A room with a view

or in my case an office cubicle with a view. My office moved to a company owned building about one month ago. I did most of the planning and coordination for my group so I picked my cube before anyone else. I picked the NW corner because it had the best windows (2 since it is a corner) and nice views. My office is located in a building that sits behind the Benson Hotel on the corner of Park Ave and Stark ST to Oak ST downtown Portland.

My cube for the previous four years in the old building was an internal cube with no window. Even if I had a window it would have been looking across the street at the parking garage.

I took my camera in to the office Monday to take a photo of a new employee for his company badge/id  and decided to snap  a few photos of my view. Even with the filthy windows they didn’t turn out too bad. I need to take photos on a nice, clear sunny day when I can see even more of the west hills and more of the bridges and a peek of the Willamette River.

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What that “red neck” houseboat really was


I published this photo on my blog last month in a post titled Rolling on the river – part II. I had just got my new camera and took it down to the Willamette River boat launch to take some photos. My timing was perfect to see both the above houseboat and the Portland Spirit float by.

I heard that the story of the houseboat was covered by a local TV evening news but couldn’t find anything online about it. Yesterday my massage therapist said that she saw a story in the newspaper. So I did some more searching and found the story.

Two friends, a houseboat and a river: A final adventure before real life beckons. – James Mayer The Oregonian

“William Steele has been dreaming about floating down the river since he was 9 years old.

It wasn’t Huck Finn who inspired him, but a book at home on backyard bungalows that had a drawing of a houseboat. The design looked like it would fall over. Steele thought he could do better.”


It is a story of friendship, a dream and determination. Go read the story and watch the video interview.

Rolling on the river

Portland and Milwaukie both are situated on the banks of the Willamette River. Milwaukie over the last few years has finally had some funds to clean up the riverfront in downtown. I can’t tell you how many times bond measures to fund the clean up and to make improvements along the river were voted down. The riverfront could be a major draw if it had a nice restaurant, more park area and more walking paths.

What has been done recently is a good start but a lot more could be done to make use of the riverfront for the community.

Entrance to the riverfront area

Entrance to the riverfront area

Nice wide sidewalk for walkers and bikes

Nice wide sidewalk for walkers and bikes

Looking south toward Elk Rock Island

Looking south toward Elk Rock Island

“Historical Information

The island represents part of an ancient volcano that erupted about 40 million years ago. The large, jagged rocks (Waverly Heights basalt) found throughout the island were formed by lava flows, and may be the oldest exposed rock in the Portland area. The island contains seven distinct habitats, including wetlands, forests and grasslands. A number of birds, including bald eagles and osprey, have been spotted in the area.

Elk Rock Island was part of the original donation land claim of Milwaukie pioneer Lot Whitcomb and was known as Lot Whitcomb Island during the 1860s. It went through six owners before Scottish grain exporter and Portland businessman Peter Kerr (1862-1957) acquired the property in 1910 from the Rock Island Club, which operated a dance hall on the island. He gave the island to the City of Portland in 1940 with the requirement that it be preserved in its natural state. As Kerr put it, “Preserve it as a pretty place for all to enjoy.” On October 29, 1954, the Kerr formally dedicated Peter Kerr Park with a bronze plaque.”

Looking West at the big buck homes in Lake Oswego

Looking West at the big buck homes in Lake Oswego

Looking north

Looking north

The last big house on the river belongs to Danny Glover. Penny Marshall has a huge home and lot further south on the eastside of the river in the Gladstone area.

Classic Ike and Tina Turner from 1971

The City of Milwaukie – “What were they thinking?”

This is a field about one mile from where I live. There is an apartment complex across the street to the north. I often see people who I guess live in the apartments walking their dogs or letting them run on this property. The City of Milwaukie has planted some flowers and ground cover and placed two benches on the NE corner of the property.

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I have often wondered about the area fenced off with warning signs on it so I did some Google research and found the information about the environmental hazard on the state’s DEQ website.

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It really makes me want to know why the city invested any money to beautify this property if right next to it is an enviromental hazard. What were they thinking? My tax dollars at work!

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From the Oregon DEQ website:

Site History:
Contamination Information: Environmental investigations conducted since 1989 have revealed the presence of PAH contamination in on-site soils to depths greater than 40 feet bgs, in off-site soils beneath the adjacent SPTCo railroad right-of-way, and on the Milwaukie Marketplace. The investigations have also revealed the presence of elevated PAHs in on-site groundwater.
Manner and Time of Release: Past practices and vandalism at pole-treating facility caused releases of creosote. The facility operated from the 1920s to 1953. Ten thousand gallons were released in 1951 when young vandals opened valves on the creosote vats.
Hazardous Substances/Waste Types: The contaminants of concern are constituents of creosote: polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and dibenzofurans.
Pathways: On-site and off-site soils are contaminated; on-site groundwater contaminated; off-site groundwater threatened. PAHs detected in on-site and off-site soils and in on-site groundwater may threaten the Milwaukie drinking water supply. (Two city supply wells are located adjacent to the site.) Current land use within 0.5 mile of the site is primarily residential and commercial. The site is located near a wetlands area.
Environmental/Health Threats: Soil and groundwater contamination confirmed. Milwaukie drinking water supply wells located adjacent to site; wetlands adjacent to site; site is located in residential area adjacent to shopping center. Potential threats to humans by contact with site soils and ingestion of drinking water.


What’s with this crazy weather?

Since early last week it has been in the 90s everyday. I suspect that July overall will go down as a record setting month for temps in the high 90s and consecutive days over 100 degrees. When we left to go to Kauai on the 3rd we joked that we were going to Hawaii where it was in the high 80s to cool down. On the 3rd the temperature was forecasted at 96 degrees which was about where the temps were the previous 4 or 5 days.

By this weekend the forecast is calling for a cooling trend. That is if you can call high 80s to low 90 s cooling. I mean after all this is Oregon not Texas for Pete’s sake. Plus I am tired of all of the conversations about how HOT it is. If it were raining everyone would be bitching about the rain.

Driving home from work today I had my AC cranked down to the max at 60 degrees but with the hot sun shining in my west facing passenger window in to my  car with black leather interior I got a bit toasty sitting at the stop lights.

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