Another Transit Adventure, Part 1

Dear Liza,

Kestrel at Union Station

The other day I got to take Cousins Jasper and Kestrel and head into another part of Portland I hadn’t been to yet: North of the Pearl District to Jameson Square. It was journey of transit and imagination.

I walked down to Auntie Katie’s shop, Books with Pictures, to pick them up, and we got on the Orange Line train. It took us through downtown and all the way up to Union Station, which was built in 1896. Being so close, I couldn’t help but step inside. It has been in  use for over 120 years, so it has been redecorated, but has kept that lovely vintage look…giant clocks, shiny floors, and neon everywhere.

Very Vintage Decor

This train station is actually in my story of 1903 Portland. I had to stop for a few minutes to mentally erase the car traffic and picture horse carriages pulling in to fetch passengers. I love being in a space where the past overlaps so perfectly with the present.

We walked a few blocks between the tall glass and stone apartments and office buildings, playing Adventure.  This is an ongoing, free-style fantasy game, where we create our characters. Jasper becomes a human/dragon hybrid, Kestrel channels her inner baby water dragon, and I am the Grandma horse who can fly. We fight invisible foes and overcome obstacles. Imagination makes everything better. The high rise buildings became sheer cliffs as we walked through the canyon.

Flying with Viny the Bear

At Jameson Square, we found that the water feature was turned off for the winter, and the waterfalls became cliffs to climb. We also found a stone bear, which Kestrel immediately named Viny, who took us flying. We talked about seeing what was on the tops of the ‘cliffs’, like gardens, helicopter landing places, and barbecues.

The passage to Tanner’s Square Park is a lovely paved path lined with camellias, but Jasper named it Marauder’s Passage and found all sorts of pitfalls to make it interesting.

Viny the bear became invisible came along with us, reminding me of how the Panther at Hartnell College walks along with you and me as we adventure in Salinas.

I will tell you about the rest of our adventure tomorrow!


Grandma Judy




Back to Downtown

Dear Liza,

Plaza outside Student Services Building

Well, since I wasn’t able to find what I needed  Downtown Tuesday, I needed another trip. But that is absolutely okay with me, because I love it! The day was sunny and breezy. There were people out walking their dogs, summer camps on walking trips, and even a small farmer’s market on the Park Blocks.

Farmer’s Market in the shade

First, I visited the Oregon Historical Society Research Library. I have a part in my story where the school children are walking on a field trip, and I wanted to know what they would be walking past. I found the City Directory for 1903 to see what was there. As it turns out, the neighborhood I am interested in, the northwest,  was mostly houses, with about ten churches, at the time. Businesses and city services were closer to downtown.

City Planning Maps!!

One of the fun things about research is that you do a lot of looking at other things before you find the ones you are really looking for. I found a book of detailed maps of downtown Portland from the big re-development in 1985. Loving maps like I do, I fell into that one for quite a while.

Then it was time to return to the City Archives. Walking down towards Portland State University is always interesting. There are young people, music, fountains, and always something new to see. This fellow, washing windows 5 stories up on a 14 story building, looked very at ease in his work.

Confident window washer

Since thousands of students come to the University everyday, there is great public transit to this area. Street cars, light rail, and buses are all over the place.

Portland Street Car








I found interesting information on the parade that the city of Portland had to honor President Theodore Roosevelt on his visit in 1903, and then it was time to head home. Walking back, I noticed that The Portland Building is under a huge construction project. The giant statue “Portlandia” is still attached to the front of the building, but completely draped to protect her from the work. I miss her.

Draped Portlandia

After dinner, we all walked up the The Laurelhurst Theater to see “Ocean’s Eight”. It was a fun movie and the walk home, under the lovely pink sunset, was the highlight of a very good day.


Grandma Judy






Portlandia Undraped