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A new bridge for Sauvie Island Saturday, December 29, 2007

The span for the new Sauvie Island Bridge sits jacked up on a barge at Terminal 2 in Portland, about eight miles upstream of its destination. The 1600-ton structure will replace the existing bridge that was built in 1950. According to Multnomah County, that bridge "is not adequate to meet the current needs of the island’s farmers and industrial businesses, is substandard for bicyclists and pedestrians, and is at the end of its service life."

The new bridge was raised at the terminal because it was safer and reduced the amount of time the Multnomah Channel was closed to river traffic. The bottom of the arch was 75 feet above the river as tugs moved the barge downstream.

The light on the St. John Bridge was beautiful just minutes before the Sauvie Island span arrived.

Just before the barge sailed past, a tractor-trailer stalled in the intersection at the south end of the St. John Bridge. That backed up traffic in three directions while a tow truck removed the disabled vehicle. Thankfully, I got to my shooting spot minutes before the road was closed.

By the time the bridge passed by the sun was covered by clouds.

At the bridge's destination, the light was beautiful again in the moments before the barge arrived.

And once again the clouds covered the sun as the bridge was moved into place. At 365 feet, the new span is significantly longer than the existing bridge. It is also much wider, allowing six-foot shoulders/bike lanes in each direction and six-foot sidewalks on each side.

Four tugboats were used to maneuver the new bridge into its final location right next to the existing structure.

It took about two hours to float the bridge from Terminal 2 to Sauvie Island. Crews expected to spend the next three days lowering the bridge onto its footings.

Markings on a beam make the $38.5-million structure look like a steal! The Sauvie Island Bridge project has been in the works since 2001. It has been delayed for a variety of reasons, including environmental protection and waiting for the barge to be available. The bridge should be ready for traffic sometime next summer.

Strikeout at the airport Wednesday, December 26, 2007

(left) The departures level of PDX is busy early in the morning Dec. 26.

Well, I was up just after 4 this morning to head to the airport to photograph and interview the Lincoln girls as they headed off to a tournament in Phoenix this week. I thought they had to be there at 5. A stalled car on Airport Way slowed things down a little bit, but I arrived at PDX at 4:55, figuring that a dozen girls probably in their team sweats would be fairly easy to find.

I must have gotten my information wrong, though. There were plenty of college and high school basketball players around—including Aarika Hughes, who used to play at Southridge—but the Cardinals were nowhere to be found. I until after 6 in case they showed up, but no dice. Maybe their flight left at 5?

(right) Aarika Hughes moves through Portland International Airport Dec. 26. Hughes, who helped Southridge High School win back-to-back basketball championships in 2005 and 2006 now plays at USC. (below) Hughes brings the ball up-court against Ashland in the 2006 state basketball tournament.

I did find something pretty cool, though, in the short term parking lot. Short-term parking at PDX is a pretty typical 3,300-space structure with a double-helix up-ramp on one side and a similar down-ramp on the other. It only costs $3 per hour, which seems pretty reasonable for an airport. But the cool part was the new system they have to help you find a parking spot.

Every stall has a little sensor above it to detect a parked vehicle. If the space is empty, green LEDs light up above the space to let you know it is available. When you park in it, they turn red. Better yet, the system feeds back to a sign at the end of each aisle that tells you exactly how many spots are available down that aisle. So you can always find a parking spot pretty quickly. Pretty nifty.

A day off

(left) Pioneer Courthouse Square is virtually empty Dec. 25. There was snow in the air on and off throughout the afternoon in Portland, the first Christmas day snowfall in the city since 1990. (below) The downtown Nordstrom department store was all locked up Dec. 25. A sign said that the store would be closed at 4 p.m. on Christmas eve "to prepare for a sale" starting Dec. 26.

Christmas at last Tuesday, December 25, 2007

It's finally Christmas.

I know I'm joining millions of 8-year-olds around the world when I say that, but I don't mean it the way they do. Nor do I mean it in the same sense as the parents of said 8-year-olds.

