Going places - Vuelta a Iberia - CycleBlaze

August 27, 2019

Going places

Ever since reading Jeff Teel’s report of the men he encountered on an inspiring quest to eat a slice of pie in every county in Nebraska, I’ve been intrigued by the thought of embarking on a quest myself.  But a quest for what?  What can I pursue that’s worthy of the pursuit?

I don’t have an answer to that yet.  In the meantime though, I’m on a short quest to explore Going Street from start to finish, to see what treasures it holds.  Why Going Street?   No explanation, other than the obvious play on words it offers.  Who knows though - Going Street is one of Portland’s  bikeways, so maybe this could be the first stage on a grand quest to explore all of our city’s bikeways.

Before starting, I do a bit of background research to see where the street’s unusual name came from.  I assume it’s from the name of one of Portland’s early luminaries (like nearby Failing Street, named after Josiah Failing, Portland’s fourth mayor).  No luck though - the only reference I find suggests it’s the street to take if you’re going out of town.  Not convincing, really; so my guess is as good as yours.

Going Street is in the northeast quarter, originating on Swan Island near the Willamette River and ending about five miles to the east at Sandy Boulevard.  It’s origin is a few miles from our room at the Empress, but as I bike over to the starting line I’m free to look around to see if there’s anything else interesting along the way.  It’s due to be very hot this afternoon with an expected high of 97, maybe the hottest day we’ll see all year, so I’m in a bit of a hurry to complete the quest and get home before the day heats up too much.  

Still, I find a few reasons to slow down.  First, I stop for a look at the eastern face of the new PNCA campus as I bike up Broadway toward the bridge.  I’ve almost never come this way in the past, but it’s the logical route from our current housing.  I don’t remember ever noticing this face of this building, but it’s striking.  This is the recently renovated 511 Federal Building, originally built a century ago as a post office.  After a long period of disuse it was given to PNCA as a surplus property five years ago and reopened as the art college campus after its renovation was complete.

The old federal post office building, recently reincarnated as an art college.
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Standing guard over the new PNCA campus
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Cast bronze lamp over the east entrance
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We were just here last week! The best room in town that $65 can buy.
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Also meriting a brief stop is Overlook Park, sitting atop the bluff overlooking Swan Island and the river.  It gives impressive views to the west, but I mostly like it because it hosts three of my favorite trees in the city - an immense elm standing isolated in the center of a large field, and a pair of massive, sprawling black walnuts.  Always worth a stop, if you have any plans to be in the Overlook neighborhood.

The impressive American Elm at the heart of Overlook Park
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Bruce LellmanThis elm must be a Heritage Tree. One of the most impressive elms I've ever seen. It had all the space it wanted to really strut it's stuff.
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanYou’d think so, but surprisingly it isn’t - I found the index, and they’re not listed. The walnuts aren’t either. It surprises me, but maybe be it’s because they’re already protected by the park? Sounds like a worthy subject for a quest though.
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3 months ago
I love the way that these two sprawling black walnuts appear to be reaching out for each other. Rodriguez dutifully leans against the leftmost tree, giving us a sense of scale.
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Bruce LellmanThese walnuts are probably Heritage Trees too. Portland has a great Heritage Tree program.
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3 months ago
Jen GrumbyWow! It would be fun to lay (or lie?) under that tree and look up I to those branches.
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3 months ago
That lowest branch must be sprawled out vertically for a hundred feet. How much do you think it weighs? Amazing that it hasn’t snapped off.
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Andrea BrownDown in the Willamette Valley, there were trees that had branches like that, that were part of the Applegate Trail to signpoint early settlers in the right direction. One of them stood in Avery Park in Corvallis until the early 90s, every kid in town crawled out on the long "pointer" branch.
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownI remember that branch in Avery Park, but haven’t thought of it in many years. I took Shawn and some friends there when he was a grade schooler. I’d never heard of them as signposts though. Great story.
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3 months ago
Black walnut, Overlook Park
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To reach the start of Going Street I have to drop down to Swan Island, an industrial area bordering the Willamette River.  Originally an island, it was long ago connected to the east bank by filling the channel and then developed.  It was the site for Portland’s first airport, as well as the Kaiser Swan Island Shipyard that sprang up overnight during the WWII armament effort.  Today, it still houses the shipyard (now operated by Vigor Industrial), including the huge Vigorous floating dry dock we saw in an earlier post on our ride to Chinook Landing.  Also there are other important facilities - the UPS and FedEx distribution centers and the corporate headquarters for Daimler Trucks, among others.

The only vehicular access to Swan Island is by Going Street, so to start the quest I have to ride down Going going in its opposite direction.  I don’t look at it for now though, because I don’t want to spoil the surprises in store.  Instead, I continue on past to the water’s edge, to the attractive riverside walkway on the Daimler campus.  It’s another of those out of the way spots in Portland that gives a different and appealing perspective on the city.

