Archive for the PDX photos Category

[#design] 600-Or-So Portland-in-2016 Bookmarks For Westercon 67

Posted in design, Graphic Design, logo design, PDX photos, SF, Westercon, Westercon 69 on June 13, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
The Wife™ had a little busytime project.

You see, we’re involved on the edge of a little group that’s trying to bring Westercon 69, in 2016, two years hence, to Portland. The bid will be voted on at Westercon 67, being held this next month in Salt Lake City, and we have been promoting.

And, by we, I mean a rather divers group of passionate individuals doing what they can, when they can, and making it count. The sun our planets revolve around is the inimitable Lea Rush; entropy fears her, scattered card decks stack themselves at her mere approach. I am essentially a graphic design support grunt at this point, and provide support to Meredith Cook when and as she needs it. The Wife™, she handles the office we’ve called “Mailroom”.

In case you ever needed to know
what more than 600 bookmarks
looked like, here you go.
How to Support
the Bid
(click to embiggen)

At this point, it is as such: a call came a day or so ago from Lea wondering how many bookmarks were left. We had started a stock of 5000; less than 2500 are left (we may have a handful or two left over before this is done, and this is no sin … we own lots of books which require marking), and the mission; send 600-or-so of them to Westercon 67’s ComCon. Mailroom snaps into action: The Wife™ counts out the required number, packages them up, and gets them ready to go.

They’re in a box, right now, ready to be shipped. Inspired by the example of those around us, the proper amount of energy is leveraged for the maximum effect. USPS Media Rate is our faithful friend, and Westercon 67 will have the bookmarks.

Which are sweet, by the way. Featuring the logo designed by Meredith with assistance by myself, they feature a picture of a night-time Portland skyline snapped by the ViviCam 3705, the Plastic Fantastic, back in 2009. ‘Tis a picture I’m most proud of, and I’m equally proud that it may help, in a small way, win a very significant moment in time for the fandom of the Rose City. This is the bookmark:

Like I said, sweet! The night-time scene has a little bit of Tron and Matrix-y stuff going on there. Great mood setting. The round patch is the offiical Portland In 2016 logo, done by Meredith with help from myself. This is the photo it was based on:

 And that was in January, 2009. Photos are forever …

And they make, I’ll say again, sweet bookmarks.

Presupport is still available. Clicky to embiggen the back of the bookmark, on the left above (there’s even a QR code for your enjoyment) for terms, or go to to find out more.

Yeah. This is something that should happen. 


[pdx] The Square, and The Courthouse That Gives It Its Name

Posted in Advance Cascadia Fair, Iconic Portland, Painfully Portland, PDX photos, Pioneer Square on June 3, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
If you were here 32 years ago, you could have parked here.

Prior to 2014, the downtown Portland block bounded by SW 6th Avenue, Yamhill and Morrison Streets, and SW Broadway was more than a parking lot, it was a parking garage. Doubtless there are a few now that would it back that way, but, fortunately, those few know better and keep their mouths shut about it.

Portland’s Living Room, they call it. It’s a good nickname for what has become, in the incorrect nomenclature of the peoples, Pioneer Square. 

It’s Pioneer Courthouse Square. And born of unsure beginnings in the early 80s, it was the beginning of Portland as a modern-day version of that Livable City on the Hill, shining as an example to all. It has become world-famous, and has become an icon, a signature, and a Portland trademark.

On the day of the KGW Studio on the Square tour (#kgwnow) It was hosting blooms … lots of them. An ‘interactive maze’, they called it, though I know of no maze that isn’t. It had a pattern inside the pattern, if you knew how to look; the number 30 in purple outlined in white. 30 years of the Square.

It’s gone through changes, though not too many. Powell’s Travel Store has become KGW’s satellite news studio (such is progress). The Crepe Faire bistro on the Morrison/Broadway corner has become a Starbucks (such is life). But the water, the fountain surrounding the Vistiors Center/Tri Met office, the curving stairs, the columns … they’re all still there.

The 30 is there for the finding.

The Pioneer Courthouse holds vigil over the proceedings on the 6th Avenue side, and now that MAX is finally on the Mall, it has a modern touch in front of it every few minutes.

One of my favorite touches is on the floor of the crow’s nest balcony over the walkway into the TriMet office. Inlaid in tile mosaic is a most small and darling schematic diagram of the Square.

