The view from my office windows this morning

Yes, that is a giant crab. It is on the roof of the building where Jake’s Famous Crawfish is located. Jake’s is one of the oldest restaurants in Portland. For whatever reason they put this crab up around St. Patrick’s Day and it stays for there for a few weeks. I am not sure what the connection to St. Patrick’s Day is.

Here’s a better photo that I found on Google Images.

Portland area mystery solved

I finally found some information about the abandoned building off Hwy 30 in Linnton. I have been interested in the history of this building every time I drive by it on the way out to ST Helens.  Some say that it was a train station which never made sense as it is only a few miles from Portland’s Union Station in NW Portland.

I Googled “abandon building highway 30” and found some photos on Flikr with comments and speculation as to what the building used to be. Again a train station was mentioned. I found one photo that the owner actually knew the history of the building.

The building was a gas manufacturing plant built and operated by Portland Gas and Coke from 1912 to 1957.The building has sat there abandoned all these years. The property is fenced off and has a guard on duty. No one can get inside of the fence because of the hazardous material that was manufactured and stored there.

There is a good write up in the Portland Tribune still online from 2007 about this building.

This is a cool site, Lehman Brothers Collection where you can choose a company and read about its history.

1882: Portland Gas Light Co. builds a second and separate plant.
1892: Charles F. Adams, A.L. Mills, and other businessmen buy the company and change the company’s name to Portland Gas Co.
1910: The company incorporates as Portland Gas & Coke Co.
1913: Portland Gas & Coke Co. builds its third and last manufacturing plant in Linnton, making gas from oil, not coal.
1956: Natural gas arrives from the southwest.
1957: Portland Gas & Coke closes its manufactured gas plant and changes its name to Northwest Natural Gas Co.

How my office is helping Portland’s homeless youths one book at a time

11/21/09 Update: Yesterday 231 books were delivered to New Avenues for Youth. Yeah! Way to go co-workers.

My office recently moved a few blocks up the street from where I have worked for many years. We are still in downtown Portland but there are very different type of people in the area. While we are still located in the core business area there are a couple of small parks in both directions where homeless people tend to hang out. Many of these homeless are young. A co-worker who has come to Portland from Seattle a couple of times asked why there are so many young homeless people on the street. The answer is because the city and county have many services available geared toward the youths in addition to many private organizations. Across the street from the office is  New Avenue for Youths.

What is New Avenues for Youths and what do they do?

Every day there are up to 400 homeless youth from Oregon and Southwest Washington living on the streets of Portland.

At New Avenues for Youth, we are committed to creating and providing excellent programs and services for homeless and at-risk youth to assist them in developing the skills they need to exit street life forever. The New Avenues for Youth continuum of care is broken into four key areas:

Stabilization, Outreach  & Engagement, Early Intervention & Protection and
Skill Building

All four areas come together to ensure that homeless youth have the appropriate resources and support at every stage of their development.

When I was on vacation last month a couple of women in my department ran a clothing drive to gather clothes for the clients of New Avenue.

Then last week a couple of women in my immediate office decided to start a contest between the two sales teams and the sales support team to help support a charitable organization. They sent out this email to everyone on the three teams and a few of us who kind are not really tied directly to one of the teams.

“The benefactor of this competition will be New Avenue for youth GED program. We are collecting books that are required reading for graduation and will be donated to their library.

We have coordinated with Powell’s Books main Burnside location. They are providing a 20% discount for the purchase of new books for this drive. Powell’s also has a large supply of used books available, New Avenues is happy to receive both new and used books.”

Since the original email went out there have been a lot emails talking smack and posturing flying between the teams. Our contest runs until Nov. 2oth. Within the first couple of days the teams had already purchased over 125 books.

It’s all good clean fun competition with the winner ultimately being New Avenues and the future of their clients.

* “Oregon has the highest proportion of homeless people in the nation, according to a new report on homelessness issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.”

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 the…?

What a coincidence. This is a real news story.

This is a press release courtesy of the Portland Police Bureau

On September 29, 2009 at approximately 9:00 p.m., a Portland Police Officer driving eastbound on Southeast Stark Street near 136th was hit by an oncoming vehicle that veered into the officer’s lane.

Two passengers from the COPS television show were riding in the officer’s vehicle as part of a COPS production that is currently being filmed with the Portland Police Bureau.

The officer and both passengers were transported to an area hospital to be treated for their non life-threatening injuries. The officer and one of the COPS passengers were released from the hospital last night, but the other passenger is still in the hospital with serious head injuries.

With the famous last words Investigators believe that alcohol was a factor in this accident and the investigation is ongoing.”

Gee, you think?