Detail, east Portland photo, courtesy Miles Hochstein / Portland Ground.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 3, 2009 2:19 PM. The previous post in this blog was The Depression scare is ending. The next post in this blog is Make up your own joke. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Portland, 1974

It was four years before I got here, but it looks awfully familiar in this wonderful blog post.

Comments (14)

I remember all that very well. I was living in Portland and attending Portland State College, as it was known then. I also remember the Broadway Theater as a strip joint, and that I could not afford to eat at any of the restaurants mentioned on the blog post. But you could afford a lot of beer at a place called Sam's up by the college. I think there is a McDonald's there now.
And the Rose City Transit Company was a great bus service!
I will say that the Pioneer Square is a vast improvement over the parking lot that was left over from the destruction of the Multnomah Hotel and that Naito Parkway and the green space next to the river is also way better than the old public market/old Journal building and the 4 lane road that was there before;
so not all of the changes were bad ones.

The Portland Hotel had been torn down for a M&F Parking structure, which was removed for Pioneer Courthouse Square. The Multnomah still stands. The Hoyt was the other senseless loss - still a parking lot, if even that. The same foolishness threatens the Coliseum.

I rolled in with my band in the summer of 1975, riding in an International Travelall truck. Our PA speakers were homemade plywood boxes - not even painted.

I had been through Portland once before during the hitchhiking years, but I hadn't stayed more than a couple of hours. Now it was June of 1975 and I was going to live here.

At the end of that summer I went back to Arabia for a short time as my father retired from the oil company. I had to be there when my family left. It would have been wrong to skip that.

I even went to London with my folks where we stayed at a hotel so upscale that the janitors wore tails.
But that kind of living was about to end. "How does it feel to be on your own?"

When I got back to town I was on a city bus at night, exhausted after a long flight. I got off and walked toward the band house on an unpaved road, carrying a heavy suitcase.

Everything about my past was sealed up and done. I was ready to launch, but even if I hadn't been, there was no going back. Plan B? I had no Plan B and Plan A was a real long-shot.

Approaching the house that night I could hear music and partying. I set the suitcase down on SE Carlton Street and thought about everything for a few minutes before going in. I was 21 and the Portland years had begun.

Thanks for the memories Jack - and Bill. I moved to Seattle in 1974, and first came to Portland in 1975 for a week-long gig at the Turquoise Room with a funky horn band. Stayed at the Portland Rose across the street, rigged the 'Magic Fingers' bed to run 24/7, and got woken up by Tom Peterson knocking on the TV. Those were the daze . . . Still somewhat crazy (and even gigging occasionally) after all these years.

Thanks Jack, I connected with that memory: January 19, 1974 3:00pm. $20 in my pocket. Two packs and a guitar case. Fell in love with the city as the Greyhound bus crossed the Marquam. It was green, bright blue skies and the people actually made eye contact. Bet a guy $2 that I could teach him to juggle in five minutes while I was standing on the sidewalk on the Pioneer Courthouse, directly across from the parking lot that became the Square. Won the $2.
Harbor drive was still in existence, but it was being torn up. My first dinner was back in the kitchen at the Genoa, my friend worked as a busboy there and asked if I wanted to go with him to work.
One reason I came out here from Atlanta after graduating from Earlham was the sense of hope I encountered in the media and in the people I'd met from Portland and Oregon. I have not been disappointed.

When I was a newspaper reporter in New Jersey ('72-'75), a couple with whom I worked moved to Portland. I remember looking with them at the weather reports from Portland in the middle of the winter, when everybody in New York was freezing off their privates. "Portland - High 45, low 35, rain." Then in the summer, when the East Coast heat was suffocating us all: "Portland - High 75, low 58, partly cloudy." I thought, "That sounds good." It took a roundabout path to get me to Portland eventually, but I have not regretted it.

I was living in Oregon then but not in Portland. I visited with some friends who grew up here. We rode bicycles all around Washington Park on one of those perfect summer days that stays in memory forever. Tom McCall was still Governor. It was before the plundering and despoiling started.

a place called Sam's up by the college. I think there is a McDonald's there now.

Sam's Hofbrau. Family owned and hand carved sandwiches...forced out of business to put that McDonald's in its place.

I own the big beer barrel "S" and the giant German beer stein from the back of the bar. Broke my heart and I swore I'd never eat at McDonald's again.

I came in January 1980 for a job interview. Aftermath of an ice storm by two days, but utility wires were still laying in the roadways - even the major ones. They didn't think I'd take the job, given I had been in California for a couple of years on my first job out of college, and there were plenty of prospects down there. But I did. I came out of much worse weather in the Midwest, after all.

I saw the last four months of the old shape of St. Helens. The first few weeks here, some Portland cops dropped a couple of dead possums on the doorstep of an African-American owned business, and some guy shot up a bar in Salem with an automatic weapon.

It was pretty clear that this wasn't the California west coast. I knew I was somewhere unique. I wouldn't have guessed I'd stay this long.

Was Sam's on the street level of the PSU dorm building The Ondine?

I got nostalgic from this post, and tried tracking down some old musicians I knew back in those days. I found mention of Lester McFarland who was over at the house playing one time. He toured with the Crusaders.

Then I thought of this perfect Portland music story from 1976-ish.

They were tearing down the house across the street and there was mud from the bulldozers on the pavement.
I pulled up in my black '62 Galaxy 500, opened the door, took out some groceries and a glass jar of apple juice dropped on the street. I went in, got a broom and began sweeping up.
Out from the dirt came a gold coin with the lady on the old dime on it, only in gold. I can't remember the year, but for a few minutes I thought I was wealthy. I started calling coin stores and found out that it was worth much less than I had hoped, but since I was broke it was still a tremendous jolt of good luck. Later, at the shop, I saw other versions of this so I knew I wasn't getting ripped off.

I sold the gold coin and had enough to take the drummer and his girlfriend to see the Brothers Johnson at the Paramount. Fortune had smiled on us.

Brothers Johnson brings it full circle, Bill - I probably did I'll Be Good To You at the T Room. Must be a sign for a BoJack memorial jam block party (and we know Jack can do Hang on Sloopy).

My bad...Portland Hotel it was. I was just a small child when it was torn down.
Glad you have the souvenirs from Sam's Frank. McD's is just nasty, but then many small family owned businesses have gone away, put out by the nation wide mega stores.
Shop local folks!

". . . victor ives"?


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

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
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Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
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Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
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Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
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Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
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L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
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Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
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Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
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Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
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Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
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The Occasional Book

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
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Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
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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
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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

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In 2013: 257
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In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
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In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
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