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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Snow on the water

River Pilots at Work in the Snow - Astoria, Oregon Astoria, Oregon ~ December 19, 2008

The pilots work in all kinds of weather. This is Arrow 2, the small pilot boat that docks at the foot of 12th Street. In another photo from December 18, 2008 (but posted on December 27, 2009), you can see two of the pilots in their gear.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

An elegant profile

Cormorant Swimming Astoria, Oregon ~ November 11, 2009

This cormorant cuts an elegant profile gliding through the ripples on the Columbia River. The spots of red at the top of the photo are reflections of the radio tower above.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A November rainbow

Rainbow over the Columbia River Warrenton, Oregon ~ November 11, 2009

I cross this bridge to get to the gym on the other side of Youngs Bay from Astoria, and on November 11th, just as I was about to go inside, a huge rainbow formed a perfect arc from horizon to horizon over the river (between my vantage point and the city of Astoria, seen on the hill behind the trees). With the buildings behind me, I couldn't step back and get the whole arc in the picture. It was glorious, as it had been raining hard. In fact, often the bridge gets harder rain than on either side of it. Don't ask me why, but it must have something to do with the river.

The mailboxes on the left appeared earlier in this blog, and this photo of Astoria was taken only a few feet away from today's photo, although it looks so different. This pic was also taken from near the spot, but facing to the right.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Winter shapes and colors

Building in Astoria, Bare Tree February 26, 2008

I'm going back into the archives for some of my images over this holiday, so (as with the recent snow photos) look for the correct date of the photo under the picture rather than at the top of the post.

I've always liked the stark shapes and the odd colors of this building between Commercial Street and Marine Drive.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

More snow, December 18, 2008

River Pilots in the Snow December 18, 2008

Don't you love the day-glo green? I do. Especially in near white-out conditions. Two river pilots are either going to or coming from work. It's a nice day to go out on the water in a small boat and climb a ladder onto a ship, yes? They laughed a friendly greeting when they saw me taking their picture. The location is the River Walk at 15th Street, just outside my store. That's Marine Drive where you can see headlights and cars.
The weather on December 18th was truly chaotic, with snow one minute, hail the next, then sun and blue skies, then snow, then hail again. I couldn't help running outside with my camera every few minutes, and if you'd like to see the results, I posted about it that day on my personal blog.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Silent night

Snow in Astoria, 2008By Daryl Moore ~ December 20, 2008

Daryl sent me this photo to use on the blog. It's another photo of the big snow we had last December. It looks cozy inside, doesn't it?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas column

The Astoria Column in Christmas Lights Merry Christmas!

The Astoria Column is the biggest Christmas tree in town. Merry Christmas, Everyone, from Sheryl and Astoria, Oregon, Daily Photo! I hope your holidays are warm and bright, no matter what you are celebrating or on what day. Best wishes to you all.

I'll be visiting your blogs as I can over this holiday season, and enjoying them in spirit on the days I may not be able to comment. A new post should be visible every day if the system is working right :) Talk to you soon!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve in Astoria

With bright blue skies, cold air, and wind chill (but no snow or rain), I took a look at how some of the downtown businesses had decorated for Christmas.

Here's the tree inside Wells Fargo Bank.

The Astoria High School Band Boosters were raising funds playing music in the shelter of the Liberty Theatre's entranceway.

Gold baubles decorate a wreath in the office of the Liberty Theatre.

The street light outside of Lucy's Books on 12th Street.

T. Paul's Urban Cafe. By the way, the living trees with lights are a year-around feature I always enjoy.

Celebrate a Finnish Christmas at Finn Ware. (You knew we had to have a Finnish store with so many Finns as founding fathers and mothers.)

I especially like Santa's old-world look and gentle expression at Bellisima Salon.

