Wednesday, January 17, 2018

conceptual piece and and some old photos

For the last few days I have driven past what looked like a stuffed animal on one of the sculpture pads in the Pittman Addition HydroPark.  The other day I finally decided to go see what it was...well someone had burned and gutted a teddy bear. I'm not sure if it's an omen, conceptual piece or some one that was working out some issues. Either way I left it there. I want to see  see how long it lasts before someone takes it or one of the many dogs that play in the park will take it. 

 Meet Opal, she use to live on Concord and Blandina. As you can see there is a house across the street from the photo that was taken from a house on Going Court. There were several houses in what is now the Pittman Addition HydroPark. This photo is dated July 1980, but the houses are still there in the park at this time. 
Not sure when this photos was taken but as you can see the houses are gone, this is looking west on Going Court, you can see part of the Concord pedestrian overpass through the trees in the middle of the photo. There were a lot of fruit trees in the yards and when they tore down the houses that trees were left. After being neglected for several years some of the trees and bushes were eventually cut down, there are still 2 of these trees left. One is an apple the other is a pear tree. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

We have a lovely little park, all the neighbors love our park. Everyone takes pride in the park and tries to keep it clean. On Monday August 21st I walked out to put some some paper in my recycling. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a small fire and someone standing next to the fire. I thought WTF!!! is one of my neighbors playing a joke on us? As I walked over I could see an older man next to the fire in a pile of bark dust (highly flammable bark dust). I told him he could not have a fire in the park and to put it out right now. He said "i thought this was a BBQ area"...really a pile of bark dust in the middle of summer...what the hell. I told him I was going to get some water and my husband, he had better get his bags and leave the park right now. I called into the house and told my husband to come out with his cell phone right now, I filled a garden bucket with water and returned to the area of the fire. The man was slowly gathering his items and asked why he had to leave...I told him because he started a fire in a park & I was on the phone with 911. He started to argue with me but then decided against it as my husband yelled at him to leave.  Now I know the fire does not look like it was very large, but when I approached the man it was about 18" wide by 24"tall, he was adding more wood to the fire and seemed like he was going to settle down for a snack. 
The 911 operator asked if the fire was out, I said yes the man was walking away. About a minute later the man came back, he had forgotten his backpack, 2 minutes after that the fire department arrived, they made sure the fire was out. The police never came to take my report, must have been a busy night in the City of Roses.
I know these are blurry photos but he was moving as my husband took the photos. He was an older male about 60-65 years old, about 120-130 lbs, 5' 7"or 8" tall, grey longer hair with a full beard, he was wearing a dark jeans and a blue shirt, he had a dark burgundy backpack.

This type of behavior is unacceptable in a park, I believe the homeless problem has gotten out of control. Just look at the green space that is about 100 ft down on Going Street, it currently has 5 or 6 tents set up and a large amount of trash all over the area. It also had a van parked in the area but that is gone as of today. 

My biggest frustration is that I bought a house in a depressed area and worked hard to clean it up, I had my share of needles and condoms in the park but all that went away in the mid 90's as family's started to move into the area and the junkies and prostitutes started to leave. Now I have to worry about the amount to trash that is left behind by homeless folks as well as the rats that come with that amount of garbage. Not to mention the fire danger if people thing it's OK to start a fire in a park in a pile of bark dust. 
End of rant....come visit our park, it's a nice place. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Last night we burned the lady in the tree. She'd been up there for nine years and had finally decomposed into oblivion. But that's the nature of what artists refer to as a process piece. Observing the effects of time and environment upon someones vision. The lady was a figurative sculpture made of vine maple branches, she was about fifteen feet from hand to outstretched hand and eight foot from the waist to the top of her head. The hoop skirt she originally sat on had rotted away which was how I got her in the first place. I'd moved to Portland ten years ago and had found my way into the community by volunteering my construction skill to various art venues. I did a couple of weeks tuning up Oregon Country Fair and as a reward they let me keep the top of what was once the outdoor library. Nicodemus McDonald, by the way, was the sculptor that had built the whimsical structure that became part of my life.

