Archive for the Photos on Sunday Category

[#pdx] Photos on Sunday: Mr Plywood and Mount Hood From Downtown Montavilla

Posted in Montavilla, Mount Hood, Photos on Sunday, Portland Photos, Portland Street Scenes, SE PDX Photos on June 9, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
3110.
Not too many photos on this edition of Photos on Sunday, because we had a real day of downtime. And, noting the way I feel right now, it was needed. 
But that’s as may be. Today, The Wife™ needed a bit of board for a little thing she was trying to do to organize the closet, so we do what we usually do in these cases: we went to Mr. Plywood, in downtown Montavilla, at 76th and SE Stark. It’s been in Portland a long, long time … I don’t know what year it was founded in, but I remember the dryly-narrated commercials that Mike Falconer used to do back in the 70s. Since there are fewer and fewer of the good old local retailers that exist around here that did when I was a kid, we put a high importance on patronizing them. We do, after all, want to help them stay in business for as long as they can.

Mr Plywood’s store is hard to miss. 7609 SE Stark Street, that’s on Stark Street, on the north side, filling the whole block between 76th and 77th. You won’t miss it, if only because it’s big sign, made of the mascot, draws your attention.

Inside, it’s your local lumber store … with an accent on the finished plywood sort of thing. Because, name.

Me and The Wife™ love it because the prices are good, the service is knowledgable, and if you stop in as a regular, they treat you like a friend. The Wife™ loves the access to materials. I love the free popcorn.

I’ve gone on in other venues about free popcorn at hardware and building supply stores. To this day, wife says I need some dowling or a cedar board, and my mouth starts watering.

The store’s in two main sections; the upper part, where the cashier is, the aisles with building and wooodworking supplies, and the finished plywood. Rougher stuff is in the other half of the building, which is reached through the large door with these delightful signs over:

They love DIYers and I love those signs. And observing the proceedings in the upper room is the store’s eponymous mascot … “Mr” Plywood.

In all his precise geometrical glory, he beams warmly to all who patronize.

But there something about him … those eyes …

Do you see they way they look? The way they seem to follow you across the room? The way they look not only at you … but into you? (cue theremin at this point. You may not want to, but you have to)

They bore into you in searing honesty … they are the abyss of building materials, and as you look into them, THEY LOOK INTO YOU!!!!! AAAAAAAUGH!!!!!!

Okay, now that I’ve turned a perfectly charming store logo into something you’re afraid will meet you on the other side and chase you after death, let’s move on! Mr Plywood is located in what I think of as ‘downtown Montavilla’. Montavilla is the neighborhood on the east side of Mount Tabor from the rest of Portland, and begins pretty much at the toe of the mountain. It’s main east-west axis is the one-way couplet of SE Stark and Washington Streets, from 76th to 82nd Avenues, where there are a flock of shops, a really nifty coffeehouse called the Bipartisan Cafe, and the best movie theatre on earth … The Academy.

For those who know me well, I’m about to go into another couple of photos where I further if possible, fetishize Mount Hood. I am what I am.

The mountain is visible from downtown Montavilla, and the best view is from the upper end, near SE 76th, in front of the Mr Plywood store. Taking the lessons in creating telephoto-style pictures a couple of missives ago, it quickly occurred to me that this was a chance to juxtapose the distant mountain with the human habiliment in the foreground. I remember seeing similar pictures taken of Mount Rainier from the Seattle suburbs when I was a kid, and they really had impact … impressions of them stayed with me to this day, and are playing across my mind as I write this. Here’s what I came up with, and the result really pleases my aesthetic sense.

The real coup, I think, is the tall facade to The Academy, even though it blocks the view of a shoulder of the mountain, its intrusion into the scene makes it kind of a valuable statement. The above is cropping a zoomed-in photo, and this …

… is at a few levels of digital zoom, which I’m finding, the Canon S-100 handles with deftness.

And it’s Mount Hood, Wy’east, which is its own justification.

[#pdx] Photos On Sunday: East Holladay and Earl Boyles Parks

Posted in David Douglas Area, Earl Boyles Park, liff in Outer East Portland, Outer East Portlandia, Photos on Sunday, SE PDX Photos on June 5, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
3106.
Parks here in Outer East Portlandia seem a little few and far between. In a city famed for its green spaces and park system, it’s proving to be a bit of a struggle to solve. Perhaps it’s because someone hasn’t yet figured out how a developer can make a ton of money off it, I don’t know. Who knows.