Outside of Adagio, a horse masquerades as a reindeer.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

December 23, 2008 - Snow in Astoria

Today, December 23, 2009, it's chilly with a lot of sun between the clouds. Recently we've had several days on end of below-freezing weather, and we've had lots of rain, but we haven't had them at the same time, so we haven't had snow. Maybe we'll have some this year and maybe not. Last year we had more snow than I've ever seen in Astoria. Some years since my arrival in 2001, we've had none at all. Last December 23rd was our 7th day in a row with snow on the ground. I thought I would make a post of my photos from one year ago today. I took photos on each of our snow days, and I'll probably post some of them over this holiday season. It's always fun to see the snow here because it's so rare and of course, it makes everything look so different.

The first photo is Harrison Street looking toward 11th. I was on foot all day because it was fun, I wanted to take pictures, and also my summer tires were not prepared for this. The next photo is the fountain in front of the red house on the right.

Here's the fountain. On the left were roses with ice on them. I took a picture of a bright yellow rose covered with ice and snow, but it was badly out of focus.

The camera really doesn't show you how steep this hill is on 12th Street. It's one of the steepest grades in town, although the steep grade here is only a block long. At the top is the foot path through the trees and vines that is an extension of 12th Street. The lovely green Italianate Victorian house at the end of that post is hidden behind the buildings on the right.

Some Christmas decorations downtown on Commercial Avenue. In the next few days, I'll show more downtown snow pictures.

No fake snow this year. The building is Hughes-Ransom Mortuary. When I was looking up their name in the phone book, the next ad I saw read, "Bad Smells? Too Much Dust?" Quickly I made sure I wasn't under the same heading. Uh, nope. It was Furnaces. Moving right along. . . .

Here I'm walking along Exchange Avenue toward 11th. The bit of yellow you see at the top with spires is the First Presbyterian Church, shown in an earlier post.

As I said, the plants were not expecting this snow with its melting and freezing days following . . .

. . . although the holly was probably happy about the weather.

It was fun to see how people approached this unusual condition in Astoria. The crows were always interesting, too. They seemed to be everywhere, because of course now we could see them - animated black against the white.

Now back to the Columbia River. I'm standing near the River Walk at the front of the Maritime Museum looking toward the Astoria-Megler Bridge, the radio tower, and the general downtown area.

Here's the River Walk just past the Maritime Museum. You can see the river between the trees and the tracks of the Riverfront Trolley.

Near where the last photo was taken. It was eerie to see the ships with snow for a foreground and background. One can almost imagine they're sailing through the Arctic. The building on the right is the old train station.

Here's the view looking up Coxcomb Hill vaguely in the direction of the Astoria Column.

Today it's chilly and the ground is till partly wet from the huge downpours we've had the past few weeks, but so far there is no snow in Astoria, nor on the mountains across the river in Washington.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Teeth and tusks

It would seem that mammoths and dinosaurs like to celebrate the holidays, too. This is one of the windows of Video Horizons, whose reflective parking lot we saw on December 17th.

Note the fake snow painted on the window. Snow can typically be found in Astoria about 0 to 4 days per year, which is why we don't worry too much about icons on the street becoming invisible under snow. Holiday G-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-reetings, Everyone! If we don't get snow this year, I'll post a few pix from last winter. It was quit a sight, and lots of fun to walk around in and photograph.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Drawbridge in the rain

Young's Bay Bridge, Astoria-Warrenton, Oregon Here's the view of the Young's Bay Bridge (the new Young's Bay Bridge) from Smith Point. It crosses the mouth of Young's Bay (fed by Young's River and the Lewis and Clark River) right where the bay feeds into the Columbia River. This is a drawbridge, allowing the taller fishing boats to leave and enter the bay. It's the bridge most of us use to cross to Warrenton, Gearhart, Seaside, all Oregon points on the wedge of land that includes Fort Stevens and leads to South Jetty, and on down the coast. It's the way we get to the ocean. In my eight years here, I've only been caught in the traffic behind the raised bridge once or twice. It's fun to see the boats go through, especially if you're not in a hurry.

