FALL is in the Airâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦and on the Town
The bad part about having too much going on around you at once is that by the time you can put something in your boring diary, you canâ€™t remember what it WAS three weeks ago that was so demandingâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.the thrill of being 58.8 in human years, over 350 in dog years.
But for THIS area, the BIG affair-o-the month had to be the re-opening of the St Johns Bridge weekend (A really BEAUTIFUL suspension bridge whoâ€™s designer was involved with the design of the Golden Gate as well)â€¦â€¦..the supports have huge cathedral window like openings so the park underneath the bridge has always been called, â€œCathedral Parkâ€, of course. For over two years now, the bridge has been closed every night after 8:00 pm and open to one lane each way during the days. Thatâ€™s not pleasant since this gateway bridge leads to industry after industrial warehouse on the land extending out from St Johns. The worlds largest grain belt is there for loading international ships with the grain that comes down the Columbia on barges from Eastern points in WA & OR as well as Idaho.
So St Johns was sort of opened up in the late 30â€™s when the bridge was completed.
However, with all the industry, this little area became BIG time blue-collar country with warehousemen, longshoremen, rail traffic etc etc etc. So, it got a little seamy as time went on and sort of forgotten over the 70 years since the bridge was built. With the economic boom all over the area though, this little hidden spot has become one of the last bastions of affordable housing for young couples, and cheap(er) places to open businesses. Since weâ€™ve been here, the old Safewayâ€™s been torn out with Condominiums going up, a Starbucks is in, gourmet dining is beginning to appear and these new upgrades are beginning to outlast places like â€œShagnastyâ€™s Stripper Jointâ€, â€œDADâ€™s BAR and PRIME RIBâ€, â€œSLIMS Jointâ€, the Portland Rose Chinese and American Food Chop-Suey House, the Salvation Army Thrift Center, etc etc. Itâ€™s a happening place!
It was about the last bastion for affordable housing and finally drew in first some artists and gays , and now rapidly getting bought into by young couples and young families. Under the St Johns Bridge, a huge loft area was set up as an artistâ€™s enclave offering cheap rent while they create their artistic wares (Thanks to one of Portlandâ€™s rich and generous Art Benefactors).
The merriment of these changes is showing:
For the Bridge Grand â€œRe-Openingâ€, we attended both days events with Brenda and Thomas that began with Saturday eveningâ€™s romp in Cathedral Park under the bridge.
Cathedral Park has quite the gorgeous settingâ€¦â€¦.
The big surprise was watching the hip (or is it Hippie) Marching band come through complete with men on stilts. The crowd followed them to they performed for a long while. While watching the band, one of the men on stilts had to goâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦..and honestly, if youâ€™d seen it you would have a hard time believing it but he became a contortionist (really) straight out of the old time circus, bending over sharply, and entering the porta-pottyâ€¦.. and then began to appear again where he admitted to Rodgerâ€™s question, â€œThat was difficult.â€
And finally back to full stature:
he went right back to dancing with the band.
We toured, danced, and finally went uptown St Johns where we ALL went to DADâ€™s BAR (yep, it looks like it sounds) for our first time since moving here (HEYâ€¦.it was a momentous occasion).. â€¦(DADâ€™s is right at the end of the bridge). We enjoyed a couple cool ones and great fun. Rodger was challenged at pool and won:
Thomas and Brenda are Wisconsin Natives, but thoroughly enjoying Oregon. Brenda works in Rodgerâ€™s Croet Group and Thomas is finishing up his University Work in Environment Studies (Yea, Thomas). They are LOTS-o-FUN and even brought us some very great â€œBoutique Dairyâ€ Cheese on return from their last Wisconsin trip:
Not the greatest poses Iâ€™m sure they will say, but what the hell, we were in DADâ€™s after all! OKAY Thomas & Brenda, now you can see we gotta get a better picture of you.
We ended the night with a bite to eat at CafÃ© Oleâ€™ next door and made it home to rest up for the Bridge Walk next day. With the ribbon-cutting at high noon, we were there and ready for the walk:
OUR house is on the hilltop in this view just about an inch right of the first bridge light fixture on the right. SO off we go across just like they did in 1938 when things were new and the great FDR, a democrat was in office using our tax dollars to create great public works:
This shows the cathedral openings of the bridge and the suspension spans. This view from the south side.
This view shows what you see on the bridge looking toward downtown Portland 8 miles away:
Sadly, although beautiful downtown is in the distant view, you can certainly see the sad installation of polluting industry closer to the bridge. The Amtrak Bridge is the one in the pictureâ€¦â€¦that leads to Bill Gates personal city, Seattle. Well, I guess Boeing owns a little of it too.
Here we were at the south end ready to cross back to St Johns:
It was a lot of fun and a great chance to see detail on the bridge we never had a chance to stop and look at.
from the outside of the walkway, note the pier supports â€¦.nice concrete.
OKAY, then we headed home to cook. Itâ€™s easy to see that even though the kitchen ainâ€™t quite done (the last two lights are almost in, but one is not working and we have the door on order)â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.trim is stained but sitting waiting on the door, but anyways, we ARE learning how to cook again, and the kitchen no longer has that great clean wide-open-spaces lookâ€¦.You can see that finally THIS week, we go very busy there even we hadnâ€™t planned to can anything this summerâ€¦..HEREâ€™s that NEW Kitchen at WORK:
This was two days tomato harvestâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.(about September 15)â€¦and now we are all done. We found a fabulous frozen Fresh Tomato Sauce recipe that used EVERYTHING we were growing in our own garden. So lots of that ended up in the freezer lightly cooked along with thyme, basil, rosemary, parsley, some garlic and wineâ€¦.. then frozen. WE plan on having some fabulous Pasta Sauce this winter.
Our corn actually finally ripened and we thoroughly enjoyed it and shared it and finally had to freeze some of that too. For a GARDEN that got so little attention, it provided lots-o-fun here at the last.
Weâ€™re trying to get Fennel Seed saved as cousins Kevin and Bruce are mutual Fennel Fans, so we hope to send them some as soon as we get more harvested and dried. There are about 100 of these still green on the plant:
Hereâ€™s the plant still out in the weather:
So there you have itâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.the deer have since these pictures completely finished off the garden and are now stripping the roses by the house during the wee hours. Weâ€™d decided they werenâ€™t going to do anything to the roses and put the deer sprinkler away, however, friend Karen advises here Deer Sprinkler did NOT stop the deer this year from chewing away. Iâ€™m still convinced that because of the deforestation of the three acres next to us, the deer were left with no choice.
Oh well, I canâ€™t complain with all the bad news around us. Weâ€™re eating well, sleeping warm, have a puppy who seems fairly content, and so far, paying bills. We still miss so many friends from days long ago in Californiaâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦we are loving it here however learning so many new things along with great new friends who are, we must say, quite fabulous.
Mark & Rodger.
Ps: The FRESH Tomato Sauce Recipe has been posted in our new Category Section, “RECIPES” .