GoPro

Crazy kaleidoscope of colors at Oaks Amusement Park

During the summer, I head down to Oaks Amusement Park, the small, privately owned play land near my house. This is probably the most diverse place in all of Portland on any given Saturday and Sunday. There are families and people from every possible background here, and likely none of them very wealthy, because rich people do not visit carnie land places. It is also a lot of fun, even if you do not get on the old-school rides.

When I come down the hill to the noisy, colorful place I often bring my GoPro camera and experiment with different shots. Here is one I like. It captures the spirit of the place. You can see more photos and read more about the amusement park on my photo essay page.

Click on each photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.

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Random fall candids in Portland

The leaves are now falling en masse and the glory that is autumn is drawing to a close. I took a couple of shots over the past few weeks and decided to post them without any particular message, other than I enjoy sharing the season’s colors. I took two of these shots with a GoPro and one with my FujiPro, in really bad lighting without a tripod. But I still like the outcome.

Click on each photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.

You know you made it when you move to University City Hills

 

I grew up in University City, Mo., a municipality next to St. Louis. It is a diverse community with a rich cultural and architectural history. It remains a racially diverse community with an incredible diversity of wealth, but has remained cohesive unlike other communities where the gap between the haves and haves not continues to widen because of growing and historic income inequality in the United States. The swankiest subdivision in this town is University City Hills, located on the south edge of the city next to much more affluent Clayton, Mo., a mini-financial hub for the St. Louis area. Homes date from the first half of the 20th century and span a wide variety of European styles. It exudes money and power, even though it is quaint as moneyed neighborhoods go.

Growing up in areas far less affluent than University City Hills, I always knew a giant gulf separated me and the kids who lived here. Many of them are the type of kids who went to the best private schools, whose parents were professional and upper-middle-class, and who had better opportunities and health then the less well-off in my community. Yes, many of the kids who grew up here went to my public high school, which was a bit rough and tumble, but many more went to private schools and never experienced the world just outside their leafy suburb. One of my college classmates grew up in one of these homes. We had absolutely nothing in common, and I do not think he ever had to worry about college loans, not doing holiday ski trips, and even thinking about what a security net means to success. He was a lot like many young people I knew at my private college.

I still love how pretty the homes are in University City Hills. I know many of the people who live here are likely good people. But they still remain in a place that is worlds apart from the lower-income areas about two miles north. However because these homes are in St. Louis, prices are ridiculously low compared to, say where I have lived, in Seattle. A three-story brick beauty here is actually less than a single story wood shack in parts of Seattle.

Extreme Nordic at Mt Hood’s Teacup ski trails

On the last day of 2014, Mt. Hood finally had great ski conditions. I headed up to Teacup Nordic, the closest groomed nordic trails near Portland and got my last good runs of the old year. To anyone out there who thinks Nordic is for geezers or losers, you should give skate skiing a try. It will kick your ass into shape on the flats and uphills and will have you grinning like a bear in a salmon stream when you rip down a groomed trail. Happy trails, skiers.

Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, Portland

Oaks Bottom Widlife Refuge is a beautiful wetlands and nature preserve near my house, along the Willamette River in Southeast Portland. I cannot believe I live so close to it. Coyotes hang out here, and signs are up warning people their cats will be coyote nibblins if they do not pay attention and bring them indoors. People live down here too in tents. Next time I publish pictures of this place I will show you what it looks like up close, perhaps with the many resident waterfowl.

Click on each photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.

A few more churches, it is Sunday afterall

While exploring a part of Northeast Portland, i spotted two churches that needed some photographic attention. The light was just setting as I pulled up to St. Stephen’s Catholic Church on a cold day last weekend, and then minutes later, the sun dipped, and the entire look and feel of the church changed.

Click on each photograph to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.

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.

Temecula, Calif., a suburb in the desert

I visited Temecula in September and enjoyed myself. I could not imagine living here, but people love all that sun. It is a brutally hot place, and yet even amid the worst drought ever, lawns are green and everything looks like the Midwest, if you ignore the thermometer and the rock and scrub mountains that surround it. Probaby a few Beaver and Wally Cleavers live here. You cannot survive here or function without a car. Period.

An evening with hundreds of onlookers at Seattle’s Kerry Park

On beautiful evenings, one should try to enjoy the moment and hopefully the outdoors, wherever you are. Here is the spot people love in Seattle, at Kerry Park, overlooking Elliott Bay and downtown.