Category Archives: Portland

St. Johns Bridge and Cathedral Park

I took advantage of the sunny weather last week and visited the St. Johns Bridge.  Because I walked across the bridge on my previous visit, I chose to explored below this time.  Under the bridge on the east side of the Willamette is Cathedral Park.  It’s one of my favorite green spaces in the city because of how beautifully the bridge dominates the landscape.  Walk under the bridge’s span and you will see that the lancet-shaped arches line up all the way across the river (it’s how park got the name “Cathedral”?).


Check out my previous St. Johns post here

St. Johns BridgeSt. Johns Bridge sketchSt. Johns BridgeSt. Johns BridgeSt. Johns BridgeSt. Johns BridgeSt. Johns BridgeSt. Johns BridgeSt. Johns Bridge

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Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge

The Portland-Milwaukie light rail project is progressing and nowhere is it more evident than at the two towers which are growing out of the Willamette River.  When completed, this bridge will connect the west-side light rail to the new tracks on Grand Ave and the future Milwaukie track.  It will be the only bridge in Portland without auto access.  Two center lanes will be used for bus and light rail, with outer walkways for pedestrians.  Tri Met has a site for more information.  It has a ton of images about station layouts, track routes, etc (awesome!).  Check it out here:

Here are my pictures and a notes:

Portland Light Rail Bridge ConstructionPortland Light Rail Bridge ConstructionPortland Light Rail Bridge ConstructionPortland Light Rail Bridge ConstructionMax OMSI Water Ave stationMax OMSI Water Ave stationMax OMSI Water Ave station

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Portland Bridge Swim, Submarine, and Clouds

I walked down the East-Bank Esplanade this morning to enjoy the cloudy and cool July weather and to catch a glimpse of the Portland Bridge Swim.  The Bridge Swim is an annual event in which swimmers travel under 11 Portland bridges as they swim 11 miles up the river (the Willamette River flows North, by the way). The race begins at the Sellwood Bridge and ends at the St. Johns Bridge. The Willamette must be so much cleaner than it was when I was a little kid. In the 90s, I assumed anyone who swam in the river would develop mutant qualities or be eaten by some kind of Superfund river monster…

Here are some shots from this morning. I also made a map of the Portland Bridge Swim’s route:

USS BluebackUSS Blueback

Portland Bridge SwimUSS BluebackPortland Bridge SwimPortland Interstate 5OMSIPortland Aerial TramPortland Bridge Swim Map

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Gibbs Street Pedestrian Bridge

I visited Portland’s newest architectural addition this weekend!  The Gibbs Street Footbridge opened on Saturday and I was there to try it out.  The footbridge runs below the aerial tram and connects Corbett-Lair Hill district with the South Waterfront. Although it is far less dramatic than the tram, I believe it’s a much more significant addition.  This will finally connect the two neighborhoods which are so drastically divided by the I-5/Macadam/Hood Ave corridor.

The bridge is tastefully done. I’ve seen older renderings which showed much more elaborate designs, but I think the finished product looks better.  The structure consists of a steel box-girder, supported by two concrete pillars, terminating at an elevator tower. I’m a big fan of the use of chain-link for the safety mesh. I’m also happy to see the bicycle tracks built-into the concrete stairs.  It’s such a simple design solution but makes all the difference when you’re trying to carry a bike up or down seven flights of stairs.

Here are my photos, sketches, and diagrams:

Gibbs Street Bridge SketchGibbs Street Bridge EntranceGibbs Street BridgeGibbs Street BridgeGibbs Street BridgeGibbs Street BridgeGibbs Street BridgeGibbs Street BridgeGibbs Street BridgePortland StreetcarPortland StreetcarPortland Aerial Tram

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Rocky Butte and Joseph Hill Park

I drove up to Rocky Butte this weekend to walk around Joseph Wood Hill Park. Rocky Butte is a 612′ tall extinct volcanic cinder cone, which is part of the Boring Lava Field. In the last ice age, it parted the massive flood waters as Glacial Lake Missoula spilled into the Willamette Valley. Today, it parts the freeways that enter Portland.

I’ve been coming here all my life and have always had an affection for the strange, wonderful, and seemingly useless stone structure at the top. Built in 1937-39, it features an aircraft beacon and panoramic views of the city.  On this visit, Portland was very hazy so I plan on returning soon to snap some better pans of the city and the mountains.

Here are my pictures and some diagrams I made:

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Laurelhurst Park

This week I’m posting some pictures of my neighborhood park, Laurelhurst!  The park was built in 1912, around the time the Laurelhurst neighborhood was developed. It occupies 26.8 acres and features a beautiful pond (which is actually called Firewood Lake, everyone calls it a pond though).  I grew up just north of the park and have been lucky enough to ice skate on the pond once (a rare treat).


Here are the frozen pond pictures from 1989. It was my first time ice skating…

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Union Station

Union Station is one of Portland’s oldest and most iconic structures. It was designed by Van Brunt & Howe and opened in 1896. The Station is located at the Northern end of the transit Mall, which serves as downtown’s transportation hub, linking light rail, city buses, greyhound, and Amtrak.

Here are my sketches and photos. I’ve created a map of the various rail routes throughout Portland as well.

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