You aren’t here.

 The Starbucks bistro pavilion is a pergola-like affair. Makes for great and adventurous framing.

… and the whole texture lends itself to asbtract geometric expressionism.

Not the Stariway to Heavn … unless you think Heaven is Southwest Broadway.

The buildings muscle up on every side, creating a feeling of being in a clearing. Since the original name of our town was, in fact, “The Clearing”, it makes sense. And it gives the square block a certain urban friendliness and coziness.

The Square is home to one of the iconic statues in Portland … a life-size statue of a man holding an umbrella, offering assistance. It’s called Allow Me. 

He’s as Portland as it gets, but I think he’s an immigrant, for two reason. Number: the umbrella. We accept, here in Oregon, that they exist, but we have no truck with them. The other?

He’s way too thrilled at the sunny skies.

At the leaving this day, we see the A-frame sign … which some wag has slapped the Doug thereon. Advance Cascadia Fair, oh yea.

[pdx] The Legend of Piccolo Park

Posted in Iconic Portland, PDX photos, Photos on Sunday, Piccolo Park, Portland History, Portland Parks, SE PDX Photos on May 12, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
Just about everyone reading this may have heard of something called a piccolo. In orchestra, it’s a half-size flute that plays an octave higher than written, though in Italian, the instrument is called an ottavino.

This is probably due to something being lost in translation. Outside of Italy, piccolo means piccolo. Inside of Italy, piccolo means small. The long-time Portland toy store, Piccolo Mondo, translates to ‘small world’. And so on.

In Portland particularly, Piccolo is a park whose size befits its diminutive name. It stretches between SE 27th and 28th Avenues, and is midway between SE Division and Clinton Streets. It lays in a place where SE Ivon Street would be, if it ran through. It marks an especial place where something would have run through, had a slightly earlier generation of Portlanders not done something about it.

The following I’m about to relate has been gleaned from years of reading and absorbing. The gentle reader is going have to take my word for this, as I have no references to share. That said, here goes:

Back in the 1970s, Portland was set to go on developing a city-girdling grid of freeways. Particularly pertinent (and iconic of a sea-change in Portland growth) was the Mount Hood Freeway. This brobdingnagian monster was set to diverge southeastward from the east end of the Marquam Bridge, following the diagonal portion of SE Division Street, laying between Division and Clinton until about SE 42nd Avenue, swerving south to SE 52nd and Powell, and obliterating Powell Blvd from SE 52nd Avenue all the way out to I-205. Traces of the freeway that was to be can be seen if you know where to look. SE Powell Blvd’s design from 52nd out to 82nd takes advantage of the fact that the strip on the south side of the boulevard was vacated in anticipation of freeway construction; that’s what all those off-street parking areas that the cross-avenues feed into are doing there.

The only bit that you can find west of there, aside from the stub ramps from the eastside approach to the Marquam Bridge, though, are in this neighborhood …

SE 28th Avenue at Piccolo Park, looking south. This would have
been about the median of I-80N (later I-84) had the Mount
Hood Freeway been built.

 … and it would have went through this piece of property:

The SE 28th Avenue entrance to Piccolo Park.
This would have been a freeway.

According to my measurements on Google Maps Classic, the frontage on SE 28th Avenue is about 150 feet; that on the SE 27th Avenue side is about 100. Three house lots were acquired and cleared for the freeway-that-never-was; then the project died the death, its funds going toward regional transit, eventually toward MAX, and burnishing Portland’s reputation as one of the front lines in the freeway revolts of the 1960s and 70s and helping establish our reputation as a smart-growth Mecca.

But without a freeway to run through it, what to do?

What we always do around here. Grow a park in it.

A small park. Un piccolo parco. And, instead of a raging freeway, we have neighborhoods, funky places to go, and a park where a cute young couple and their dog can hang out …

… where public art includes a sundial with the gnomon broken off …

… a totally adorable compass rose with unfinished jigsaw puzzle detail …

… and what has to be the most exquisite hopscotch setup I have ever seen.

 Today’s Piccolo Park could have been six lanes of traffic, but, instead, it’s plants and flowers …

… grass and dappled sunlight …

… and flowers attracting bees. These particular ones the bumblebees were totally nuts about; I couldn’t get a picture of the bees, they were too busy and having too much of a good time macking on that sweet, sweet nectar …

… I’ll tell this much though … those rear shanks on those bees were absolutely loaded with pollen. they were making hay …

… while the sun shines, and the spring moon came out. I couldn’t help but look up; I took even more pictures of the tree tops than this, so very many, but the  light diffusing through the trees made for the most luminous green. I couldn’t help but snap away.

