And they say downtown is bad these days.
Back when I first moved here in March of 2000, I quickly learned that the Morrison Bridge is the least pedestrian-friendly bridge of all the spans over the Willamette. I quickly learned to avoid it if at all possible. Now that the Burnside Bridge is closed for construction and I’ve returned to using the Morrison Bridge for my work commute, I will go a step further and say that the Morrison Bridge is a specifically pedestrian-unfriendly bridge. To-day I brought my camera along for the obstacle course of the bridge’s north side. Read More
Now that I work downtown again, I get to see a greater variety of weird things. Most of the “weird things” are actually weird people, like the “People aren’t as friendly as they used to be” homeless woman that’s eighty-sixed from Valentine’s for stealing a book, or the white Street Roots-peddling rastafarian wanna-be. I don’t have the courage or the callousness to snap photos of these people and post them on here, but I am camera-equipped for whenever I find weird objects. Like this:
I saw Gus Van Sant having drinks at Huber’s. He’s weird people. I didn’t take a photo of him. I’ve got to say, it definitely seemed like a good afternoon for drinks in front of Huber’s.
When I first moved to Portland, I was fascinated, like many other newcomers, by all of the small pockets of commercial districts around town. It intrigueded me that I could walk for fifteen or twenty blocks, and find myself in a business district like Belmont, or Clinton, or NW Thurman. It wasn’t until I started researching the city’s history that I discovered that these were all due to Portland’s old network of streetcars. As it turns out, each of those neighborhood business areas were street car terminus’s at one point or another (the Belmont business district neart SE 34th Ave being the earliest one, with the first line opening in 1888). Portland’s original streetcars were the primary forms of public transportation from the the 1890’s up into the 1930’s, when they started being replaced by bus lines. The last streetcars (before the current one) ceased running in 1954.
After spending a large number of hours trying to research the streetcars, and fruitlessly looking for line maps, I came across this site one day, and realized that someone else had already done the research. In my fantasy of a Utopian Portland, all of these lines would someday be re-established.
One of the familiar nicknames for Portland is “Stumptown”, but do you know how it received that name? “Stumptown” just happened to be the first nickname that Portland ever had. Here’s a comic that explains it.
Although credit usually goes to Francis Pettygrove and Asa Lovejoy for founding the township that would become Portland, it was really Will Overton that came up with the idea of claiming the land. Here’s a little comic about him that I came up with.
Stories of Overton meeting his end in Texas are hard to verify. In Harvey Scott’s History of Portland, it’s Pettygrove that describes this as his fate, while it’s Lovejoy’s wife that claims he actually went back to Louisiana to take care of his mother. Either way, there’s not a very good record of Overton’s story.