Category Archives: Portland OR

Zoo Lights

It’s that time of year when lights appear all over town.  So far I’ve seen Crale House, Peacock Lane and the Christmas Ships.  This year I made it to the zoo for its display. I was too busy gawking to take many photos.

Although there were some themed lights like the nativity and Christmas trees, most of the lights were animals or lights densely placed on tree trunks and branches. At one point we walked through a tunnel of lights so solid as to be almost disorienting.

At the beginning I was intrigued by the snake.

zoo lights--snake 2

One of the few snakes that looks harmless.

Midway a group of animals and trees

zoo ights 2

These alternated, flashing on and off to the rhythm of music. Timing the camera to the scene was difficult. I missed the two bright pink hippos and a bright green alligator. It would have taken video to do it justice.

And near the end, a dragon.

zoo lights dragon 2

Other effects, impossible to catch in photograph, were an eagle appearing to be flying and a peacock opening and closing its tail feathers. Some children identified another exhibit as scenes from Wicked.

There are two ways to view it walking the marked path or by train. I’ve been told each is quite a different experience, so I may have to visit again.

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Autumn at the Chinese Garden

I’ve visited several times since renewing my Lan Su membership, but for one reason or another didn’t take many photos. Last week I was camera happy.

First some overviews–it has been so long that I’ve forgotten names of some of the building.

1land boat

I do remember the land boat (left), but not the pagoda’s name.

1zigzag bridge

And the zigzag bridge–shaped because evil spirits go in straight lines, thus they can’t get across.

I was amazed at how much green remains in the garden. It has been a mild fall. On my street there are bare trees that had been yellow, red leaves still hanging and a few green trees delaying the color thing.

The poetry wheel is either new, or I’ve managed to visit at times when it wasn’t displayed.

1 poetry wheel

Workshops were taught–I’m not sure how many styles of poem were among the lessons. The form the garden sports is the couplet: two lines with patterned opposites.  If the first word of one line is “many” the first line of the next is “one,” for example. The poems I read did not follow that pattern. Workshop attendees could opt to exhibit their poems. I took some close ups to share, but the words weren’t visible in the photos. You’ll have to use your imagination.

The sun was bright and beautiful, but it did wash out color on some of my photos. On the other hand, it made shadow designs.

1 shadows

There actually were quite a few people visiting that day–and they did photo bomb some of my shots. It seems amazing I got any without people.

Some bits of fall color:

And pomegranates in two places, a large tree and a potted tree.

The tour guide said the ones on the small tree were the largest he had seen it produce. It seems a plentiful year.  In the past there has been fruit still hanging late into winter, so I guess they don’t harvest them.

And in spite of it being fall, there are still flowers.

I hope you enjoyed your vicarious visit.

 

 

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Lan Su Chinese Garden and Rose Parade

It’s been a couple years since I last visited the Chinese Garden.  Out of town guests prompted me to renew my membership. As is my usual custom, we did the tour (I always learn something new) and sipped tea in the tea room.

I’ve always appreciated the carved panels. Previous guides have mentioned that each of the four represented historic philosophers’ gardens in China.

ls wood panel

This guide pointed out that this panel showed the garden that the design of Lan Su was mostly based upon, noting the tea room (top), pagoda, and zigzag bridge. And here is the bridge in the garden.

ls zigzag bridge distant

Previously I’d heard the lore that the zigzag made it more difficult for evil spirits to cross; this time the explanation was more mundane.  It delayed passage, slowing people down, giving the experience of a larger garden. For a real philosopher’s garden would also be a small space in a busy city, made to look/represent large. As in the “mountain” and waterfall.

ls waterfall

Sometimes the idea is all that is needed.

Then to the tea room.

ls View

This time we were seated upstairs where we got an overview of the garden.

And tea.

ls tea in tearoom

Each kind of tea has its own kind of pot and cup. I especially liked this delicate flowerlike cup for the Black tea with rose petals (timely because of the rose parade).

Here is the Lan Su float for the rose parade.

ls float front

Yes, I was a wimp and viewed from inside on a chair! But floats were on the street later for close-up looks.

 

I have more float photos; maybe another day.

 

 

 

 

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Vanport Mosaic: Memory Activism

The short version: During World War II there was an urgent need for ships; Kaiser Shipyards needed workers to supply that need, and they came from all over the country.  Kaiser, working with the federal government, built homes on a flood plain that became Vanport (between Vancouver, WA (Van) and Portland, OR (Port)), homes meant to be temporary. Although the need for ships dwindled after the war, about 4000 people remained. Vanport was Oregon’s largest city and the nation’s largest public housing, a thriving community until May 30, 1948 when the flooding Columbia River demolished it in 45 minutes.  For the long version, see this OPB hour long program.