The other Young's Bay bridge (the old bridge) will get you there, but it ends on a slower road off the beaten path. These days, it's mostly used by people who live or work in that area. I posted a photo of its artistic design here.

An aerial photo by Frank Wolfe shows the New Young's Bay Bridge (left) and the Astoria-Megler bridge (right). The old Young's bay bridge is out of the photo on the left.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Icon on the street

I'm always intrigued by images painted on streets. We have a "breadcrumb trail" up and down both sides of the Astoria hill indicating the way to get to the Column at the top. This image on 7th Street is pointing to the right, because at the intersection with Niagara Avenue just ahead, you turn right to go on up the hill toward your destination.

What's really strange is that although I'd walked or driven to the Astoria Column many times, it took me forever to realize what these odd symbols were about. I suppose it looks like a column once you recognize it, but I kept wondering if there were some mysterious fortress I hadn't heard about. I hope the tourists are smarter than I was. Once you've been here long enough to recognize the images on the street, they are superfluous. However, I like looking at them and feeling proud that I know what they are :-D

Saturday, December 19, 2009

It's log season on the Columbia River

A big log on the Columbia River, Astoria, Oregon So this is what's been thumping against the pilings under our building. Now it's drifted across the water to rock next to the River Pilots' building in the comparatively calm water today, but unless the tide takes it, it will be back, and the water may not stay so calm. During much of the last two weeks, it's been pretty rough.

Winter is log season. The rains and the high tides bring them floating down in all sizes; several times per year they end up knocking against the pilings for a day or so. When the water is rough, the buildings shake. We have long poles with hooks on the end, called "pike poles," and we use them to push the logs out into the river, but of course it helps if the tide takes them OUT rather than bringing them back in.

Both the pilots' building and ours have had new screens, or fencing, installed this year. The screens help keep the logs in the river rather than stuck under the buildings, but occasionally they buck the system. Last year one of the logs ripped into the hinged gate you see here and opened the door for itself and more logs. They also find ways to get under the screening, then they're locked in like . . . uh . . . caged logs.

The log above is big, but it's not huge. We get many, many smaller ones, but we also get larger ones. Here's a spectacular log that came to visit almost one year ago and managed to hang around for awhile. It's hard to call it a log; it's more like a tree. It didn't do the building much good, but it was really interesting to watch.

Friday, December 18, 2009

When Worlds Collide

Ocean Crest Motors I'm sure that title is too strong. It could be a mellow blending on the inside. Outside, however, you can see that we have to be careful when we're driving or walking. I really hate one-way grids, and that's what we have throughout the downtown area of Astoria, Oregon. In other places, it always seemed much simpler and safer to me when everyone knew we had to look both ways at all intersections. The rules didn't change from place to place. After a little checking, it seems that the statistics on safety are . . . well . . . conflicted.

The old Ocean Crest auto repair building at the corner of Duane and 14th Street has been empty for several years until recently, when it was purchased by the owners of the Fort George Brewery and Public House just around the corner. If they do for it what they did for the other building, we'll see the place come alive. Of course, what caught my attention was the primitive-looking cool art. Inside there are already barrels. And there's art. Whatever the plans are, I'm sure it will be interesting.

I also like this photo because it shows how buildings accommodate Astoria's crazy slopes.

I used to wonder about the name Fort George, until one day I read that this was the name for the entire town at one time. In 1813, Astoria's name was changed in honor of the King of England. The British-owned North West Company had purchased the town; there was incentive to sell to them, because a British ship was headed this way that would have attempted to take it by force as an act of the War of 1812 if the owners had not sold it! The town continued to be called Fort George until 1846, although the Treaty of Ghent in 1814 had caused ownership to be returned to Americans.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My favorite video store

When I stopped to drop off a DVD, it was hard to miss the bright reflections. Does it look like it's been raining? By the way, Video Horizons is one of the few buildings on Astor Street. The street is only two very short blocks long, due to the curve of the town along the edge of the river. Highway 30, aka Marine Drive, takes up much of what might be Astor Street if the highway didn't exist.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bags made of sails

These tote bags are made of genuine recycled boat sails. As you can see beyond the shop's entrance here on Pier 39, the work is done right on the spot at Four Winds Canvas Works, a marine resale store and canvas shop. They also take marine items for sale on consignment. Recycle, reuse. And authentic.

