Portlandia is a 35-foot-tall hammered copper statue.  Portlandia is a satirical TV series.  To my mind, Portlandia speaks to the ecclectic culture of Portland, Oregon.

According to Wikipedia, Portland is “known for its abundant outdoor activities, liberal political values, and beer and coffee enthusiasm. Portland is home to a large number of independent microbreweries, microdistilleries and food carts that contribute to the unofficial slogan ‘Keep Portland Weird’.  In comparing Portland to New York City and San Francisco, Lonely Planet writer Becky Ohlsen said, ‘Something about how cheap and isolated Portland is, allows oddballs to explore odd behavior without being squished by economics or the harsh judgment of fashion people.'”

I pass through the heart of Portland about once a month on my way to visit my parents. Sometimes, I leave the highways and take a detour into a neighborhood to explore, and that is just what I did on Sunday.

In one two-block area of downtown is a collection of “Animals in Pools” bronze sculptures. In December, the pools were drained, but the sculptures are still worth looking at. Especially this one, that had me thinking of my Flickr friend, Mic the Otter Spotter.

Animals in Pools in downtown Portland, Oregon.  In winter, the pools are drained, but have water in them the rest of the year.
Animals in Pools in downtown Portland, Oregon. In winter, the pools are drained, but have water in them the rest of the year.

Other sculptures in this section had been “yarn bombed” as I had seen recently on the evening news.

Animals in Pools in downtown Portland, Oregon.  In winter, the pools are drained, but have water in them the rest of the year.
Animals in Pools in downtown Portland, Oregon. In winter, the pools are drained, but have water in them the rest of the year.

In Pioneer Square, a popular plaza, one enterprising young man had set up a seasonal shop in anticipation of afternoon Christmas shoppers.

In Pioneer Square, downtown Portland, Oregon.
In Pioneer Square, downtown Portland, Oregon.

At the opposite side of Pioneer Square, was a bronze that I dubbed “Umbrella Man”. He had been yarn bombed, too. And I wasn’t the only one interested in taking his picture.

In Pioneer Square, downtown Portland, Oregon.
In Pioneer Square, downtown Portland, Oregon.

The plaza has tourist facilities, too, including a helpful signpost offering directions to Tipperary, Walden Pond, Casablanca, and the other Portland, as well as local points of interest.

In Pioneer Square, downtown Portland, Oregon.
In Pioneer Square, downtown Portland, Oregon.

One very Portland sight that is older than my oldest memories is the Benson Bubbler. All together, there are 52 of these 4-bowl bubblers and 74 1-bowl versions in downtown Portland. They are turned off late at night or when frigid weather threatens to freeze them. To me, they are a welcoming fixture that says, “Glad you’re here. Please stay awhile and enjoy the city. And if you should get thirsty, no worries, the water is cold and clear and plenty of it.”

126 drinking fountains in downtown Portland were made possible by a 1912 donation from Simon Benson.  Everything else has changed over the years, but not these wonderful drinking fountains.
126 drinking fountains in downtown Portland were made possible by a 1912 donation from Simon Benson. Everything else has changed over the years, but not these wonderful drinking fountains.

And about that 35-foot-tall hammered copper statue I mentioned at the beginning, well here she is. Portlandia.

In downtown Portland, Oregon, tucked behind some trees, is this 35-foot-tall hammered copper statue named Portlandia.
In downtown Portland, Oregon, tucked behind some trees, is this 35-foot-tall hammered copper statue named Portlandia.

All in all, this was a delightful break from the dark, dreary days of December with new-to-me sights as well as comforting old ones.  And the weather even cooperated.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

 

For more information:
Animals in Pools
Benson Bubblers
Portlandia TV series
Portlandia statue
Portland, Oregon
Keep Portland Weird

 

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4 thoughts on “Portlandia

  1. I used to work in downtown L.A., and had no qualms about walking around the place by myself. Now I am more than uncomfortable in crowded places, I actually get paranoid. It’s too bad because there are still a lot of neat places to see.

    Thanks for sharing it with us.

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    1. Would you believe I get claustrophobic in crowded places — like a theater or airplane that is full? There are places in Portland that get crowded, but I am pretty skillful at avoiding crowds. Even though I avoid the crowds, I still find a day in the city to be exhausting and the following day is always a recovery day for me, almost as if I had a hangover. So, while I do not feel paranoid about being around a lot of people, I think I can understand how you feel.

      Thankfully, blogs and photo sharing enable us to enjoy some places and sights we would not otherwise get to see. It means a lot that you enjoyed your visit to Portlandia enough to leave a comment.

      Like

      1. As I mentioned before I lived in California all my life until 1998, and from 1962 until 1998 I lived in the suburbs of L.A. I loved to visit galleries and museums, and lived almost exactly 11 miles from some of the best art museums in the country. An old boyfriend took me to the Huntington Museum in San Marino, Ca.to see a special exhibit, and as we walked through the double doors into the foyer there was a 20 foot statue of Diana the Huntress. The sight of this actually rendered me speechless! So when I saw Portlandia, it brought back those wonderful memories.

        The Washaway Beach blog seems to have gone away…

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        1. I am glad to have brought back a happy memory for you. Portlandia does look like a wild fisherwoman, with that wicked trident.

          Washaway’s Dec. 11 entry implied that there would be more, as the author had made arrangements to move her trailer. Don’t give up on her yet!

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