Archive for the ‘They built what?’ Category


“Gentlemen, we have run out of money.  It’s time to start thinking.” – Ernest Rutherford, British explorer – quoted sometime after 1910   Political analysts unaffiliated with The Onion suggested Monday that Silvio Berlusconi and upstart challenger Beppe Grillo may have enough votes between them to form a new, coalition government in Italy.  If this [...]

The 1% City

Looking over the city skyline on an unexpectedly beautiful day like this leaves me wondering what cities will look like in a future dominated by the 1%; all of the tallest and most architecturally significant buildings were built by proud local businesses seeking to make a statement for themselves, and virtually all of them are [...]

Little Men

They’re everywhere – these little men. No tendentious description of the phenomenon is required, nor is a detailed and boring historical context necessary, since they (like the poor) “have always been with us.”   But the sudden “surge” of poseurs, fakers, demagogues, deadbeats, and crooks stands out right now, as our vaunted world economy teeter-totters, [...]

The “Port” of Lewiston

Lots of people don’t realize that the little town of Lewiston, Idaho, is a seaport, partly because it seems impossible that a spot hundreds of miles inland that no one’s ever heard of could be so.  Such skepticism is entirely warranted; Lewiston wasn’t, in fact a port until the completion of four taxpayer-funded dams on [...]

The Columbia Gorge, Revisited

Back in high school and college, a trip to the Columbia Gorge wasn’t really about appreciating its beauty, but about getting away to party and make mischief, which we naturally did with some frequency.  In the process, though, I did manage to discover a lot of favorite spots, surprisingly few of which I’ve forgotten in [...]

Fresh and Green

In an earlier post, I wrote about the ongoing renovation of the Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal building, a bland 1970′s-looking hulk being completely retrofitted under the stimulus bill.  Currently, it’s one of three cranes left in a skyline that had more than a dozen just a few years ago, one stands idly over a project [...]

Un-Development is Exceptional

After years of watching a skyline dotted with a dozen or more cranes, the post-crash lull allows the boom-addled to look around and adjust to the new views, or lack thereof, while the rest of us just rejoice for a moment that things have stopped changing for a minute or two.  Just a few months [...]

Day at the Museum

Back in the early 1990′s, the Portland Art Museum bought its next door neighbor, the Masonic Temple, for future expansion.  There was some debate about what to do with the imposing 1928 structure, which had been modeled on the Temple of Halicarnassus by architect Fredrick Fritsch and dwarfed Pietro Belluschi’s 1933 original museum to its [...]

The Cementheads

From the Oil Spill Commission (OSC), 10/28/10: “We have known for some time that the cement used to secure the production casing and isolate the hydrocarbon zone at the bottom of the Macondo well must have failed in some manner.  That cement should have prevented hydrocarbons from entering the well.” – snip – “We asked [...]

The Appalachian Trail

One thing any alert homebuyer should always look out for when purchasing a home is the presence of Hillbilly Remodeling, a daring yet time-honored art form that takes perfectly sound houses and turns them into unstable messes that eat money and poop debris in equally copious amounts.  You see, houses, when built, have to follow [...]