I say "it's finally Christmas" because, for me, it finally feels like Christmas. It only took until about 11 o'clock on Christmas Eve.

Unlike in years past, when I've gone home or at least taken time off work, I didn't do anything particular this year to mark the approach of Dec. 25. Here in Portland I don't even have snow to remind me that it's winter.

(Sorry, no new photos for this post. I might take something tomorrow, but I might as well give that its own entry. Meanwhile, enjoy this image of last year's tree in Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland.)

To be honest, Christmas basically flew in under the radar this
time around. The advent calendar that my mother faithfully sends every year suddenly jumped from 4 to 19 in the blink of an eye. In my world, the week of Dec. 24 has been an awkward space on the calendar when you couldn't be sure who would be working or when the stores would be open. I did do a bit of Christmas shopping, but haven't sent those things off yet. And at this point, I'm not sure it's worth decorating my 3-foot tree.

Today (Dec. 24) was basically a work day for me, albeit a pretty slack one. I didn't really do anything productive this afternoon.

The festive season finally turned around for me tonight when I went to church.

I happen to live about 3 blocks from Trinity Episcopal Cathedral. Trinity is a large limestone building dating back a little over 100 years. Inside, it's a pretty typical church in the Anglican tradition. One thing that does set Trinity apart from many other churches I've attended, though, is the quality of the music. In addition to an amazing organ and wonderful organist, they have a dedicated Director of Cathedral Music and, for tonight's service anyway, a choir of more than 40.

The service itself, of course, is literally by the book. One of the most common criticisms of the Anglican family of churches is the routine, rote nature of the services—"McServices," one might say—which follow the same patterns from week to week and are virtually uniform from one parish to another. But, for me at least, there is something very comforting in the tradition that the church embodies.

Dressed in a blazer and tie, and sitting on a hard pew near the back of the packed cathedral tonight, I listened to the same words I've heard nearly every Christmas I can remember: "In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered...".

Instantly, the four strangers beside me became my parents, brother, and sister, dressed in our Sunday best and out way past our bedtimes on the most exciting night of the year. And when we sang the second verse of "Hark! the herald angels sing," I looked over and shared a knowing look with my brother as the author forced us to rhyme "womb" with "come." Though they weren't actually there, I smiled knowing that they were doing exactly the same thing in a different place.

When the service ended around 12:45 I stepped out into the cold night, half expecting four feet of snow on the ground. The light drizzle brought me back to the West Coast, but I knew the Christmas spirit had at last come my way.

So wherever you are, Merry Christmas—it's finally here!

Latest basketball pics Tuesday, December 18, 2007

(left) Lincoln's red uniforms stand out against the green hallways at Jesuit High School as the girls' varsity squad makes the surprisingly long walk from the locker room to the gym before their game Dec. 12. Lincoln won the game 49-39. (below) Just about everybody tries to get their hands on a rebound in the second quarter.

(left) Tresa Palmer celebrates the win over Jesuit.

(left) Nobody can get their hands on a rebound in the second quarter of Lincoln's home game Dec. 14 against Southridge. Despite losing 50-25, the Cardinals felt good about the way they played against the state's top-ranked team. (below) Coach Peeler adjusts the team's strategy at halftime.

(left) Aliyah Green reaches for a loose ball after she tripped over Kiara Tate (left).

I just noticed that, contrary to Weber's First Law of Basketball Photography*, all of these photos are horizontal. I didn't plan it that way. Admittedly, half of them are off-court, but it goes to show that sometimes horizontal images work in this predominantly vertical genre. In the interest of full disclosure, the three action images were shot vertically and cropped to horizontals. Hey, it's hard to anticipate this stuff!

*Gary Weber probably wasn't the first to formulate this law, and he didn't even call it that. But he taught it to me so that's what I'm calling it.

A new foundation Thursday, December 13, 2007

The home at 2165 NW Everett St. stands on pilings Dec. 11 as it awaits a new foundation. The single-family home, built in 1892, is being converted to three separate apartments.

