24 February 2009

Cat Kid

24 February
Cat Kid Update:
I saw them spare changing on the corner of MLK and Broadway this afternoon. Near where I usually spot him walking, but I've never seen him with a sign before. Poor Cat Kid. I've never given anything to a "spanger" before, but now I really want to keep a can of tuna in the truck for the next time I see him. That fine beast needs to eat.

I've seen you twice now walking around NE with that awesome cat on your shoulder like a parrot or a ferret. The first time I spotted you I was on bike, and almost turned around to say "Hi" and pet your cat. Today, sitting in traffic at Broadway & Grand, I spotted you with enough time to whip out the phone and take blurry pictures.

23 February 2009

These are the Churches in my Neighborhood

This used to be St Paul Church Of God In Christ. It was for sale back in 2007 when I took this picture. It has since sold, but I'm not sure what's going on with it. All I know is they ditched a perfectly good piano over the weekend. Luckily, someone saved it.

Immaculate Heart, the pink church on the corner a block up the hill from la casa. The best paint job of all the neighborhood churches. Their steeple is the tallest thing in the neighborhood. You can see it from across the river.

This church is caddy-corner from the one in that first picture. Until recently, it was painted a perfectly respectable shabby white. (See the google street view image below) It was Mt Gillard Missionary Baptist‎, now we just refer to it as the "Paint Sale Church."

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Spring Fever

These pictures are all from 12 March 2007. Just a reminder that spring is coming soon. A short three weeks from now we'll be breathing in the smell of plum trees and not too long after that, the cherry blossoms on the riverfront.

Spring has become my favorite season now that I reside in the Northwest. In Indiana, fall was always my favorite time of year, the colors, the smells, the changing weather. Spring here in Portland seems to have all of these traits.

There's something about the months of Portland gloom that make the spring colors especially pretty against a grey background. You know its still going to be grey and moist for another couple of months, but at least there are flowers and trees blooming.
Soon, very soon...

21 February 2009

From the Portland Streets

I spotted this cute Nash Metropolitan in the Kerns Neighborhood today. A car of the late 1950's future, it was designed in America, but completley built in England. It was the first captive import in automotive history, completely built overseas, but sold and serviced stateside by Nash.

The wheelbase is slightly shorter than a VW Beetle. There is a backseat, but adults are advised to not even try. Even the front seat is challenging for someone over six feet tall.

Welcome to Oregon, tiny bizarre old car. May road salt never touch your delicate incredibly rust-prone sheet metal, and may your electrics overcome the fact that they were made by the Brits.

17 February 2009

Monster Jam

Rose Garden Arena parking lot. Cleanup after Monster Jam. (You have to read the words "monster jam" in a "Sunday Sunday Sunday" voice.) Grave Digger won all three nights. Where's the sport? I just happened to walk by as they were removing the cars that didn't get too smashed to be loaded up and moved on to Spokane for next weekend's shows.
Lots of auto memories in this rainbow of '80's American steel. That Delta 88 is just like the one my Aunt used to have, only her's wasn't yellow. There was even a Chevy Celebrity in the white section that looked a lot like my old ride from high school.

We speculated about why they were color coded. Are the blue ones going onto a different truck than the yellow ones? Is it just because the forklift driver is anal about organizing things and couldn't stand the thought of them being all mixed up?

15 February 2009

The Schnitz

We were walking down Broadway yesterday, killing time until the taqueria I woke up craving opened for lunch, when we noticed there was a free tour of the Portland Center for the Performing Arts, the two building complex at Main & Broadway that houses most of Portland's big time theatre performances, touring shows and such.
The Newmark and the Winningstad are newer theatres in a newish building, and the tours were interesting to this old theatre geek, not sure how G liked it, but we were really on the tour to see the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

That picture above is the lobby with the usual diffused Portland sunlight. The place was built as a "movie palace" back in the day. Broadway was lined with them, all in various states of gildedness. This one spent the majority of her life as the Paramount, showing films until it closed in the early 1970's. It sat empty, owned by dubious entities who raped it of most of its charms while it sat vacant, and sold them to the highest bidder. Luckily, much of it remains intact despite every effort to destroy it. In the early 1980's it was saved and refurbished into the concert venue it is today.

