Friday, July 31, 2009

Marine Drive Trail

Marine Drive Trail, Columbia River

Marine Drive Trail, Columbia River


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A few photos from along the Marine Drive Trail, on the south shore of the Columbia next to, well, Marine Drive. The trail extends along the river from just west of the airport all the way out to the area of Blue Lake Park, with a couple of gaps here and there. So it surprises me how little info there is about it on the interwebs. Part of this may be due to who owns it: Most of the stretch belongs to the Port of Portland (due I guess to being next to the airport), making it part of their hyper-obscure little park system (see also McCarthy Park and Stanley Park Blocks). The eastern stretch is the "Phiippi Property", one of the assorted bits Metro inherited when they took over the Multnomah County park system back in the 90's. As far as I can tell, neither agency mentions the trail anywhere on their respective websites.

Marine Drive Trail, Columbia River

There is an upside to this, though. Walking along the trail, you might note it really is just a trail. If the city had put it together, there'd be tedious interpretive signs and fair-to-middlin' quality public art every few feet, and the project would've been vastly more expensive. So it's a nice break, if you aren't in the mood to be lectured again about our collective mystical-yet-gastronomical love of salmon or some such thing.

One downside is that it also feels oddly remote, even though Marine Drive is right next door, on top of the levee. Maybe not the ideal place to be a lone jogger at night. I can't put my finger on why; that's just the vibe I got.

Marine Drive Trail, Columbia River

A few links, photos, etc., from across the series of tubes:

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The View from Elk Rock

View from Elk Rock, Portland OR

In my Elk Rock Island post last October, I mentioned briefly that the high cliffs across the river were a public park too. I put it on my blog todo list (and yes, I do have such a thing) to go check the place out, and I finally got around to it the other day. So this is the place the city calls the "Peter Kerr Property". Or more precisely, I took these from slightly outside the park, at the intersection of SW Riverside Drive (i.e. Macadam / OR 43 ) and SW Greenwood Rd., down in luxo-ritzy Dunthorpe. The park itself is the extremely steep ivy-choked hillside in the foreground of most of these photos. Elk Rock Island is just across the river, and 200-some feet straight down. Here's a terrain map of the area that gives some idea of what the place is like:


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I was actually hoping for a better view than this -- I don't see Mt. Hood anywhere, and there are all these ivy-strangled trees in the way. But hey. It is what it is, and now I can tick this item off my todo list, for whatever that's worth.

View from Elk Rock, Portland OR

Since I've already posted on the topic, I won't get pedantic at length about how this is a Portland city park despite being outside city limits, nor will I go on about the curious fact that Dunthorpe's managed to stay outside city limits all these years. I won't do the latter because I'd hate to anger powerful Dunthorpians (Dunthorpites? Dunthorpoids?), who like low taxes and love staying off the radar. Seriously, you don't want to make them angry. A couple of quick phone calls and they'll have you deleted from the space-time continuum, along with all your ancestors going back to the last ice age, and your little dog too.

Needless to say, I won't explain exactly how I got here. I will mention that buses 35 and 36 stop nearby, I suppose so butlers, cooks, gardeners, nannies, and others who serve the Dunthorpii can get to work without sullying the area with their grubby little non-upscale cars. Not that there's anywhere convenient to park anyway.

View from Elk Rock, Portland OR

The photos on the city's "Peter Kerr Property" page (link above) must be from a different vantage point than mine. The park does continue for a couple of blocks or so north of the intersection, so that must be what's going on. I didn't stay long enough to find out for sure, since I didn't much care for all the traffic whizzing by a couple of feet behind me as I was taking these. I'd meant to take a few infrared photos since I've kind of been on an IR bender lately, but after a few minutes I just went, screw it, I'm out of here. This place could be a nice scenic viewpoint if only there was somewhere to stand and take photos without being mauled by luxury SUVs. Of course, that would attract outsiders to the area, and I guess that's to be avoided. Well, plus I don't see the city putting a lot of resources into improving the place if the local neighbors aren't going to pay any taxes for its upkeep. Oh, well.

View from Elk Rock, Portland OR

View from Elk Rock, Portland OR

View from Elk Rock, Portland OR

View from Elk Rock, Portland OR

View from Elk Rock, Portland OR

View from Elk Rock, Portland OR

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

joan of arc, infrared

Joan of Arc statue, Portland OR

I stopped by the Joan of Arc statue in Laurelhurst the other day to take a better batch of photos. Most of those photos were added to that post (go check it out at the above link, they suck far less than the originals), but I also took a few infrared photos, and I figured they needed their own post since they didn't look right alongside all the "normal" photos. So here they are, enjoy, or whatever.

