Archive for the Portland Photos 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
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] Is "Paths Of Glory" Right For You? Ask Your Doctor. Or Your Movie Marquee.

Posted in Laurelhurst, liff in PDX, Portland Neon, Portland Photos, teh_funnay on April 15, 2013 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
2919.Floating in the night over the corner of NE 28th Avenue and East Burnside Street, the marquee of the Laurelhurst Theater (where you can do Portlandy things like see a $4 movie and drink a microbrew) recalls a grander time:

But little did we know we can get coded medical advice there. Let’s zoom in …

Now, I don’t know what the drug 1957 Paths Of Glory is. But there are side effects to worry about, the most notable being Warm bodies on the road.

Maybe it’s one of those sexy-stud drugs, with a Beatles theme.

Why don’t we do it in the road? No one will be watching us …

[Out_122nd_Way] The Rainbows We Grow Out Here

Posted in liff in PDX, My Best Portland Photos, Out 122nd Way, Outer East Portlandia, Portland Photos on April 13, 2013 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
2918.Out here, in Bedrock, Out 122nd Way™, we do everything better.

And that includes rainbows.

This is a full bow, both ends touching the ground and a complete middle. That strip center across the street holds the Pizza Baron and the Sears Service Center. This is just about 200 feet south of SE Division Street looking east over SE 122nd Avenue.

And it’s the kind of rainbow we grow out here.

It’s just better than the rainbows you have in your neighborhood. I’m sorry! Shut up! It just is!

It’s why living out here is excellent.

[pdx] Portland: It’s The Unicorns. Specifically, My Unicorn.

Posted in Best of ZehnKatzen, pdx, PDX Unicorn Burial Ground, pdx unicorns, photoshoppery, Portland Photos, Saint Unicorn, Samuel John Klein, ZehnKatzen on September 4, 2011 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
2684.As shared on Twittah by a longtime compadré, now known by the deliciously cryptic monicker “-b-” (Twittah: brx0), he of the Cyclotram blog, this now-famous Unicorn Photoshoppery of the erstwhile Made In Oregon sign (now the publicly-owned Portland Oregon sign)  has been shared around tumblr like a … well, like something that gets shared alot around tumblr…

It  originally appeared on this blog after I created it here ( and it’s being shared about on tumblr here ( Thank you, FYeahPortland. 
Of course the fame, wealth, power, and influence that should attach to such a notice has not yet descended upon me. I shall alert you all when it does and remind those of you who supported me over the years that positions of astoundingly embarrassing wealth and power may well be yours soon – well, as long as you have already purchased one of equal or greater value.
And so it goes.

[pdx] SE 92nd And Division – New Blades, Cool Building

Posted in design, photography, Portland Photos, Street Blade Gallery, typography on March 28, 2010 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis

The new PDX street blades are now gracing both the NW and NE corners of SE 92nd Avenue and Division Street.

I have rhapsodized enough about these new designs that I needed do that any more. My devoted reader should be well familiar by now with my feelings about their Clearview goodness, and mixed-case on a street blade just makes me happy and antic inside. It’s the feeling I had when I finally got to write on College-ruled paper instead of wide-ruled and regular-size pencils instead of those big green ones.

Of course I have the big green ones now … but it’s totally ironic. Seriously.

Just east of here and on the south side of the street is the coolest building in the area:

If I had a successful design agency, I would totally have this building, at least partially. And I would totally have the big diamond-windowed office. A harlequin building! Mine, you!

The area is, of course, very close to I-205, which provides for a bit of urban layering:

This is what I do. Look up at signs and enjoy the play of line, angle, curve, and color. And sunny days are still rare in Portland at this time of year.

But the new crop of street blades are in bloom. And looking good.

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[pdx] The Sandy-Couch-Burnside Couplet Cometh: A Piece Of PDX, Going Away …

Posted in liff in PDX, photography, Portland Photos, Street Blade Gallery on March 21, 2010 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis

… that particular piece being the two blocks of NE Sandy Blvd between NE 12th Avenue and NE 14th Avenue, as the area we like to call the Six Points East is going to become the eastern anchor to the new Burnside-Couch One-Way couplet that feeds down to the so-called Burnside Bridgehead at MLK and the Bridge.

East Burnside Street will be one-way eastbound from MLK to NE 14th Avenue, where eastbound traffic to Sandy will be routed.

NE Couch will peel westbound traffic off NE Sandy Blvd at 14th Avenue and route that traffic to the bridge via the zero-hundred block of NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

The 1200 and 1300 Blocks of NE Sandy Blvd will cease to be – along with the business frontage of Northwest Fitness.

The following series of images depict new views of Portland and views that you won’t be able to see after the middle of next month without breaking major traffic laws. I debated breaking this up, but I’ll put it all in one post, the better to find as a landing zone. Maybe I’ll break it apart at some future time.

The new overblades on the street signal overheads now not only carry the new Clearview font and design style but also the iconic Portland rose that has so far been seen on the slightly-older overblades.

The numbered avenue overblade. The block number is not shown because it’s obvious that 12th Avenue defines the 1200 block. Clearview and rose.

