Wednesday, June 23, 2010
So I've got this shiny new phone, and I've only just figured out how to post photos straight to Twitpic. Said photos are then tweeted automagically, which is a handy trick. I, uh, ran a little wild with that today, and here's the damage so far. As far as I know, Twitpic only gives you embeddable html for 150x150 thumbnails, but they're supposed to link to the full-sized originals. So we'll see how that turns out. (Also, here's a link to my Twitpic profile, if you want to browse 'em all for some reason.) (Oh, and my Yfrog one is here. I went back & forth between them until I had a phone that did Instagram.
I've also got an app that posts to Flickr, which is where the other few thousand of my photos live, so that's nice. What I'd really like to do, though, is post one or more photos to Flickr and have them auto-posted here. Geotags and all, if possible. And the same with YouTube videos, ideally. That's the, well, I hesitate to call it a "workflow", but it's the sequence of events I'd like to occur on my behalf. That's got to exist somewhere already, right? I don't seriously have to write a tool for that myself, do I?
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
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The ongoing bridge project takes us out to the Lusted Road Bridge over the Sandy River, wayyy out in rural Clackamas County.
I wouldn't normally cover something this far afield, but this one's a Portland bridge, in a couple of ways. It's a recycled segment of the original Burnside bridge, moved from downtown Portland to this spot when the current Burnside Bridge was constructed. The city of Portland also owns much of the surrounding land. A Water Bureau facility sits at one end of the bridge, and a large water main crosses a second bridge parallel to the road bridge. On the other side of Lusted Rd. is Dodge Park, complete with an old-style Portland Parks sign out front, although the Water Bureau runs it these days.
The view you see in these photos will soon be just a memory, as the city's in the middle of a project to replace the above-ground water conduit with a tunnel deep beneath the river. As part of the project, the conduit bridge will be removed. In fact, the plan is to move the bridge to a new location, spanning the Columbia Slough at Kelley Point Park. And instead of carrying a big water pipe, it'll carry bikes and pedestrians. That's the current plan, anyway. I like the idea of things going full circle, in any case: One (or part of one) bridge is moved out to the Sandy River, and a century later its neighbor gets moved back to Portland, albeit the far end of town. Ok, so it's not precisely full circle, but reasonably close.
The ongoing bridge project does involve walking across whenever possible. Those being the rules, I parked at Dodge Park, walked across, and walked back. There's only a sidewalk one one side of the bridge, namely the side opposite the conduit bridge. It's kind of spindly and narrow, but the bridge truss is between you and traffic, and there really isn't all that much traffic, so it's fine, although there really isn't anywhere to go once you've crossed the bridge. The other part of the bridge project involves dreaming up increasingly fanciful ways of possibly dying on various bridges, which I present as important safety tips. It's not a very good gimmick, but I've done it enough that I'm kind of stuck with it now. So today's important safety tip is to not hang out on the bridge if Mt. Hood erupts, sending an enormous mudflow down the Sandy River, destroying everything in its path. The possibility of this happening is one of the reasons the water conduit's being relocated, so this one's somewhat more likely than, say, Confederate zombies on the Burnside Bridge, or swooning over all the Art Deco Gothicness on the St. Johns, for example.
I didn't come across too many references to this bridge; although it got here in an unusual way, it's not overly distinctive, plus it's remote and not heavily travelled. Couple of random items, though: I ran across a painting of the bridge, along with paintings of various other local bridges. I also ran across the city's rules on residents of this area directly connecting to the Portland water system. Apparently this was something the city agreed to early on in order to secure easements and so forth for the big water mains into Portland proper. But they've tightened up the rules over the years, with a grandfather clause for existing connections. I realize I may be alone in this, but sometimes I find it kind of interesting to look at rules and regulations and wonder how they got this way -- was the system being abused prior to 1974? And if so, how? Or did some unnamed party stand to make money off the rule change, raking in cash somehow as locals were forced to form local water districts and build their own distribution systems? How much of a political issue was this back in the day? If old Oregonian issues were online prior to 1988 it would be simple to go back and check, but I'm not quite enough of a Real Historian to go rifle through old newspapers on microfiche just to answer a question, or at least to answer this particular question. If you know more about this than I do, feel free to leave a comment below.
