Prowling Around Portland

It rained most of the night, but it had mostly stopped by the time I got up.

I can’t say it was exactly sunny, though. I’m not sure what the block was doing on the picnic table, but there is was.

And the sun did come out, eventually. Look! A shadow!

I set out to see what I could see in Portland. As a recovering elementary school teacher, I knew that Beverly Cleary was from the area. I had been hearing stories on the local NPR stations about her and the fact that she was turning 101. I decided to see if there were any sites in the area that related to her.

I found the Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden at Grant Park.  It turns out that Beverly Cleary grew up in the neighborhood and actually played in the park as a child. I found the park without too much trouble and found a parking spot on a side street.

I ended up parking right by the Beverly Cleary School. I parked and started making my way toward the sculpture garden.

I found Henry Huggins…

and his dog, Ribsy.

Ramona Quimby was there, too, and the sun came out!

Ramona Quimby, Age 8. Kim Davison Age 61

It was a lovely little park. Based on photos I’ve seen on line, there are jets of water that shoot up around Ribsy and Ramona. There is also a splash pool.

I like the accessibility of the pool. Notice the curb cut so people in wheel chairs or other mobility issues can get in to enjoy the water. Of course, being that it was early April when I visited, the water wasn’t turned on yet.

I was starting to feel ready for lunch. A Facebook friend recommended a pizza restaurant and I set out to find it. I was making good progress when I saw a sign.

Voodoo Doughnut! I’d heard of this place! Change of plans.

It had been a while since I’d seen so much pink concentrated in one place.

I parked in their lot and headed for the door. This promised to be an interesting place. I got in and started looking.

There was quite an array. I decided to have the squid doughnut.

It was a lot of doughnut! They gave me a box to take the rest of it with me. There is no way I could have eaten that at one sitting!

They had a few interesting vehicles in the parking lot.

On the sidewalk nearby they had one of those bicycle rental racks. I had to take a look.

I always wondered how these programs worked and how much they cost. Now we both know.

Stuffed to the gills with doughnut, I set out to see downtown Portland. I arrived and started looking for parking. Parking Bart in a supermarket parking lot can be a big enough adventure. Finding parking in a city can be a nightmare. I decided to treat myself to valet parking. I pulled in and handed the attendant the keys and set out to see what I could see.

I strolled down the South Park Blocks toward the Oregon Historical Society.

Shemanski Fountain caught my eye. It’s a sandstone fountain that was donated to the city by Joseph Shemanski, a Polish immigrant and businessman. It was designed in 1925 and completed in 1926.

The fountain has two drinking platforms. Each level has three basins. The upper level is for people and the lower level is for dogs.

Originally, the fountain had a planter in the center. In 1928, Shemanski hired Oliver Laurence Barrett, an arts professor at the University of Oregon to create a bronze statue to replace the vase. According to Portland Parks and Recreation, Shemanski chose the Biblical figure of Rebecca at the well because of her hospitality to strangers and kindness to animals.

Lincoln was the next sculpture I came to. It was by George Fite Waters, cast in Claude Valsuani’s foundry in France in 1927, on Lincoln’s birthday, and was dedicated on October 5, 1928.

On my right side, I noticed Masonic Temple that had been repurposed as the Portland Art Museum.

A little further down, it was Teddy Roosevelt’s turn. This statue is called Theodore Roosevelt, Rough Rider. It was designed by American sculptor Alexander Phimister Proctor. The memorial was commissioned after Roosevelt’s death in 1919 at the age of 60. It was completed in 1922. Cast in bronze in Brooklyn, New York, it was shipped by sea via the Panama Canal to avoid having to cut the work into pieces. I think shipping it via the Panama Canal was a nice touch, as he was instrumental in its construction.

After all that walking and sight seeing, it was time to visit the Oregon Historical Society.

But first, a stop at the drinking fountain.

That is a work of art all by itself. I paid my admission fee and took the elevator to the top floor.

They had a nice collection of artifacts from the first inhabitants of the area.

Unfortunately, the low lighting level, which is necessary for preserving the delicate artifacts, made it hard to see the artifacts.

In one of the stairwells, they had a collection of advertising art that was important to the area. I didn’t know it, but Jantzen was founded in Portland. It grew out of the Portland Knitting Company, that was founded by John A. Zehntbauer and Carl Jantzen in 1910.

In 1913, they were asked to develop a knit woolen suit for use by the Portland Rowing Company. They began making their suits in wool. I can’t imagine that they were very satisfactory for swimming, but that would be just the ticket for keeping rowers warm. Eventually they began experimenting with a fine elastic fiber, according to my ultimate source.

I was surprised to learn that it was such a long established company and that their swim suits are still available. The company was purchased in 1980 and has changed hands several times. Currently it is owned by Perry Ellis International, Inc.

I wonder if my campground has any relation to the company? I imagine so.

There was much more to see, and if you are in town, I would recommend a visit.

I headed back toward where I left Bart.

This is the First Congregational United Church of Christ. The congregation was formed in 1851, and the cornerstone of this building was laid 1893. Incidentally, this is just the side view of the building. It really is lovely.

I entered and noticed that they were having an art exhibit in the basement.

The exhibit was called Celebration of Calligraphy: Sacred Words in Art, by the artist Salma Arastu.

This one is titled, “Allah is of Infinite Bounties”.

This one is titled “Equal Rewards.”

What a lovely surprise! It is so delightful when you enter a building just to see what you might see and you find a jewel-toned art exhibit.

I went upstairs to the sacristy.

There was fine stained glass in all the windows.

Oh, horrors! Would you look at that organ! Luckily, no one was playing. (For those who don’t know me well, I detest the sound of the organ. It doesn’t matter of the skill of the musician playing. It just sounds dreadful to me.)

The pews are arranged in a semi-circle around the altar area.

I thoroughly enjoyed my prowl around Portland. It was time to ransom Bart from the valet parking and head back to Flo. I stopped to pick up a few things at the shopping center near the campground, and was treated to a little reward for dodging the rain.

I’ll bet there is a pot of gold inside Target! (Unfortunately, it I’m sure it has a bar code attached to it.)

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