29 January 2007

Kelly Butte

A few weeks ago I rambled about "The Day Called X" and the underground bunker built in the 1950's in SE Portland's Kelly Butte. It was last used as the 911 dispatch center until the early 90's when multiple cases of "sick building syndrome" finally convinced the city to move its emergency dispatchers to a building where they are less likely to dispatch an ambulance for themselves. Sadly, the city couldn't convince anyone to purchase this 18,000 square foot underground sickness pit, so now it sits sealed off, with more and more dirt being piled in front of the former entrance. Check out Cyclotram's photo from just last year for comparison. It looked like the depository for all the gravel and sand swept up from the snow event a couple weeks ago. Multiple haphazardly dumped loads of sandy gravel almost completely cover the former entrance. Even in the upper parking lot, on top of the thing, there are more mounds of gravel. You can also notice the yellow "Caution" tape now placed around the ventilation duct, or whatever that thing is. As I got closer to it, I swear I could smell the musty old building smell wafting out of it.
From here, we set out across the park to find the big ass water tank we saw on Google Earth. Things get a little weirder as you head into the woods and realize after stumbling onto a couple tents and lots and lots of random trash that this place is really popular with folks living outdoors. Its understandable, this is kind of a "forgotten park." Even the Portland Parks & Rec page for Kelly Butte is lacking in any real detail, and they're usually quite thorough. The only people we actually had contact with were a couple dudes with paintball guns who were pretty surprised by us.

The western end of Kelly Butte is dominated by an enormous water tank or something. Its big, like four stories big. Its a tank, I presume it holds water. Its covered with really lame tags, like any respectable water tower/tank should be.

I really like this little building beside the tank. It almost looks like an old freeway rest stop, the kind you're a little leery about going into, but you really have to pee so you hold your breath and ignore the truckers grunting in the stall.
The shrubbery are nice and trimmed, it has a nice Prairie style sensibility. Perhaps it was the utter lack of architecture on this hike that made this little building so exciting...





















The city view was nice from up there. Especially in the winter, hundreds of little evergreens poking up. For perspective, that's the southern slopes of Mt. Tabor on the right, like we're almost looking over her shoulder.

Oh, and the "Fallout Shelter" pic isn't from Kelly Butte. There's nothing nearly that cool up there. I just snapped that one downtown the other day for my collection. You never know when "Fallout shelter" sign will come in handy...

1 comment:

atul666 said...

Hey, thanks for the link. I didn't realize the water tank side of the butte was accessible. I suppose I'll have to check it out now...