I've always enjoyed participating in the Winter Walk-Off posts hosted by Les at A Tidewater Gardener and I was determined to not let our non-stop March rain (3.86" thus far) get in the way of joining up again this year. So instead of a neighborhood stroll I chose to drive downtown, to an area known as the South Waterfront. That way if a downpour hit (as opposed to just the never ending drizzle) I could duck undercover of a building entrance or overhang.
The South Waterfront is a high-rise district (partially completed) built on former brownfield industrial land located south of downtown Portland, it's one of the largest urban redevelopment projects in the U.S (source). Before the economy tanked in 2007, or so, construction here was zooming along at a nice clip. Then the housing/financial catastrophe hit and all new construction of condos and apartments came to an abrupt halt. Back then I was employed as the Marketing Coordinator for an architecture firm responsible for a lot of those high-rises, with more on the way. I was laid-off in early 2010 as the company downsized from upwards of 300 employees to under 70. Those were tough times, walking around this area for the first time since then brought back a lot of memories.
A close-up of the vine, an Akebia of some sort. I've never particularly cared for them one way or the other, but I think that's about to change.
Sure the bars keep me out, but not my camera. This looks like a nice place to take the dog to do its business (an issue when you live in a high-rise community with 100's of other dogs I'm sure).
Planted or naturally occurring?
Above average containers I thought.
Trochodendron aralioides (Wheel Tree), Metapanax delavayi, Fatsia japonica 'Spider's Web' among others.
So far I've just covered the block it took to walk from where I parked to the waterfront, this is where I wanted to start. There's a lovely greenway here, one that sadly is not connected to the larger waterfront further north, at least not yet.
That's the Ross Island Bridge, one of eleven bridges that connect the east and west sides of the Portland.
This installation had no signage explaining what it symbolizes or giving credit to the artist. I was unable to find anything online but my sleuthing husband did. It's called Cradle to Cradle and is the work of Seattle artist Buster Simpson.
From his website: "Cradle to Cradle is a sculptural offering to the Willamette River. Once a wild river with vast amounts of woody debris, the Willamette has been tamed and we have become its steward. Providing habitat for flora and fauna will prove key to our mutual survival. The four anthropomorphic concrete anchors cradle three cedar ‘root wads’ awaiting deployment of their woody debris offering in support of habitat enhancement along the river’s edge."
What he doesn't mention, and isn't shown in the drawings on his website, are the four words carved into the cement base: atqi, itana, temtem, makuk. It's a mystery.
Walking along this struck me as odd, but in a good way. Usually landscape installations like this stick to one style of furniture. Here were three very different benches within just feet of each other.
I've reached the north end of the park. I like the chain link fence going right out into the river, certainly drives the point home doesn't it?
That's old Portland right there, the last of the Zidell Marine Buildings, a company specializing in barge building and repair. They're involved in the new development as well – read about that here if you're interested.
Looking under the Ross Island Bridge you can see the cables of the new pedestrian, bike and transit-only bridge Tilikum Crossing and beyond that the double-deck Marquam Bridge which carries I-5 traffic over the Willamette.
How about a shot of blooming Mahonia, because after all this is a gardening blog. There's a lot of it planted along this stretch.
I've turned around now and I'm heading back to the main part of the greenway/park. This dense planting, backed by gabions, separates the walkway from the river.
Those big cement planting boxes must anchor the shoreline?
This would be a much lovelier view on a sunny spring day when the trees have all leafed out.
Double-crested Cormorant? (I'm bird stupid)
Stay on the paths people!
This one for walkers...
This one for bikers...
And we turn back towards the development...
This made me laugh. You can be assured many well-paid folks were involved in the design of this secure entry...
And yet this...
Fat Mahonia berries! Perhaps M. x media 'Charity'
Nobody wants to sitting outside and enjoy an espresso on a wet day such as this, giant lions excepted.
I'm no fan of pansies but a bright jolt of orange is much appreciated.
Looks like a cool place to pass a warm summer afternoon.
There was a bit of a local uproar last year when our local little big burger was sold to the same company that owns Hooters. Que sera, sera...
Here we are at Elizabeth Caruthers Park, named after an early pioneer woman who was one of the first settlers in this part of the city. The tall building in the background is an Oregon Health Science University (OHSU) building.
Most of the OHSU campus is up on a hill behind the South Waterfront, however they've outgrown that area and with no space to expand they've built here. That odd shaped structure to the left is the lower tower for the aerial tram, which connects this area to the upper OHSU campus.
Here's one of the cars coming down off the hill. It's quite the ride, if it were a sunny day I would have been tempted to take you up that way but instead you can find images here.
The table is bolted in pace, but the chairs can me moved around as desired.
The wooden beams are most definitely not moving anywhere.
Although it looks convex in these photos, the shallow pond is actually concave. The discs that jut up out of the water spray jets of water, no doubt making this a popular spot for kids in the summertime.
What are the chances the rock and plaque pre-date the park? Nah.
Looking west across I-5 (white semi-truck middle of the photo) and up towards the OHSU campus (tall buildings on the right, barely visible in the trees).
Masses of this attractive foliage looks quite lovely, I have no idea what it is.
I've now crossed the street to take a closer look at the entry courtyard to the Mirabella, a fancy pants high-rise retirement/assisted living community built by the firm I used to work for. I remember drawings of this space and wanted to see how it looked "in real life"...
I like the artwork choice.
To bad there's always somebody who has to be damaging.
Love the frog!
Huge Acanthus mollis backed by a sheet of falling water.
Quite nicely done.
Okay, I'm wrapping this visit up and heading back to my car - but not before I show you that this is still a neighborhood very much under construction.
I hope you've enjoyed this tour of a new part of town, and thank you Les for the excuse to get out and explore (this was the last fun thing I did before getting sick with the flu). Back to strictly plant and garden talk tomorrow!
All material © 2009-2016 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.