Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
A note on yesterday's post: there were no stairs stolen after all! For the update, please see the bottom of the post.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Police Department City of Astoria
TYPE OF INCIDENT: Theft of old Astoria Column steps
RELEASED BY: Eric Halverson, Sergeant
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On 09/16/2009 The Astoria Police Department began an investigation into the theft of cast iron steps that were removed from the Astoria Column recently for replacement.
The steps were being stored at the Astoria Public Works yard. Several stairs were cut off a section of the staircase. The steps have an estimated weight of 130 pounds and required the use of a torch to cut them loose. The estimated scrap value of the stairs is approximately $70.00, however the historic and sentimental value of the stairs is quite high.
The Astoria Police Department is seeking information leading to the recovery of the steps and prosecution of the suspects. “This was a calculated move on the part of the suspect (s) requiring time, knowledge and specialized equipment to accomplish” said Sgt. Halverson. Anyone with information is requested to contact the Astoria Police Department at (503) 325-4411.
So, there you have it. That's the story :)
OOPS, HOLD THE PRESSES: UPDATE FROM "ANONYMOUS" . . .
"They haven't retracted the story yet, but the guys who work for the city told me no stairs were stolen-that someone just goofed up."
Thanks for the info. I don't know if that's encouraging or discouraging, but it seemed mighty strange that someone hopped over all that chain link with those hefty stairs in hand. Well, amusing story, anyway.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
The Liberty is one of Astoria's prize features, and it's gone through major renovation inside and out in the last seven or eight years. I featured the inside in this post and this one. You can see the outside of the building, or mainly the top, in this post. It's the large mass of building at the center right of the photo.
The Liberty Theatre was built in 1925 in a Mediterranean exterior, and is said to have some of the best acoustics around. Even music groups from Portland enjoy coming to play here. The inside is adorned with painted panels of Venice, carrying out the Mediterranean theme. Originally used for vaudeville and silent movies, it now hosts live music, dance, graduations, and I even went to an art appraisal event there. Now that it's been refurbished, it sees a lot of use.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
I've shown the pilot boat to the left in several posts, and I'm sure you'll see it again. It's such a fixture of the waterfront, and it's extremely active, although its runs are short and it can often be found here in the dock. Not so with the tug, which docks here much less often.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
I took yesterday's blog photo from near the point where the white ocean waves meet the line of the jetty. Now, if you look at the right-hand edge of the waves, where they encounter the mass of land at the end of Clatsop Spit, and take this as the starting point, estimate about 1 mile going left, and that is where the mouth of the river was at the time of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1806. That mile of beach and land is new, having accumulated once the jetty changed the flow of the water. It's pretty amazing. It took several expeditions to this area before Europeans even realized this was the mouth of a river. Due to the sheer size of the river's mouth, it had not been obvious, especially in bad weather. It was not until 1792 that Captain Gray discovered the river. Even Captain Cook had missed it in 1778, and Captain Gray had missed it on his first trip, a few years before his 1792 discovery. Others had also come this way and not recognized what they were passing. Today it remains one of the most dangerous bars to cross in a ship. I believe it was one of the pilots who said, there is one more dangerous, but this bar takes more skill. Don't ask. That's all I remember. The mouth of the Columbia has been dubbed "The Graveyard of the Pacific." Wikipedia quotes Saddler Russel as saying, "More than 2000 vessels and 700 lives have been lost near the Columbia Bar alone." (This "Columbia Bar" link helps explain why the elements here cause conditions to be so treacherous.)
But the mouth of the Columbia is also a beautiful and stirring place. Wildlife abounds, along with majestically scenic views and a taste of the incomparably-moody ocean. More scenes from both sides of the river to come later on this blog.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Before the jetties were built, ships sometimes waited as long as two or three weeks for conditions to be safe enough to attempt to enter the Columbia River. The jetty in this photo is made of huge rocks, but if you look at the left edge of the silhouette, you'll also see the remains of wooden boards. This is part of the ruined railroad trestle that ran several miles, bringing rocks of up to 50 tons for construction of the jetty. (Much of the trestle still exists, and would make a good photo for another day.) When it was finished, the jetty was five miles long, but it was extended another two miles - a task begun in 1903 and finished ten years later. According to the interpretive plaque supplied by the State Park system, the two jetties were built between 1885 and 1895 "to keep the mouth of the Columbia river from moving around, to narrow the current to help flush out river sediment, and to keep beach sand from clogging the river mouth . . . . Generally, waves and wind push Oregon Coast beach sand south in the summer and north in the winter - sometimes driving sand into shipping channels."
Locals and tourists enjoy coming out for an interesting view, to watch the sunset here and to see big waves during storms. Occasionally the storms are so strong that advisories will warn us to stay away from the jetty and viewing platform.