The neighborhood trees
muscle up to East Holladay Park

Shutting off the cynicism for a moment, part of it is, you just have to know where to look. West of 82nd Avenue, the parks are brazen hussies; they just throw themselves at you, shamelessly; get out of your car, park it, bub, and enjoy me!!! They’re the only part of the empire of Portlandia that isn’t some sort of passive-aggressive. There are awesome parks on the Heavy Eastside, they’re like gold or water; they’re where you find them. This turns the hunt into about equal parts aggravation and treasure quest.

Rose hips, East Holladay Park

This first park, you’ll see what I mean. It’s called East Holladay Park, and despite its geographically-specific name, it’s not just down the road from Holladay Park, near the Lloyd Center, unless, for you, just down the road means a seven-mile trip out the Banfield Freeway and NE Halsey Street. But then, there are some fitness freaks here in Portland …

Oh, me. Anyway. to get to East Holladay Park, you do indeed go out NE Halsey Street into the veldtlands to deep East Portland. Go east on Halsey to NE 128th Avenue, and south on 128th to NE Holladay Street. About 420 feet, give or take, east from 128th, Holladay Street bends and becomes Holladay Court, and that’s where the park’s entry is. What makes East Holladay hard to locate is that this is its only obvious entry, otherwise it’s surrounded by homes on 2 long sides and a PGE substation on the third. Other streets dead-end at the park’s edge and provide local entry that way; the only public parking area is the one where NE Holladay St becomes NE Holladay Ct at the 13000 block.

The parking lot (a dated version of which  can be seen in Google Maps Satellite view) is both visually pleasing to look at and a version of the green ways of doing things we try to put into operation here in Portland wherever we can. Instead of a sheet of asphalt, square pavers form a surface smooth enough to drive or walk across while the seams between open into the soil, alleviating the problems inherent in water sheeting across a normal parking lot and simply sloughing off onto the streets and soil surrounding it, taking advantage of the ability of the ground and the vegetation to filter out the nasty bits in the same way that our unfairly-lambasted bioswales do

It’s also visually charming, making one feel as though one is walking across a cobbled courtyard. Rather sophisticated, actually.

The area of the park is wide open. This was actually a bit disappointing as we were hoping for a place to spread out with art supplies and diary and play, but there’s no picnic tables there. Truth be told, the space is a bit bland, but I can’t hold a grudge against all that luminous green. There is a spiffy new, bright, pretty, fun-looking play area, so the area is undoubtedly getting real-world likes from every neighborhood kid.

Fun time at the park: enabled.
The other one is Earl Boyles Park. I suppose we missed it all this time because there’s no obvious signs leading to it, and it’s similarly ensconced in the neighborhood near SE 112th Avenue between Powell and Holgate the way East Holladay is in its nabe. The best access we were able to find is SE Center Street going east from SE 104th Avenue. On the south, east, and west it’s surrounded by houses and trees; there is an access on SE Boise Street. North side of the park is bounded by the properties of Ron Russell Middle School and Earl Boyles Elementary, on SE Bush Street west of 112th Avenue, and while there’s ready access from Bush Street the space between the north bound of the park and the street is taken up by Ron Russell’s sports field, so the park’s presence is perhaps not so obvious from there.

By the time we’d gotten to Earl Boyles Park, the sun was beginning to get rather low in the sky, and the long rays were being played about with by the foliage, leaving the grass and tree boughs even more luminous than the park before. There’s a water feature which can be activated somehow, and the kids were playing in it … a high, proud fountain. We were delighted by this. We’ve seen quite a few Portland parks in which the water feature was either deactivated or a thing of the past.

I feel rather abashed. This is the park we’ve been looking for; pleasant access, a nice grove of trees, a fountain pad for the warm bodies that summer in Oregon naturally obtains. A place with tables to sit and take in the world, and to watch the sun linger on the horizon, like it tends to do hereabouts.

Earl Boyles Park. Sunset. 2nd of June, 2014.

And we just kind of stumbled on it. Well, the best things, you usually find them that way. Serendipity, they call it. Just what you were looking for … but not when you were looking for it.

That’s why life is mysterious, in the good way. 

