Walking Report: The Pedestrian Obstacle Course, aka the Morrison Bridge

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

Walking Report: Saturday, August 5th, 2006

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:

It’s a stuffed toy sitting on top of an electric utility box. That in itself doesn’t seem to strange, but considering this was the third instance of spotting a stuffed animal sitting on top of one these boxes during my walk, I thought it was weird. There’s a lot of different kinds of utility boxes in town, but the stuffed animals are apparently only interested in attacking these kind, which I think are related to traffic lights.

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 was getting up onto the Burnside Bridge, I noticed this bumpersticker on a van. It’s from a place called Matt’s in Minneapolis. That slogan there says “Fear the Cheese!” which is in reference to their specialty, the Juicy Lucy. The Juicy Lucy is a cheeseburger, except that the burger meat is packed around the cheese, meaning that when your burger comes to the table, it’s full of molten cheese. The waitstaff will warn you to let it cool down for a bit before you eat it, because you will otherwise severely burn your mouth. Unfortunately, I was a vegetarian at the time I visited Matt’s, so I can’t say that I’ve ever had a Juicy Lucy. It’s a great place, though, and if you’re ever in Minneapolis, you should definitely check it out.

Portland’s Streetcars

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.

City of Roses: Will Overton, Founding Father

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.William Overton, a City of Roses comic

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.

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