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Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Familiar Face

Evening Reflections and Ripples on the Columbia River, Astoria, Oregon July 7, 2010

One of my favorite faces of the Columbia River is when it reflects warm light, shadows, and images from a surface that is glassy and yet fractured. The gray lines in the lower right corner are the distorted reflection of the radio tower out of the photo in the upper left.

Follow this link to see wonderful reflections from around the world. James's image at the top of the linked page is really special. It's one of my favorite reflections ever.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Fir on the Corner

Photo taken July 23, 2010

Height of Tree 231 Feet
Diameter . . . 115 Inches
Age . . . 624 Years
* * * * *
This Log From
Contains . . . 9,701 Board Feet
Weighs . . . 61,115 Pounds
* 1937 *

The log in its shelter can be seen at the corner of 7th and Commercial Streets at the corner of the Clatsop County Courthouse, across from the post office.

Unfortunately, some people have chosen to deface the log, even on display. However, in many towns and cities, the markings would be much worse.

. . . a venerable old piece of history. Unlike on many such display logs, the tree rings are not marked as to what events took place at what points of the tree's growth. So we can only imagine what it lived through.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Without Feathers

Baby Seagull July 18, 2010

Baby Seagull
Where the seagulls nest has been somewhat of a mystery to me. I've seen nests on the other side of the peninsula on pilings, but it was hard to believe that these birds would lay their eggs and raise their young in such a vulnerable spot. As it turns out, they often pick vulnerable spots, such as on pilings where water constantly washes into the nest. On July 18, this baby seagull appeared on the deck next door. When I called the wildlife rescue people, they told me the gulls often nest on the top of the building where they are easy prey for weasles. At first I thought this baby didn't look too healthy, but it seems to have been OK, because it appeared again the next day walking normally. The parents were keeping watch and scaring away crows. The wildlife rescue people said they would come out on the first day, but I had to leave and I didn't see them. After its second appearance, the gull has disappeared, and I feel that it probably met an uhappy fate, with no feathers to fly. However, I'm hoping it lived to fledge and fly. I also learned from a recent sad news story about people baiting and shooting these birds across the river in Washington, that harming or killing them is illegal due to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. I'm glad they at least have some legal protection.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

There Goes the Couch

15th Steet, Commercial Avenue, Marine Drive After shouting about this dumped couch on the blog and on Facebook, making phone calls, and finally putting it on craigslist (with no calls and no takers, but then it had a broken leg and didn't smell that good), Lee finally paid Don Sparks to come and haul it away. It was cheaper than paying the waste management company, but it also should not have been our problem. Francisca was right in her comment. Someone needs to re-think the incentives (or lack of) and the process of disposing of these cast-offs. (Maybe someday they will all be made of recyclable modules, but that's another story.) There was another interesting comment about thrift stores going out of business because they also have to find a way to dispose of the junk that is pawned off on them rather than only the things someone would want to buy. I've noticed that it's very hard to get thrift stores around here to take anything, because they are overloaded anyway.

By the way, this intersection is 15th Street and Marine Drive. The lower part of the building on the right is Area Properties. Lee owned the business before he retired, and it's now owned by mother-daughter team Barb and Meagan.

Don's truck is not going the wrong way (see the sign), but the block is only a few yards long here, as Commercial and Marine Drive converge going opposite directions. The "One Way sign is for Commercial Street. Here's a view of that short block from the east with Marine Drive on the right and Commercial on the left. The building in the middle is Area Properties.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Passing the Buck . . . er . . . Couch

Couch on the River Walk - Leaving Your Trash for Someone Else July 25, 2010

If this is your couch, would you please come and get it? (Alternatively: As of 1:19 p.m. Monday, it is still here and in reasonably good shape. It has not been rained on yet! FREE COUCH, EVERYONE! Call me at (503) 338-8646 if you want to check on availability :)

We've been having remarkably beautiful weather the past few days. I walked out my door on the River Walk into the pleasant atmosphere only to find that someone had tried to get rid of their old couch by dumping it in front of the "Cardboard Only" sign on the recycling dumpster.

Cardboard Only Dumpster The blue dumpsters are supplied for free by WOW (Western Oregon Waste) for anyone who needs one for the type of cardboard waste one might collect when running (for example) a retail business with inventory. It's also perfectly OK for passers-by to dump cardboard in them. WOW also supplies (for free pick-up) recycling bins for other materials. One pays for actual trash pick-up, and I have to say it's a service I'm happy to pay for; it's useful, and is not that expensive when compared with other utilities such as a business phone line.

