Monday, December 28, 2009

Buildings Come Down

It’s been awhile, faithful readers, and I apologize for that. Life is distracting, what can I say.

But! Yes, I have two things to bring to your attention over here on the east side. Both are buildings and both are coming down. Different neighborhoods, different methods.

First, over in southeast on Hawthorne. The Daily Grind, the hippy health food store is no more. The store has actually been closed for a couple of years now ~ sorry if that is distressing news to those of your far away. The empty shell of the formerly bustling business saw chainlink fencing go up a couple of weeks ago, and then last week the bulldozer started. Yes, they are knocking the whole damned thing down. Well, it’s an entire block on upper Hawthorne, and that’s gotta be worth a fair bit of change. I suppose we’ll see more mixed use condo/retail going in… sigh. The last one of those that they put in on upper Hawthorne is hideous. Just plain ugly.

Second, right in my home neighborhood! Yes, smack dab in the middle of Sullivan’s Gulch, well, more like on the boundary of Sullivan’s Gulch, in fact, leaning over the gulch itself. An old brick building, long suspected of being a drug lab by my darling daughter, began its slow descent this month. According to the infallible local tv news, a water main under the building broke during that brutally cold snap we had in mid December. Once things thawed out the broken pipe washed away the land under the foundation and the side of the building sagged down an unexpected few feet. Now, if you are trying to picture this place, it’s on 21st, right after you cross the Banfield and before Multnomah. That very first block if you are traveling northbound on 21st.

The building has housed a number of businesses over the years but has been vacant for quite some time. I can’t remember what the last business was. Was it the oriental rug place or was that next door? Anyway, it was vacant when it started falling into the Gulch. Of course, they can’t leave it that way, and since it is on a fairly busy street and over the railroad it must be dealt with. They’ve been working on it from 21st, blocking the street, and reaching over the guard rail to pull parts of it off and up. It’s a mess. It looks pretty old, all unreinforced brick.

There is something embarrassing about a building with one side torn off. Like we are seeing it unclothed. There’s no business going on, no personal stuff exposed, it just feels rude and voyeuristic to see its parts on display like that. Poor old building. I hope the bricks are salvaged.

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got for now… Happy Holidays and here’s to a great New Year!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Downtown Project

I believe that I have mentioned the city lot bounded by 4th, 5th, Market and Mill Streets, downtown. It has been a parking lot for a very long time but things are moving now. Some months ago they started tearing down the existing “structure” which consisted of a retaining wall. I’m oh-so-happy to report that they took care to leave and even protect the venerable, large tree that was on the site. I believe it is a copper beech, but I could be wrong there. They have begun building a new wall. Well, more accurately, they have built the new retaining wall, and it’s much shorter, and they have begun facing it with stone. Above the top of the wall the ground slopes upward to the surface. From the corner of 4th and Market that is quite a slope since the street is dropping away in that direction. At the corner of 5th and Mill, there’s just a small rise.

In the slope, on the downhill side, they have set many large, tubular pieces of either steel or rigid black plastic. These are dug into the side of the slope. They look to be about 4 or 5 feet across, and several feet deep at the high end. I can’t tell if they are intended to be planting holes, or if they are a step in another construction piece. There are too many to be air vents for an underground parking garage, I think. If they are for planting, they are really large, which would indicate the planting of trees… that’s my take, anyway. I’ll try to get a picture of them to show what I mean. Maybe one of you has an idea about their purpose?

Probably if I had the time to read the newspaper more thoroughly I would know what the heck they are doing there... bring on the retirement!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Pink Glove Dance

Maybe you've already seen this little video... I hope so!

This was created and filmed across town from my place of employment. We don't have this much fun up here on the Hill.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Back but not Ready

I took the week of Thanksgiving off work. It was the November birthday week in my family and what with birthdays and the holiday it just seemed like a good time to be at home. Now, however, I’m back at work and struggling to give a shit.

During the week I hardly logged on to the computer. Didn’t check my facebook page, didn’t read my usual blogs, barely checked my email and then only on the crackberry. I pretty much went without the electronics for a week. It was fine. The earth did not stop spinning. Amazing!

Coming back to work after time off is hard. It’s been a slog lately and the break was very welcome. I did ok yesterday, Monday, but today I really don’t feel like being here. I’m restless, and alternating between bored and antsy. I’d like to get out of the office and walk home, but I need to be here and I don’t have the time for that long of a walk today. Instead, I’m looking out the window at the rare winter sunshine. People are calling and emailing with issues and problems and I just can’t find the energy or interest to care. That sounds bad, I know. I also know that it will pass, eventually.