Monday, November 21, 2005

The Lint in Portland's Bellybutton

Originally uploaded by Rozanne.
Ahoy! Avast! Why is this dinghy (if indeed it is a dinghy) and its Old Salt captain shipwrecked in the middle of the woods? What’s with the cannon? Got me. All I can tell you is that B and I saw it when we took a break from novel writing yesterday to go for a walk and to, as my sister put it, “keep from developing love handles like a P.E. teacher!”

We’re slowly but surely working our way through the walks in Laura O. Foster’s oft-mentioned and much- praised (by me) book, Portland Hill Walks. Yesterday’s walk (Walk #3) included a pleasant romp through the northernmost reaches of Forest Park, followed by a precipitous descent down Firelane 9, which spit us out in Linnton,* a neighborhood of Portland that, I'm sorry to say, failed to charm me.

True it’s backed right up against Forest Park, but U.S. Highway 30 slices right through it providing a relentless din of traffic. True, also, that there are great views of Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood, and the tippy tops of Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier, but it’s hard to ignore the Port of Portland’s massive Terminal 4 (part of a 6-mile-long Superfund site) in the foreground. But evidently, people are willing to shell out pretty good coin to live in Linnton. For $424,000 or so you can buy a smallish condo unit in a building that was once a school (and, incidentally, the alma mater of Portland’s premier drag queen Darcelle). I don’t know—you could buy a very nice, good-sized house in my neighborhood for dough like that and you wouldn’t have to do all your grocery shopping at 7-11—Linnton has almost no business district. Just a couple of restaurants—notably the Decoy Saloon (Special: spaghetti and meatballs and pie a la mode)—a gas station, the aforementioned 7-11, and the Linnton Market (a sort of arts and crafts collective [I think] that I fear isn’t doing too well).

I don’t mean to Linnton-bash. I’m sure no one in Linnton wanted U.S. 30 to be routed right through it, thus sealing the fate of the once-thriving business district that included a department store, a winery, a grocery, a barbershop, lumber mills, and a horsemeat cannery, which, Foster reports intriguingly, sold its products to “the European market.” (!?) Anyway, clearly, if people will plunk down nearly a half million dollars to live in a dinky condo there, it’s got something going for it that I was unable to detect.

*Didn’t Brad and Janet of Rocky Horror Picture Show fame hail from a place called Linnton?


Post a Comment

<< Home