Answers to Questions

Dear Liza,

The Tree Farm

Do you know what my favorite thing is?
Learning stuff!

For months now, I have seen and photographed this interesting, tree covered blue building going up right beside the Morrison Bridge. I see it everytime I take the bus to downtown. I even walked right by it when we went under the bridge.

Well, there was a news story yesterday that helped answer lots of questions.

Profile, showing how close the Morrison Bridge is!

Q. Who is building it? The architect is Ben Carr.

Q. Does it have a name? The building is called The Tree Farm.

Q. What kind of trees are they? How will they be watered?
They called Strawberry Trees, though their scientific name is arbutus unedo. This kind of tree only gets to be ten feet high or so, and they are watered by individually controlled drip irrigation systems that allow for different watering needs depending on the side of the building, the floor of the building, and what the weather is like.

Q. How will the building support the trees as they get bigger? The framework of the building has been designed to support the extra 2,200 pounds that each tree is expected to weigh.

Old building, new building….

Q. Why was this building put here, in industrial Southeast Portland? This part of the city used to be factories and lumber mills. It is now warehouses and train yards, and has almost no trees at all. This building adds 56 trees, which will not only be pretty, but help clean the air and make habitats for birds. Also, when the people inside the building look out the window, they will look out over a canopy of trees instead of just freeways and rail yards.

Pretty neat, huh?


Grandma Judy

False Spring

Dear Liza,

Yesterday, December 30, 2017, was the warmest day we have had in a month. The blue sky was decorated with puffy clouds, and the temperature got up to 50 degrees! Auntie Bridgett and I went for a walk. We noticed some premature gladiolus flowers shooting up through the mud. The warm weather has them fooled, perhaps.

wells fargo from east side
Wells Fargo from east side

Our first stop was Triumph Coffee at SE 12th and Ash. A busy, friendly place, with comfortably mismatched furniture. it is what Linus Van Pelt would call sincere. Neighborhood folks were enjoying coffee and having conversations. I didn’t see a single laptop open. Bridgett testifies that the coffee is excellent, and I stand by their carrot zucchini muffins. We got our goodies to go, and continued on our way.

Big Pink from east side

We walked on Ash until it ran into Sandy Boulevard, a major street that runs diagonally through east Portland. It makes some connections easier, of course, but also creates really interesting angled corners. Portland has a lot of these odd corners, like on the west side where Burnside hits every street at an odd angle, and in Ladd’s Addition, with its “x marks the spot” plotting.

From the obtuse corner of 10th and Ash, we could look west and see the two tallest buildings in Portland, “Big Pink” and the Wells Fargo Building. It is nice to be able to find landmarks and get a better picture of where you are in relation to other things.

We turned left and followed Sandy southwest until it became 7th Avenue, and followed that to Morrison. In that neighborhood are many old industrial buildings that have been re-purposed. The Troy Laundry, a brick building from 1913, is currently for sale. I am sure it has an interesting future.

troy laundry.jpg
1913 Troy Laundry Building

Heading back towards home on Morrison, we found Auntie Bridgett’s new favorite place: The Grand Central Restaurant and Bowling Lounge at 808 SE Morrison. This two-story playground for grown-ups (and kids) is in the old Grand Central Public Market building, which was built in 1929. It has bowling, a restaurant, two bars, pinball, Pac-man, air hockey, shuffleboard, skee-ball, driving games, pool tables, and giant televisions. It looks like a great place to spend a long wintry afternoon, and is not far from our house! Hooray for accidental discoveries!

exterior bowling alley.jpg
Bowling on Morrison!!!

We left the bowling alley, smiling, knowing we would be back soon, and continued east on Morrison. We went through the Lone Fir Cemetery to say hello to the dead people, and got to chat with some squirrels and tourists, as well.

disco ball bowling.jpg
Yes, a disco ball in a bowling alley…..

We said a special hello to little Genevieve Gray, who died in 1912 when she was only 3 months old and is buried under the tiniest headstone I have ever seen. It is about 7 inches by 10, and is tucked under huge trees at the far northeast corner of the cemetery. I know visiting the cemetery might seem morbid, but it gives me perspective. I always leave with a sense of hope and purpose.

genevieve gray's grave.jpg
Little Genevieve Gray

Back home, we headed off for shopping and reading. See you soon, sweetie.


Grandma Judy