The End of Byways Cafe. Another Portland Classic Shuttered

Byways has been a classic cafe for the entire time I’ve lived in Portland. It provides solid, delicious food and a fun, kitschy setting.

The owners made the decision to close because they were unable to negotiate a new lease with their landlords. I’m guessing from this for-sale sign, the building owners would rather market a mostly empty building to potential buyers. It’s easier to tear down and put up something bigger.

There were a lot of feelings about this loss in the local newspapers (the daily and weeklies) and on social media.

I will miss this Portland institution.

Crane Coming Down

Would you like to make dozens of people look up? Even while walking? If so, install, and then disassemble, a crane. Not only was I looking up while walking past this, so was everyone else I encountered.

Also, look at this! The wheels aren’t even on the ground! They are being held up by these hydraulic lifts that extend from the crane dissembler thing.

Also. This isn’t a fast process. When I walked by at before eight a.m. they had started and when I left at 4:30 they were still going.

Note from the future. When the quarantine happened in March, the street had still not been reopened. It was close, but hadn’t happened yet.

End of the bus station

The Greyhound Station, a block-sized center of transport, has closed. No more will buses pick people up for parts unknown from inside a building. Instead, it will pick people up from a street.

There is a great undulating wall on this side of the station. I hope it will be preserved through the next development, but I’m guessing my hopes will be in vain.

This PO Will Go

The main post office has been a part of my life since 2006, when I started working at The Emerson School. It takes up a huge swath of land at the northern edge of the Park Blocks, and it sprawls with an assured sense that the postal mail will always be an important part of daily life.

Alas, this is not the case. The mail processing facility has moved out to the airport for better access to the planes and shipping channels. (Though worse access for most employees, probably). And now this entire segment will be redeveloped into some magical bit of mixed-use Portland.

Here’s the view from Northwest Johnson street, where you can see the train station popping up over the mid-century design.

Later, there will be more photos of the front, but you can see where the mail trucks use to pull out for places near and far.

It was once big enough to have an in-house cafe!

Seal Building for Sale

This building sits at the corner of NW 23rd and West Burnside. It used to be the offices of Barbara Sue Seal Properties. I have memories of it from an early age, when we used to come to the Alphabet District when vising at Spring Break/Christmas/Summer

This article says that Barbara Sue Seal started this business in 1983 and was immediately successful. She sold her business in 1997, but still loves doing deals.

Hopefully the next tenant will leave the seal be!

Last Days for this Fire Escape

The window outside the kitchen area at my work is the one that goes to the fire escape. This is the same fire escape that the robbers came in through to steal three computers, a projector and a throw rug to carry them all out with. But they’ve put a better lock on it since then.

They are removing this fire escape as part of the building remodel. I’ve never sat on it, myself, but a coworker did on a regular basis.

Still, I’ve enjoyed having it and will miss it when it is gone.

Update from the future. For reasons unknown, they did not remove the fire escape!

Last days of the Alder Street Food Cart Pod

The Alder Street Food Cart Pod is famous! It takes up an entire city block. Yes! People can walk the perimeter and find a large variety of choices for their meals.

It’s also going away at the end of the month. A luxury hotel and condominium will be built on the block instead.

These pictures were taken from the streetcar, hence the blurry glare.

There has been talk of relocating some of the food carts to a different area of town, maybe the North Park Blocks, or the underused park on Ankeny and Burnside. But nothing has been firmed up. So in a few days, these carts will be gone.

A walk in the Phillips neighborhood

I killed time between the defense and the big party by talking one of the walks in my walking tours book. This was of the Phillips Neighborhood.

I was staying in Ventura Village, but that’s the next neighborhood over. On my walk to the start of the walk, I snapped a picture of this church, where you can attend services in Norwegian!

When you have too much car for your garage…

Basically, Minneapolis is chock full of houses that leave me weak in the knees. Here is one.

All you need to know about Phillips.

Along with a close-up of the neighborhood boundaries.

Most of the walk was on Park Avenue, which has been redeveloped many times over the years. Thus, it was not unusual to see this lineup:

A grand building of apartment homes, built when that was a thing rich people lived in.

Right next to that, a 60s or 70s development.

And right next to that, a small office building.

Here were also huge mansions, like this one, which is now the American Swedish Institute, which I visited in 2015.

And this one:

And this one, which has moved on to a new life as a mosque. I did like that about Minneapolis. A lot of the grand houses have been converted to office space.

Very fancy looking office space, like this one, which houses the American Indian Services.

I liked the look of this stucco, and couldn’t decide if it was the pattern, or stucco suffering from neglect.

Look at this great church!

And these beautiful houses!

It wasn’t unusual to come across these views of fin de siecle houses with downtown towers looming in the background.

Look at the turret on this house!

It seems that bicycle theft is a problem here too.

Here’s an interesting corner. An older apartment building:

And across the street an apartment tower with its first four stories attempting to blend. This works for me.

And then this other corner with some new contstruction totally blending with a new tower looming in the background.

This is a pretty red house with a widow’s walk.

This might be my favorite picture from this walk. A nondescript low brick building next to a beautiful stone house, with a colorful Hannapin Healthcare buiding nearby and the prow of the football stadium poking up in the back.

I could have spent a solid week wandering through Minneapolis and St. Paul neighborhoods.

North Park Blocks Post Office

The main post office, located next to the train station, is in the process of transformation. The mail sorting operations have moved out by the airport. Eventually the entire building will close and the very large piece of property that caps off the North Park Blocks will be redeveloped into…something.

Right now the retail postal operation is still open, but I figured I’d better grab some pictures while I could.

The business mailing operations have headed out to the new facility so this part of the building is not in use right now.

The building itself is nothing memorable from the outside. It’s a basic, no-frills mid-century that few people will probably miss when it falls to the wrecking ball. But I do love the interior. The long corridor of PO boxes on one side, and the windows that let in the light year round is always a calming experience.

There are many bays of PO boxes. I’d be interested to know how many are currently rented.

These new compartments are for PO box customers with packages. I think they used to hold stuff behind the counter and these are the new system. People who get packages will find the key in their PO box and they use it to access the proper locker.

That closed window to the left of the clock used to be a small business selling snack food items and other sundries. It was run by a blind person for many years.

A blurry picture of the elevator to other parts of the building including a cafe. I assume the cafe is now closed and I’m sorry I didn’t ever visit. I’ve long toyed with a regular feature on cafes hidden in large buildings.

The nice looking letter drop area.

Supposedly, a new post office retail location will open in the vicinity when the main building is closed for redevelopment. I’m sure it will be fine, but I will miss this location, which has served me well for more than ten years.

The Barn is no more

At the corner of North Denver Avenue and North Lombard street in Portland Oregon, there’s a run-down building which until recently housed The Barn, a local bar.

On the sign with the full name of the bar (The Farmer’s Barn) we see the reason for the demise: Pat has died.

I didn’t fully realize until this moment that it was called the Farmer’s Barn. This is because until that sign was changed to Pat’s memorial information, it said, “Do not need a farm to enjoy the barn”

Both Yelp and Facebook have confirmed the closing of this bar. I learned from the Yelp reviews that they only served beer and wine, accepted no credit cards and had a happy hour from 7-11am. I usually saw people heading in around seven on the days when I rode my bike to work and took Denver. That explains that.

I will be interested to see if this building is replaced. My guess is yes.

R.I.P. Pat, and your Farmer’s Barn.