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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Spring Flowers Come to Astoria

Azaleas bloom at the Astoria Post Office This azalea bush at the bottom of the wheelchair ramp at the Post Office is one of my favorites - maybe because of the wonderful purple color, and because I pass it nearly every day. Soon the rhododendron behind it will also be in bloom. Azaleas and rhodies turn Astoria into a flowery paradise every spring. I've wanted to take a photo for the past few days, but each time I've been there, the rain has been coming down.

Azaleas with Rain Drops Here you can see the evidence of recent rain. I had the lighting set wrong on the second photo, then tried to correct the color, but the photo doesn't do justice to the image. I'll try again when I have more patience :)

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Streets Made of Wood

There are a number of very impressive murals high on the walls of Builders Supply in Astoria, Oregon. This is only one of them, showing the building of Astoria's city streets when the city was made of wood. There are stories of people fishing through holes in the street; where the boards were damaged or the spaces wide enough, you could look down and see the water, so I hear. I wasn't around then. When you see this picture, it's easy to imagine how most of downtown Astoria burned to its roots in the fire of December 8, 1922. In a couple of posts, I've shown evidence of the space under the streets. By following the previous link, you can also read about the great fire. I had the above photo in my archives, and when I go back to Builders Supply, I'll learn more about the artist or artists.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bach 'n Rock: The Store I Want to Love but Can't

This music store at the corner of 12th Street and Duane is a place I really wanted to love. I don't like being negative on this blog, but here we go. After four or five bad experiences with the store and none very positive, I stopped going in. Of course, I wanted to like it. The store is filled with wonderful music and a totally hippie atmosphere that those of us who came of age in the '60s would appreciate, and '60s wannabes would surely adopt. It's like a music-lover's version of the new-and-used bookstore where you can lose yourself in time browsing the shelves and come out with a gem. However, after standing around being ignored while people who came in after me were waited on, being spoken to in a non-friendly manner, and generally dissed, I gave up. I don't think it's me. I usually find local business people to be extremely personable, friendly, and helpful. We'll see many of their stores as the blog continues - but Bach 'n Rock is a fixture and an attraction for any number of reasons, including the garden that keeps expanding onto the sidewalk around it. I wanted to include it in this blog.

If the owners catch wind of this post and recognize me, they will either be nicer the next time I go in, or they'll be worse, which is hardly possible within the description of customer service. As I said, I really wanted to like this place. Maybe someday I'll have a reason to change my mind. I hope so.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Blue Flower

Blue Flower, Astoria, Oregon Soon my favorite patch of city wildflowers will be blooming again. I took this photo August 7, 2001, where 14th Street meets the River Walk.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Crazy Branches on the Cusp of Spring

Tree branches and the Flavel House, Astoria, Oregon I took these photos yesterday in front of the Flavel House. When I left on vacation 11 days ago, the trees were bare; driving around town yesterday, I noticed a few trees filled with white or purple blossoms. It will be a lot of fun taking pix of Spring's arrival. Meanwhile, I wanted to capture this tree with the insane branches while you can still see the zig-zag shapes. Soon it, too, will be filled with leaves and flowers. Does anyone know what kind of tree it is? I don't. Maybe when the flowers bloom, it will help us figure it out. But please comment if you know! It's hard to see it here, but the gigantic limbs are actually a mass of twisted branches, too. They look more like roots. You can see the overall shape of the tree below.

A tree in front of the Flavel House, Astoria, Oregon Big thanks to all of you who visited and posted while I was away. I enjoyed reading your comments on my BlackBerry, but I haven't figured out how to comment back with it, if it's even possible on the model I have. Anyway, I'm back now, filled with good memories, folders of photos for my other blogs, and a nasty cold to go along with jet-lag . . . and I have to work (which is fine, except I feel lousy and am sleeping at the wrong hours). I'm looking forward to visiting your blogs and commenting again. I miss my cyber-friends, and once again - it was great to hear from you while I was away!