However, when thoughtless people put other types of refuse in the cardboard recycling bin, it becomes the responsibility of the person who requested the free bin on their trash service to pay for separating out the non-cardboard trash or recyclables. Although people throw cans, bottles, and paper into the "cardboard only" dumpster, I have so far not been charged for it. In part, this is because people down on their luck or "traveling light" have often scavenged the returnables to get cash. This is good.

WOW tells me that someone (in this case, me) will be responsible for either paying $35.23 to have them come and get rid of the couch, or (since I don't own a truck), I can find someone with a truck who is willing to take the couch to the dump, and I can pay only the $12.18 dump fee. Most of the River Walk being industrial, there are a lot of dumpsters and recycling bins that are tempting places for people who don't want to take responsibility for their own trash and cast-off articles. But it doesn't just go away. "They" do not pick it up and dispose of it for free.

Please, if this is your couch, come get it and do the right thing.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

On SE 12th Place

The Astoria Column from SE 12th Place - Old Metal Farm EquipmentJuly 23, 2010

I found some interesting old metal things on a farm along SE 12th Place, aka the road to the airport and the UPS office. Does anyone know what this is for? There was another one with some differences in the shape of the metal bars, and it was green.

The hill in the background is Astoria's south slope, and if you enlarge the photo, you can see the Astoria Column. Unseen before the hill is the expanse of Young's Bay.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Clatsop County Courthouse

Clatsop County Court House, Astoria, Oregon July 13, 2010

The Clatsop Country Courthouse is directly across the street from the Astoria Post Office, and takes up the block bounded by Commercial Street, 8th Street, Duane Avenue, and 7th Street at the west end of downtown Astoria. I've shown the courthouse from several angles; this is the main front entrance. I've also shown the post office in many guises. Click on the keywords beneath to check out other posts featuring these buildings. Clatsop County is named after the Clatsop Indians.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Point of Land with Benches

Park and Benches along the Columbia RiverJuly 6, 2010

This charming little park can be found along the River Walk just beneath the Astoria-Megler Bridge. I took the photo from the 4th floor of the Holiday Inn Express on Marine Drive. The Columbia River reflects the wide blue sky. In this post, you can see the park in situ with a hint of the view.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Diamonds in the Evening

Light on the water, Pier 11, Astoria, Oregon July 19, 2010

The sun made diamonds on the water between Pier 11's banquet room and waterfront fish packing equipment. The small shiny spots at the left-hand side of the photo midway up indicate the wood decking where the River Walk and Riverfront Trolley both make their way along the river. A fishing boat is docked on the right. I think the glass of the restaurant may be tinted but I did not desaturate.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Trolley from the Top

Astoria Riverfront Trolley from the Top July 5, 2010

For those who have wondered what the Astoria Riverfront Trolley looks like from the topside, I took this photo from the 4th floor of the Holiday Inn Express. The bay just to the left of the trolley is either the only beach or one of the very few beaches in Astoria where you can get into the river for a cold swim without climbing down the rocky bank. And it was very, very cold this July 5th.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Astoria Welcomes You!

Old Train Station, Astoria, Oregon May 14, 2010

I love the look of this place - it's about as funky as it gets, but it won't last long without a lot of TLC. At first I thought this was the platform for the train station (the brown building on the right) - and maybe it was a very long time ago, but after that it was a feed and grain storage building. I thought it looked like a station platform, so my first version of this post was about trains. Here's what I wanted to say:
An excursion train ran again for a short while a few years ago, and then it stopped. But a several-year-long project will put an historic steam engine on the line in 2011 that will run along the river through Astoria and beyond to . . . I'm not sure if the end point has been determined yet. I heard about it on KMUN the other day, and when I get a chance I'm going to check out the quonset hut at the west end of town where the work is being done. The project welcomes the public's attention and donations. Here is their web site. Won't it be fun to see the old engine chugging down our rails? I'm up for a ride, are you? I took this photo from the River Walk.
This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


A tree and flowers disappear along the River Walk
July 12, 2010
Along the River Walk

Remember the hollyhocks from July 12th's post? I didn't mention that they were right outside my window. I also captured them just in time. . . .

Tree and flowers gone

July 14, 2010
Same Location

To my surprise, when I looked outside today, huge metal jaws were devouring that very same bush. Soon it disappeared along with the tree, the mound of earth, the roses, and the other greenery. What's coming next? I'm not sure, but my guess is . . . a couple of parking spaces. [Later note: Thankfully, they will be making a new planter rather than parking spaces. For the moment, we're looking at level dirt.]

