Tag Archives: Sketches

Portland Statues Part II

Here’s part II in my series of Portland statue sketches.  These sketches are of Chinatown’s entrance gate, Sacagawea in Washington Park, and Paul Bunyan in the Kenton neighborhood.

My first statue post can be found here: Portland Statues Part I


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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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KOIN Center

I’ve always been curious about the KOIN center. When I was younger, I remember going to see a movie at the now defunct KOIN Center Cinema. Aside from that experience, I didn’t know much about the building. It’s Portland’s third tallest skyscraper and was designed by Zimmer Gunsul Frasca in 1984. It stands at a modest 509 feet. I was able to make a building diagram by referencing a few floorplans I found online, but the condominium floors at the top are a mystery. Floors 20-31 are called the Fountain Plaza Condominiums and information on them seems non-existent. I’m always curious to see floorplans of high-rise apartments, so if anyone has information, let me know.

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I probably should have done a post about Portlandia sooner but, like many people, I forget that she exists.  Nestled above Southwest 5th Avenue, the statue is the second largest of its kind in the U.S. (after the Statue of Liberty).  Portlandia is located about five stories above a tree-lined, transit-only street and is therefore easy to miss. I realize that Raymond Kaskey designed the statue based on this location, but I always wished it was at the waterfront. Still, it’s beautiful and worth checking out- just look up!

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Portland Aerial Tram

The Aerial Tram that connects the South Waterfront to OHSU (Oregon Health & Science University) is a recent addition to Portland’s infrastructure. Despite its striking design, the tram is not without major controversy (cost overruns, privacy issues, funding, corporate welfare, etc). I’ll avoid the politics of the tram’s creation and focus on its beauty.

Designed by AGPS, a firm based in Zürich and Los Angeles, the tram is probably the most striking piece of architecture built in Portland since the construction of the Oregon Convention Center’s glass towers in 1990. Each 12-ton car travels 3,300 horizontal feet and to an elevation of 500 feet.  The drive system is located at the lower station, with the counterweight cleverly hidden (in plain sight) at the upper station.  I can tell that great attention was paid to aesthetics and proportion- This is a beautiful system!

Here are my photos and sketches:

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Broadway Bridge

This was my first time walking across the Broadway Bridge. I’ve driven over it countless times but never had a chance to appreciate the complex structure.  Compared to other bridges in Portland, the Broadway is the most comfortable to cross on foot. The wide walkways are cantilevered off both sides of the roadway with the support structure between you and the cars.

Side note: The Broadway Bridge is painted International Orange (like the Golden Gate).  Looks like we could use a fresh coat though…

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St. Johns Bridge

My visit to the St. Johns Bridge reminded me that I have a fear of heights. It’s the tallest bridge in the city with 400 foot Gothic towers and a 205 foot high road deck.  Walking across this span was a lengthy endeavor as well as a loud one, but the view makes it worth the effort. Cathedral Park is located at the base of the bridge on the East side. It never seems to be crowded and offers beautiful views of the bridge.

I’ll add more sketches in the future…

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