I can't declare Mission Accomplished on Sandy River bridges just yet. So far I've done posts on the Revenue Bridge further upstream, and the Sandy River Railroad Bridge at Troutdale. I've still got as-yet-unposted photos of two more, and of another bridge over the Bull Run River (which flows into the Sandy at Dodge Park). I took most of those photos the same day as the photos you see here. Which was almost a year ago now, and only now am I managing to get a few things posted. Come to think of it, I still don't have any photos of the I-84 bridge over the Sandy, although I seem to recall it's an ugly concrete bridge you can't walk across, so that's not exactly my top priority. In any case, I'll try to get the other bridge photos posted before we hit the first anniversary of me taking them, because that would be embarrassing.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
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Today's adventure takes us out to Dodge Park, at the confluence of the Sandy and Bull Run Rivers somewhat north of the town of Sandy. It's right across the street from a Portland Water Bureau facility (part of the Bull Run water system), and the Water Bureau runs the park too. The Parks Bureau used to co-manage the place, and there's still a classic-style Portland park sign out front, with the Parks Bureau logo painted over.
When I visited the park last summer, my main project that day was taking photos of Sandy River bridges, including a pair right next to the park. I actually took too many photos, and I still haven't sorted through them all and picked out ones to post yet. I did have a manageable number of the park itself, which makes the job a lot easier.
There's been a park here for almost as long as there's been a Bull Run water system. The Water Bureau's history page for the park doesn't give an exact date for its creation and just says it's nearly a century old. They have a few historic photos showing the park's heyday in the early 20th century, when an excursion train carried city dwellers out here for a sunny day by the river. One Yelp reviewer proposes reviving the train. It's kind of a neat idea, if only so we can watch Bojack and friends blow a gasket over it. And sure, it would probably lose buckets of money, and it's hard to argue that a picnic train would be strictly necessary, and it would tend to attract a lot of those weird old guys who have a thing for trains. So I'm not sure it's necessarily a practical idea. I just always try to keep in mind that practical ideas and good ideas aren't always the same thing.
Perhaps more useful than a picnic train would be a shuttle bus connecting the popular parks along the river. Rafting is a big deal on the Sandy, as is kayaking, and just floating the river on an old inner tube. Whatever your means of going downstream, it'd be handy to have a way of getting back upstream to your car when you're done. Or, for that matter, a shuttle into Gresham so you can hop on MAX from there.
The city's trying to promote the park as a bike destination. Which sounds nice, in theory, and it's bound to poll well among likely voters. In practice, I'm not sure that the surrounding roads are all that bike-friendly. Lots of blind corners and so forth, although people who are likely to ride here are probably used to that sort of thing.
The park's also a popular fishing spot, if you're into that. I don't have enough patience, or tolerance for disappointment, plus I'm fairly certain I'd end up with a fish hook through the eyelid at some point, which I'm not too big on.
Oh, and here's the Water Bureau's index of their pages about the park, in case I've missed anything.
If you're thinking about visiting in the near future, be aware there's ongoing construction in the vicinity, and you may want to check current conditions to see whether the bridge is currently open or not. The Water Bureau is relocating a major water pipe from an above-ground bridge (which you'll see in a later post about bridges) to a tunnel deep underground, and apparently that involves tearing up all sorts of things in the process. The Water Bureau's also been renovating the park itself in recent years (generously funded by our rapidly increasing water rates). A news story from 2008 lists a number of proposed enhancements, including adding a number of overnight camping spots (at present the park is strictly a day use area). The overnight facilities aren't in place yet, but according to a comment on this post the city's already looking for park hosts for the 2011 opening, where a "park host" is essentially a resident caretaker, except (hopefully) with people skills.
The usual reason given for the tunnel project is to protect us from the Evildoers, since the above-ground pipe could be potentially vulnerable. Assuming the Evildoers have ever heard of Oregon, that is, and have lowered their sights to causing major but temporary inconvenience on a regional scale. So I'm thinking the whole Evildoer thing is mostly there to help get the project funded. Which is not to say it's not a valid project; the Sandy River lies in the shadow of Mt. Hood, which -- let's not forget -- is a dormant volcano, not an extinct one. It last had a major eruption in the late 1700's, and a minor one as recently as 1907. And even the 1700's are less than a heartbeat in geological time. As this study on the geology of the area notes, the Sandy River area is prone to lahars, basically flash floods of mud and rocks that are often volcanic in origin. When Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980, debris flowed down river channels and destroyed everything in its path, including a number of important bridges. So if Mt. Hood ever went off in a big way, our puny little water main bridges would be goners.