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Driftwood on the Beach, Fort Stevens, Warrenton, Oregon July 7, 2002

Yes, I was glancing through my archives and found this pic from 2002 that I've always liked. It was taken on the beach near the Peter Iredale. We have plenty of driftwood along this part of the coast at any season, and much of it is not the teeny variety. I seem to remember reading that this grass that keeps the dunes from eroding was brought in and is not native. It looks pretty, though, and helps make the Oregon Coast what it is to us today. I wonder what was here before the grass? Did the forest come right down to the sand? Note the overcast day. We've been having similar weather this year, but it may be the coldest July I can remember. I'm not complaining, and we tend to get sun in the afternoon, but I hear some people grumbling about it.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Glowing Like Heated Steel

Bridge in SunsetJuly 5, 2010

One of my favorite sunset sights is the last red gleam off the steel of the Astoria-Megler Bridge. You have to get a closer look to really see it.

Bridge in Sunset Here is the setting sun illuminating the upper structure of the bridge.

Bridge in Sunset And here is the lower. Enlarge the photos for a better view.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Branches and Wires: Hollyhocks In Situ

Flowers along the River Walk, Astoria, Oregon
June 11, 2010

Flowers along the River Walk, Astoria, OregonBy the River Walk near 15th Street.

Flowers along the River Walk, Astoria, OregonOne plant, several angles. Believe it or not, the building you see across the River Walk is this one.

Flowers along the River Walk, Astoria, Oregon
Flowers along the River Walk, Astoria, Oregon

Flowers along the River Walk, Astoria, Oregon
Flowers along the River Walk, Astoria, Oregon
This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ocean Angel II

Fishing boat Angel II, Astoria, Oregon July 4, 2010

Although I took this photo just after noon on July 4th, we've been having a lot of days like this. Usually the sun comes out later in the day. One day the temperature reached over 90 degrees, which is an unusual day for Astoria. Yesterday a heavy fog bank rolled in around 5:00 pm. It's always interesting and usually changeable.

Fishing boats are busily going up and down the river these days to get to the ocean. The small boat is always attached on the back this way on this particular boat. I'm not sure how they use it while fishing on the ocean.

Please read the anonymous comments below for excellent info.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Trolley Tracks and River Walk

July 6, 2010

The Riverfront Trolley and the River Walk share the same trestle along the river's edge, seen here from the 4th floor of the Holiday Inn Express. This view is looking east, upriver toward warehouses and piling fields from former buildings used in the fishing and fish cannery busineses. An anonymous commenter identified the pilings from the post a few days ago facing west. Maybe we'll be fortunate again today. You can reach the main part of town by walking east along the trestle. The two rectangular bays along the tracks are so people can get out of the way of the trolleys. They move slowly, clang their bells, and watch for pedestrians and people on bikes. One of these sunny days, I think I'll take the ride with camera in hand. For $1.00, what a deal. I think you can still get an all-day ticket for $2.00.

Does anyone know what the two poles are that sick up higher than the pilings?
This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Ship and Bridge: A Classic Astoria Scene

July 6, 2010

British Marine's Gloriana glides beneath the bridge in the morning sun, seen here from the 4th floor of the Holiday Inn Express in Astoria, Oregon. A couple of ships and many smaller boats came past while we were there.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

View from the Lobby

View from the Holiday Inn Express, Astoria, Oregon July 6, 2010

The views actually start before you get in the door of the Holiday Inn Express in Astoria, and many people love this location for watching the sunset. However, I was completely in awe of the view from the lobby. How many hotels have I ever been in where the view from (and amenities near) the lobby are this enticing? The River Walk is just this side of the water, and the Riverfront Trolley tracks are between the River Walk and the hedge. The shipping channel is on the other side of the huge bridge pier. In the foreground is a metal heron made by local sculptor Vern Wilson.

By the way, I found a wonderful site about the form and parts of bridges. Our Astoria-Megler bridge is the longest single-span truss bridge in the world. Or something like that.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Gull's-Eye View of the Cannery Pier Hotel

Cannery Pier Hotel from the Holiday Inn Express July 6, 2010

From the 4th floor window in the Holiday Inn Express, we could look beneath the Astoria-Megler Bridge to the Cannery Pier Hotel. We had thought of staying there instead, and maybe we'll do it another time (just so you can have some new views :) You can imagine how close it is to the shipping channel, which comes very near this bank to pass under the bridge.

