I’ve been retired for a couple years now. I had a good run at Providence Health System. I was retired due to “budgetary concerns”. Oh well, that’s in the rear view mirror, right?
I’ve been working around the house. Definitely getting on my long-suffering wife’s last nerve. It was decided that I needed something to keep me busy. After a couple of false starts I’ve ended up at the Oregon Zoo in the Portland West Hills.
I’m a volunteer focusing on roving the habitats. I answer questions about animals and their habitats at the zoo. I’ll steer parents to the nearest restroom or restaurant or the nearest exit.
One thing a guest doesn’t expect to find at a zoo is artwork. Oregon Zoo is no different. We have had artwork for as long as I can remember coming to the Oregon Zoo.
Still, the new pieces are more and more intriguing. From the Washed Ashore exhibit created completely from trash washed up on Oregon beaches to this recent addition.
Polar Passages just opened up. It’s the new home of the ever popular Nora the polar bear. It’s only appropriate that theme associated artwork be included in the new habitat. Here is just one of the wonderful sculptures.
What’s so amazing about these sculptures, aside from the beauty, is that they are made completely out of repurposed aluminum cans!
This particular sculpture has 1500 lbs. of scrap aluminum cans molded and hammered into a lifelike form full of character and mystery.
On your next visit to the zoo, stop and observe the animals in their habitats. Enjoy an elephant ear. And take time to look, feel and enjoy the sculptures and murals. They really do round out the whole trip.
In 1909 a Portland businessman commissioned a statue. It was to commemorate the elk herds that would come to graze in the downtown area.
After the killing of George Floyd over six weeks ago, downtown has become a progressively violent and unsafe space.
Attacking the Multnomah County Justice Center became a favorite target. Only after there were no more windows to shatter or stores to loot. Windows were breached and fires were lit inside in an attempt to burn it down even though the building was still occupied by employees and prisoners.
Now, the Portland Police have been ordered to stand down and forbidden from using non-lethal crowd control methods. The City Council has disowned the police. The District Attorney just declined to prosecute 59 arrestees. Almost all charged with felony arson.
Downtown Portland continues to devolve into a burned out urban war zone. The message of thousands of peaceful protesters has been lost amid the continued violence. Jerry Nadler called Antifa “imaginary”. Perhaps Mr. Nadler would like to take a stroll in downtown Portland this evening?
Note: I have used a mix of personal images, images from the OregonLive reports and from a friend who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of retribution from Antifa.
Clouds. Rain. Blustery winds. Winter in the Pacific Northwest can be grey and chill. One of the surprising aspects of winter here is the resident hummingbirds that do not migrate. So, while the sky is heavy and low with tumult, there comes a splash of color.
We all have those big cities near us that provide the requisite amount of hub and bub to our lives. It’s almost impossible to avoid. The traffic. The crowds. The noise.
Some of us are lucky enough to have a solution to all that. Driving 15 minutes in almost any direction from the city center will find another frame of mind. You’ll find yourself in the land of Small Town USA.
A place where small shops still advertise with small signs above the sidewalk. Where quirky, not weird, is alive and well.
Where quirky, not weird, is alive and well.
A town where you can get a sidewalk hot dog, cross the street to wash it down with a beer at the pub then get something sweet at the panaderia.
For dinner there’s always the Indian Fusion place next door.
These towns are so much more that the storefronts and little traffic. It’s people walking and saying “Hi!”. It’s the small theaters. It’s the old, weathered brick and heavy wooden doors.
It’s a place that still feels good about a father and daughter dance. Or signs reminding you to make your reservation for the American Legion Crab Feed.
If that big city is a triple shot, caff, half caff, extra hot, no foam, soy latte existence then these small oases are the comfort food towns we all need to visit. If to do nothing more than take a deep breath and recharge.