[pdx] Photos On Sunday: The Burnside Bridgehead

Posted in Burnside St, Heavy Eastside, PDX History, Photos on Sunday, Portland Bridges, SE PDX Photos on May 26, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
3096.
The block on the north side of the east end of the Burnside Bridge has something of a conflicted history. For a long time, nobody knew what its future would look like. Many people had some definite ideas, but in the end, none of them willed out, in a way that’s funny in bike-friendly, liberal, weird Portland.

This block is bounded on the south by East Burnside Street, on the west by NE 3nd Avenue, on the north by NE Couch Street, and on the east by NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, once known as Union Avenue. I became a full-time Portlander in 1985 (with a break from ’87-’91, but that’s another story) but, by then, being a perhaps-too-avid watcher of the news, had familiarity with at least some of the issues surrounding that square block of Portland.

When I finally did come to the shining city, I knew there was a place of no small notoriety there, and that was sad, because they really did try to fix something. The building on the north side of the bridge was a place that looked disreputable but tried to have a good heart – they called it Baloney Joe’s. It was a homeless shelter run by an organization that dissolved in a scandal involving the director, an organization called the Burnside Community Council, and that’s sad because there were some good angels hard at work there, some of whom you might know if you hang around the good Portlandians online.

Sometime around 1990, due to the scandal, the BCC ended and Baloney Joe’s operation was taken up by the Salvation Army, who renamed it the Recovery Inn, then developers got interested, and the Inn finally closed and moldered for several years while a variety of power and money centers vied for the opportunity to develop it.

Someone wanted to put a Home Depot store there. I, for one, still can’t picture it.

Today, the battle has been settled. When whoever thought it was going to be a bonnie idea decided to turn Burnside and Couch into a one-way couplet east and west of the bridge, they needed a place to funnel the west-bound traffic on NE Couch onto the Burnside Bridge westbound. Instead of a Home Depot or lower-income housing or anything regarding the homeless, now, an S-shaped boulevard full of traffic runs through it.

In liberal, weird, transit-and-bike-friendly Portland.

Who says irony is dead? As long as this absurd city remains, thus shall it be. And the debate over what could have been shall ‘ere be considered academic.

The skyline of the down, dirty, yet somehow fashionable
CEID looking south from the Burnside Bridge.

The Burnside Bridgehead exists in what was, and still shows many sides of, what we locals called the C.E.I.D – the Central Eastside Industrial District. It’s starting to give way to converted loft work/live spaces, trendoid bars, and retail … which, one supposes, was just a matter of time, given that it was in sight of the city core.

The part of the block not given over to the Couch Street connection is carpeted over in long grass and wildflowers. The part of Couch that used to connect SE 3rd Avenue to MLK is now a very short stub which provides convenient and ready parking on a Sunday afternoon to the tyro photographer and his wife, and an opportunity to stretch the legs and look at the urban views.

We all strive for more than just the basics. This is not
Portland, this is universal.

The building on the south side of the bridge at 3rd Avenue has had a sign on it for decades: R.J. Templeton Co. Whatever R.J. Templeton Co, did, it’s been gone perhaps even before your humble interlocutor came to town; one remembers the facade mostly bland painted wood where windows must once have been. The windows are back and whatever is going in behind them, you can bet it’s going to be pretty spiffy and, no doubt, priced to match.

The area is popular now for skateboarders and bike riders, who have carved their own paths to and from Burnside down to the lower streets. Down closer to the river, along 2nd Avenue, is some of the last ‘industrial’ businesses in the area; some of Portland’s oldest produce merchants are still there, a remnant of what was once so many that they named the area Produce Row. Set deep within the industrial haven, it took advantage of the quick freeway connections and rail access to be a break-in-bulk point for the fruits and veggies coming into and out of Portland.

The era is closing out so very slowly though. We do things in our own time here in Portland, and this is on a timetable of its own. Farther down 2nd, under the Burnside Bridge itself, is a skatepark that went from outlaw to legitimate. We saw murals (which I’ll go back and get sometime) and people getting ready, complete with cameras for posterity’s sake. We indeed have come so far.

The path from E Burnside down to NE 3rd Avenue.
You can go your own way, baby.
The building in the distance is the Eastside Exchange,
the building addressed with the No.123
rubric seen earlier in this post.

