Archive for the Portland Street Scenes 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.

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[pdx] Hawthorne: Tales Of Typographic Boulevards

Posted in Portland Architecture, Portland Geography, Portland History, Portland Lore, Portland Pictures, Portland Street Scenes, Portland Streets, Portland visual history, type design, typography on August 7, 2009 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis

2188.Portland’s Hawthorne Blvd, at about 7PM, on an overcast, famously-Oregon summer evening:

Looking west from SE 47th Avenue, just where I took the sign blade pictures in the previous missive. Yes, it is gloomy and kind of dark. After the hellish heat wave Oregon just endured, you won’t find me complaining. Actually, too much clear, bright weather makes me edgy. But then, I was born here in Oregon.

A couple of examples of typography and architecture that contributes to the famous Hawthorne feel and atmosphere caught my eye.

JaCiva’s Chocolatier was founded by a man named Jack and his wife, Iva, and it’s pronounced that way. You may think you know Oregonized confectionary with Moonstruck, and it is good stuff, but for real local flavor, JaCiva’s in the place. The logotype on the sign is completely designed here (I’d be surprised to find that was an actual typeface) and it uses the idea of soft graceful curves and swashes to impart a sense of luxury.

The type in the old Portland IMPACT community service center logo is Koch’s famous Neuland, a font that gives the impression of hand-hewn craft. The simplicity of it, combined with the whimsy of the figures and the flat brown tone, deliver a message of humility and approachable help. The reader board’s message of E HAVEMOVE RN EWA DD RESS . BURNSID delivers a message that is perhaps in code.

Portland IMPACT have in fact removed to a different address on E. Burnside and have updated their look and name. They are now Impact Northwest:

… the colorization fo the logo is inspired and fun, at least against a light background – the type’s a little uninspired though – in my opinion.

Part of the charm of Hawthorne, as I alluded, is the architecture, and along the 4700 block, on the south side, are some charming old commercial fronts that I hope aren’t replaced by condos any time soon:

The signage on the places are as eclectic as the variety of people you’ll meet on Hawthorne. Hawthorne Vintage, there on the right, has a hand-done sign that is just fun with its funky type and bouncing color balls. Timbuktunes World Music has a mashup with type inspired by Art Deco, purple and green colors, going for tradition and non-tradition all in one fell swoop – and somehow, despite having two colors that you don’t think would work together, they do. The CPA office on the far left – the type and presentation is staid and boring, but you don’t want to be entertained by your CPA. You want them to be dependable, expected, and expert.

I know the type is hard to see in the photo. Go down there maybe and enjoy the atmosphere in person, yes? Maybe I’ll be getting better photographs later on.

Finally, just a mysterious two-storefront building immediately west of that:

Isn’t that wonderfully anonymous? The paint, put on for the sake of argument; the architectural touches, which suggest Art Deco; if you get up close, the transom-level windows have this wonderful frosted rippled glass which you used to find everywhere. Nothing special about this, but everything wonderful. This little building really captured my imagination.

All of the above can be found on upper Hawthorne Blvd between SE 47th and 48th Avenues.

Gloomy late afternoons in Portland, Oregon. Definitely nothing like them anywhere else.

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[pdx] Views Of The West End

Posted in Portland Geography, Portland Street Scenes, Portland Streets, Portland visual history on July 21, 2009 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis

2161.SW 13th Avenue, Stark Street, and West Burnside come together at this big plenum which used to anchor the west end of the gay club district. With PDXEagle up on N Lombard now, Club Portland gone, and the Pink Triangle becoming more metrosexual by the day, it’s comforting to know that, for now anyway, the district still looks like a slice of old downtown Portland, the downtown Portland that I fell in sloppy love with when I first visited as a teenager out of Salem:

View it embiggened at Posterous here.

Another view I particularly enjoy is looking down West Burnside. Now, my camera does a pretty fine job, my Plastic Fantastic, the ViviCam 3705, but it’s views like this that make me wish I could afford a nifty camera with telephoto, because street views like this are so much fun to play with:

View this one embiggened at Posterous.

It’s just quintessentially downtown Portland. And I’ve always loved downtown Portland.

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The Horizon and The City: “Bluffing” Portland

Posted in Cascadia, city planning, Iconic Portland, liff in PDX, pdx_geography, pdx_photos, Portland Geography, Portland Street Scenes, Portland visual history on July 15, 2009 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis

2152.Another thing we did on a day simply pointing the car in whatever direction and taking whatever picture we felt was there are, as everyone knows, great places to get long-view skyline photos of Portland.

Visual Portland is a treat. If you could eat the view, it would taste like your favorite food and would never get you fat and never give you heart disease. And we have great viewpoints that we can take our leisure at. Here’s a few we found, and if you want to view them embiggened, then click on the words “Posterous Link” that should appear beneath each photo. If you want to see my whole Posterous stream, it’s at http://zehnkatzen.posterous.com.