Various construction activities have been going on at this place, just two doors down from my apartment, for a while now. I finally had a minute to investigate the other day. The home has been jacked up about three feet off its original foundations (which don't look very substantial), and forms have been laid for new foundations. You can find construction permit information here.

(right) Curious passers-by take photos of the home.

Lincoln 55, McMinnville 46 Monday, December 10, 2007

Lincoln's Tresa Palmer defends against Bailee Niehus (no. 20) Dec. 7 in the Cardinals' game at McMinnville. The Cardinals won 55-46 to improve their pre-season record to 2-2.

Last Friday I had the opportunity to photograph the Cardinals playing in McMinnville. I'd never been to their gym before, but it was a pleasant surprise. Although the sidelines were as ugly as any other high school gymnasium, the end walls made a wonderful background for photos. And, apart from right near the walls, the light was better than most gyms, too.

Kelsey Goodell (center, in red) stretches for a rebound over McMinnville's Lindsay Wickman.

The Cardinals looked a bit shaky at times, but pulled away in the second half en route to a 55-46 win. Lincoln has a 2-2 record in the pre-season. Their schedule gets considerably tougher this week with games against Jesuit and Southridge.

Lincoln begins league play Dec. 18 at Benson.

PCC/Blazers double-header Saturday, December 08, 2007

The PCC Panthers get their first look at the Rose Garden from the floor as they wait to take the court Dec. 6 for their game against Lower Columbia CC. The game was played at the Rose Garden as part of a double-header. It was followed by the Trail Blazers vs. Miami Heat.

(right) Alex King shoots from inside for Lower Columbia. King scored 11 for the Devils.

(left) Tyler Mendezona lays one up in the first quarter. Mendezona was the second-leading scorer for the Panthers with 15. Shawn West had 18.

Thursday, the Portland Community College Panthers had a special game against the Lower Columbia CC Devils from Longview,
Wash. Though it was a home game for Lower Columbia, it was played at the Rose Garden in Portland. It was billed as a double-header with the Trail Blazers, who squared off against Miami Thursday evening.

PCC played hard, but ended up on the wrong end of a 76-60 final (box score). That dropped their record to 0-6 for the year. Lower Columbia improved to 1-3.

The second half of the double-header (Portland vs. Miami) was better-attended by a ratio of about 1000 to 1. That doesn't include the national television audience on TNT. And the Blazers put on one of their best shows of the season en route to a 112-106 win over the Heat.

(right) Channing Frye gets fouled by Daequon Cook in the paint. Frye made both free throws on the play, and scored 6 overall for the Blazers.

I had never seen a Blazers game before (the only other NBA game I'd ever seen was San Antonio at Vancouver, back in 1996), so I took advantage of the free ticket. I was sitting pretty much on the center line, but way, way, way up ... second-last row, in fact. I couldn't see directly across the arena because the retired number banners were in the way. We were above the scoreboard. Still, I had fun. It's an interesting perspective from up there.

Tinsel flies as time runs out in the Blazers' 112-106 win over Miami.

Spirit of Christmas Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Kevin De Lucio, 3, recoils as his parents, Baudelia Martinez and Luis De Lucio help him feed an alpaca in the petting zoo at Spirit of Christmas celebrations Nov. 24 in downtown Gresham.

The City of Gresham kicked off its holiday season with The Spirit of Christmas celebrations in the historic downtown area a couple of weekends ago. There were various activities during the day, a tree lighting ceremony in the evening and, of course, a visit from Santa Claus.

(right) Crowds watch The Dickens Carolers perform on the main stage. (below) Mayor Shane Bemis and Police Chief Carla Piluso stand on stage as crowds admire the newly-lit tree Nov. 24 on Main Ave. in downtown Gresham.

Calendar Monday, December 03, 2007

Here's a link to a project I did back in August. Visit your nearest Banfield Pet Hospital location and pick up a copy today.

Cover dog Izabelle leaps for a treat.