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March 14, 2010

I needed to go to Vespa Portland Friday morning. While it’s probably faster to take the freeway, I prefer going through the Pearl District.

Portland’s Pearl District is surely the urban planning geek’s ultimate wet dream. A former industrial wasteland, it has been transformed into an upscale, high-rise neighborhood White People can’t help but love. There’s even a streetcar running through it!

Pearl District

The heart of the Pearl District (Orin O'Neill photos)

I dunno, I find the totems rather creepy. There are more poles, in different color schemes, in a part a few blocks south of where the picture was taken.

I like this bike rack. At least I think it’s a bike rack.

Bike rack

Generally, something made of tubular steel and bolted to a sidewalk in Portland is a place to lock a bicycle. This is one of many art objects and logos modeled after the Fremont Bridge.

Fremont Bridge, Portland

While Seattle’s Fremont Bridge is one of America’s busiest drawspans, the one in Portland is a soaring, graceful structure that could be called majestic when viewed from certain places. In fact, I would have crossed it had I not opted for the surface-street route. Portland doesn’t have an official archetectural icon like Seattle’s Space Needle, but the Fremont Bridge certainly qualifies as iconic.

Radio Cab Co. base

The Radio Cab Company’s base of operations is in the Pearl. They’re the ones with the Scion xB taxicabs. You can buy gas from their pumps even if you’re not driving one of their taxis.

The GTS on Overton Street

In fact, there are still warehouses and industrial buildings in the Pearl District. Favicon

  1. March 15, 2010 4:55 am

    Just think—as our civilization declines you’ll be able to go out and use a bike rack to toast hot dogs (the only meat we’ll get) on the sidewalk. Your city council is looking out for you. And as you eat your warm meat huddled round the sidealk embers you will reminisce about the good old days when public art was civic and not useful.

    I’ll be trying to fish and heat grits to go with my grunt.

  2. March 15, 2010 10:09 am

    On that very subject:

  3. March 18, 2010 3:11 pm

    I really like that opening Totem photo. I thought of you yesterday. Stopped for coffee at Starbucks at 39th and Sandy.

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