You can read a little about the trip here on Lee's Amizade Adventure blog. He continued on to Africa when I came home. He's also suffering from a cold and probably trying to get some sleep and find a place to plug into the Internet to make new posts. His adventure will continue to be fascinating, I'm sure.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dark and Light

Ships in the Sun before Dark Skies, Astoria, Oregon
November 10, 2009

Cosco Antwerp The light on the river makes all the difference. Compare these shots with the one from yesterday's post. I love both the subtle and the dramatic. Some days you get the nice shots and some days you don't, no matter what the weather is doing. I really like these pix from November 10th, taken just off of 15th Street. It doesn't hurt that the shipping line has provided us with gorgeous colors and the pilot boat is positioned for a photo op.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Enchanting Atmosphere on a Rainy Day

A Columbia River View from Pier 11
January 12, 2010

A rainy day in Astoria, Oregon. So what else is new? I thought this view from the white building on Pier 11 was especially nice, and the colors were muted and interesting. You might want to click on the photo to enlarge it. The building you see is Doc's on 12th, with Baked Alaska on the "ground" floor. The hill in the background is Tongue Point. We're looking east, up the Columbia River.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Blue and Yellow

Yellow Fire Hydrant, Blue Meter Cover May 31, 2009

I liked the colors. This wood-chip-filled landscaped area is over by the small industrial park near Highway 30 and Pier 39.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Classic Beauty

Peaceful Evening View of the Columbia River, Astoria, Oregon February 23, 2009

I took this photo just about a year ago on a peaceful evening along the Columbia River from the dock at the Maritime Museum at the foot of 17th Street. It's especially nice if you click on it to enlarge the image. It almost looks like a channel or narrow waterway, but the structure on the right is simply a pier. That's the Astoria-Megler bridge in the background (our connection to Washington), and the radio tower reaching into the sky.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Boring No More

Reflected Sunset along the River Walk, Astoria, Oregon April 29, 2009

I usually find this industrial building on the River Walk not threateningly ugly, just boring. But it wasn't boring on the evening of April 29, 2009. A beautiful sunset and the right angle changed everything.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


The Sign Says Pray for Rain January 18, 2010

. . . In a town where we get 70 to 90 inches of rain per year. . . . Right! :)

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sewing Room in the Flavel House

Sewing Room in the Captain George Flavel House, Astoria, Oregon July 30, 2001

That's not a typo in the date. I dug way back into the archives for this one, just because I like it. I haven't been inside the Flavel House since I took the photo, which was about six weeks after I first arrived in Astoria. I had to see the place, which in so many ways reminds me of the way my grandmother's house in California used to be; it was built at almost the same time. The Flavel House is lovely inside, and definitely creates a time warp when you step through the doors.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Moss on the deck at 14th Street Riverfront Park, Astoria, Oregon January 5, 2010

Even the decking turns green with this much rain. I took the photo from the end of Waterfront Park at the end of 14th Street.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Colorful deterrent

Painted Gate at Pier 11, Astoria, Oregon January 12, 2010

This colorful gate is nailed shut at the moment. It can be found on the east side of the white building on Pier 11. Yesterday I posted the "Oregon Wild Products!" mural from the other side of the building. Can you tell it's been raining?

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Oregon Wild Products!

Oregon Wild Products Mural, Pier 11, Astoria, Oregon This mural on the side of the metal building on Pier 11 is a local landmark. I don't know if there's a date on it, but several buisnesses have come and gone and the mural remains the same - fortunately.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Cathedral Tree Trail: What's Left of an Urban Forest

Astoria's Urban Forest and the Cathedral Tree Trail The destruction of much of Astoria's "unique urban forest" was not caused by humans, but by wind. On the night of December 2, 2007, hurricane-force winds changed our landscape. Here? In Astoria? I remember that some of the downtown business owners didn't believe it would happen despite the forecast, and didn't think it was was worth taping up their plate glass. Over the next few days they ended up replacing it while city workers put the street lights back together. Here in the forest and around some of the houses on the hill, trees blew down.

Late in January of this year, Francisca and I took a walk up to the Column through the city streets and came back down by way of the Cathedral Tree Trail. A walk in the forest was something to look forward to anyway, but I also wanted to show her our Cathedral Tree and to see it again myself. However, somehow we missed the landmark. On February 7, the sun came out, and took my camera to get photos of the tree. From the bottom of the trail, the trail head is at Irving and 28th Streets. It's only a short way in to the vicinity of the locally-famous tree (see the photo above for the general locaiton of the tree; you'll see the tree itself below). Stairs have been built in the forest to facilitate walking in the steep, slippery mud. Here you can see the walkway being repaired after the storm.

Astoria's Urban Forest and the Cathedral Tree Trail I hadn't been able to understand how I'd missed the tree on our walk, but here's the reason. Although it's only a few yards off of the main trail, it now looks insignificant in its new, battered setting. I'd been remembering something majestic and eye-catching. Yes, that's the Cathedral Tree in the center of the photo. At one time, you couldn't see it until you were right there.

Astoria's Urban Forest and the Cathedral Tree Trail Here's the tree. I'd remembered correctly that there was a bench placed near it so one could sit back and enjoy the tree in its deeply-wooded and picturesque environment.