They say that weeds are wildflowers out of place.
Like the homeless people that used to shelter here, they’ll
be evicted in their turn, perhaps.
 
Looking under the bridge at SE 3rd Avenue from NE 3rd Avenue.

Today, the old gives way to the new, a streetcar runs where once traffic did, and it all looks kind of the same, but something more than the obvious seems to have moved on. But this is Oregon, and that means …

… we’ll always have the blackberry bushes.

ON EDIT: Fellow PDX Facebooker and curator of the Dead Memories Portland group, Michael Long, shares the news that they are going to put something in more than just a road there … and the idea is so very, very us. It’s a real dumbbell …

[pdx] Photos On Sunday: Inversion Plus/Minus

Posted in Grand Avenue, Heavy Eastside, Photos on Sunday, Portland Public Art, SE PDX Photos on May 22, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
3092.
In Portland, Oregon, you tend to get spoiled, visually. Public art is so easy to come by you begin to tune it into the background. A lovely, texturally rich background, but a background never the less, and backgrounds tend to get taken for granted.

I’m somewhat fond of abstract art so, a couple of years back, when strange lattice-like confections of reddish steel started going up at the corners of SE Grand Avenue and Belmont Street and SE Grand Avenue and Hawthorne Blvd, then, I kind of disregarded them. They were interesting, but not compelling. Just another interesting excursion into outdoor art, and in a city that just looks great even when it just tumbled out of bed, nothing all that remarkable.

Or, as I assumed.

This, as they say, is my bad. Since I’ve been working out with my camera so much lately, I’ve put more effort into not only looking, but seeing. A side effect of all this deep examination is that you begin to see things in a glance that you didn’t notice in a long gaze.

The sculpture, parts one and two of which are eight Portland city blocks apart, are called Inversion: Plus/Minus. It’s courtesy Annie Han and Daniel Mihaylo, of Seattle’s Lead Pencil Studio, and honors the idea that buildings were once in those spaces … they’re ghost buildings really. The south wing, at the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge, is more obviously referencing the idea of a building … it has an obvious shape and connectivity.

It was the north wing that had me going for so long. As we were heading to the Dutch Bros at Grand and Belmont for that sweet, sweet free birthday coffee (there is nothing in the world that is wrong with this, by the way), I look up out the front window of the car, look down the street, and see …

… the negative space underneath the steel lattice. It’s a pitched roof, as clear as anything. And I had never bothered to notice before.

Again, as I say, my bad.

The area on the east side of the Willamette, as anyone who travels down Grand and MLK might tell you, seems to be a ghost of a big town that could have been, or should have been. It’s still rather disheveled, which is good … too much of Portland has been polished to a blinding gleam. At SE Yamhill and Grand is a four-story skyscraper-styled building which has, for as long as I’ve known, been a home for a beauty-supply house. The Arcoa Building, it’s called. We parked aside of it and I got out and snapped some shots of this thing I’ve finally figured out.

Near by to this and across the street is a spire called The Weatherly Building. 12 floors tall, it’s the undisputed king of the eastside strip. No other eastside building is taller, at least not south of the Banfield. And looking at it, I get the idea that the hoped it would be one of many.

But then, Portland had not yet really become Portland, not yet, anyway.

The illusion shatters, but in slow motion, as you pull aside of it

It was quite an experience, that frisson of recognition I got when I finally looked and saw. I don’t think I could handle more than twenty or thirty of them in a day. 
I hereby resolve to take no more outdoor art in Portland for granted. 
Promise.

[pdx] The Autumnal City, By Way Of SE Division Street

Posted in creative writing, Dhalgren, downtown PDX, Iconic Portland, interpretive writing, Painfully Portland, Photos on Sunday, Portland Architecture, Samuel R. Delany, SE PDX Photos, SF, Sunrises and Sunsets on May 12, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
3082.
In another missive, I said that sometimes I find the theme, sometimes, the theme finds me. 

This is true, and relevant. Also, living in the most violently adorable photogenic city on the planet, sometimes you go out for great vistas, and sometimes, you just stumble and fall flat on your face in front of one.

This is true, and relevant, and what happened later in the evening after our visit to Piccolo Park (see missive 3081, just previous to this one).

