Kelly Point

What to do, what to do?

On a typical Monday afternoon I do a volunteer shift at a local animal shelter, showing cats for adoption or doing a bit of socialization with them if things are slow.  But this past Monday I had a quandary.

Winters in Portland are known for being wet. Grey skies are the norm and rain is not a stranger. This year, however, rain has become more than a friendly neighbor that waves as it drives past. It’s more like the prodigal son that returned to stay, spending its wealth freely on the local trees, streets, buildings, and dampened heads of all who dare venture out.  February’s soggy bonanza has been especially rich; half way through the month we’ve already had 8 inches (20 cm).

So when Monday dawned clear the question posed itself. Do I pursue the do-gooder routine or do I pursue self-indulgence and take advantage of the weather, bringing my happy feet and camera to some local vista factory?

Chances are you’ve already guessed the result. The banner picture does not suggest heart to heart conversations about an orphaned cat. My wife and I chose instead to take a naturopathic treatment of vitamin D, administered via sunshine.  Our clinic was Kelly Point Park.


First, a few random facts…

Kelly Point is in North Portland, at the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. If you look closely, you can see the difference in the water color – the Willamette is muddier due to the rain runoff sloshing in from the Willamette Valley.

From Wikipedia:

The Columbia River is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. The river rises in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Canada. It flows northwest and then south into the US state of Washington, then turns west to form most of the border between Washington and the state of Oregon before emptying into the Pacific Ocean. The river is 1,243 miles (2,000 km) long, and its largest tributary is the Snake River. Its drainage basin is roughly the size of France and extends into seven US states and a Canadian province.

The Willamette River is a major tributary of the Columbia River, accounting for 12 to 15 percent of the Columbia’s flow. The Willamette’s main stem is 187 miles (301 km) long, lying entirely in northwestern Oregon in the United States. Flowing northward between the Oregon Coast Range and the Cascade Range, the river and its tributaries form the Willamette Valley, a basin that contains two-thirds of Oregon’s population, including the state capital, Salem, and the state’s largest city, Portland, which surrounds the Willamette’s mouth at the Columbia.

As you could see from those gigantic floating bathtubs coming down the river, even though Portland is 65 miles (105 km) east of the ocean as the crow flies, we still get international shipping coming into town via the Columbia. The river route is about 80 nautical miles (90 statute miles or 145 km.)


With a name like Portland you’d expect some port land, and sure enough, next door to the park are terminals for shipping. All those cars with the white hats are fresh off the boat.

However, the port land isn’t the reason for the city name. But for a flip of a coin in 1845, Portland would be called Boston.  Portland got its name when Asa Lovejoy, from Massachusetts, and Francis Pettygrove, from Maine, flipped for the naming rights. Lovejoy wanted to name the new settlement Boston. Pettygrove wanted to name the new town Portland. Guess who won?

But we weren’t there to eyeball the shipping, we were there to enjoy the sunshine and freshly scrubbed air, and wander on the paths and beaches.


We’re used to tall trees in the Pacific NW, but typically they’re variations of evergreen. Kelly Point’s forest runs to Black Cottonwood, some modest, some tall enough to make your cap fall off when looking up.

I’m Lichen It!



Mount Hood stands sentry over the region, and the recent copious rain had scrubbed off the haze. (See also the banner photo.)


Although the winter rains have seemed unending, signs of spring begin to appear. A giant floating bathtub provides a cherry background.


The mouth of the Willamette opens wide when meeting the Columbia, with silhouetted stumps providing an audience.

An Apocalyptic Candle

The mild euphoria from wandering around outside on a nice day, taking in the sunshine and negative ions from the flowing water proved the decision to shirk the cats and enjoy the weather was a good one. Even as the afternoon waned a new band of clouds began to creep in from the west, and the prodigal son’s rain returned.


34 thoughts on “Kelly Point

  1. I had just said to hubby that there is no way I could survive living in Portland! The San Francisco area has been deluged as well with daily flooding and mud slides. I’m glad you got out in the sunshine, those are some beautiful pix. And I know the kitties will forgive you…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s been unusually wet this fall/winter, we’ve had 50% more rain than usual. Makes those nice days all the nicer. And as for the kitties, I worked a shift today and adopted out three, so hopefully that makes up for playing hooky last week.


    1. Some of it’s the new camera, some is the new photo editing software I’ve been mastering. I’m trying to make the pictures pop without getting surreal. And I’m starting to shoot RAW more, maybe there’s some euphoria powder sprinkled in there somewhere.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, rain! We’ve had a very wet summer here in Wellington, and when the sun shines (as it did today) it’s humid as well as hot. Normally, we get our best weather around this time of year.

    Meanwhile, in Christchurch, they’re contending with hill fires that have destroyed homes while the weather there continues both hot and dry. I wish they could have some of our rain.

    Gorgeous pics, BTW.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s always interesting to see what people like the best. The puddle shot was almost an afterthought, I happened to notice the puddle behind me when I was shooting the “candle” and thought there might be reflection potential. I was able to boost the reflections a bit in post processing, which made for a better picture.


  3. I’m glad you made the choice to go enjoy the sunshine with your wife, and even happier that you shared the photos with the rest of us. My husband and I hope to visit Oregon sometime in the next couple of years…it looks so beautiful! But we will most certainly bring our umbrellas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. July/August/September usually are dry, so that’s your best bet. I sometimes wonder how many people come to visit then, say “wow!”, move in, and get surprised by all the grayer months. Beats below zero winters though…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the tip! I had a friend who lived in that area for many years who was originally from Texas (a much dryer state.) She did have a hard time with the gray months. I guess it is just a matter ow what we are used to.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. pinklightsabre

    You have to get out on those days. I did the same last Friday (not sure if you remember, or if it was nice down there too, but it was up here). Last time I drove to Portland we went out to Canon Beach and some points south from there and I realized how close you all are to the beach! Not us. Good to feed your soul with that camera and those nice views. The cats will always be there waiting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Dave. Seems like it’s the photography that gets the attention and that’s nice, but I mostly know what I’m doing there. Writing is still an excursion into the unknown, so complements there are doubly appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, they somehow didn’t need me around that afternoon to keep on existing – most cats are pretty good at that. Maybe the trick we be to be that excited about getting out to see the sights in August, when sunshine hasn’t been such a rarity.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. For some reason my comments seem to be disappearing into vapor (they might be lost in your SPAM folder).

    How awesome is it that a Mainer and a Mass’er got naming rights for a settlement in Oregon. I think it turned out well. Having a Boston on the left coast would feel weird.

    Thanks so much for volunteering at the animal shelter (on Monday’s that aren’t prohibitively beautiful for indoor work). You’re good people Dave.


  6. Well I’ll be darned, Monday may have dawned clear in Portland but out on Cannon Beach was just about as rainy as it could be for the entire day. We got all the sprinkles and puddles- you got the sunshine and pretty pictures. Looks like you’re doing just fine with that new camera.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kathie Walz

    Having visited both Portlands, I wondered if they were somehow related. It didn’t seem likely, so this was interesting. And yes, “Boston, OR”
    would have seemed too weird! As for the kitties-if it was such a nice day, all potential adoptees would have been outdoors anyway!

    Liked by 1 person

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