Green Anchor bit of Portlandia

One part of starting this website was to find what was left of Portlandia and share it with visitors. Sadly most of it is gone now. But one last bits of it can be found a Green Anchor. They have taken an old ship yard and found a way around the city’s codes and ordnance to be able to offer small rustic spaces for rent that artist and green entrepreneurs can afford. When you walk through the yard it looks confusing, messy and where you say “what the heck is going on here.” Reel creativity often is messy.

I love to walk through this place to see what changes have occurred. I always find new tinny home being built, vans and buses being converted for living in, new sculptures sitting out and always a surprise of something way different that was not there before. I don’t know how long this bit of Portlandia can survive before the rapid rise in property prices forces them out but for now it holds on.


Rediscovering Kelly Point

We are in the full gripe of winter now. This is our gray time of year. The last of the colorful Fall leaves are falling and we will be left with baron gray trees. Not the time of year to show the beauty of Portland. But if you are an explorer of the area it is a good time to discover or rediscover places less visited. One such place is Kelly Point Park. It sits at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia River. This is where the last major river joins the Columbia River before making its way to the ocean. For years I loved going to this Portland city park and walking the trails and beaches. Several years ago I stopped going. When I first started working on the Portland or Portlandia website I visited the park thinking this would be a place visitors to Portland should see. On that visit the rivers were running very high, almost flooding into the park. I saw no charm in the park on that visit and thought I could not recommend this place to visitors. But I did make a plan to go back at some point and revisit it. This is the nice part about winter here. When we get breaks in our rain, that is the time to rediscover places that would be over looked during the other seasons.

I had a chance to go back to Kelly Point on a couple of our clear cold winter days.  Changes had occur since I was there last but I did find the charm I remembered. The rivers were running at their normal levels and that exposed a sandy beach that can be walked. While walking I found I was entertained cormorants, seagulls, ducks and geese flying by and swimming in the river. This is also where you can see all of the river traffic. There are large ocean going ships, river barges and tugs, motorboats, sail boats, and sea kayaks that can pass by you as you walk. You can also say high to folks fishing from the beach hoping to catch a salmon. This is also on the flight path to PDX for viewing aircraft coming and going. You see the commerce that makes the area thrive.

The park also has a large picnic area, historic markers (Lewis and Clarke missed the Willamette River twice on their travel), trails through the woods and hidden quit spots tucked away in corners of the park. This is an urban park surround by industry but still an oasis of green. I am now working on a page for the website that will to show why you might want to visit this place on travel’s to Portland. Greener photos will have to wait until Spring.


Mt. Hood Tour

I went out with some friends and did one variation of my Mt. Hood tour. The weather forecast was for some and some snow. So that was a good reason for not going on a long hike and being wet all day. This tour allows for seeing some great places, in the fall, with wet weather and not get soaked and have fun. Our route was to see Little ZigZag Falls, then drive up into the snow to Timberline Lodge, see Little Crater Lake and finish at the historic Clackamas Ranger Station. So a couple of short walks to see a couple of the best nature spots around Hood, get a little history in and some good drinks and food at Timberline Lodge.

Vancouver Waterfront Park

So last Sunday I got out to check out the new Vancouver Waterfront Park. I have been over there earlier but now they have it finished and plant have had chance to grow. The new fountain is finally done and it looks great. Grant St. Pier is getting good foot traffic and continue to draw weddings. Several more restaurants are open including the fish and chip place. More should be coming soon. Overall this will be a great addition to downtown Vancouver waterfront.

Plankhouse at Ridgefield

I got a chance to get up to Ridgefield National Widlife Refuge to the reconstructed Cathlapotle Plankhouse. The Chinookan style plankhouse is based on what Lewis and Clark would have seen when they visited the Cathlapotle village. Lewis and Clark noted the village had 14 ceder plankhouses. The building is 37 feet by 78 feet and normally during the summer is open to visitors on the second Sunday of the month.

I continue to try and track down what there might be to see in the area related to the original inhabitants. We did a very good job of wiping out all traces of the native population.

Working on More

I am still working on adding more to the site. I got over to Pearson Air Museum for some better inside shots and to get some inside photos at Oregon Rail Heritage Center. I am still checking out view spots of Portland and was looking for a good place to see the Rose Festival Feet Week ships arriving. On both of these I am still looking.

History and Art – Overdue Visits

I have been wanting to do this walk for quit a while. I final got in to see the new third floor exhibits at the Oregon Historic Society Museum and got to the Portland Art Museum on there $5 after five on Friday. I was able to get the photos I want for the website and was able to check on all of the changes that have gone on. The third floor at the History Museum has the story of Oregon and is a permanent exhibit. They booth did a redo and update but also worked to give a more balance view of our past. The Art museum has been going through an extensive face lift with changing out items from their collecting and opening up new display area. They are doing more with temporary displays and showing more local work. I should now be able to complete my website pages on these two visitor’s spot.