While I adore the gray skies and cool days, I was ready for this fair weather. It was fine, and there was something for everyone …

… including that little guy who. but for some sane heads about forty-odd years ago, wouldn’t be here, either.

[pdx] Photos On Sunday: An Outer East Portland Cloud Atlas

Posted in liff in Outer East Portland, Out 122nd Way, Outer East Portlandia, PDX photos, Photos on Sunday, SE PDX Photos on May 6, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
Sometimes I have a theme, sometimes the theme has me.

I wanted pictures last Sunday, but there was nothing I could come up with to go out to particularly. But this was the Sunday that lived up to the immortal Oregon dictum if you don’t like the weather, stick tight for five minutes, and it’ll change

A world in the sky. 14500 Block of SE Stark St

The sky was in its gentle turmoil. Since the power of a raindrop is so small and you only get little bits of it at a time, and clouds are wisps of vapor, so it’s easy to forget how much power there is there. The sun drives a great engine above us.

Westbound on SE Stark Street near SE 139th Avenue

There’s also a local adage that instructs the layman on how to use Mount Hood to forecast the weather. it’s a simple, 2-step process:

  1. If you can see Mount Hood, it’s about to rain.
  2. If you can’t see Mount Hood, it’s raining.
Very little of Mount Hood was seen this day.

Where you can get actual typewriter ribbons.
The phone number’s there on the window.

They call Portland’s east side ‘flat’. That’s only in comparison. It’s flattish. Surprising ripples and ridges obtain. It’s comparatively flat. There’s extinct volcanoes, ridges produced by the Missoula floods, buttes, small gullies. But it is flat enough that you see things coming your way. We watched a rainstorm approach from Out 122nd Way.

Looking west from the Bi-Mart at 122nd and Halsey. We love that Bi-Mart.

Stopping at Bi-Mart to complete an errand, we look west, and see unsettled gray. We look east, however, and see the last rainstorm leaving. A blue-gray-green gradient, all the way down to the deck. It’s that unearthly sort of thing. There’s a feeling to storms in every part of the country. This storm gives a uniquely Oregon feeling.

Looking east from the Bi-Mart parking lot. If they don’t sell it, you don’t need it.

All sorts of energy here. And bits of blue. And a cell tower, too.

West down Halsey from NE 122nd Avenue. Cropping just-so to give
the feeling of a telephoto effect. 

A long look down Halsey west from 122nd hints another storm coming our way. After the library stop, it’s to the Burgerville for supper … and it’s gotten closer and macho’d up considerably.

Majestic, powerful, and coming our way. The clouds fair to tower over one.

Standing in the middle of SE Stark Street, a silly thing to do.

The big billowing storm in the distance, going from the middle toward the right of the photo, is full of visual drama. I couldn’t take my eyes off it, neither could The Wife™. I took a risk of standing momentarily in the middle lane of SE Stark Street, which was silly, but my girl was off so that she couldn’t see me. Avoided a boxing of the ears that way.

Looking west down SE Oak Street from SE 122nd. 

The storm boiled up, came over us, and rained. And it was all very quick. Titanic as it came, gentle upon arrival.

As the day wore on, the familiar salmon tones in the clouds. Dramatic, somehow,even though it was subtle.

Boiling, like the sea. Framed by The Wife™. Art is where you find it, or,
in this case, where she did.

The world from the Burgerville dining room.

And, to close, here’s one that looks like God hissef could come down out of the cloud … Something Cecil B. DeMille-Bible-storyish about that notch.

Almost thought I saw Chuck Heston, there. It made sense. 

[art] My Photos Get Around, Tom Peterson Edition

Posted in copyright, digital photography, PDX photos, SE PDX Photos on April 27, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
Casting ones art upon the waters is a dicey (as in, ‘throw of the’) proposition.

One hopes that the exposure gets one the good kind of notoriety, perhaps the notice that encourages people to support you, either with money or, at the very least, encouragement. And, just like the roll of the notional dice, it’s a random thing.

Latterly, I’ve found this photo:

… the Tom Peterson’s that was, out in the wild. Two places.

