Monday, August 28, 2006



Tiny flowers in Jamison Square. Fall is just around the corner, but someone hasn't gotten the memo. Nursery plants can be so obtuse about these things.

I'm not usually all that tuned in to the seasons and so forth, but in the past week or so I've noticed a change in the air. Or maybe it's the angle of the sun, and that the days are shorter. Starchy root vegetables sound even tastier to me than usual. There's a sense, perhaps an instinct, that the slack days of summer are ending, and it's time to get serious about... something. Surviving the winter? Holidays? School?

One nice thing about fall is that it's harvest time, meaning hop harvest time, meaning fresh hop beer time once again. This year the annual Fresh Hop Festival is at the new Lucky Lab pub up in NW Portland. The last couple of years it was held out at the Golden Valley pub in McMinnville (see Sunday's post). It's kind of a shame it's moved, although I can understand wanting to be closer to where most of the beer geeks live.

On a related note, it'll be Oktoberfest season soon. I've never really understood why Portland hasn't gone in more for Oktoberfest, why there isn't a huge tent in Waterfront Park and a long weekend of silly beer-drenched revels, tubas, lederhosen, women in low-cut outfits carrying giant steins of beer, politically incorrect drinking songs, the whole deal. You'd think that would be a natural fit here in Portland, but it doesn't exist. It's a real mystery, and a damn shame.

A few days ago I was up at Reservoir 3, enjoying the peace and quiet. A squirrel ran by, and around a corner, completely ignoring me. You can tell it's getting to be fall when squirrels are so busy foraging they barely see you. This isn't always a great plan when you're a tiny rodent, though; I heard a bit of rustling and scuffling, and when I rounded the corner I came across the squirrel again, trying to escape from a huge red-tailed hawk. The hawk hadn't managed to catch the squirrel, but it was cornered, out in the open. The hawk hopped about on the ground, trying to move in for the kill. Then they both saw me and froze. The hawk glared, enraged. It must've thought I was here to take its prey. I imagined it was considering driving me off, beak and talons slashing away. I stared at it, it stared at me, and the squirrel bolted for cover. Up a nearby tree, into the canopy, and it screamed squirrel obscenities at the hawk once it was safely out of view. The hawk kept glaring, refusing to give ground and let me pass. Not only had I deprived it of a meal, I'd failed to catch the squirrel myself. Yes, I really am a pathetic excuse for a predator. I can't deny that.

After a few more moments of avian disdain, the hawk flew to the top of a nearby lamppost and completely ignored me. Apparently it had found me unworthy, and had no further use for me.

I really ought to have had the camera along, to capture all the excitement, but sadly, no. Sometimes I'm a pathetic excuse for a photo-predator, as well.


The old Metropolitan Presort building being demolished. Seems they were sitting on prime Pearl real estate, which is way too valuable to waste on single-story industrial buildings. Seems it's still up in the air what's going to go here. My money's on "upscale condo tower", possibly with a combination doggie day spa + trendy martini bar on the ground floor. But that's just a wild guess.

Oh, wait... I was right about the condo tower. Say 'hi' to the 937 Condominiums, a shiny new 16-story condo tower, with a design (supposedly) based on fractals. Woooh, fractals. The ground floor retail tenants are presumably still TBD at this point, but I'm still betting on the doggie day spa + martini bar.

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