One great place is the University of Portland. The very cheerful campus, located in north Portland, is located at the lip of a cliff called Waud’s Bluff. It affords a commanding view of the working harbor of Portland, Swan Island, and the Swan Island lagoon:


View Bigly at Posterous

If you move just a schoshe to the west, you have a handy-dandy, neato-mosquito ready-made visual frame made out of foliage:


View Bigly at Posterous

In the first, you get a great view of the harbor and Swan Island. In the second, you get a layered effect; nature, Island, and bustling city in the distance.

I’ve got to say also at this point that the UP is a very welcoming host. Me and The Wife™ wandered onto campus with a camera and just started pointing and shooting, and as soon as Campus Security realized we were just takin’ landscape snaps, they let us be. Thank you, UP security. You rock.

At the other end of town there’s a bluff which I don’t know the name of, which overlooks two very special Portland places. One is the wetland known as Oaks Bottom, which is an urban wildlife paradise, and the other is the Oaks Amusement Park, one of the last of that old-fashioned breed, 104 years old and just as popular as ever, with a legendary roller rink.

At the lip of the bluff overlooking the bottom, there’s a shortish street called SE Sellwood Blvd. Narrow, pleasant, and lined with homes that are so very modest and charming you just know they cost more than $500,000 each, even in this economy.

Well, you do get quite a view for your coin, especially at sunset:


View Bigly at Posterous

If you let the land dominate, rather than the sky, you get this view:


View Bigly at Posterous

These two shots demonstrate a certain thing that I always had a feel about but didn’t really realize solidly until I saw it. It’s true in the University of Portland shots but it really jumps out to you in the Oak Bottom pair. The upper shot, containing just the sky and the skyline, is very warm, very dreamy – almost ephemeral. The new buildings in the Portland skyline almost make it a truly-futuristic thing. But when I let the land dominate, it changed the color balance entirely, making it very cool and less Brigadoon like.

On the UP photos, including the nature in the foreground softened up and gave the view a boundary. But with the Sellwood/Oaks Bottom photos, it goes between dream and reality.

Such is the magic of composition. No matter what camera you got, you can choose for effect.

And Portland makes a very cool model. I frigg’n love my hometown.

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Another New Street Blade – On E Burnside

Posted in Graphic Design, pdx_geography, pdx_history, Portland Geography, Portland History, Portland Lore, Portland Quirks, Portland Street Blades, Portland Street Scenes, Portland Streets, Sign Design, type, typography on July 15, 2009 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis

2148.One of the street blades we were out to get yesterday I missed putting in the big post a couple back, but there’s also a new one on E Burnside.

This is East Burnside Street in the 9100 block, looking east. The car in the distance is just crossing the I-205 overpass.

Standing on the north side of the street at this point you are at the physical corner of East Burnside and NE 91st Place. Looking across the street, you can see this:

Atop that post, just visible in the foliage, is the street blade, mounted so as to identify the cross street to someone leaving NE 91st Place … though with all that foliate, we aren’t quite saying “mission accomplished” here. However, it makes a first-class background for a close up picture:

The new sign, like the others we’ve been increasingly finding, is in the Clearview font.

The block index ought to be zero, and should read “00” in the upper right hand corner (which you’d read “zero-hundred” maybe). Although it is possible that it was deemed unnecessary to include a block number because it is the baseline and this is a well-known thing. Still, as a format-completist, I’d like to see the double-aught there.

Kudos: LostOregon In The Oregonian Today!

Posted in liff in oregon, liff in PDX, Oregoniana, Portland History, Portland Media, Portland Street Scenes on June 18, 2009 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
2091.LostOregon has long been a favorite of mine: John Chilson pursues Oregon history of the 20th Century via old ads, postcards, and other ephemera with a single-minded passion that puts even this Oregon native to shame.

We should all care more about our shared histories and the memories that make modern Oregon, Oregon.

Well, today, one of my favorite Oregonian writers (Peter Ames Carlin, whose command of the english language has made me smile in admiration more than once), takes on the proprietor of LostO and shows us what makes him tick.

Proper payoff for someone who obviously cares about where we all have been, and does it in such an entertaining way.

Time wasted at LostO is actually time well spent, and I recommend it highly, and not just because I was one of the first people he linked to when he set it up, way back when as Stumptown Confidential. Good times.

Congratulations, John!

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Kudos: LostOregon In The Oregonian Today!

Posted in liff in oregon, liff in PDX, Oregoniana, Portland History, Portland Media, Portland Street Scenes on June 18, 2009 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
2091.LostOregon has long been a favorite of mine: John Chilson pursues Oregon history of the 20th Century via old ads, postcards, and other ephemera with a single-minded passion that puts even this Oregon native to shame.

We should all care more about our shared histories and the memories that make modern Oregon, Oregon.

Well, today, one of my favorite Oregonian writers (Peter Ames Carlin, whose command of the english language has made me smile in admiration more than once), takes on the proprietor of LostO and shows us what makes him tick.

Proper payoff for someone who obviously cares about where we all have been, and does it in such an entertaining way.

Time wasted at LostO is actually time well spent, and I recommend it highly, and not just because I was one of the first people he linked to when he set it up, way back when as Stumptown Confidential. Good times.

Congratulations, John!

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