Joan of Arc statue, Portland OR

Joan of Arc statue, Portland OR

Joan of Arc statue, Portland OR

As an extra added bonus, I took a couple of ultraviolet photos too, and one seemed like it was worth uploading. It's maybe not quite as striking as the IR ones (which is pretty typical for UV), but I still think it's kind of cool, so here it is.

Joan of Arc statue, Portland OR

Friday, July 24, 2009

crescent moon, july 20th 2009

Crescent Moon, July 20th '09

My humble, and slightly late, contribution to the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11...

Crescent Moon, July 20th '09

Crescent Moon, July 20th '09

Crescent Moon, July 20th '09

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Munger Property

Munger Property


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Today's thrilling expedition takes us to the "Munger Property", an ultra-obscure city park up in the West Hills. You can probably take this as a sign that I'm running out of conveniently-located source material for this particular project, as there really isn't much to the place. When you drive into Portland on US 26, as you go down the hill from Sylvan to the Vista Ridge tunnels, it seems as though you're driving through a stretch of forested canyon. The left side is Washington Park, while the right side is a patchwork of publicly and privately owned parcels, all of them steep, unbuildable, ivy-choked hillside. Most of the city-owned land on this side of US 26 is part of the "Munger Property". (See the city's (vegetation survey page for a better map, and more detail on just how steep and ivy-choked the place really is.) You don't so much visit the park as drive to the edge of it and look down. These photos are from a couple of locations: One at the far end of SW Ford St. Drive, and another at a bend in SW Montgomery Drive. Nothing much to see in either location, although the Ford unit sports some sort of utility substation. Well, that or some sort of ultra-classified covert ops facility masquerading as a utility substation. Occam's Razor suggests the first possibility may be more likely, but you never know.

Munger Property

Conspiracy theories aside, the only thing of any interest about the place is the name, and even that I'm not sure about. I'm speculating that the park is named in honor of Thornton T. Munger, a prominent forestry scientist of the early 20th century. After retiring, Munger led the effort to create Portland's Forest Park, and served as president of the Portland Audubon Society. So I suppose it's a fitting tribute to name a chunk of forest after him, even if it's an exceedingly obscure chunk of forest. Assuming it's really named after him, which may or may not be the case.

Updated 4/2/11: Munger is mentioned a lot in the library's Oregonian historical archives, but I haven't seen anything pertaining to this park particularly. I did come across one fun tidbit from the October 31, 1971 Oregonian, in an article titled Hikers mark 25th anniversary of park. It's mostly about Forest Park's big birthday, but has a couple of paragraphs about Mr. Munger:
Retired forecaster Thornton Munger, 88, watched them trudge up the first hill but did not hike. Munger led the first committee which pushed for development of the 7,000 acre park.

Munger recalled when part of what now is the park was the county poor farm.

"There used to be a sign marking a leper's grave over the hill. He lived in a shack all by himself, and when he died they set fire to the shack. That was his funeral," Munger said.


I assume I'm not alone in seeing serious potential for a monster movie / horror flick here.

Munger Property, West Hills

Anyway, you'll find, around the interwebs, various quotes by Mr. Munger. It's your basic protestant-work-ethic type stuff, praising character, success, self-denial, virtue, etc., sadly a bit too wordy to fit on a modern-day motivational poster. Oh, well.

Munger Property, West Hills

And with that, we're already off on the semi-tangents part of this post. While searching for info about this place, I discovered there's another, entirely different Munger Property in the area, a Metro-owned spot on the Tualatin River in the vicinity of Scholls. There's info about it from Tualatin River Keepers and OregonLive, and it also features in this blog post. All in all, it sounds somewhat more interesting than the subject of today's post, albeit substantially further afield.

Munger Property, West Hills

But wait, there's more! Besides these two Munger Properties, there's also the Thornton T. Munger Research Natural Area, which is part of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, just north of the Columbia Gorge.

The area includes the Wind River Canopy Crane, which lets researchers investigate the forest canopy without having to climb trees or cut them down. I tried to find this area once, some years ago, I think after seeing it on Oregon Field Guide, but I got lost and ran out of time and almost out of gas. Anyway, I suppose they probably don't allow mere bloggers to take the canopy crane for a spin, even if these hypothetical bloggers were to promise to take lots of interesting photos (hopefully including a few of reasonable quality) and also sign whatever release forms were necessary.

Munger Property

And now we're past semi-tangents, and now I've got a uber-tangent for you, something else that came up under searches for "Munger property". This time I think it's simply the property of someone named Munger. Anyway, on said property, here's a video demonstration of pumpkin carving with an AK-47. Niiiice. As far as I know, this hasn't inspired a Mythbusters segment just yet, although it's probably only a matter of time.

Munger Property, West Hills

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