Astoria's Urban Forest and the Cathedral Tree Trail This is why it was called "Cathedral" Tree. It was not huge, but a child could stand up in the unusual hollowed-out cavern in the base. An average adult could stand inside, but stooping. Nobody was visiting when I was there on Sunday afternoon, but I'd seen a runner and a cyclist on the trail.

Astoria's Urban Forest and the Cathedral Tree Trail Here's the old tree from the back. I could have sworn it was about three times this size.

Astoria's Urban Forest and the Cathedral Tree Trail Even the mighty top of the old Sitka spruce has lost some volume.

Astoria's Urban Forest and the Cathedral Tree Trail Here's more of the new neighborhood.

Astoria's Urban Forest and the Cathedral Tree Trail We're just lucky the Cathedral Tree didn't end up like so many others nearby.

Astoria's Urban Forest and the Cathedral Tree Trail I was gladdened to find these lovely flowers in the forest right by the big tree. Not only were they comforting amidst the destruction, but it was a day of noticing spring flowers and new growth.

Astoria's Urban Forest and the Cathedral Tree Trail After making my inspection and paying homage, I took the board path back toward the trail head. On my way in, I'd come by way of the muddy trail.

Astoria's Urban Forest and the Cathedral Tree Trail A glance backward. Goodbye, Tree. Until next time.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bikes here, please.

Bike Rack, Astoria, Oregon This bike rack is near the corner of 14th Street and Duane. Come to think of it, I don't know if other bike racks around town are of the same design. I'll have to keep my eyes open. There's one at Safeway that may be similar, but I don't remember its being green. How are bikes tethered on the street in your town?

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The house at 12th and Grand

Italianate Victorian House in Astoria, Oregon Maybe it's no surprise that this harmonious and balanced house on the corner with its unusual, but very pleasing colors is one of my favorite buildings in all of Astoria.

Italianate Victorian House in Astoria, Oregon The face of the house is on 12th Street; let's turn the corner onto Grand.

Italianate Victorian House in Astoria, Oregon
Italianate Victorian House in Astoria, Oregon Across the street from this house is one of the strangest streets in a town of unique streets. You can see it in this earlier post.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


On Sunday I walked up the Astoria hill and around one of the residential areas. I love this transitional shot, showing the moss from the torrents of winter rain and also a bush filled with spring flowers. In fact, I was surprised at how many green shoots and new flowers I saw out today. It seems that only yesterday it was winter. I'm sure the seasons will jockey for awhile before it feels like spring has sprung.

I took today's photo on 12th Street approaching this intersection with Grand. Check out the top and the bottom photos on the linked post. Here you will also see the lovely green house that peeks into the current photo on the upper right. I took some more photos of the house on Sunday; maybe I'll post one tomorrow.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Astoria Coffehouse

Astoria Coffeehouse (Astoria Coffee House) August 29, 2007

Astoria Coffeehouse on 11th Street between Marine Drive and Commercial is one of my favorite places to go for a good cup, good eats, nice folks, and pleasant ambiance. It's not on the water, but only a block and a half from it. You can see passing ships from the sidewalk tables on a gorgeous day like this day in August 2007, or on a day like yesterday. It's also only about three very short blocks away from where I spend most of my time.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Old cannery scale

Outside of Coffee Girl - Old cannery scale October 17, 2009

This old scale and the view are just a couple of the things I enjoy about the Pier 39 building, which used to be the Bumblebee Canning Company. The doores to the left take you into a comfy, atmospheric and much-loved coffe house called Coffee Girl, where treats (scones, lox and bagels, fruit/granola parfait with lox on the side - yumm) are served along with one of my favorite cups of coffee. It's the original place where coffee was served to the cannery workers. We'll be back, don't worry. Here are some other posts featuring Pier 39 and Coffee Girl. The inside of Pier 39 is essentially a roofed-over outdoor museum. I hope it never changes much. Thank you, Floyd!

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

1863-1947, RIP

Ft. Stevens State Park, Oregon Fort Stevens State Park, Oregon ~ June 5, 2003

Fort Sevens is huge and varied. I've already shown several photos of the beach and other parts. You can read about the military history of this area in Wikipedia. It's only about a 10 minute drive or so from where I live.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Driftwood in February

Fort Stevens State Park, Warrenton, Oregon ~
February 3, 2006

If you like driftwood, you'll find it in winter on the Oregon beaches. Brought in by the storms, it accumulates along the dunes that separate the beach from the forest and grasslands. The park is large and varied, incorporating ocean, forest, bike trails, lakes, and old miltary bunkers, and it's all about 8 miles west of Astoria.

