Final got a break from all of the rain we have been having and had a chance to get out. I really need to do a post on the 10 reasons not to visit Portland in the winter and rain would be right at the top of the list. But when it is nice here it is really nice. With some dry and some sun I went back to Kelly Point Park. This is the place to see just what a busy seaport the Portland area is, even though we are a hundred miles from the ocean. The view of Mt. Hood and Columbia River with all of the ocean going ships and river barges is always striking.
I also got to Washington County Museum that they just renamed Five Oaks. I have never been here before but saw that they had displays on the native tribe and on logging. I am working on my Theme Tours and trying to find place for folks to go as part of those tours. It turned out to be very disappointing. Biggest issue is that these exhibits are just temporary and going away in a couple of months. The quality of both exhibits was poor and they need to check there facts as they were using old information that we now know is wrong. So I can’t recommend this place. When White man came to this area we did a very good job of wiping out the indigenous population so it is hard to find places for people to go to to learn about them.
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.
Army Corp of Engineers hopper dredge heads up the Columbia River.
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.
The new Vancouver Waterfront Park with viewing platform and restaurants.
They did add a couple new toilets to the park
New outdoor seating at one the new restaurants that have opened.
Room at the end of the viewing platform for a few folks.
Viewing down river to the railroad bridge that crosses the Columbia River.
Viewing from the platform up the Columbia River to the I-5 Bridge.
Looking back at what is holding what I am standing on up.
Looking from the end of the viewing platform to the Vancouver Waterfront Park and the bank of the Columbia River.
Looking back from the end of the viewing platform.
They thought ahead of what folks might do on the platform and so no.
One of the big anchors use to hold up the platform.
Vancouver now has Portland style paid paring. Before this project this spot was free.