SE Division Street is one of those infinitely-long east-west straight (well, mostly) streets that give Portland’s east side its structure, its intent, and its character. It’s a sweet character, and remains so even though the rents on the inner portion have become, in some areas, precipitously lofty. The lowest end is a little tricky, though. Division Street from its true beginning … SE 3rd Avenue just south of Caruthers … runs diagonally, along the rail lines that have gone through the area since it was all industrial.

It’s still mostly industrial, but it’s changing, slowly. Good sides and bad sides to that. That’s for another program however. While travelling west on Division, with no specific agenda except to get to Powell’s Books ultimately and enjoy our time there, just west of SE 11th Avenue, where the street doglegs northwestward (actually, the line of the street continues as SE Division Place until it gets as close to the Willamette as it can) we’re presented with this undeniable photo opp:

BAM, as they say. There’s this thing about sunsets; while there are, statistically and practically speaking, infinitely more sunsets than I’ll be able to biologically endure, each one is, like the notional snowflake, never to be duplicated. The mood that each one generates is as individual as possible. Never to be synthesized, and in the end, ineffable.

Very Taoist.

The funny thing is, I immediately put  my hand out the window and pointed the camera that way, and in adjusting my grip I fired the camera three or four times. I cursed loudly, thinking I had really got some unusable photos (well, at least for this wise). Turned out perfect.

The view that is named is not the view.

The amber tone, in retrospect, makes me think of the opening lines of the Samuel R. Delany epic Dhalgren. Maybe he wrote that because every big American town is something that consumes itself from within, at the same time replenishing itself from within, borning anew constantly, and will continue to do so until it eventually collapses from within because no fuel, no matter how regenerative, would regenerate forever.

It’s a an echo of majestic ruin, while still being astoundingly vital. Kind of like people.  And humanity. We contain our salvation and our ruin in one, I think.

The area, as I said, is still very industrial. If you buy anything Darigold, it came, as likely as anything, from this dairy plant between Division and Powell between SE 8th Avenue and the river. That dairy complex has been there forever. On the left there, supporting the trademark Darigold sign, is a tall column which is limned in red neon. When we lived on SE 8th near here, we would most often come in on the Ross Island Bridge. The Darigold sign was a big nightline showing us the way home. Most reassuring. 

A big old building wedged (literally, that’s its shape) between Division, 11th, and the tracks is the Ford Building. That’s what it started out at … a place that sold Ford automobiles back when the most popular car in the world was the Model T. These days, it’s been gentrified, which means that anything in the building currently is either so cute it’s uninteresting or overpriced but I guess it beats decay.

Not decay, decadence actually. But I carp.

The area has seen massive remodelling as a result of the extension of the MAX into Milwaukie. The Tilikum Crossing is just one thing. Streets have been spruced, realigned (you used to be able transition straight east from Division Place onto Division Street, now that link is gone) and, as is our adorable wont, enigmatic public art has been installed. Just this one square of the new sidewalk pavement reads:

TO READ / THE TRACKS / TO NEED TO KNOW.

I was unable to deduce what the theme here was or the intended meaning, indeed, I couldn’t find any other squares so adorned, so I was left wondering. Of course, given the verbiage … maybe that was the point.

The cloud above the railroad crossing here, The Wife™ called the “greater than” cloud. Why should be obvious.

The opening lines to Dhalgren look something like this:

to wound the autumnal city.
So howled out the world to give him a name.
The in-dark answered with wind.
All you know I know:

 

It’s our city, but I know it differently than you. I see shining possibility and incipient decay; I see Portland triumphant over the ages and Portland deserted and ruined; you see a group of tall buildings against a setting sun and no more.

Each view is equally valid and invalid in the human heart.

The new MAX line, looking toward Milwaukie

SE 8th Avenue and Division Place. This is a new signal.

Day is ending; night is beginning. One death is another birth,
only to eventually die and cause rebirth in return.

The autumnal city. So howled out for the world to give him a name.

Putting ones’ back to the above moody scene, growing in a vacant lot at 8th and Division, beginning to blossom because of or in spite of or both, this. The in-dark answered with wind.

All you know, I know.

The hack poet and blog author finally did make it to Powells, and just to prove that all is not darkling self-absorbed poetry, a sparkling view of NW Couch Street between NW 10th and 11th Avenues, where the upside is that, for better or worse, we’re still here, there’s grim news abounding but the world still seems to work, and a life where you can see things like this certainly isn’t entirely broken.

[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
3081.
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
3078.
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.