Portland Walkabout

My storytelling muse hasn’t been amusing itself lately.  So rather than a cohesive “Once Upon A Time”, here are a few vignettes from recent wanderings around town.

When the Blossoms Snow

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The calendar has its opinion, but the local definition of when Spring begins is based on when the cherry trees bloom on the Portland waterfront. Donated to the city by a group of Japanese businessmen back in 1990, 100 trees pop with pink and white petals.

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Once upon a time (yep, got it in anyhow), you could enjoy this event without being jostled by 1000 tourists. These days it takes an early start, which is no longer in my DNA.

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The cherry trees are located at the Japanese American Historical Plaza at the north end of Waterfront Park, and normally bloom in late March/early April.

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Moai Goodness

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Easter Island has its Moai.  Leave it to Portland to come up with a hipster version. Some local creative took what appears to be a couple of sink cutouts from a granite countertop slab, a batch of cement, and some red paint to create this Coolsville icon. It sits on the edge of a natural bowl on a bluff in North Portland. The bowl itself is used by dog owners to exercise their pups; ergo there’s a giant dog bowl with a giant dyslexic god overlooking it.

While on the way to our encounter with this hip Moai I photoed a couple trees.  Ho-hum, right?

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Another day, another hike.  But let us stick with the monochrome theme, shall we?

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A Site for Sore Eyes

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Yesterday, shortly after shooting the train photo I came upon this Mahonia, sometimes known in these parts as Oregon Grape.  I’m not sure who named it; although those yellow flowers will turn into little purple berries it has nothing to do with real grapes. Wishful thinking maybe.

And while its a decent enough picture I don’t know that I’d call it a sight for sore eyes, but it did turn out to be a site for them.  Not long after I hunkered down to get this shot, I noticed my eyes had picked up an itchy, burning sensation.  Perhaps an aura of pollen wafted my way.  In any case, they’re still sore today.

As for the bug, it likely has compound eye facets – how sore could that get?

We wandered back to the car through Pier Park, soothing sore eyes on views like this.

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It’s a sizeable park, big enough to host a golf course.

Frisbee golf, that is. They say Portland is where young hipster dudes go to retire.  Apparently, frisbee golf is the retirement game of choice for that demographic. I admit I was tempted to try it, I got pretty proficient with the disc in my childhood years.  But these guys carry around satchels with an assortment of discs for different uses, and I might have one frisbee, buried somewhere, of unknown appropriateness.

On the other hand, how hard could it be to throw a frisbee past a few trees?

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46 thoughts on “Portland Walkabout

  1. Beautiful blossoms, and terrific job with the B&W shots, too. I really like the train shot – – I love trains, but for some reason, I’ve never taken a nice train shot like that.
    Wow, you have cherry trees and daisies, and here in Boston, they’re still mostly working with blossom-like salt encrustations on the car bumpers.
    I love that Moai God of the Dog Park, cool job, hipsters.
    The broken-down lawn furniture looks like what we’d call “Adirondack” chairs, and combined with the dead tree, makes me a little homesick.
    This was a fun ramble, and a great jolt of spring cheer, Dave, thanks!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think I have any other train shots either. But it’s not often the vantage point is so advantageous. Once I realized the potential shot that was there (and did some cropping – I shot it through a chain link fence), it was kind of a no-brainer. I thought it might be a departure to do it in B/W, I like the way it turned out too.

      We call ’em Adirondack chairs here too. When I saw the broken down chair I got to thinking it would look cool in old-timey B/W with a bit of sepia and white vignette.

      The “hipster Moai” figure was an accidental discovery. My wife and I were out walking and as we climbed out of the bowl it was, “what’s that?” I’d like to say, “only in Portland”, but I suspect the world is full of such oddities.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d sure love to see some cherry blossoms right now, I tell ya. We’re getting another round of snow again this weekend! This was an interesting tour of Portland, Dave. I’ve never been there. Funky moai and frisbee golf. What would the world be like without the hipsters?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s at times like this I’m glad I bailed out of Minnesota nearly 40 years ago. Snow in April is just silly.

      With all the places you’ve been I’m surprised you haven’t been here. Have you at least been to the Pacific NW?

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    1. It’s a weird climate when glaciers are melting left and right, but a sizeable chunk of North America still has snow in April. Our weather has been relatively normal this year – I can’t complain.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So did you get to see the cherry blossoms? Well whether the photos are from this year or last, who can resist cherry blossoms? I remember when we lived in Chicago, waiting for Spring and then every year it would snow in April often freezing the spring flowers in their tracks.

    Peta

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, those blossoms are from this year. Weather in the Pacific NW has been normal this year, unlike the east and midwest. It’s been many years since I lived in Minnesota, but even then I don’t remember snow in April. March, maybe.

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  4. As soon as I moved into my Almost Iowa house with its ten acre yard, my kids bought me a frisbee golf goal. I hoped it would make them come visit me more – but the The Cities is two hours north. Oh well….

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  5. A delightful ramble…and those are lovely trees, what a great setting for them. There’s something about the photo of the tree with the Adirondack chairs that really appeals….and I’m sorry your eyes were attacked, that sounds very uncomfortable. Better now, I hope!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry that nearly in mid-April you’re still holding out hope for spring. But they do say you enjoy the good things more if they come on the heels of not so good things – so look forward to extra enjoyment!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. London has, in Holland Park, a small Japanese garden gifted by Japanese businesses and the Embassy as a thank-you note after the Tohoku earthquake; Portland has these beautiful cherry trees. Aren’t these guys just the nicest around?

    BTW, your city might be happy to know that there’s an Uzbek beer called ‘Portland’. The label shows a clipper and a lighthouse. And it’s not half bad either!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s hard to argue with spreading beauty.

      If there’s a clipper and a lighthouse, odds are it’s named after the other Portland, Portland Maine. It’s on the Atlantic coast and I believe it has a lighthouse. Or maybe even Portland in England – I think it has a lighthouse too. While we do have access to ocean shipping, it’s via 80 miles of Columbia River. Our name came due to a coin flip between a guy from Portland, Maine and one from Boston, Massachusetts.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I thought the first few pictures were clicked in Asia and then I read the text below. 🙂 I always thought cherry blossoms was unique to Asia. It would make a good story tracking their journey from Japan to different parts of the globe. 🙂 We’ve had a good season here and I’ve been very successful tracking blossoms. The monochrome flower is my favourite shot of your post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do wonder how many cities have imported those ornamentals. I know Washington DC has a large, famous collection that’s much older.

      On the other hand, I have some wild cherry trees in my yard, but they’re on a different scale. Full sized, maybe 15 meters tall and 30 cm across the trunk near the base, this time of year when the wind blows they snow white petals across the landscape. Pretty, but a bit messy. I haven’t quite dared taste the cherries come late summer.

      About an hours drive east of the city there’s an agricultural area that grows cherry, apple, and pear trees. I wonder how they look this time of year.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Too many places to see not enough time and money. I have excel spreadsheets of travel ideas and prices. Eventually I get so overwhelmed I don’t know where to go because I want to go everywhere. Portland is on our list. One day, one day we’ll get there. Looks pretty.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Very cool blog, Dave! Your photographs are stunning!!

    It was a pleasure meeting you and your friends at the Makah Nation around Neah Bay. Hope you had a great set of dives.

    I hope our paths cross again sometime.

    All the best,

    Marty M.

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    1. Hi Marty, nice to hear from you. I checked your blog as well – nicely done. Don agrees, I sent your web address to him. Maybe we should do a photo outing sometime. My contact info can be found on my About page.

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