The triangle of gray at the lower left is the River Walk. You can see two tiny benches near the water in a small park. Beyond that is the Maritime Memorial seen in this post. The white buildings and boats are West Mooring Basin, and I'll have a better picture on another day. You are not seeing ocean. The mouth of the river is approximately on the horizon to the right. The Columbia River bends in a L shape here, and the ships coming upriver go along from right to left, then apparently go behind the Cannery Pier Hotel, then angle toward the bridge. They go out the same way, making a bend in the river and staying much nearer our Oregon side of the river. You can click on any of the keywords below to see more related images.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Room with a View

Astoria-Megler Bridge, Astoria, OregonJuly 5, 2010

This has to be one of the best views from any hotel in the U.S. We took a mini vacation without leaving town, and stayed the night at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites in Astoria. It was pleasant and comfortable, and if you don't have young kids with you who are likely to fall out, you can open the windows, even on the 4th floor. As you can imagine, this afforded a number of interesting photo ops. Stay tuned! The windows are not open in this photo because, although the next few days are expected to be hot, we hit a record low last night. It was actually cold with the windows open.

That's the Astoria-Megler Bridge, shown many times on this blog already. The river is the Columbia, and the hills four-point-something miles away are in Washington.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Cute White House

Cute White House on Bond Street, Astoria, Oregon Call it cute, call it interesting. This is another of Astoria's unique wooden houses with unusual details. Although I haven't been inside this house on Bond Street, many of Astoria's older houses (and some of the brand new ones) have floor plans that can be categorized somewhere between quaint, bizarre, and extremely funky. Sometimes they are charming, sometimes you wonder what the builder was thinking. In their day, they must have made sense to someone. Now the funky layouts and interior spaces are conversation pieces as often as not. Most of the houses here have stories based solely on the plan or construction. Have you seen a house like that?

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

T. Paul's Urban Cafe

The Urban Cafe, Astoria, Oregon July 3, 2010
"The Urban" is definitely one of my all-time favorite eateries. It's on Commercial Street with no view of the river, but the restaurant makes up for that in spades. It's been called "hip" and "trendy," and I suppose it is, but mainly I enjoy the excellent healthy food, friendly owners and staff, pleasant and sometimes-quirky decor, and the unusually upbeat atmosphere. Paul and Theona have gone out of their way to make sure the customes feel the love. The sign on the dappled wall to the right says, "Expect A Miracle." I have to paraphrase their slogan, because I may not get the words right: "Eat Well, Love Much, Laugh Often." That sentiment is expressed throughout. This is a place where people care, and the public has paid the owners back by keeping the place full when many other restaurants are nearly empty. It's unusual that I was able to get this shot. Several tables of diners had just left. Often there is no waiting - there simply seems to be a "flow." If this is due to good Feng Shui, they have done that right, too.
More Weekend Reflections from around the world
This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Nice Place for an Office

Pilot Office, Astoria, Oregon June 4, 2010

The building on pilings in the center of the photo is the dispatch office of the Columbia River Bar Pilots. You reach it by way of the ramp of rust-colored wood. The white building on the left is the Astor Hotel, a landmark from almost anywhere on the Columbia River side of the hill. Astoria's downtown is about three blocks wide and runs parallel to the river. I've taken this photo from the 17th Street docks.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Things to Explore in Tapiola Park

Tapiola Park Playground May 31, 2009

There's lots for youngsters to climb on and explore in Tapiola Park on the south side of the Astoria hill, but today may not be the day, as it's been either pouring or drizzling for two days. We've had a few exceptionally nice days this season - the rest is rain and overcast skies.

In my last post, I showed the Tot Lot of the playground. In this post, even earlier, I showed someone using the skate park a few yards away, which was made from an old swimming pool.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lighthouse Park, Warrenton

Lighthouse Park, Warrenton, Oregon March 21, 2010

Lighthouse Park, at the main crossroads in Warrenton near the Skipanon River, consists of a small museum and maritime memorial (the gazebo on the left), a bell, a bench (not shown here), and a harpoon gun with harpoons. I showed the gun an harpoons in an earlier post where we ended up talking a lot about whaling, ships, and local history. There were many wonderful comments from those who knew the people, and you might want to revisit the post. You can barely make out the harpoon gun in the picture above as a black spot to the left of the charming white lighthouse building. I called that post, "History in Hammond." Hammond was once an incorporated town, but is now part of Warrenton. I've never been sure where one ends and the other begins.

I'm guessing the lighthouse was moved here, as it wouldn't do ships any good at this location. The Skipanon is very small, and the Columbia is a few blocks away.

Lighthouse Park, Warrenton, Oregon
This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

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