In 2014, recognizing that the place and the flood were fading from the collective memory, Laura Lo Forti began interviewing and videotaping Vanport residents still alive. In 2016 Co-Directors Laura Lo Forti and Damaris Webb (with the help of many) presented the first Vanport Mosaic Festival.  I attended that first one and learned the history, missed the second, then attended the greatly expanded version this year.

The bus tour took us around today’s golf course and race track to show us where buildings had been. The guide for the tour I traveled with had lived in Vanport as a 6-10 year old; he had many stories to tell.

The only tangible remnant of Vanport is the foundation of the theatre.

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Besides the tour guide, there was another passenger who had been a resident. They searched a school photo to find themselves.

a Vanport residents

The tour started from the Expo Center; inside were impressive exhibits created by middle school students. First the Vanport sequence.

a overviewa WWII ship 2a Vanport women 2

Several students pointed out that the school was integrated, but the living assignments were segregated.

Two  other middle school projects concerned the Japanese incarceration during WWII. This is related to Vanport in that some Japanese people returning –whose homes had been either destroyed or occupied by others–moved into Vanport homes vacated by ship workers whose work was over. And so they were dispossessed twice: by the internment and by the flood.

One project dealt with peoples’ experiences, each student summarizing, illustrating, and reflecting on one person. Here is one sample, Jack’s history:

a Jack's experience 2

And the student reflection:

a Jack student reflection 2

Another told of a Japanese-Peruvian man, an aspect new to me. For a fee (I think it was 2 million dollars) U. S, housed Japanese-Peruvians in the centers. At the war’s end, U. S didn’t want them, Peru didn’t want them back, so they were sent “back” to a Japan they had not known.

The other project explored the various concentration camps.

It included a description of the temporary holding center, here at Expo Center, where people were held until the internment centers could be constructed.

a relocation text 2

At the Expo Center there is a permanent memorial, several torii with metal tags for each person imprisoned here and on the poles, embossed replicas of various news articles related to their forced leaving.

a Torii at Expo Center 2

Memory Activism: Remembering in order to honor and to act differently.

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Holiday Traditions

It’s time for the annual visit to the lobby of the Benson Hotel to view the gingerbread creation, this year featuring the Lichtenstein Castle in the center and imaginary villages on the sides. The first view with a human for perspective.

Then the detail on the right.

And closer so you can see the chocolate shingles on the roofs.

And closer yet to show the tree with marzipan gifts.

Back to an overview from the right.

And a close up of the tree in the lower right.

Love the pretzel trunk and green frosting.

This is Chef Diffendorfer’s 25th gingerbread creation at the Benson.

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Experimenting

First time for posting with iPhone app. But my computer decided not to charge so it is at the shop.

I went to Pioneer Courthouse Square for a vigil where the Raging Grannies sang.

Although the topics were anti-Islamophobia and welcoming refugees, there were speeches against the US declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, speeches by Christian ministers and Jewish rabbis.

Hanukkah was represented by the candle posters.

While there I got a photo of the BIG Christmas tree. Some year I’ll get to the lighting ceremony, but I haven’t yet.

Everything appears to be working except I don’t see how to categorize and tag.

ETA WordPress conveniently posted instructions today (12/13/17) for categories and tags on the apps.

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Filed under events, Portland OR

Portland City Center Art and MSF Exhibit

Every time I stroll from the MAX stop at Pioneer Place to Pioneer Courthouse Square I am amused by the sculptures along Morrison Street. This time I took photos.

I imagine the beavers and ducks reference OSU and OU mascots; I don’t know of any sport significance to sea lions. I do know the sea lions are a feature of coastal towns, in some cases overrunning certain piers.

Pioneer Courthouse Square is the site of many events: festivals, political rallies, craft markets, and sand sculptures among others.  This week it hosted an exhibit produced by Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, MSF).

MSF 1

Visitors are greeted, given a refugee identity (mine was a Syrian asylum seeker), then ushered through the various exhibits by an MSF volunteer. The tent pictured above housed a 360-degree video of variousl refugee camps and in some cases modes of transportation as if we were in the train or truck.

A more specific transportation exhibit allowed us to sit in a small boat made for 8 and imagine 20 or more in it as we listened to the benefits and trials of the various options.

MSF boat

The hour-long tour of the exhibit increased my understanding of the physical hazards refugees face as well as political challenges met by various category of people fleeing. Nor are all countries signatories of the UN declaration. Those who are must provide basic needs of refugees; others are under no obligation. And it expanded my understanding of MSF: previously I’d envisioned only field hospital type medicine rather than the holistic care of refugee needs.

If you are in Portland, the exhibit is up till 5 pm Sunday in its west coast travels.

More information on the exhibit here (with a nice photo of Pioneer Courthouse Square) here.

More information on MSF here.

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