Monday, January 01, 2007

More Kelly Butte photos

Looking east from Mt. Tabor

Since my previous Kelly Butte post has attracted a bit of interest lately, I thought I'd post a few more pics of the place I had lying around in iPhoto. The top photo is an another pic of the place from Mt. Tabor, similar to the lead photo on the original post. Kelly Butte is the hill on the right.

In the distance, out towards Gresham, you can see one more hill and a small part of a second. Gresham is full of volcanic hills, collectively known as the Gresham Buttes, which are pretty obscure unless you live in Gresham, which I don't. I'm guessing the one directly "below" Mt. Hood in this photo is Grant Butte [map], which is due east of Kelly Butte, between Division & Powell out past 182nd. I can't find a lot of info about the place, other than one colorful urban legend:

I also got one from here where I live, in Portland OR.
On the border of the cities of Portland and Gresham there is a hill called Grant Butte (Mount Baldy by the locals due to a fire some years ago). This hill has a colored history. I will recite the history as far as I have been able to verify by news clippings and public record.
Around the turn of the 20th century (1900), the area was completely forested (later turned to farms then from the 50s onward into houses and neighborhoods) and the area was extensively logged, both for building and fire materials and to clear ground for farms and ranches.
Back around the mid 40s, there was a sufficient number of houses to warrant a water tower on the hill. The structure was made of red brick and stood about two stories high. The remains of the old tower and pumphouse are still visible today on the SE side of the hill. This tower is signifigant because a couple of years after it was built, two boys were playing near it and one boy saw a brick fall and hit the other boy in the head. In a panic he ran home to his mother and described the scene, including a copious amount of blood and some brains, something an eight year old boy of that time would not have known about. She called the cops and ambulance and rushed up to the tower only to find the dead boy asleep at the base of the tower, uninjured. The first boy was sent to psychaiatrists (sp?) and they determined he was telling the truth. This story appeared in the Oregonian.
The next bit I have been able to find is the installation of the North water tower in the 70s. This tower was larger than the old one and entended a couple of stories underground, though a good bit was above ground as well. When a landslide rendered this tower useless, a massive water tank was built on the south face of the hill in the late 80s. I cannot even guess the size of this cavernous beast. This water tower is still in use today.
Now for the good stuff, the legends.
During the logging years, it was common practice to just strip the logs on the site and toss the branches into a furnace designed to keep the loggers warm at night. Legend has it there was one of these on the top of Grant Butte (there IS a very old smokestack up there, caked in rust). Now, this particular legend says that a stack of logs broke loose and rolled over a few loggers, killing some and maiming others. Now instead of transporting the bodies and wounded all the way back to Portland (at the time five+ miles away through forest), they just tossed them all, dead or alive, into the furnace. Apparently this is where the rest of the legends got their 'fuel'.
Although I have no specific incidents, other than a couple of my own personal experiences, I have heard of some strange things on the hill. Stuff like satanic rituals inside the north water tower during the mid 80s (when it was emptied) and into the 90s (before it was sealed). I have seen the evidence of these rituals myself, though they looked haphazard and like those who were drawing the symbols were either in a hurry or had no clue as to what they were doing. A lot more of it still just looks like graffiti.
Other than my own experiences, that is about it. Most of my experiences were rather mundane, strange noises or mild feelings of dread. The only two note worthy incidences that I have experienced are a sighting of a pair of disembodied red eyes charging me and a low fog like mist over an area of the forest in mid afternoon on a sunny summer day. Both I cannot really describe in any more detail, other than to say I honestly found the mist to be more frightening than the eyes.

Okayyyy.... Anyway, back to our photos:

The Road to Kelly Butte

From the locked gate to the park, this is a shot of the road going down the hill. You have to drive, or bike, or walk, or unicycle up this to get to the park. It looks pretty bad, but really most of the regular streets in the surrounding neighborhoods look a lot like this. For the near-$60M price tag of a certain aerial tram, I have to wonder how many neighborhood streets could've been paved (some for the first time ever) in outer SE Portland. But of course that would involve spending taxpayer money on the non-rich, which simply isn't done anymore.

Entrance gate, Kelly Butte

This is the aforementioned locked gate at the park's "grand" entrance. No sign for the place or anything, just a locked gate.

Guardrail, Kelly Butte

A bit of the guardrail on the road past the gate, close to the top.

Lichens, Kelly Butte

Lichens on a tree branch, somewhere in the forested part of the park.

Forest, Kelly Butte

Yet another spooky-looking tree in the forest. Maybe "spooky" isn't quite the right word. I saw this tree and started looking around for Ewoks... Ok, maybe "spooky" is the right word.

Old Drive-In Theater Sign, Kelly Butte

The weatherbeaten sign for the old drive-in theater that used to be on the south side of Kelly Butte. The theater itself has been gone for many years, and I think the current owners of the property operate carnival rides or something. Which I guess is convenient; they can just send someone up to look for homeless camps on the butte any time they need to hire some new carnies.

Mt. Hood from Kelly Butte

Another shot of Mt. Hood from the meadow atop Kelly Butte. No, the mountain isn't actually tilted quite like that. I was just holding the camera kind of crooked, which is sadly typical. Although I fully expect this shot to be used in someone's outlandish Mt. Hood conspiracy theory, because this photo's on the interwebs, and this is what always happens eventually.

Abandoned Nuclear Bunker, Kelly Butte

A detail of the nuclear bunker entrance. I like the "Impeach Bush" bit over where the front door used to be. Nice.


frykitty said...

We used to play on Kelly Butte when I was a kid, back when the drive-in was open and the bunker was active.

I remember my cousins and I finding the bunker and creeping up to the door, where there was a camera and a buzzer. No, we didn't hit the buzzer, but we still got an authoritative "May I help you?" over the speaker. We squealed and ran for our lives.

Unknown said...

Grant Butte. Regarding your legend aobut the "smoke stack". I grew up in the neighborhood and played all over "Mt. Baldy". After years at sea in submarines wondering what that smoke stack thing was for, I resolved to find out someday. Well, after buying my parents house and living there for some years I went up on Mt. Baldy and took a picture of it. Then started researching it by contacting the Gresham Outlook, the Rockwood water district, and finally the Portland Water Bureau. I found out from the Portland Water Bureau that this "smoke stack" thing is in fact a vent pipe for Conduit #1 running from the Bull Run River to Portland. It was built around 1885. The Gresham Outlook did a small article using one of my pictures about the "smoke stack" turned Conduit #1 vent pipe.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...
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