Monday, July 10, 2006

Reservoir 3: Grand Opening!

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Here's Reservoir #3 in Portland's Washington Park. The area around the reservoir was reopened to the public today after being closed for at least 30 years or so. I've wanted to explore this area since I was a kid, but up until today if you somehow got close enough to take photos like these, you'd win a one-way ticket on the next flight to Gitmo. Right up until the reopening was announced, I was absolutely sure this would never, ever happen. But amazingly it did, so "Woohoo!"

Here's my previous post about the reservoirs and the surrounding bit of Washington Park. I'd actually taken the previous set of photos before the reopening was announced, and I was actually going to do a post lamenting the fact that they were fenced off and strictly verboten for the foreseeable future. Long ago, I figured out that the universe is set up to do precisely the opposite of whatever I think it's likely to do, so this undoubtedly only happened because I was so sure that it wouldn't. So I feel I deserve a bit of the credit here.


The walkway around the reservoir. The path's a bit narrow, like at the Mt. Tabor reservoirs, but people jog around those all the time, so it'll probably work out ok here, too. Just watch out for the rain gutter on the right. You could twist an ankle if you aren't careful.


A detail of the wrought iron fence around the reservoir. The outer fence, which excluded the public from the area until about two hours ago, is currently just ugly chain link and barbed wire. This is apparently going to change over the next few months. If the new iron fence they're promising is anything like what's around the reservoir itself, it'll be a major improvement.


The park's Grand Staircase, which until a couple of weeks ago was buried under a thick mat of ivy. This was taken by peeking through the fence at the top, since there's no gate at the top, and the stairs look like they'll need a little TLC before the public can use them safely.


Reservoir 4 (I think that's the name), downhill from Reservoir 3. This one isn't open to the public, at least not right now. From bits of conversation I overheard during the big shindig, it seemed to be on the mind of nearly everyone who showed up. If there's any way to open that area up, I'm certainly all in favor of it, speaking as a registered voter and city water ratepayer.

Here's a Flickr slideshow with more of my Washington Park & reservoir photos, if you're interested.

For some reason I managed to not get any photos of the bagpiper (in Oregon you can't have an official occasion of any kind without bagpipers), or of the security guy on his Segway. Maybe I'm just a jaded urbanite, and maybe I'm just hard to impress, but I see bagpiping street musicians all the time downtown, and I've been nearly run down on the sidewalk by a speeding Segway on more than one occasion. So if the city really wanted to impress me and put on a real spectacle, they ought to have combined the two and put the bagpiper on the Segway. That would've been something else, probably.


Updated: There's been surprisingly little media coverage of the event. Which means one of two things. Either a.) the media is clueless, or b.) this really is just a weird personal interest of mine, and everyone else in town could care less about it. Wait, don't answer that.

Anyway, here are a few links to pass along:

  • The Portland Tribune has a small blurb about the reopening. The blurb claims the reservoir closure happened because of 9/11, which is untrue. The area had been closed for decades prior to 9/11. Trust me. I was there, I saw it with my own eyes.
  • The Oregonian ran a captioned photo [PDF] of the festivities. I'm not in this picture. If the camera had been pointed just a tad more to the left you might've gotten a chance to see what I really look like, but you're out of luck. Sorry.
  • The water bureau's news update, with a photo of that bagpiper I mentioned. I'm not in this photo either. Sorry.
  • One local TV station has a small story up on its website, including a photo of that guy on the Segway. From the back, no less. So I forgot to photograph a few things, and the local media thoughtfully covered for me. Cool. Thanks, guys.
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