Oregon Historical Society Museum

Portland Art Museum

Long Day, Few Rewards

Today I set out to visit several places for my “we were already here” tour. I had high hopes but the reality we not up to expectation. My first stop was the Washington County Museum. They boast of having information on original native tribes. The problem was the museum is located on the campus of one of our community colleges and there was no parking to be found. So visiting on week days is out. They are open on Saturday so I may give them a try then. But this means visitor to Portland would only have that day to visit this place and that is not so good.

My next stops would involve revisiting the Grand Ronde Reservation area. It was not bad driving out there on my first visit with all of the other stops that we made but this time it was a long drive to get out there. That a minus for the area. I also found there was not much to see and little information. Fort Yamhill has just a few sign to read and the open fields would take a lot of imagination to see a fort here. The Museum for the Grand Ronde Federated Tribes was also very lacking. I have never been to a museum that had so little signage to tell you what things were and why they matter. The building was a great space and the staff was supper friendly and helpful but unless you had a guided tour the displays told you almost nothing. Both of these places had great potential just were not there yet. I can not add either of these place to my tour. Very disappointing day.

Exploratory Trip to Fort Yamhill

This Sunday proved to be a very wet day as forecast. With no need to re-test our gortex Lori and I went for an exploratory road trip. This route took us out on Hwy 99 from Portland. Our final destination was Fort Yamhill State Park but we had many places to check out on route. Our first stop that also ended up being our last stop was Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. I thought this place would be closed with the government shut down but we found it open. However it was pouring down buckets of rain so we would pass on it for now and see if the weather was better on the way back. The next stop was old downtown Sherwood. I had pass through here on the way back from visiting Magness Tree farm a while back and found the old town very spruced up. So we did a little drive around the few blocks that make up the downtown and enjoy how it had been revitalized.

From here we head to Newberg and did a little side trip up to The Allison Inn & Spa. Lori has been here before and it is a luxury place to stay in Wine Country. Back to Newberg and drive by Herbert Hoover’s boy hood home. Then it was down through Dundee and all of it’s wine tasting Rooms to Dayton. Just outside of Dayton is another interest place to stay at a Vintage Trailer Park. They have taken a sizable number of classic vintage travel trailers, premoed them out and now rent them out for overnight accommodations. Finally in Dayton we see the first structure that was part of old Fort Yamhill, the Blockhouse. It was moved in 1911 to a park in the center of town and is there today. This blockhouse once was the center piece at Fort Yamhill from 1856 to 1861. So we proceed on our way to reach Fort Yamhill.

On our way we did a quick stop to check out Evergreen Air and Space Museum to see if the Spruce Goose was still there and it was. Then to McMinvelle for a drive around Linfield College so Lori could see her old alma mater. Then to Fort Yamhill. We met the interpreter ranger for Fort Yamhill State Heritage Area as we drove in and he recommended that on this wet of day we might want to just check out the last existing building from the fort and an info area. With it still pouring down bucket we thought that was a good plan. We were running a head of schedule so we drove down a little further to double check that Grand Ronde tribal museum, Chackalu Museum, was closed and it was. So now we were in need of a rest stop.

We stopped in at Spirit Mountain Casino to use that restrooms and take a look around. This took us from a search of the historic contact between white man and native to the current contact between the tribe and white man. After marveling at the new interaction where white man (and women) gives money back to the tribes bet at time we thought we might help by stopping in for their massive Sunday Brunch. It was massive and also very good. We did find several spots in the Casino where there was information about tribe and it’s history. So from here it was time to return to Portland but on the way back with the rain turning to a light drizzle we stop in once again at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. We were able to visit the information center and walk the winter trail to several view point. It was a good exploratory trip. Several of these places will work in with the Theme Tours I am developing but more exploring needs to be done.

Mississippi Ave. Visit

We were having a rain free weekend so I got out to check out another neighborhood. This time I went back to Mississippi Ave. This was another turn around neighborhood that went from slum to trendy a decade ago. I was greeted with a massive new housing complex in the area I normally park. The blocks that were being built on were vacant before so these projects were just putting the land back to use but I was afraid of what else may have happened to Mississippi Ave.

As I walked down the street I found most of what had made this district special had not change. The popular eateries were still open. And many of the small retail shops were still surviving. A lot of the redevelopment of the Avenue had happened a number of years ago, in fact long enough ago that they now blend with the old. Even on an early Sunday morning there were folks out and the coffee shops were full. So all looked well here with plenty for a visitor to Portland to enjoy.