Month: November 2014

Old Laurelhurst Church, Portland, Ore.

Today, I was exploring a few areas around the Hollywood and Laurelhurst neighborhoods. Laurelhurst is one of Portland’s very tony, planned upscale communities that dates from the early 1900s. Portland is full of these high-end places, along with areas that are extremely low-income. One of the landmarks in this posh hood is the Old Laurelhurst Church. It is non-denominational and available for rent for events like weddings. Standing out front I would have thought I was back in sunny San Diego today, except it was below freezing. This town is just full of interesting churches.  (Click on each photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

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House of Providence, in Vancouver, Wash.

While driving on Interstate 5 from Portland to Vancouver, I spotted this old building in Vancouver, and pulled into the city to check it out. The House of Providence is an academy created in Vancouver in 1873 to serve orphans. It’s a beautiful old building that is showing some creaks and groans with age. I like pulling off the side of the road, exploring new places, and sharing the treasures I find. You can find the House of Providence off the first exit on I-5 heading north from Portland, Ore.

Skate skiing at Teacup on Mt. Hood

Teacup Lake is a groomed cross country ski area on Mt. Hood. Trails are groomed and maintained by Teacup Lake chapter of the Oregon Nordic Club. The season opened early last weekend, but the snow was the typical Cascades wet, heavy glop. This week, warm weather will delay the re-opening. Here is a video I put together of the Hood River Road Trail, one of the few groomed trails open when I skied (Nov. 23). One reason I love skate skiing is because I get to combine screaming downhill fun and hard work required to skate ski and particularly climb hills, or the lung-busters. Hope you get out of town whereever you are and enjoy winter.

Division Street, and wow, it has changed

I really love having no reference points, visual or otherwise, between the time I lived in Portland in the 1980s and the present. This lets me make comparisons from mental pictures. SE Division Street between Cesar Chavez Boulevard (formerly 39th Street) and about 26th Street used to be a quiet place. I distinctly remember several biker bars. The Oregonian (now called Oregon Live) now claims it is Portland’s “hottest food destination.” I like the food cart court here, St. Honoré Boulangerie, and the Bollywood Theatre.

A few more scenes from a trip to Alberta Street

Yesterday I published a video highlighting NE Alberta Street. Here are a few more pictures from that outing, as stills.

Alberta Street, that oh-so popular place in NE Portland

A colleague I know who grew up in Portland described the Alberta Street of his youth as a place his mom told him not to visit. It was not that friendly. It was in an area that used to be defined by low-wage earning residents, clear social and crime problems, and inattention by the City of Portland. The story is a long one, involving the building of a nearby interstate, the demolition of  African American residences nearby, a great flood in 1948, and the emergence of the new Portland in the late 1990s.

Today the street is a local if not national darling of Portland’s vaunted urban revitalization. There are plenty of restaurants, small business, and cafes. I tried to go to a boulangerie last weekend, when I filmed this video, but it was packed. Northeast Portland also use to have a lot more African American residents. That is no longer the case. There remains plenty of buzz about this place. I say, take a look for yourself. Do not let the hype or even this video sway your mind. Decide for yourself. It is most defnitely a shining star of the Portland I know, as Portland would define things.

Manzanita, Oregon

Manzanita is a lovely beach community in the Northwest corner of the Oregon, and just south of the more famous Canon Beach. I have come here many times over the decades and still love it. Here are some shots in the first half of November. I plan to go back again soon.

Westmoreland, on a very cold fall day in Portland

Technically I live in the Sellwood-Westmoreland neighborhood, but I consider Westmoreland to be distinct unto itself. I once lived here oh so many years ago when I was an undergraduate, so it is a place I have called home. The defining features are the massive rail right of way, the Westmoreland Manor retirement community off McLauphlin Boulevard, and the newly restored Westmoreland Park. They all mash together in a valley. I now run and walk here and enjoy the park, the local eateries and brewpubs, and cozy little homes. It would be a good place to call home for the long haul. (Click on each photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

Woodstock, a neighborhood that will soon go upscale

Woodstock. Ah, the memories…so many memories here. I used to come up here in the 1980s, when I attended a nearby college in Portland. I always liked it because it was distinctly lower-brow than the more upscale leafy neighborhood nearby called Eastmoreland, which has lovely estates and manicured lawns. No, Woodstock was all about small businesses making a go at it, a Safeway, a Bi-Mart, some specialty shops like Otto’s Sausage, and some other businesses that came and went, like a tea shop where I bought really strong gun powder tea to stay awake while writing research papers.

Today, most of these are all still around, but some new developments are coming in, and I can virtually guarantee in five years this street will not be recognizable. I love that Grand Central Bakery is here, but Portland has more than enough wine bistros and trendy watering holes. In fact, I just read the great tavern up here, the Lutz, is now considered one of top hip bars in Portland. I mean this is where folks used to come to get drunk on pitchers blitz beer on week nights. Change. It truly is unstoppable.  (Click on each photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

St. Honoré Boulangerie, in Portland

St. Honoré Boulangerie is a lovely and authentic French bakery and pastry shop. There are three locations, and I go to the one on Division mostly. Love their tarts. Great service and always with a smile. People very much enjoy hanging out here, and I cannot blame them. Funny. Today, a guy was filming in there with his camcorder, and for some reason focussed on me being served–coming like a foot from my head from different angles. Very odd. He didn’t ask me permission, never said who he was, and was running all over in classic paparazzo fashion. If you see a guy on some B-roll or Youtube video in an orange hoodie that says, “Alaskan Grown,” filmed here, that would be me. In the meantime, pay these folks a visit and enjoy their deserts and lovely meals. (Click on the photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)