First, and most flattering, is this:

Which is in the Tom Peterson’s Facebook channel and refers to a BuzzFeed listicle here:

It illustrates point number nine:

It’s not only flattering that someone thought my photo was nifty enough to illustrate, but that it did the job it was supposed to do. Also, being chosen to illustrate a Buzzfeed listicle, I think, equals achievement unlocked in some way. So what if I’m an amateur? Every photo I take, I think composition. Every one. If there was any artistic technique anyone should learn before doing any sort of art, it’s composition. Randomness isn’t a sin, mind … but if you’re making any sort of visual impact, you’re not only taking a picture, you’re orchestrating a scene.

Take pictures that way and even your snapshots become memorable.

Another place I found is a blog entry. Disappointingly, I was not credited. Now, I know by putting the photo out on the intarwebz, I take this risk; depending upon the kindness of strangers. Fools’ errand these days, to be sure, but if we don’t share, we wind up having a very dull world. In September, 2012, a blog called Noticing SW Portland, which is fortunate to have been linked to by OregonLive according to the About section, commented on getting free tomatoes from a friend with the post Tom and Tomatoes, in as much as free IS a very good price, an idea I am pretty much down with. The illustration to evoke Tom?

Yepper. That’s mine. Renamed, too.

For what it’s worth, I’m not going to run this woman down and hassle her about it; I did post it to Flickr with a CC-BY-SA license, meaning anyone can have it, remix it even for commercial purposes, as long as they credited me for it. Because of this, I’ve changed the licensing to CC-BY-ND-SA, reducing the rights I’m releasing … no more commercial re-use, and no more redistribution if you remix it.

Now, I’m aware of the legal status of the CC licenses. I use them as a notice; it’s easier to affix a Creative Commons license with my approximate desires than it is to endlessly tell people how I feel about it. CC isn’t hard to parse and its something everyone should be aware of.

So, by posting to Flickr and affixing the CC-BY-SA, I made my intentions clear. Buzzfeed recognized that; a local blogger did not.

If she does happen by this post, though, I do ask one thing; just credit the photo, and we’re square.

Even though I may be seen as an amateur by the world, my photos are not free for the taking. They might be free for the asking. At least you can ask. Terms can always be negotiable. 

[pdx] Photos on Sunday: Tilikum and Terrior, Via Ursula K. LeGuin.

Posted in Iconic Portland, literature, Literature of Portland, pdx legends, PDX photos, Photos on Sunday, Portland Bridges, Tilikum Crossing, Ursula K LeGuin on April 22, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
If there are discussions about what is the quintessential Portland novel, and, more over, a novel is sine qua non as far as a “Portland literature” is, it would be Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Lathe of Heaven.

A bit of an introduction if one has not been. The Lathe of Heaven is set in a fictionalized Portland and Oregon of the year 2002 (it now qualifies as an alternative history). It concerns George Orr, a man whose dreams can literally alter reality, and Dr. William Haber, a sleep and dream researcher … an onierologist … who discovers the quality of this power and tries to use it to recreate the world in a better version … sans war, sans hunger. Each dream is incarnated in unpredictable ways, causing eventual chaos, a kaleidoscope world and, unwittingly, revealing Dr. Haber as a megalomaniac, if a tender, loving one.

The novel got its hooks into me (and has permanently done so … laying next to this computer at this time is a paperback copy I got at Powell’s on Sunday evening for $2.95, making this possibly the most Portland thing I could physically accomplish) with its fictionalized vision of Portland of the year 2002. Writing in the late 60s and early 70s as she did, I presumably assume that at least a part of her found it somewhat inevitable that Portland might expand, toxically, and ruin its own character.

The Portland at the beginning of Lathe massed 3,000,000 … as many people as are in the whole of Oregon today, less about 800,000 … and the New Cities of the then not-so-dry Oregon Outback had populations of approaching 7 million each. 

The Portland portrayed in the novel had a few geographical inconsistencies, but none worth noticing overmuch. Something about the narrative … the easy way she wrote of local geography, the familiar timbre to the words … made it plain to me that she knew this area intimately. She had a sense-of-place. The writing had a particular terrior… it simply couldn’t have been written by anyone else, or anywhere else.

