Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Oregon Weather...

The weather report for Northwestern Oregon today... cloudy with a chance of rain. But, be prepared for that 10 minute window of sunshine!

And, that's exactly what happened. It seems to be a recurring theme as the area approaches winter. It rained on and off, and when the sun peeked through, you'd best get your butt out there and take advantage of it, because it will be gone in 10 minutes. That pattern went on all day long... rain, clouds... sun! Rain, clouds... sun! Rain... well, you get the idea.

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to get an interview with Dave Heick, the owner of KCYS 98.1FM in Seaside, the only locally owned Country station in the U.S. (This was anot
her one of those serendipitous events that keep gracing me on this trip.)

I went to see Dave was because I heard the station mention that
fact on the air, and I thought it fit in perfectly with my project, seeing as how so much of American radio is owned by a few monopolies whose main priority is the financial bottom line as opposed to the listener. I called the station that morning, and within an hour, I was sitting in Dave’s office videotaping him for my project. He's a great guy. Very knowledgeable, and as honest and straightforward as they come. Not only did I get a good interview for my project, but I learned a lot about the radio business as well.

After the interview, I drove in to Astoria and set up camp in the Safeway parking lot. Astoria is a small town, and the Safeway is kind of like their Costco – full service fuel station, drug store, and grocery store (all in the same lot). Rather than find an RV campground, I just picked the Safeway lot because it was easy and convenient, as I was scheduled for an interview with their newspaper, The Astorian the next morning.

This morning I met with Pam, a reporter for The Astorian. A fellow artist, with a penchant for sculpture and multi-media, we got along very well. However, our meeting was too short, as are a lot of my visits through Oregon, but I it was worth every second. She even took the time to send me an email with great places to visit when I make it up to her home state of Washington.

After meeting with Pam, I drove to Portland to have lunch with my friend Sara. We had a great time, and a great lunch. Afterward, I made a quick trek to a local factory for some sunset photos, and popped in to a local camera store called Blue Moon. This is a gem of a shop, run by Jake Shivery, who started the business only 6 years ago, and who has built it into Portland's premiere photo resource. Being one of the few privately-owned camera stores left in this country, Jake's shop is truly part of a dying breed. And, with a traditional optical processing lab, classic camera gear, and a staff of fantastic photographers, Blue Moon is one of the last bastions of genuine craftsmanship to be found in this ever-changing world of photography.

After visiting with Jake and his staff, I went back to see Sara's newest project – the restoration of her 1920s era house in St. Johns, just north of Portland. What a great house! Wood floors, a fireplace, a landscaped yard that she did herself, and a floorplan that invites you to just grab a cup of coffee and meander lazily from room to room, breathing in the home's character and charm. I can't wait for her housewarming party!

After hanging out with Sara, I came south of Portland to Oregon City (the last stop on the old Oregon Trail). I got some night shots of another factory, and I’m currently at a riverside campground for the night.

It was a busy day for me, but not an adventurous day, so the exciting stories will have to wait until next time...

Meanwhile, I think I'll use this extra space to show you all some images I've shot along the way...

This next image is of Fort Stevens, a military post built in 1904 and used through WWII to protect the mouth of the Columbia River (click on the image to enlarge it). This particular image was shot simply to show a different side of Vanishing America: namely, the respect that people have, or used to have, for our country's history. The entire weapons battery is covered in this kind of graffiti. Now, I'm not condoning vandalism of any kind, but, the graffiti scratched into these 100 year-old concrete walls could have been someone's political comment against war or the politicians who profit from war, but, instead is merely names of kids who couldn't quite find anything better to do. I know vandalism of historic treasures has been going on for years, in our country and abroad -- just take a look at the ancient walls of Pompeii -- but for some reason, this particular assault struck a chord with me.

It's almost 1am. I'm going to bed.

Don't forget... you can click on any of these images (even the ones above) for a larger preview.

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