What is it about bags? I don't know if they do anything for men, but every woman I know goes nuts over bags. I have plenty, and I can always use more. It's well beyond utilitarian. I think it has some deep connection with potential. Anyone got a clue? How do you guys feel about bags? I mean tote bags, camera bags, equipment bags, backpacks, low tech, high tech, anything with space inside, bulky or disappearing tuck-away; fold-up, fold fourteen ways, fold-inside, fold outside, no-fold because it can't . . . turn-into-something-else (anything else) and if there are carbiners, trick loop-around straps, organizer pockets and zipper/velcro thingies . . . look out. I'm actually curious now that I've started thinking about it. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sun break

I don't know how many tugboats work in the Columbia River between here and Portland, but Betsy-L is one of them, and I don't think I've shown her before - at least not identified. Although the photo doesn't do justice to the lighting on the morning of December 4, what caught my attention was the bright glow and reflection on a dark river on a dark morning. The small sun break had caught the boat in its beam; a few seconds later, and the light had gone. The water was quite flat, and the hills in the background are on the Washington side of the river.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Life imitates art

Leaves in front of Blue Schorcher I like seeing the various types of leaves imprinted into the sidewalk in front of the Blue Scorcher Bakery Cafe. The other day, the the cement imprints had been joined by some of their real cousins, and the rain made all quite peaceful and still.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ghost cars at 14th Street

Night Scene at 14th Street and Marine Drive, Astoria, Oregon You can see their lights streaking by, but there's not much left of the cars. They seem to have warped into thin air here at 14th Street and Marine Drive. Click to enlarge the photo, and you'll see what I mean. We've seen a number of these buildings before in daylight. The bright windows on the left are from this building; I've shown various views of the tall Astor Hotel in four posts (is that all?); and on the right in the middle of the block is Gimre's Shoes. I've taken the photo from the landward end of Waterfront Park. The rails are where the Waterfront Trolley runs.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tugboat "Cap" Evans

Last night we were supposed to get freezing rain and wake up with the ground under a sheet of ice, but it didn't materialize here in Astoria, Oregon. They kept the weather for themselves a bit further south. I don't know if the freezing rains will make it up our way today or not, but I've decided to post this photo from December 12 last year, when the weather was looming. If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you'll get a better idea of the shiny surface of the water and the wildness of the waves. Remember, this is a river, not the ocean! The waves have been wild at times this week, but the sky has been clear.

I really like this image of the tugboat "Cap" Evans. I remember by looking back at my photos that the clouds were very changeable that day and the lighting was fun to watch. Today we have mostly blue skies with wisps of clouds, and, for here, it's still cold. Here's a very nice photo someone took of the same tug from the river. You can see Astoria in the background - a perspective I have yet to see, as the few times I've been on a boat in the river, we've started from west of town and headed out to sea.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Quiet and cold

I had to buy some plastic bags from an industrial supply store out by the port docks on the west end of town yesterday, so I took few minutes to wander around. It looks pleasant, because the sun was out, but I doubt the temperature was above 32 degrees. (Our cold streak is not over yet.) The tug in front is the Manfred Nystrom. Behind it is the Lady Washington. The bit of blue on the right side of the photo is the Oregon Responder, called an "oil skimmer," which is part of a network of ships used to clean up oil spills and is home-ported here at the docks in Astoria.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Just an illusion

Uniontown Steam Baths A hot tub would feel good right now. The temperature today never got above freezing; it reached 32 degrees and stopped, although the sun teased us all day. This cold is unusual for Astoria. Alas, the steam baths, established in 1928 in Uniontown, are not an option for warmth, as they closed some time ago and I've seen no sign of recovery. The sign looks fairly new and the reflection is nice. The facade above the window is torn away, but someone has painted the old brick wall a garish and unnatural red (not visible in this photo, but follow the link). They've been closed since I moved to Astoria, but I'll be patient. I'm waiting for them to open! Especially today. I posted about the baths once already, in September.