I took the photo standing a few yards from one of our favorite sites, the wreck of the Peter Iredale. It's such a picturesque and interesting spot (and easy to get to) that I've already used it three times on this blog: sunset, bones of the ship (one of my favorite photos on the blog), and sunset with ship's bones. These photos are taken just a couple of miles south of the jetty series at the mouth of the Columbia River. Fort Stevens also holds this military cemetery. A person could do an entire City Daily Photo blog on Fort Stevens and never run out of material. Don't get me started, I'll end up like Jacob.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Can anyone explain this building?

Brown Building, Astoria, Oregon I've been wanting to show you this building for a long time. As interesting as it is, it's hard to photograph. I finally gave up on "good" and just went for "expository." See the very odd angles of the front section? Note the interesting eaves brackets. It's not the only place in Astoria that has this type of ornate eaves bracket, but the other buildings don't have simiar "things" on the front. Is this a cross between a turret and a portico? Maybe someone can help me out. Also note the cement arch behind the power pole. Just for the record, this building is on Exchange near 16th.

Brown Building, Astoria, Oregon This time it's not the angles are not the digital camera doing its thing, it really is a building with strange lines. Is this an odd blend between Victorian and Craftsman? Again, I have not taken time to do the research, but I always enjoy looking at this place and wondering about it. I would also like to rip off the electrical wiring and conduits and plunk it down into an idyllic rural setting. It makes me think of a lodge from around 1910.

Brown Building, Astoria, Oregon This arch also intrigues me. Going with the idea of a turret, maybe the arch is a secret entrance to a fortress camouflaged as an apartment building.

Brown Building, Astoria, Oregon About 10 feet deep in the recess of the arch is a door, apparently locked. The door is for people, not for vehicles, so thisi not one of the built-into-the-hillside garages one sees locally. In any event, I consider this odd place one of Astoria's man-made wonders.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The old co-op building

The Old Food Co-op on Duane and 14th Streets, Astoria, Oregon October 26, 2009

In an early CDP post, I talked about how so many local places are referred to as "the old" this or that, so that a relative newcomer like myself has no idea what people are talking about. I'd try to get directions, only to find that I couldn't understand them because I didn't know where "the old" (whatever) used to be. It had been gone since before my arrival in Astoria. The building you see here will probably be referred to as "the old co-op" for some time to come.

The food co-op is alive and well, but it's moved from this wonderfully funky building on Duane and 14th to a newer building on Exchange and 14th that has much less character. I'm sure the new place serves them well (I should say "us," since I'm now a member), but I recall the first time I walked into the building shown here. I thought I'd stepped into a piece of San Francisco from the hippie days, and I loved it. So, until someone moves in and gives the location a strong new identity, it's still "the old co-op" to me, and probably to many others as well. I wonder what else it used to be? Maybe someday I'll have more time to do the research.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Motorcycle mailbox

B SQUARED always finds the creative, funky mailboxes, so I guess this photo is to show that we have at least one in Astoria. I'm sure there must be a few more. I'll keep my eyes open and my camera handy. If I remember, this one is on 16th Street around Franklin Avenue.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Theme Day: Wood

When my friend Francisca was here a week ago, we walked to the Astoria Column via the city streets, then came down the hill on the Cathedral Tree Trail. It had been several years since I'd been to see the tree, and I wanted to see it again and to show her our mini version of the giant redwoods. What I found was that everything had changed.

Two years ago a wind storm reaching hurricane force had felled trees like crazy on parts of our hill, and loggers had later gone in and not only cleaned up the mess, but apparently had felled many additional trees. Some, I'm sure were taken out due to safety issues, but I don't know the rest of the story. In some areas, there were stumps as far as the eye could see, rather than the dense and glorious forest I remembered. That some of the standing trees had been precarious, I don't doubt. Many huge root systems were already upended along the route, with their majestic trunks lying horizontally on the forest floor.

I might have shown you a photo of the Cathedral Tree itself, but we missed it. In the sea of logs and new wooden walkways, I'd become disoriented and had neglected to take a short spur of trail going east just before we reached this rustic bench. I remembered the bench, and my memory told me the tree had been right here. I was devastated, thinking that the Cathedral Tree itself had been a casualty of the storm(s) (although I thought I would have heard something if that had been the case).

So we decided to go back the next day and see and photograph the locally-famous tree with its arched recesses. However, the next day it poured rain all day, and we opted for indoor entertainment. Someday I will go back and post the tree.

Click here to view thumbnails for all City Daily Photo Theme Day participants.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

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