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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 15, 2007 2:35 PM. The previous post in this blog was Life in a dying industry. The next post in this blog is No charges in 'Couv killing. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Circle game

It was 29 years ago today that I arrived in Portland in my yellow VW bug, with all my earthly belongings stuffed into it somehow. I had set foot in this town only once before, for a couple of days. It was all new.

It was to be a one-year stint, and then off to Los Angeles I would go. But I found some things here that I wanted to hold onto. And here I still am.

My first Portland abode was house-sitting a new-ish ranch house along the Rock Creek Country Club out near 185th and West Union Road. In those days, if you walked out from the golf course to West Union, there was nothing but agricultural land to the north of you and the west of you. Just wide-open Oregon, all the way to the sunset coast.

The people who owned the house were holding it until it became worth more than $100,000, at which point they were going to sell it. It did, and they did, the following spring.

Many memories were made that year. It snowed just before Thanksgiving; later that winter, we skated through a patented Portland "silver thaw." There were fistfights two nights a week at the Rock Creek Tavern; I saw most of them, stayed out of all of them. I played jazz records on KBOO in the middle of the night. Sonny Rollins, McCoy Tyner, and Ron Carter performed together one night at Portland State. I interviewed Monte Ballou, who used to live just off Belmont, for a KBOO special.

Every day a guy named Ron Roman stood on the corner where Pioneer Courthouse Square is today, preaching away; back then it was a Meier & Frank parking garage. Where Pioneer Place is now, there was an ancient building with a Fred Meyer store, Dave's Deli, and the Harvester Bar, where mushrooms grew in the carpet. There was a daily farmer's market of sorts where Saks is now. The Greek Cusina guys had their first hole in the wall, on Yamhill just east of Fourth. The place to go at night downtown was the Last Hurrah, a nightclub in the basement of a building on Alder; or maybe Sachs Front Avenue, down at Yamhill and what is now Naito. A band called Slowtrain was among the top dogs. Native son Jim Pepper would come through once in a while. One time he played at Artquake, the arts festival that used to take over downtown streets on Labor Day weekend; I remember him playing "Polar Bear" on a riser right there in the intersection of Alder and Broadway.

I heard "The Oogum Boogum Song" for the first time. I celebrated passing the California Bar. There was a total solar eclipse one morning. I blew the engine on the Volks and it took me a couple of months to come up with the dough to have Kurt at Esquire Motors rebuild it. The Oregon State men's basketball team was a national force. The Blazers, just recently world champs, were suddenly over the hill. Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve beer was on something like bottling no. 5. I learned how to cross-country ski and backpack.

There was way more ahead of me than there was behind me. Here in Portland, the whole world seemed to be opening up in a way that it never had before.

Comments (20)

GEICO commercial?

I think he's referring to the fact that you sorta resembled a caveman back in '78. You know..."it's so easy a caveman can figure it out." I was kinda thinking mountain man myself. It's all good...I enjoyed the post.

Oh, that! Absolutely. It was 1978. The whole Bill Walton thing was still going for some of us. We were trying to counteract disco.

wow. blast from the past. I remember each and everything you mentioned. That was awesome.
So glad you stayed.


Me, too. One of the smartest things I ever did.

Share more with us !

I grew up in Seattle and only came to Oregon in '85...

One of these days we'll move on to '79-'80. Now that was a year.

One of these days we'll move on to '79-'80. Now that was a year.

Actually that was two years
- but I concede it seemed like one extra-long year.

As far as I can remember.

The part that transported me, overshot in reverie -- "In those days, if you walked out from the golf course to West Union, there was nothing but agricultural land to the north of you and the west of you. Just wide-open Oregon, all the way to the sunset coast." -- back twenty-odd years before you, when the Way-Back Machine landed in a 195x Oregon childhood, there were trees. Nothing but forests. It wasn't called 'old growth,' it was call Heritage. Immoral greed grabbed it.

The whole g--d--'ed hoax claiming 'environmental spiteful owl-wise ones stumped the lumber industry off' is a bunch of hateful self-guilt horsesh!t! The TRUTH is they cut ALL the trees, cleared out EVERYthing in sight, and there was nothing left to cut.

The bracing mountain air was healthy, the skies were vivid blue, the waters were crystal clean, and the land was treasure dirt.

Then came tele-vision -- what an oxymoron!, and its blight of indoors-blind ambition.

they cut ALL the trees, cleared out EVERYthing in sight, and there was nothing left to cut.

OK. But, apparently, YOU'RE still here...

...until the mountainskwat beetles get you.

Best Wishes for a speedy recovery,


Actually that was two years

No, I mean 8/15/79 to 8/14/80.

Wow, what a flashback. We arrived only two years earlier and lived on the corner of NW 23rd and Hoyt. None of the crap there now was there then. Across the street was a store called the Beef and Bible. My old apartment building has had a Starbucks shoved up its . . . well, you know. Great town to be young in back then. Thanks for the trip back.

Great Post!
As an OR native, who moved on to So Cal for a while, and then went to Europe and traveled around in '77-78 in a Westfalia campervan... all that stuff you mentioned is familar.
Nice memories of my somewhat misspent youth.
I am now watching an amazing orange sky with a new moon setting up in the Gulf Islands of Canada.
New memories

No, I mean 8/15/79 to 8/14/80.

Me too!

That 12 particular months was more than two years of life experience -- more like five.

Oh, and while I was back home in New Jersey for Christmas that first year, I opened up the paper to see that I had narrowly missed this slice of Portland history.

You know, your story isn't too different from those of the young people showing up here now, it's just gotten more expensive.

Thanks Jack. That was great.

isn't too different from those of the young people showing up here now, it's just gotten more expensive.

It's not just the cheap housing that's gone. It's excellent public schools, easy commutes, great views from every street corner, the edge of town being 12 minutes from downtown, empty wilderness areas...

Of course, many things have improved. The beer and wine, the transit system, the arts facilities, the farmers markets, the coffee, the restaurants...


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
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Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
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Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
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Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
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Nine Hats, Red 2013
Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
Januik, Merlot 2012
Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

The Occasional Book

Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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