This statue, entitled "Surprise" has stood here since the theatre first opened in 1927. Soon after the opening, in 1928, a bizarre robbery (by a disgruntled man who was an extra in the film being shown at the moment), resulted in her fingers being shot off in the melee that ensued. She remained fingerless until the 80's when her hand was restored.

A shot through the fancy ass lobby. It was awesome to be here with an empty house. Empty except for Diane Reeves rehearsing with the band for the evening's performance, we were treated to a private show of sorts, in the right place at the right time.

I'm a sucker for radiator grates. These line the interior of the lobby. Not the most exciting pattern, but still vintage and awesome.
The tour was quite a nice spontaneous diversion on a Saturday afternoon, and it made my wet burrito at Maya's Taqueria even tastier.
If you're in Portland on a Saturday and want to check it out, free tours start at 11 am and 12:30 pm from the lobby of the new building.

09 February 2009

Building Oregon

I stumbled onto this collection of photos from the University of Oregon Libraries a few days ago. G and I have both spent hours browsing through them, lots of pictures of architectural details and street scenes from Portland's past.

The Blitz Brewery and Jake's Crawfish. Jake's is the only thing on this corner that hasn't really changed a bit since this was taken in 1955.

This is the newly built Waterfront Park, looking towards the Morrison Bridge, just after Harbor Drive was converted to the grassy waterfront we have today.

The Steigerwald Dairy building in the Hollywood District, just around the corner from my work. About four years ago the 7-Up sign was replaced with a garish Budwiser sign that always seems to be malfunctioning. The weird tower is there because the building was originally shaped like a giant milk bottle.

Here's some other favorites from the collection-

Broadway & Taylor, 1970 something
2nd & Pine, mid 1960's
2nd & Pine, early 80's, as the original Old Spaghetti Factory
2nd & Taylor, May 19, 1973
The Curtis, and I-405 being dug through the middle of the city
1st & Yamhill, right before the building was restored
An upstairs room at the White Eagle, before restoration. Yikes!

There's also a google maps application that I just discovered, a much cooler way to search the pictures and get a better feel for where these buildings stood.

08 February 2009

The Lady at the End of the Block

There's this weird vacant lot that was probably vacated in anticipation of the "Going Freeway." Enclosed on two sides by sound walls, a handful of old trees remain. I saw this sign and had to see what it was all about.

Walk through the spongy grass lot all the way to the corner. Just when you think you've been had, you'll turn around and notice "the lady" in the tree.
Just when I'm sure that funky "old portland" I remember from all the way back in 2001 has gone the way of the condo tower, I stumble onto something like this and fall in love with my city again.
N. Going Ct. & Colonial Ave.

From the Portland Streets

A nice looking specimen in the Overlook Neighborhood. I've loved these Saabs since I first rode in one that a high school friend had.
I specifically recall a sticky hot summer day. We were in summer band and had a lunch break, so we cruised on over to his folk's restaurant for lunch.
The Saab was rusty white, my ass was sweating against the Swedish vinyl. We were blasting "Dream On" by Aerosmith on a Discman that was somehow wired into the two speakers that probably weren't original.
A few months later he crashed the thing and walked away unscathed, like he would with many more Saabs to follow.

Its like a little aerodynamic tank that looks like it might be able to fly or float. I don't think I've ever seen one in powder blue before.

This one seems to have never seen a bad day, a little faded with basic wear and tear, but otherwise perfect.

Just a note: if you're ever trying to make a quick getaway in one of these, you got to put it in Reverse to make it start. Yeah, its weird, but that's just the way of the Saab.

07 February 2009

"There are white folks, and then there are ignorant motherfuckers like you."

An amusing by-product of the books-on-tape phenomenon, these sound files of our 44th president cursing like a sailor come courtesy of the audio version of his book "Dreams From My Father." Enjoy. (More backstory at the link.)