they're putting together some kind of documentary about the bridge, presumably coming soon to a cable access channel near you.
  • OregonLive: "Gladstone: Walkers, cyclists, dogs enjoy reopening of pedestrian bridge"

    82nd Drive Bridge, Clackamas River

    Also, a couple of random tangents you might enjoy:

  • Cool photos of an entirely different Park Place Bridge

  • An interesting blog post that mentions biking through here (which is why I ran across it), although it's mostly about filmmaking.

    82nd Drive Bridge, Clackamas River

    82nd Drive Bridge, Clackamas River

    82nd Drive Bridge, Clackamas River

    82nd Drive Bridge, Clackamas River

    82nd Drive Bridge, Clackamas River

    82nd Drive Bridge, Clackamas River