Our little alcove of Portland used to be so obscure that the only people that make it to our street were surely, already lost. There was a vacant lot across the street from our house that runs the length of the sound wall along Going street. During my first year here the city only came by twice to cut back weeds. The lot was well populated with fruit trees that had stood in the back yards of the houses that were bulldozed to widen Going back in the early seventies. At the east end there was apple tree, the largest I've ever seen. Its branches hung down to the ground encircling the trunk and creating a sort of chapel of shadows. My wife, Marci and I walked our old dog down there every day so we started a project to trim the branches back and bring it some love. It wasn't long after that that I acquired the lady. She was sitting on the ground in a back stage parking area looking a little forlorn. The caretaker I worked for was surprised I'd shown an interest. He was going to add it to a bonfire one night and would already have but the lady was awkward and weighed close to three hundred pounds. I rented a flat bed and used a forklift to load her up the next day. I had my idea, you see, of installing her in the giant apple tree. I got some beams and a block and tackle from a friend and set up a rig to pull her up into the major branches. Then we slowly lowered her into the crux, maneuvering her arms between the branching trunks. She looked majestic and completely in her element.

Our neighbors loved the piece and the effort we made to turn our forgotten little vacant lot into something more. Over the next year we expanded our curatorial efforts by installing a metal sculpture, by my friend Dan Dos Man, at the other end of the lot and mowing a pathway through the overgrown grass to connect them. We didn't ask permission to do these things because it seemed apparent that nobody cared, until I got a knock on the door one day. The woman introduced herself, Darcy Cronin from the Water Bureau. She said that she really liked what we were doing with their land. I waited for the shoe to drop, it didn't! She suggested that if we brought together neighborhood support the Bureau had an infrastructure budget to support the project as a "Hydro Park". They own a lot of little pieces of Portland and were developing these little plots with the idea of creating neighborhood green spaces, I love this town! A unifying plan was developed and a committee appointed that has since overseen the selection and installation of various artists work which rotates new pieces in on a regular basis.

Last nights fire brought the opening act of our efforts to a close. The Pittman Addition Hydro Park is a hidden gem made possible by the people that showed up and took an interest, a community.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Our little park on Thanksgiving

We work up on Thanksgiving morning and it looked like there was a dusting of snow on the ground. The park looked amazing at sunset too. The week after Thanksgiving a crew came out and cleaned up  the park. They were at it for about 6 hours with leaf blowers, removing all the leaves...including the ones that were still on the trees. They also uncovered our concrete saying from the Velveteen Rabbit. It's nice to see it clearly again, it often gets covered up by weeds and wood chip.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Extra Action Marching Band In the Park

Last week we had some friends in town..Extra Action Marching Band! They played down at Dante's on Saturday evening then went to Rotture for the BlowPony. My husband knows most of the band so they stayed at our house for a few days after the Gay Pride Weekend in Portland. They didn't have a gig till thursday in Olympia, so they stayed in Portland for a few days. They practiced in the park on monday evening (the large box is from the new grill I bought my husband for his birthday and was used as a drum during practice), at one point I looked over at all the people on the pedestrian overpass and in the park watching the band practice. It was a fun impromptu event that brought the neighbors together. Isn't that what a park is all about? An open space provided for recreational use....we use our park almost every day to walk the kitties, show movies or watch a marching band. We live in a magical city that allows us the freedom to do this type of thing, my husband calls it a bubble. We live in a magical bubble that has wonderful food, great civic interactions and best of all great weather. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Join us Saturday May 30th for the first of several evening this summer of movies in the park. Movies start at dust, bring a chair or blanket to sit on, some popcorn or red vines and something to drink. See you in the park!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Some Random Photos of the Park

Some of the things that have appeared in the park over the last several years. And a tribute to Patti and Dale who helped out with the opening and were members of Friends of the Pittman Addition. We miss you Dale..