It is March, and spring, and that means the cherry trees are blossoming like mad in Portland. They are so ephemeral, easily tossed in the wind, and incredibly seductive when they explode on the branch. They are everywhere near my home. I happened to stop at a place where I know they look pretty good, on the campus of Reed College. (Click on each photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)
Every single city in the world, and country for that matter, would prefer to present a postcard image of itself to the world. Portland’s emerging brand is one of “smart development,” urban villages, greater density, and urban beauty. These are descriptors I grabbed from the cultural ecosystem. Other observers may have alternative brand labels.
I took these photos over the past few days. South Waterfront is a development on former brownfields industrial land that once was used to build ships. The tram that connects to OHSU and a streetcar are some of the high-cost infrastructure projects that support this high-end neighborhood. It also has been the subject of attacks for being a tax giveaway to developers and for nearly going belly-up during the Great Recession. Condos had to be converted to apartments as a result of the tanking real-estate market that defined the bubble that burst.
I snapped the downtown Portland photo from the Eastbank Esplanade of the lovely cherry trees in full bloom and the city in the background. It is the type of image we see in Portlandia, on postcards, and in stock images that sell the city to the world. We are not showing the four or five tent camps I passed on my bike route that took me to the vantage points where I took these pictures. You can read more about that on some of my other blog posts.