What is Portlandia?

It means different things to different people. For some it is a big bronze statue that looks down at you as you enter the Portland Building, a building that is constantly under repair. For others it is a wonderful or annoying TV satire show about Portland’s quirks. For me it means almost the same as folks think the “Keep Portland Weird” slogan means. The difference is those folks moved here after Portland had develop its weirdness and did not experience what made it weird. Both refer to a vibe or spirit that Portland has developed. The vibe began back in the Portland Cultural Creative Renaissance. This was back in a time when artist and crafty entrepreneurs flooded into the old run down, cheap rent warehouses that is now what we call the Pearl district. Those early creative settlers formed a community that did not conform to the old manufacturing, resource extracting Downtown Portland that lay just on the other side Burnside. This community wanted to be creative, innovative, unconventional, entrepreneurial, where being different was OK and not a 9 to 5 corporate group but wanted to work with corporate but on their terms and be their own boss. They set out to build their own businesses and their own creative economy. From this came humanist attitudes, tolerance, understanding and lots of fearless energy that only youth and maturing hippies could bring. The suit and tie was out – unless it was worn with colorful boxers and high top logging boots. You could do your thing just as long as you don’t get in the way of my thing. And it was all fueled by a lot of coffee and later micro brew beer. This community has moved on from the Pearl and all the new high rise condos.

Today there are some little pockets of Portlandia and those early creatives settlers still around Portland. Others finally got their homestead out in the woods by Alsea. Some I hate to say got old and are in nursing homes (I’m headed that way). The Creative Renaissance is over but some of that vibe still lives on in Portland.

For this site I hope to be able to find some of lingering remains of the old Creative Renaissance that is still around and show you where to find them. I am also hoping to show visitors how that period of time has left a lasting impression on Portland and how some of Portlandia still lives on in the everyday. I also want to explore what happened to bring Portlandia into being and what is causing it to dissolve away in the Oregon rain. But first I have to wait for virus lock down to end so I can leave my house to look for all of that.

Virus Shut Down

The Governor is about to put us in lock-down over the CCP virus so now is not a good time to visit Portland. It is also not a good time for doing research on places to visit in and around Portland. I just started work on my self guided driving tours and once lock down happens getting out to explore will come to an end for a while. With what material I have on hand I still have several weeks worth of work to do on research and description writing. Along with that I have more organizing and planning for when the lock down is over and when I can get back out and explore. It should be interesting to see how Portland and Portlandia fair through this time.

One project that I can do while lock down is work on a description of what is Portlandia and how did it come to be and yes, Portlandia was more then just a TV show. The TV show was just trying to capture the spirit of what was going on here. This of course will be my personal view and how I experienced it living in Portland during the time it came about. Also, how that dream of Portlandia has almost died out now.

So in the mean time there will be less foot prints on our trails and no lines, along with no people, at the popular attractions. For the most part I think we enjoy visitor coming here and we will miss that for a while.

Columbia Gorge Exploratory

I got out today to check on and photograph some more place for my Columbia Gorge Driving Tour. This time out I had better weather and being a weekday less crowds. I start at Multnomah Falls, the most visited tourist attraction in Oregon. Last time out I could not find a parking spot so I had to pass it by. This time being a weekday and using the Freeway exit parking it was not a problem. Since the fire the parking by lodge has been cut in half so those spots are very limited. I got into the visitor center and did the route most tourist will do the viewing area and up to the bridge. The gorge fire swept through part of this area but it is greening up again. I then drove up to the next freeway exit and began heading back on the old highway.

I stopped in at Wahkeena Falls to photograph view platform area. When we do our hike out of here we just blow right past this area. I have photograph of the upper bridge and falls but I needed photos of this lower part. Then it was on to Vista House. Last time I was out it was so foggy I could barely see the build let alone the view. This time weather was better but still not the best lighting. I knew the build would be closed as it is only open on the weekend in the winter so I will have to come back another time to photograph it. I did a short drive over to Portland Women’s Forum Viewpoint and got some photograph from there.

Last stop was a new place for me. I stopped in Troutdale at the museum exhibit they have on the Columbia River Highway. They did a reasonably good job on it and it should make for good introduction to the historic highway for a new visitor to the area. I has good information about about the historic high and would improve ones appreciation for the road they are about to travel.

Columbia Gorge Exploring

I got out Sunday for a drive up the Gorge to work my self guided tour of the Gorge. I had mixed result on the trip with fogged out at a couple places and crowed out at a couple of more. But I did have some good visits to a couple of waterfalls and at the Bonneville Dam area. It will take a couple of more trips to get it all worked out.

All of these places I have been to many times but I needed to refresh my memory and see what has change. My big take away from the run was that there is a lot to see and I may have to break this into several tours with different themes.