Tag Archives: Oregon

South Waterfront Construction

I was walking through the South Waterfront on Thursday and was excited to see all the construction going on.  I’m always enthusiastic to see development inside the city rather than in the suburbs, so any work is positive in my opinion.  I think the lack of old architecture is a bane to the health of South Waterfront.  Still, It’s incredible when you consider what this land looked like 15 years ago!  I’m excited to see it fully develop.

Here are photos of the Collaborative Life Science Building and the Portland-Milwaukie Lightrail Bridge:







South of the Collaborative Life Science Building (on Moody) is The Emery, a new residential project by ZGF.  I think the cladding looks wonderful and it fits well against the hill and next to the Ross Island Bridge.  There is so much glass curtain wall construction to be found in the South Waterfront, it’s nice to see the solidity and color in this new project.






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New State of Oregon Flag Proposal

When I began this blog over a year ago, I made a decision not to attach my own commentary on the local Oregon design that I feature. Many featured projects on this blog are controversial but I chose to focus on their design merits instead (examples are the OHSU tram, lightrail expansion, bridges, etc).

However, upon seeing Matthew Norquist’s proposal for a new state of Oregon flag, I knew immediately that I would be breaking my non-commentary rule. Mr. Norquist is a Gresham resident who has helped introduced Senate Bill 473 for a proposed new state of Oregon flag.

You don’t need to be a designer to spot bad design. I am a designer however, and here are some of my problems with the proposed flag: Aside from the dull yellow and bland blue, the star’s size and location present an obvious tangency issue. The proportions are a problem as well. Despite the water/agriculture symbolism  the thin strip of yellow at the end appears superfluous and unnerving to look at. The beaver is the correct size in relation to the whole flag, but much too large for the blue field in which it is placed. All the elements in this flag are competing for attention and it feels very inharmonious.  For examples of what I consider very good flag design, check out these Japanese prefecture flags.

I agree with Mr. Norquist that Oregon’s flag is bland and similar to other state flags (with one distinction- ours is two-sided). I also really respect his initiative and desire to have better design representing our state.  Unfortunately this isn’t better design and I worry that if adopted, it will be hard to replace anytime soon. Check his website if you want to learn more about his proposal.

Front and back of current flag:


Oregon State Flag, Front and back

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Sellwood Bridge Move

On January 19, the 87 year old Sellwood Bridge began a 12 hour move to its temporary new home, a few yards downstream from its original location.  The 3,400 ton structure was slowly pushed north by a network of 50 hydraulic jacks onto five temporary support piers.  Making the whole operation even more complex is the fact that the bridge had to be moved at a skewed angle, with the east end moving 33 feet northward and the west end moving 66 feet.  With the bridge diverting the traffic, work can now begin on its replacement.

Here are my photos and sketches:


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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: http://trimet.org/pm/

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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Mt. Hood Part 2: Trillium Lake

I was surprised to find out that Trillium Lake is fairly young, having only been formed in 1960 by the damming of Mud Creek. The lake is deepest at the southwest corner where the dam is located (20+ feet deep) but the majority is less than 7′ deep. This is one of my favorite places on Mt. Hood not only because of its beauty but because it’s a very quiet place despite having lots of campground space.

There is a great trail around the perimeter of the lake. Because the land around the lake is very marshy, much of the trail is on elevated wood platforms. This is a well-built and maintained trail, but beware- there are a few places where the wooden path has been reclaimed by the lake, but nothing that can’t be jumped over.

These photos are from August 10th:

Trillium LakeTrillium Lake MarshTrillium LakeTrillium LakeTrillium LakeTrillium LakeTrillium Lake DuckTrillium Lake DuckTrillium Lake Sketchbook Page

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Mt. Hood Part 1: Barlow Road + Pioneer Graves

I stayed a week on Mt. Hood this summer, and while it’s not technically Portland, I have to share what I saw.

The Barlow Road is something every visitor to Mount Hood should walk on. It was the last section of the Oregon Trail. Much of the original road has been paved over by newer roads like Highway 26, but around Government camp and on the Western side of the mountain a lot of original road still exists. In fact, there are areas which still have deep ruts from wagon wheels. It was very exciting to be walking along such a historic path in such a remote place.

I walked from Government Camp where I connected with the Barlow trail on the South side of highway 26. This section of the trail is fairy short (only .5 miles) but it’s part of the original road.  After crossing Still Creek, I joined a paved road which ran through a campground. About a mile down the road are the Pioneer graves and Summit Meadows. This is a beautiful meadow in the middle of the forest where Oregon trail pioneers would rest before the last (and very dangerous) leg of their journey.
These photos are from August 9th:

Barlow TrailBarlow TrailBarlow TrailBarlow TrailBarlow TrailStill CreekBarlow TrailBarlow TrailPioneer's Grave Mt HoodPioneer's Grave Mt. HoodPioneer's Grave Mt. HoodPioneer's Grave Mt. HoodSummit Meadows, Mt. HoodBarlow Road Sketchbook Page

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