. Ruby Tuesday

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Lady Washington

The Lady Washington on the Columbia River at Astoria, Oregon It's always a thrill to see the Lady Washington glide by, as she did again on Friday. You can read plenty about this venerable and beautiful ship via the link to her name.

For more pictures featuring the color yellow, check out Mellow Yellow Monday. Happy Monday!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

No Smoking

No Smoking Sign on Waterfront Park Pier As Jacob once said, the wooden piers and walkways are probably a good place not to be smoking. The City thinks so, too. New signs have cropped up recently asking people not to do just that. So I was sauntering along with my camera, and thought this would be a good day to take a photo.

By the time I'd walked the short distance from the entrance of Waterfront Park (the pier at the end of 14th Street) to the end of the pier, I noticed a guy on a cell phone having an animated chat with someone and enjoying the last puffs on his cig. He tossed the butt into the water just as I noticed what was happening and was getting my camera into position. So I missed the shot.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

What country is this?

In what country does this facade appear to be? Certainly not the Pacific Northwest of the United States. What do you think? But yes, it's one of Astoria's landmarks.

I've always liked this historic building in downtown Astoria, Oregon. I took the photo from 11th Street between the River Walk and Marine Drive. There are some interesting and picturesque businesses here, and many unexpected shots one could capture of the building. I've tried a few times, but I wasn't happy with the angles or exposures. It will be worth continuing to try! We'll see what I come up with. The light was nice today. You can see some blue sky, too.

Friday, December 4, 2009

New pilings for the pilot dock

Pilings at the Pilot Boat Dock It appears that the rest of the old wooden pilings at the end of 12th Street where the pilot boat docks are being replaced by metal ones. Work is done using a couple of small skiffs and a crane barge. Yesterday I saw these boats along with the towboat going up and down the river. Today I saw where they were working. I also learned something. If you look back at the barge in yesterday's post (3rd photo down), you can see two tall poles with red at the top. I didn't realize until I saw the barge at work today that the poles are dropped into the mud to stabilize the barge while the huge crane does its work. I hadn't seen this arrangement before; the smaller crane barge I watched this summer didn't seem to have them. It seems like a nifty way not to tip over.

We had another mostly-clear day today, but I have to tell you, it was cold. There's a good reason this guy is wearing a jacket.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Working boats on the Columbia River

After a week or so of almost continual rain, we had blue skies yesterday. The weather also turned cold and the wind whipped up whitecaps on the Columbia River. Several times, this interesting combination of boats came past my office. Tomorrow I'll tell you where it's working along the waterfront, but here you can see the crane barge carrying metal pilings, attended by two silvery skiffs. On this pass, it was going downriver, to the left.

I zoomed in on the skiffs because I wanted to see what they were doing. I'm still not sure, but I imagine they could have been helping to push or maneuver the barge. They seemed to be butted up behind it.

A couple of hours later, the barge passed again, going upriver This time I got the towboat in the picture (left) and the two skiffs are alongside. You can see the two tall poles (the function of which you'll see tomorrow), and other poles lying on the deck sticking out over the rear of the barge.

Here's the towboat, pushing, and one of the skiffs.

Here the skiff is going ahead of the barge. I missed the larger wave that leapt up as the skiff cut through the water, but you can see the river was not completely calm. The railing in the foreground of these photos is from the catwalk leading from our building's deck to the radio tower.

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