The June 1973 issue of The Ore Bin, a journal published by the Oregon Department of Geology & Mineral Industries, carried a piece speculating what would happen "If Mount Hood Erupts". The bridges here get taken out, and that's just one of many very bad things that happen. Other than the choice of volcano, the story's scenario is eerily similar to the Mt. St. Helens eruption just seven years later, right down to occurring in mid-May.
The area around Dodge Park has been the subject of at least one bigfoot search, presumably an unsuccessful one, otherwise I assume we'd have heard more about this. So yeah, I'm a skeptic. My attitude towards cryptozoology is basically "DNA, or it didn't happen". But so long as they aren't looking to shoot bigfoot and make a rug out of him, or send his body parts to China for use as an aphrodisiac, I suppose believing in bigfoot is mostly harmless.
I'm not so sure about this business of looking for bigfoot in city parks and near populated areas. I mean, on one hand it's close by and easy to get to, and if you're going to spend a lot of time not finding bigfoot, you may as well not find him somewhere convenient. On the other hand, suppose you do find bigfoot in a city park. Chances are he'll be scavenging half-eaten Big Macs out of trash cans and getting plastered on abandoned cans of Busch Lite and Old English 800. And nobody really wants to see that sad spectacle, do they?
While searching for info about the park, I ran across a number of large planning documents that mention it in passing, as a convenient landmark on the Sandy River. So these won't tell you a lot about the park itself, but if you want to go all policy wonk about the Sandy River area,
- Multnomah County's East of Sandy River Rural Area Plan (similar to nw rural area plan, see Mason Hill Park post) The park is only mentioned briefly here, because it's in Clackamas, not Multnomah county.
- Sandy River Basin Integrated Management Plan - US Department of the Interior and others. This doc mentions that river from here downstream to Dabney State Park is federally designated as a Wild & Scenic River.
- BLM Western Oregon Resource Management Plan. When I hear "BLM", I tend to think "sagebrush", and it always surprises me that they also own random bits of land here and there west of the Cascades. They seem to own a little land along the Sandy, in fact, so Dodge Park gets another brief mention in passing.
- A short blog post at "southeast main" w/ photo taken around the same time as these.
- Videos of radio controlled trucks driving over rocks here. Apparently this is a hobby. The video I watched was rather well put together, though.
- Flickr photos from ocean yamaha, Mhicheil, Jeremiah Leipold, loloboho, proffittshollow, PappaSmurfPro, and SamDrevo, plus a historical photo from Jason McHuff, and a painting from Leonard Collins.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Thursday, June 03, 2010
For reasons I've been unable to determine, back in 2001 Lincoln City planted a time capsule right in the middle of the local outlet mall, to be opened in 2051. I've also been unable to find out why it's leaning like this, or what's inside, or really any other info at all beyond what's on the plaque here.
I can't help but wonder what the surrounding outlet mall will look like in 2051. Like all strip malls, the place doesn't really have an air of permanence about it. It's far enough uphill that it should be safe from any rise in ocean levels (and I should probably avoid the whole subject, for fear of attracting creepy conservative trolls). A Blade Runner-type dystopia seems like another possibility, although Blade Runner is set in 2019, not 2051, so we have just nine years to develop all that cool futuristic technology and then let it all rust and go to seed on us. I'm not really seeing that, which leaves either a.) the Rapture, followed by Armageddon, six headed goats of Babylon, etc., which I don't believe in, or b.) the actual end of everything on January 19th, 2038 when the time_t's roll over.
In short, we're all doomed well before 2051, and we'll never learn what treasures lie within this mysterious structure. Well, unless tweakers break into it in the middle of the night, which is quite possible, being the coast and all.
Posted by brx0 _ at 11:19 PM
Labels: oregon coast