The riverside walk on the Daimler campus gives a different perspective on Portland’s waterfront.
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Bruce LellmanThank you for showing this. I've lived in Portland for 36 years and I never knew this existed.
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3 months ago
On the West Bank, across the River from Swan Island, is Greenbrier Gunderson, a manufacturing facility of Greenbrier Industries that builds and renovates barges and rail cars.
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Another interesting craft on the opposite bank.
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Bruce LellmanA pirate ship no doubt.
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3 months ago
Thankfully I remembered to bring my superzoom today, so I can see that this is the Essayons, a ‘hopper dredge’ operated by the US Corps of Engineers. Hopper dredges work somewhat like huge vacuum cleaners, and are used to keep major waterways navigable.
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Jen Grumby"The Rose Festival Fleet is coming ... Hurry!

Get out the Essayons ..we must go vacuum the river!"
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyThat’s the vision, alright. I was glad to be able to zoom in on this and learn something new. I’d never heard of a hopper dredge before now.
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3 months ago

OK, that’s enough with the diversions.  We’re finally at the start of Going Street.  Let the quest begin!  Its start isn’t the most appealing, climbing back up the busy highway that provides access to Swan Island.

It all starts here. Let’s get Going!
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The first mile of Going Street is very busy, filled with trucks and heavy traffic. Not a safe or inviting place for a bike, but fortunately there’s a wide bikepath/walkway on the other side. Noisy, lined with a few homeless camps, but safe.
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On top of the bluff is tiny Pittman Addition Hydro Park, at the base of the corkscrew overpass we saw Rachael crossing two posts ago. Not much of a park, but it does have a few public art works. This one suggests a Swan, maybe inspired by nearby Swan Island?
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Rodriguez is well camouflaged by this sculpture in Pittman Addition Hydro Park. So what’s a hydro park? It’s a public green space surrounding one of Portland’s numerous large water reservoirs.
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Just past the hydro Park, Going Street drastically changes character. No longer an arterial to access Swan Island, it’s now just another quiet residential street, and a bicycle greenway. For about a half mile more there are actually two Going Streets in parallel - this quiet one, and the arterial that continues until finally ending at the freeway. We’ll stick with the quiet one.
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Once we cross the freeway, Going Street is quiet all the way to its end.  It’s also a bit confusing to follow, with occasional jogs where the street is offset for some reason, or for gaps of one or more blocks.  Unfortunately the batteries in my GPS died awhile ago and I’m now mapless, so I do a bit of stumbling around trying to find the thread again.

Which is as it should be.  A quest shouldn’t be without its challenges.

Darn, I forgot to bring the chalk today and didn’t notice the box on the pavement. I’ve do have a thing or two I want to do before I die, so I could have filled in some blanks.
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Going Street has a few painted intersections I haven’t seen before.
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Here’s another. A pinwheel?
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So do we! (Vernon is the local elementary school).
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Dried peppers! We could be back in Calabria.
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Going Street is proving to be pretty slim on highlights, but this porch is definitely one of them.
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Toward the end of the quest, we have a choice - we could stay on Going, or we could follow the bikeway as it segues onto Alberta Steet.  Well, it’s not a choice, actually - it’s a navigation error, induced by the broken street pattern and my lack of a map.  I end up on Alberta by accident, and don’t realize it for a few blocks.

One of Portland’s newest parks, and its first to be named in the language of the indigenous people whose land it occupies. K’unamokwst is the Chinook wawa word meaning ‘together’.
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Jen GrumbyCool name! I'd love to hear its pronunciation.

And I wonder how many people pronounce it correctly when they say, "Hey, let's get together at K'unamost Park!"
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3 months ago
Jen GrumbyTo Jen GrumbyDamn autocorrect. K'unamokwst.

K'unamokwst, I say!
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyYou can hear for yourself! The website for the park includes a pronunciation link.
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3 months ago
Jen GrumbyBrilliant!

Maybe next time we're all in Portland we can have a picnic at 'KAHN-ah-mockst'.
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3 months ago
A helpful orientation post opposite K’unamokwst Park. Too bad Oakshire Brewing is in the wrong direction, or I might be tempted.
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Ron SuchanekA brewery is never in the wrong direction.
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Ron SuchanekWords to live by. I’m writing that one down as a future reference.
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3 months ago
Ron SuchanekTo Scott AndersonI do what I can.
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3 months ago
Definitely not a lime tree.
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The last mile of the quest proves especially challenging.  Going Street disappears completely in spots, and it takes some work to find it again.  If I hadn’t known that it continues until Sandy Boulevard I might have gotten discouraged and turned back short of the goal.  It’s getting very hot by now, and a strong east wind has picked up.  In the face of all these adversities, I persist and come to the end of the quest.

Sadly, there’s no slice of pie waiting at the end of the trail today.  Just a dead end, and a pretty shabby looking nail and hair salon.  I don’t mind though - the journey is its own reward.  Mission accomplished!

End of the road.
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