It was Oregon, fictionalized by an Oregonian, who loved Oregon. It felt good to read, and still does, to this day. I read Lathe to wallow in the descriptions of Portland, the free and casual way words like Willamette, Linnton, Zigzag and Rhodoendron are used. And if a few details are off … mentioning a place as 209 SW Burnside St … then the tender loving care with the place that is otherwise taken more than makes up for that.

Of course, the story is about a man whose dreams change the nature of reality. There’s probably a little editing going on there as well.

Wandering up and down the Eastbank Esplanade, near OMSI, to get a good look at the Tilikum Crossing, the Bridge of the People. Not for the first time, looking along the river where, at many angles, you can at once take in automobile bridges and an aerial tram but also, now a bridge for trains, bikes and people only, did a feeling grasp me … and then I had it.

Passages from The Lathe of Heaven, meditations on getting around in the overpopulated, overpolluted, overmoist Portland of the fictional year 2002 invaded my consciousness and did not let go. I had to get a copy of the book to read again, you see. I had no choice.

We join George Orr as he travels from Vancouver to Portland on a subway (can you imagine?):

To go under a river: there’s a strange thing to do, a really weird idea.

To cross a river, ford it, wade it, swim it, use boat, ferry, bridge, airplane, to go upriver, to go downriver in the ceaseless renewal and beginning of current: all that makes sense. But in going under a river, something is involved which is, in the central meaning of the word, perverse. There are roads in the mind and outside it the mere elaborateness of which shows plainly that, to have got into this, a wrong turning must have been taken way back.

 There were nine train and truck tunnels under the Willamette, sixteen bridges across it, and concrete banks along it for twenty-seven miles. Flood control on both it and its great confluent the Columbia, a few miles downstream from central Portland, was so highly developed that neither river could rise more than five inches even after the most prolonged torrential rains. 

 The Willamette was a useful element of the environment, like a very large, docile draft animal harnessed with straps, chains, shafts, saddles, bits, girths, hobbles. If it hadn’t been useful, of course, it would have been concreted over, like the hundreds of little creeks and streams that ran in darkness down from the hills of the city under the streets and buildings.

 But without it, Portland wouldn’t have been a port; the ships, the long strings of barges, the big rafts of lumber still came up and down it. So the trucks and the trains and the few private cars had to go over the river or under it. 

 Above the heads of those now riding the GPRT train in the Broadway Tunnel were tons of rock and gravel, tons of water running, the piles of wharves and the keels of ocean-going ships, the huge concrete supports of elevated freeway bridges and approaches, a convoy of steamer trunks laden with frozen battery-produced chickens, one jet plane at 34,000 feet, the stars at 4.3+ light years.

Later, very near the end of the book, Orr travels across a Portland that was, in some ways, a crazy quilt of all the possible Portlands that he had, at one time, dreamed:

Orr returned to downtown Portland by boat. Transportation was still rather confused; pieces, remnants, and commencements of about six different public transportation systems cluttered up the city. Reed College had a subway station, but no subway; the funicular to Washington Park ended at the entrance to a tunnel which went halfway under the Willamette and then stopped. Meanwhile, enterprising fellow had refitted a couple of boasts that used to run tours up and down the Willamette and Columbia, and was using them as ferries on regular runs between Linnton, Vancouver, Portland, and Oregon City. It made a pleasant trip.

Weaving UKL’s words (with due apologies) amongst the pictures creates a trip of its own. SF doesn’t predict, it guesses and wonders; we should not be surprised that TriMet didn’t take on LeGuin as a long-range planning consultant (though I figure it would be better off if it had). Still, contrasting the dystopian future of Portland in prose with the significantly cheerier (if still flawed) present, it’s hard not to see the resonance. They regard each other as brothers by different mothers. They, oddly, mesh … the one being the flip side of the other.

In an ineffable way, the terrior that made Lathe possible wells up, unseen. The book beatifies and explores its setting without wallowing in it, by dwelling on what is, and the voice you hear whispering the details is the real-world surroundings … at least, those in the year it was written.

The quintessential Portland novel. There can be none other. 

[pdx] The Marquam Bridge, All Instagrammy

Posted in PDX photos, Portland Bridges on April 21, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
As a taste of things to come, me and The Wife™ did, as a matter of fact, have another Sunday walk, and another Photos On Sunday collection has resulted. The Canon S-100 features nifty ways to make effects happen, such as this one, which simulates the effect an old toy camera, such as a Holga, would do: