Portland

Fury on the Fourth

July 5, 2008

In Portland, Fourth of July fireworks typically begin a day or two early and linger for a few days. I’m talking about unofficial fireworks, the kind I nearly maimed myself with as a kid. This evening on my front steps, I heard a firecracker explode up the street. At the sound, an Alfred Hitchcock flock […]

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Imagine a world in which our doctors treat us the way veterinarians treat our pets. This occurs to me as I stare at a three-by-two-inch can, the temporary resting place of Bok Choy Tong. The can is painted with red, orange, and blue flowers, not unlike our garden where her remains will be spread. Before […]

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Scene, unseen

July 1, 2008

He’s back. The old man with caved-in cheeks, driving a faded blue car. I saw him today. Third time in a week, always morning. This time will he see me starring from my window across the street? Just sits there, eyes down, motor running. Drives off after a minute or two. I hadn’t seen him […]

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Poodle hip, not standard

June 30, 2008

Portland is dog crazy. Walk a dog through neighborhoods like mine (Irvington) and you’ll get more oohs and ahs from passersby than if pushing a cute baby in a stroller. The city reportedly has the country’s highest per capita of canines. Like many of their owners, some Portland dogs display individuality via bodily adornments. Take […]

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Of wisp and ashes

June 26, 2008

“Shawn is my name,” he says, holding out a small gnarled hand. Shawn shows no hint that he minds me, a stranger, flagging him down as he zips past my house on his electric cart. He answers personal questions with no hesitation, no suspicion. I ask to photograph him and the dog perched at his […]

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Really local locavores

June 25, 2008

A little publicity goes a long way. In May, I wrote a story for The Oregonian about two Portland men starting a new business, City Garden Farms. Their idea: grow vegetables in the urban yards of people willing to participate in return for a weekly supply of the harvest. Their entrepreneurial zeal impressed me. Their […]

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Brave new bike world

June 23, 2008

A modest wish for a better world popped in my head Sunday during Portland’s six miles and six hours without cars event (photo slideshow here). I was taking a break on a bench at Arbor Lodge Park, enjoying the people streaming past, many with kids in tow, headed for food or hula-hoop lessons. But I […]

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I‘m a terrorist. No doubt about it. I didn’t want to go over to the Dark Side, but some forces are too powerful to resist. The Obama Fist Bump nailed me, or OFB as we converts call it. It happened today on a Portland pedestrian bridge over Interstate 5. I was among throngs of people […]

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Phoning home

June 21, 2008

Only in Portland. That’s my reaction whenever I observe an example of what makes my city quirky and vibrant. It explains the unexplainable. The slogan “Keep Portland Weird,” adorning bumper stickers and t-shirts, is catchy but implies intent to meet a predetermined goal. But weirdness here tends to be organic. Nor is it weird if […]

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Garden porn

June 16, 2008

Sex in my garden, courtesy of dracunculus vulgaris. Just saying the name is a turn on. The dime on one shows how big they are. Too bad they smell like rotten meat for a day or so to lure flies into their throats. Voodoo lily and Mick Jagger’s tongue are among the many nicknames. Two […]

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Death, never rewritten

June 15, 2008

Odd what catches one’s eye. In Saturday’s Oregonian, a story about a man’s death at the coast invited a quick read. Why I’m not sure. The story was terse, as such stories usually are and have to be because of limited space: a for-the-record summary of another tragedy, another person dying too young. This morning […]

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A photograph would convey more than words, but I don’t have one of a barista at Peet’s Coffee at Northeast Broadway and 15th. You can’t miss him: the young guy with a modified mohawk, traditionally cut on top but with checkerboard-patterned sides and back. By Portland standards, the haircut barely rates a second glance. But […]

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I see her every day, part of the movie flickering past my window. Driving an electric scooter chair, she talks to herself, occasionally gesturing as if stressing a point. The woman is among a cast featuring bicyclists galore, women carrying yoga mats, kids chattering to and from school, a United Nations of leashed dogs, and […]

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