For scenic photos from around the world, drop in for a visit to Scenic Sunday.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
I actually took this photo a few days ago in front of the Wet Dog Cafe along the River Walk. Beyond the bushes, you can see the railing of Doc's on 12th, the home of Baked Alaska, Mise en Place, Xclusive Salon, and other cool places.
Friday, September 18, 2009
For more Skywatch Friday, follow this link.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
The sauna ("Union Steam Baths") is on Marine Drive right across the street from the Suomi Hall and down the block from the Old Finnish Meat Market (now a coffee house). In the upper left of the photo, you can see a bit of the curved ramp where vehicles lift off from their earthbound state and launch themselves onto the great bridge that spans the Columbia. (I'm being fanciful, but it almost feels like that.) In fact, you can see a bit of the bridge structure reflected in the window of the steam baths. I wonder if they will ever re-open. I hope so.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I've always been taken aback by the slogan on the door, as it reminded me of the pathetically ironic "Arbeit Macht Frei" welded into the gates of certain Nazi concentration camps. I was going to say, "I wonder who thought that one up ('Work is Our Joy') and whether the workers concurred with management."
As I was writing this post, I looked up the phrase, and found an informative and extremely well done documentary of the same name giving a much more positive meaning to this phrase and explaining the local industry in great detail. It has interviews with the original gilnetters and lots of photos. In this case, the "little guys" took their fortunes into their own hands and started their own cannery when they were being oppressed by "the man." Work really was their joy. The video is linked from several different pages, and here's the intro from one of them:
"Work Is our Joy - The Story Of The Columbia River Gillnetter
"Drift gillnetting came to the Columbia River in the early 1850s. Many gillnetters on the river today are third and forth generation descendants of fishermen who immigrated to the region in the nineteenth century. Here they established new communities and developed the most advanced gillnet fishery found anywhere in the world. Based on a series of oral history history interviews, this half-hour video describes the unique culture of the Columbia River gillnetter. “Work Is Our Joy” will take you into the world of a living tradition. A world of nets, of boats, of fishing,part of a rich maritime heritage of the Pacific Northwest. http://www.salmonforall.org/history/work-is-our-joy-movie/"
Here's another link to the video. I tried to embed it, but the embedding code wasn't working:
Monday, September 14, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
The tug (the Henry Brusco) is the small black and white boat on the right, and the barge it's towing is all the way on the left. In between there is quite a long distance, as you can see the complete gray-hulled Tasman ID in the background. If anyone can explain to me why there is such a long distance between the tug and the barge, I'd like to know. (I'm going to post this tonight, but I'll call Brusco Tug and Barge, the owner of these boats, in the morning and ask them about it, so if you're interested, please check back!)
[Update: As I sit here waiting for a callback from the tugboat company, Anonymous says, "Why the long towline? The clue is in the background--the ship on the hook with the bow pointed seward means the tide is really flooding hard-since barges dont have brakes, power or steering it is actually getting towed and pushed hard by the current at the same time-in case the tug had to stop, slow down suddenly, or make any other navigation adjustment, the current would keep pushing the barge-its a safety thing. Also, the ship is several hundred yards away from the towboat so the distance between tug and barge looks greater than it actually is because of the persepective."] I say, of course perspective plays a part, but the ship is not THAT much further out than the tug. It is a long towline - not longer than usual, they are usually this long. Thanks for the explanation.
Further, from Anonymous: "Any craft, whether it pushes or pulls a barge or other vessel w/out power is a tug boat--even though that is a big tug in the pic, that tow probably originated at the sawmill on the Skippanon and is hauling a load of sawdust upriver to Wauna."
We've been having truly beautiful days on the river - usually overcast early on, with picture-book clouds and sunshine by later in the morning. I always love the way the light brings out the gold color of the wood chips, but I haven't yet been able to capture the true color of its glow.
If you'd like to see some really cool photos of mountains in Central Oregon, check out Lee's Bend, Oregon, Daily Photo today for pix he took on his colossal hike yesterday.
Monday, September 7, 2009
Young's River was named in 1792 by Lieutenant William Broughton of the Captain George Vancouver expedition, after Sir George Young of the British Royal Navy. Over the years, the apostrophe seems to have been dropped, and also the bay took on the name of the river. When the Lewis and Clark Expedition arrived in 1805, they named this body of water Merriweather Bay after Merriweather Lewis, and they gave Youngs River a long native name. Both have been discarded, and now both the river and Bay retain the name of Young. The camp site of the Lewis and Clark Expedition during the winter of 1806 is not far away. By water, you would follow the Lewis and Clark River (which opens into the bay's far side) a short distance to the picturesque location.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
I appreciate having had the opportunity to visit this venerable old house.