Some things found on Burnside

It was a sunny day–the first in a long time. There wasn’t much to do at work and the Laurelhurst announced that they were changing from a second-run to a first-run theater. My friend S. North and I made plans to see one last movie for $3.00. And I decided to walk from work to the theater.

This is a well-trod route for me, but here are some fun things I saw:

I’ve recently learned that the reason this building and the Hippo Hardware building (see below) have arcades, is that they were built before Burnside was widened. When it was, the ground floors were pulled back to make an arcade.

You can see the transition a little more clearly in this picture.

Here’s the Hippo Hardware building which has the same feature. This building will be torn down in 2–5 years. Hippo Hardware says their landlord has been awesome for 26 years and continues to be awesome (thus, the long lead time), but that something else will be built here so they will most likely move. Ironically, I rarely walk on this side of Burnside. But construction of a building (probably a building that will look much like the one that will replace the Hippo Hardware building) made me cross the street. Upside?  I got some pictures I wouldn’t have normally taken.

Closer to the Laurelhurst Theater, I noticed that the building of Burnside 26 has infringed on the sign of the now-defunct Chinese Restaurant.

I’m not sure how building code allowed that to happen. I’m also impressed the construction people didn’t knock holes in it.

A walk on Mississippi Ave.

I spent a lovely morning walking on Mississippi Avenue looking for Help Wanted signs for Job Spotter.  I found none on Mississippi.  Maybe the stores there are too fancy for help wanted signs in the window? I also took some pictures.  Here they are:

On the lower left, ghost stairs that are probably not long for this word given the pace of the development.  You can see a new building that has gone up, looming over the original house.  Will something else be built on its other side?

Some great side-of-building art.


Someone has repurposed a disco ball into a very large Victorian-style garden looking glass. That’s a really big disco ball.  I wonder where it once was?

New construction happening where there once were ghost stairs. In fact, I have pictures of those ghost stairs.  See them here.


I love this gate.

Here is some art embedded into the side of building with a QR code to go with it.  I did not scan it, but you probably could.


Amen to this statement.  @UnzippedPDX turns out to be two strippers who talk about whatever they want.  Here’s a link.


I liked this oddly-shaped bumper–or back panel–sticker.  The internet tells me it’s a famous line from Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues” which also led to a discussion of if Bob Dylan coined the phrase.

Overall, this was a good day for a walk.

Sunrise for the new year

I had some problems with my helmet, which meant I didn’t ride my bike to work today as planned. But that meant that I got to walk over the Steel Bridge and see this glorious sunrise.

There was a train stopped on the bridge, and I thought, “I should take a picture of the sunrise through the windows of the train.”  And then I did nothing with that thought, which was unfortunate, because when I did decide I wanted to try that, the trains that came by were moving and thus I got blurry photos.  These two were my best.  You can see where the good photo could have been.

If 50% of 2018 can equal this sunrise, it’s going to be a very good year.

(There was another good one the next day, too!)

Hike to the top of Mt. Sylvania

I’d never heard of Mt. Sylvania, but here was an urban hike, so we went for it.  We started at McNary Park, which had a nice mist going.

Most of the hike wound through the largest planned community in Oregon, which sits on the border between Portland and Lake Oswego.  There were a good amount of tunnels to walk through.  I observed that Lake Oswego tunnels do not stink of urine.

A few houses ring the top of Mt. Sylvania, including this one, custom built for astronomy, and with an awesome weather vane.

On a clearer day you can see a very long way.

This was also one of those hikes where I had no idea where I was most of the time.  Just after I took this picture of this house that utilizes much Deco glass, we turned the corner and, “oh hello!” there was the car.

Saddle Mountain

Since we were headed to Seaside for our vacation, we planned to hike to the top of Saddle Mountain.  We did this hike early in the relationship.  Maybe year three?  For me, this was a good reminder at how different one’s fitness level can become in a decade, plus a few years.

In our previous hike, we got to the trail early.  So early that we took some naked hiking pictures, because there were no people around.  At various times on our hike today, one or the other of us would say, “I think this is maybe where we took the naked hiking pictures?”  This was one of my guesses.  I’m not entirely sure where the naked hiking pictures are right now, so I can’t check to see if I was right.

Someone is committed to keeping this picnic bench in this location.  Matt stands on the precipice.

From the top!  There were a ton of bugs at the top.  They were flying into our mouths as we were trying to take this picture.  That’s the ocean behind us, on the horizon.

Along with our fellow hikers, we retreated to a non-bug area below the top.  There we rested, and took this self-portrait.  It was windy.

Matt wandered out to the precipice area and grabbed this photo.

After hiking back down, we ate the most delicious sandwiches I’ve ever made.  There’s something to be said for one’s appetite after such physical exertion.

Portland Hill Walk re-routed

We took another Portland Hill Walk, but I did not know the Lower Macleay Trail was closed for renovation.  Instead of taking that red line back to where the car was parked at 29th and Vaughn, we took the very long detour which is the blue line that runs below the solid red line of the Lower Macleay.

However, it did take us by this building, the Historic Fairmount Apartments.  I’d been wondering if anything had changed with this building.Back in 2002, when I first moved to Portland, I secured a job with a company.  I’d been living with my aunt, which made it much easier to get established in Portland. With a job in hand, I started looking for studio apartments and I toured the Fairmount Apartments.

It was great!  For $275/month (or maybe even less?) I could get a studio with a shared bathroom in a building that was built as part of the Lewis & Clark Exposition. (!!!!Cheap!!!!Alternative living arrangements!!!!!Historic!!!!!) I was about to put in my application when the company rescinded their offer. By the time I found another job, an apartment came open in a co-worker’s building and I ended up in the more expensive ($500/month) and also delightful Rosefriend Apartment (now sadly gone.)

But I wondered if such cheap lodgings were still available in this building. When we walked by, I guessed that they they were no longer for rent.  I crossed my fingers that the chain-link fence didn’t mean the whole building was coming down.

Good news!  According to UD+P’s website, this building will be renovated.  To quote:

Over the next year, the property will be overhauled with new plumbing and electrical, a new roof, and new landscaping—all while preserving the historic charm of the Fairmount’s beautiful brick exterior. The renovated Fairmount Apartments will have approximately 80 modern units, all with private bathrooms, with street-facing entrances for many first-floor units.

The smaller-than-average square footage of the units will allow for cheaper rent than is typically found in comparable downtown Portland apartment buildings. This will help to set up The Fairmount Apartments as a viable choice for those who wish to live in a well-appointed historic building without the expensive rent associated with larger, similarly located apartment units.

Score and score!  While I remain skeptical that “cheaper rent” will translate into “amount of rent I could afford to pay today” I really appreciate what they are attempting.

Estimated date of completion is Summer 2018.  I wish them good luck.

Also, here’s a quote from a DJC article about the situation when the building went up for sale in 2011

The apartment complex has about 80 units – 26 with either one, two or three bedrooms on the first floor, and 54 studios with shared bathrooms on the second floor. The studios start at around $300 per month, a near rock-bottom rent for Northwest Portland.

So it seems that yes, until 2011, the super cheap rent was still available.