Lloyd Center Union (not next to Lloyd Center, and not a Union 76 Station) is a auto service garage that’s been at the corner of NE 12th and Couch for as long as anyone can remember. Maybe it was once a Union 76 station, I don’t know. For a long time it was painted just like one, and had to carry a sign saying that no gas was available was there. The blue-and-orange sign over the blue garage door on the left there is a remnant of that livery. Traffic in front of Lloyd Center Union is going to get very busy soon – but just westbound.

This is the view you’ll see running westbound down Couch as you approach NE 11th Avenue from now on as you drive toward the Burnside Bridge. From now, on, to view it the way you used to … that is to say, like this:

You’ll be breaking major traffic laws, as well as just putting yourself into bodily harm. Speaking of which, I did stand for a few minutes in the very middle of East Burnside Street … but there was no traffic, as you can see. This is the beauty of taking pictures in Portland, Oregon, on a Sunday morning.

A friend from my past called Portland “The City That Always Sleeps”. Here, we haven’t yet unrolled the sidewalks.

NE 11th between Burnside and Couch. Nice to know that Cthulhu’s minions represent. Of course, the Lower Burnside crowd can be kind of rough sometimes, so they get a run for their money. Best you just retire to Union Jack’s around the corner, look at the nekkid laydees, and knock back a drink or two.

Here’s something else you’re going to see more of now that you’ll be going down to the bridge on NE Couch Street – it’s called Norse Hall. Been there since the 1920s, I understand. Big ol’ clubhouse, meeting space, that sort of thing. Across the street …

… at 100 NE 11th Avenue, is German Formula, another auto shop for das Volksvagen amongst other fine examples of German engineering. Well kept and maintained, it exults in its birthday – 1929.

The signs you’ll see next are ones that will be certainly made obsolete by the new street alignment – they’re landmarks, and they show their age.

There will be no need for this sort of direction when the width of Burnside is all going one way and there’s no Sandy Boulevard between 12th and 14th Avenues.

The silver poles holding up these signs are warhorses, stalwarts, and have rust on spots, but where other places they’d look like wear, here, they’re badges of honor.

This bit of road will soon be a bit of history.

That old sign over 12th Avenue is probably going to be replaced. It certainly needs to. But I enjoy it. And the driver of that car probably thinks I’m a nut for standing in the middle of the street in front of him and taking pix. And maybe he’s right. Who knows?

Another thing that will change … that’s the 1300 block of Burnside, and that car on the left would otherwise be found one block north from here.

I gave the fellow fifteen cents. It was all I had to give him, but I don’t think you should have to beg for coffee in Portland. Seems just as unjust as having to make your living by begging that way anyway. I hope he found his cuppa.

Another look at the bit of Sandy that will cease to be. If you turn 180 degrees, you see something people aren’t generally aware of … and that’s Southeast Sandy Blvd.

It goes down the hill until the true beginning of Sandy, which is SE 7th Avenue and Washington Street. Up until now it was good to know; you just went straight though and before you knew it, you were on SE Morrison Street or Belmont, if you wanted. Now, it’ll take two extra turns and a couple more traffic lights.

The new traffic flow to Sandy will be eastbound on Burnside until 14th Avenue, then north a block, behind Northwest Fitness. The new street is being improved:

That side of the Northwest Fitness building, I’m told, is to be – as far as the address goes, anyway – the new front to the building. One thing that probably won’t change is the old Sandy Hut Tavern:

… which will be sitting, prow-like, at the Couch-Sandy wedge for a while to come yet, by the looks of things.

The Excecutive Lodge – which may or may not cater to actual executives – is across from here, and has a bit of vintage neon on the side:

… all Color TV Air Conditioned. Now, my friends, that’s luxury. And the only way you’ll get this viewpoint from now forward is on foot.

The Portland Bottling Co. building has been in the news lately, because of what some company did to the landmark 7-Up sign up top. I sure wish they’d of left that alone; I’m not about to go looking for that tea bottle just because they put it up there. The sign is dead to me. But the architecture of the building is so very Art Deco, that I’m glad they didn’t cover it up. It’s like looking at an old, well preserved car.

I feel like I’m looking at an old Terraplane when I see this side of the building.

I don’t care what anyone else says; thats a face at corner of the building. It’s hungry. And it’s coming for me.

Art Deco detail, 1920s style type. What’s not to get lost in over here? As architectures go, Portland Bottling Company is a collectors item, a grubby gem.

Here’s a new street blade at 13th and Couch that combines the border from the earliest new-style blades with the type structure of the later ones.

Here’s a crossing signal that is definitely going away …

As is that one.

And here’s one more image of the bit of Sandy that’s going away:

From that two-armed signal gantry to the limit of sight, that’s a major Portland throughfare that’s going away, in the name of progress, development, or something.

I myself shall miss it when it’s gone. Six Points East was an annoying, amusing intersection – but there’s worse things in life than having to wait though it (at least if you aren’t late for something). And it’s an authentic Portland quirk, rather than all the manufactured ones you see so much of these days.

Well, I hope the new Burnside-Couch couplet does all the things they say it’s going to do.

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