Portland, Oregon
The Littlest "Big" City in the World!

Michael and I launched a photographic expedition of downtown Portland Oregon the other weekend.  We had a really good time and wanted to share our experience.  We started out in Waterfront Park underneath the Burnside Bridge at Saturday Market.  Here is the Oregon Convention Center to the east.

We Crossed the Steel Bridge to achieve this view of downtown, looking southwest.  About this point we were deciding we couldn't have asked for a nicer day.  Temperature in the upper 50's, just perfect for the five mile walk, carrying 20 pounds of camera gear.



Our first stop was the east end of the Burnside Bridge (1926).  The contrast between the towers on the old bridge and the modern office building behind is interesting.  While Portland sometimes gets overlooked as a major metropolitan area, we have all the makings of a real big city.  We have a world-class symphony orchestra, progressive transportation system, theater, entertainment and great food.  Yet, with all these benefits, it is still possible to traverse the entire downtown area on foot in a single day.

A parking garage, ship navigation lights and the train station behind a tree lined avenue.


Waterfront park now covers both sides of the Willamette river, with a walkway encircling the entire area from the Steel Bridge to the Hawthorne Bridge.  This is the perfect venue for a mid-spring stroll.

An old stern-wheeler is now occupied by a maritime museum.  This picture was taken from underneath the Morrison Bridge (1958) looking northwest..  


Looking southwest reveals the main downtown skyline with the Hawthorne Bridge (1910) clearly visible.  Our photographic expedition, which began as an architectural research project, quickly deteriorated into a scenic joy-ride!

Looking west from the south side of the Hawthorne Bridge.  If you look really close, you can see a Rose Festival Dragon Boat team practicing on the far side of the river.  


We arrived just in time to witness a bridge lift.  The nearly one hundred year old vertical lift span is almost silent as it rises to allow both ships and pleasure craft to pass.

The reason for the lift?  A pleasure craft setting sail for the upper reaches of the Willamette.


Twenty five thousand cars traverse the 1,400 foot span on a daily basis.  Looking down through the steel grate road bed you can clearly see the river below you.  It's quite a sensation!

More of the lovely springtime city view while waiting for the bridge lift process to complete.


Traffic (pedestrians with dogs and bicycles and a few cars) resumes and we head into the heart of town.

The Willamette Block building.


Old meets new and light rail spreads its web of wires everywhere.  Public transportation is free within the downtown 'fareless square.'

A double sun shines down from a partly cloudy sky.  I'll find out the name of this building soon, I promise.  It's a wonderful subject for the upturned camera. 


The great gateway leading to Portland's refurbished China Town.  That's where I ran out of film. More pictures to come, I'm sure...


all pictures
© Michael Blackburn
and
© Terry Blackburn
2002