While parking on the first day of the recent Farwest Show I got to thinking about my visits to the Oregon State Convention Center (OCC). For me the OCC building is all about plants…every year I can count on being there in February for the Yard, Garden & Patio Show…and in August for the Farwest Show. I know every year hundreds of conventions having nothing whatsoever to do with plants take place there, but for me this building holds just one thing…the excitement of PLANTS! This time I decided to take a look at the ones outside too...
I’ve walked by this display at the NW corner of the convention center property many times, however this was the first time I walked completely around it and read the signs. This host log was pulled from the Bull Run watershed in 1991 and arrived at the OCC “with a mix of micro-organisms, fungi, and plants attached to the decaying biomass of an old growth Douglas Fir windfall…The nurse log is an urban metaphor for accommodation and collaboration. Perhaps at this location Host Analog will remain undisturbed for the thousand years required to complete the regenerative cycle”
Due to my former career I knew the grounds around the OCC building also held an award winning rain garden, one I doubt many residents of Portland even know exists. I set off to find it.
Because I seem to do everything in life just a little backwards I approached the garden from where it ends, rather than at the beginning. I also happened to visit a rain garden in the driest August Portland has experienced since 1998, with just a trace of rain falling here since July 20th (yes, you read that right, and we just ended our 51 day dry streak on Monday the 10th of Sept with all of .04" of rain). So it’s a dry rain garden, but still quite striking.
Imagine water rushing through there...
I bet it's beautiful.
There were great details, like here where the metal edging disappears into the concrete.
Here's one of the sources of the water that feeds the rain garden. See the huge scupper towards the bottom of the side of the building, in the break between the trees? The roof run-off pours through and the garden comes alive. You can see several great images of the garden with actual water here, on the website of Mayer/Reed the Landscape Architecture firm behind this project.
And to give you an idea of just where the Convention Center is located, see the arrow in the photo below? That's I-5 as it travels through the heart of Portland (the east-side, not technically downtown I suppose).
Another of those details I love...
And another scupper, this one at the very start of the garden, where I should have begun this journey.
Okay back around at the front of the building it's time to head inside. First though I snapped a shot of one of the many (hundreds?) of roadside bioswales in Portland. Empty at the time (and still now) but in a few months I'm sure it will be an entirely different story!