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.
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.
I ventured out this morning with plans of doing a longer urban walk and covering several Portland neighborhoods that I thought would be of interest to visitors. I found the fog to be so thick I could not even take a picture across the street without it being hazy. The fog cut my plan short. I did walk up and down NE Alberta Street to reacquaint myself with this neighborhood and try and get some photos. Alberta St.was the last of the larger Portland neighborhoods that became “the next NW 23rd. I think it has been four years since I last walked the whole area. At that time it was still rapidly changing and becoming the next up and coming star. It was sad to see that it has stalled. It was in a mature market phase. Some businesses have closed and the store front are empty. Some of better restaurants were still doing well. It was more the fringe ones that looked like they were having a hard time. There was some new construction going on and that may lead to what has happened to NW 23rd. NW 23rd has moved from Portlandia to Portland. For now there are still many murals on buildings and some of the arts and crafts movement lives on but it look like the place is ready for a new chapter.
As a follow up to my visit to the discovery museum I went for visit to the World Forestry Center demonstration forest. Magness Memorial Tree Farm is situated south west of Portland in the Chehalam Hills. It has several miles of trails passing through second growth forest and a built up area for hosting groups. As part of my “when timber was king” tours I was curious if this place would work in as part of that and if it might replace the Hopkins Demonstration forest. I walked most of the trails in the place to be sure I covered it all. It appears at one time to have signage by the trails to explain some point about the forest in that spot. Most of the signage is gone but the sign post remain. One trail did still have signage that spoke in general terms about the nature. I found today it is used by folks near by to walk their dogs or take a run. So pretty much like Forest Park. Looks like it’s initial purpose has been abandoned.
Yesterday I got over to the World Forestry Center/Discovery Museum. Overall it is a nice museum but if you have been watching the battle with the big forest industries for last 50 years you see the propaganda everywhere. Now I have a love-hate relationship with the timber industry. I have worked house construction so I love my 2x4s but I also love our large natural forested areas and sustainability. I hate when the forest industry works to “get the cut out” and make as much profit as it can and leaves hills baron eco disaster areas and never replant (this happened a lot 50 years ago). The museum portrays the timber industry as the great friends of the environment. When they harvest timber it is only done in an eco friendly way with sustainability in mind. If you have been around for more than a half century you know they only portray this role because they are force to by hard won laws that make them do it. The museum portrays a picture of forest and logging today and is better then 50 years ago. But we also know if you turn your back on the timber industry for on second and they will be back to their scorched earth policies.
So I am trying to stay objective on adding the forest museum to the website. The museum has good information that is presented in a modern, attractive way and with good interactivity of kids. For folks who haven’t been through the eco battles they may think everything they see is all facts and the only way things can be done. I hope folks visit the museum but I also hope they question what they hear and see and ask why are there almost no 350 year old trees any more and is this the only way. There are getting be other ways of doing things that are not business as usual. In my “when timber was king” tour I am trying give a complete story. This museum will be part of it but just one part.
Lori and I head up to Mt. Hood to explore a tour route for my visit Portland site. I need to go back and check to see what was still there and what would still work for a self guide tour. We also came across some new places and Lori pointed out some details that I need to add. We had great weather and still some good fall color.
Finally my foot healed up enough to get back out for more exploring Portland. It is interesting that when you live in a place that you can walk by something for years and never take time to explore it. So it was for me with the Maritime Museum and the Grotto. Then there are places that you visited 20 years ago and you never go back some how thinking they never change. So it was with Oregon Historical Society Museum. Then there are those thinks you learned 28 years ago, when Portland crime rate was so high, you did not do because you would die, like take public transit. So I took the Streetcar in downtown. It was a bit confusing but I did not die. All of the new info I have on these places and experiences I have add to the this website.
Also, I had to stop in for doughnut and there are scooters everywhere.
I set out early on Sunday morning to check out a couple of places. The first place was Elk Point Viewpoint. I am still trying to check out old viewpoint of the city and see if they are still good. Twenty years ago this was a good place to view the city. The Totem pole was also a selfie picture spot. Once again the trees have grown up and view is gone. There is also now a tree blocking what was the best selfie angle.
The second spot, Alpenrose Dairy, I have heard about for years but I had never been there. I thought there Dairyville might be good place bring kids. This place once was a family owned dairy farm. Over time the cows went away, the dairy production was modernize, the land was turn into community use but it is still owned by the same family. Along with Dairyville they also have baseball diamonds, a go-cart track and the only Velodrome in the area. It turned out the day I visited they have a large cross country bike race going on. So this place is certainly used by the locals but not sure yet if it will work for visitors to Portland.
I did a quick run over to the new Vancouver Waterfront Park that opened this last weekend. I wanted to get some photos of the new viewing platform for my Fort Vancouver walk. The park is still being worked on but should be complete and looking nice by Spring. For now you can make your way around the construction to get to the view platform and the two new restaurants. When completed this will make a nice extension of Vancouver water front trail.
The viewing platform maybe gives you a little better view of the Columbia River but more of just a nice addition to the park. There is also suppose to be fountain and other element coming. More eateries are to be opening soon and that will be nice.
With progress comes comes other changes. Vancouver is starting to have some of Portland parking problem. They have now added new street parking pay stations like Portland at a rate of $1.25 an hour. Formally one of the fun parts of going to Vancouver was it cost next to nothing to park there. The old coin meters gave you the first 20 minutes for free and I think it was only a quarter for a couple of hours of parking. Times do change and I guess some how they needed to pay for the new park. Right now there is plenty of street parking available but if this place gets popular parking will be a problem. I did not see any plans for parking garages.
I spent some time today checking out three Portland view spots. What got me started on this is when I saw something about a place I had not heard of before, The Skidmore Bluffs. When I research it the Skidmore Bluffs turned out to be Mocks Crest that I last visited 25 years ago. Looks like Portland newbees are putting new names on places. But that did get me thinking about view points on the North side of Portland.
My quest is to find the best free public view point in Portland of downtow to recommend. So far having returned to several view points that were good 20 years ago I have found all except one has become over grown. So just possibly something up north might still be good. I went out and checked the view from the St. Johns Bridge, Mocks Crest and Overlook Park. I found they did give you a view but were either two far away or looking the wrong direction for a good view of downtown Portland. I have a few more place to check around town but so far the view from Pittock Maison remains the best.