Thursday, August 28, 2008

Combined Sewer Overflow

As Shannon busily sews the word PIPE in 2' x 2' flags, we've been researching about the Big Pipe Project in Portland. Some background on the project (thanks to the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services) is here

and information on the reason for the pipe (along with some fantastic images) is here, Combined Sewer Overflow

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ford Building

Round and round

Last night, we laundered all of the clothing (16.2 lbs.) that we purchased from the Goodwill Outlet earlier in the day. I met the owner of the laundromat while we were waiting, and we discussed the gentrification of Alberta, the resale on Speed Queen dryers, and the commute to/from Tacoma. At the same time we were doing the wash, we had dinner at Mash Tun, where we saw chalkboard graffiti in the restroom (the one on the right-hand side, as you enter the restaurant) that read "I want U Jennifur". We had been designing two sets of signal flags to be hung together; the combination of the two sets would intone a *relationship* of sorts, referencing the sex industry, or fur trade. The flags will slap into one another as they wave in the breeze. With the graffiti discovery, we've revised our original design for the sets and now have created two sets of flags which will act as protagonists-- Jennifur & Logan.

Jenni(fur) & Log(an); The Jennifur set is pieced together from intimates, velveteen fabrics, lace, and silk blouses, Logan is assembled from dress shirts, flannels (with pockets intact), and polo shirts. Images will follow

Monday, August 25, 2008

Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs

Potential sites?

images, top to bottom (moving geographically from south to north):

1, 2: Salmon Street Plaza, overlook north of Festival Plaza. Propose attaching flags from edge of overlook platform to shopping cart, wooden door, or other detritus washed up under platform

3: Near Belmont Street signage, propose attaching flags (flags attached to one another on cables) from cleat to log protruding from water, just offshore.

4: Overlook just south of Morrison Bridge. Propose attaching flags from railing overhead, either hanging down like banners, or attached to nearby trees.

5: Cantilever Walk, just north of Morrison Bridge. Propose attaching flags underneath platform to wooden posts, as shown.

additional sites north of Cantilever Walk may also be proposed.

Project description:

Stop Carrying Out Your Intentions and Wait For My Signals is a project designed to chronicle Portland's maritime history, utilizing the coded language of marine signal flags. These hand-sewn nautical flags are assembled from second-hand clothing collected throughout the Pacific Northwest; garments are chosen that may amplify the content of the message. The recycled articles offer their own history, bringing a community forward. As an example, Go Tusko is pieced together from sheer blouses and fabrics, evoking the memory of Tusko the Magnificent, a ten-ton, twelve-foot costumed elephant that (in reponse to a low-flying airplane piloted by Tex Rankin) rampaged Lotus Isle in 1930, destroying buildings across the waterfront amusement park. Complementing this vision is our cheering Go, supporting his efforts, and simultaneously pointing towards the vibrant urban growth of Portland in subsequent years.

A deep interest in investigating the signal flags is questioning how they have been compromised in terms of their content-- when we initially went out to decipher flags on the waterway near our home, we were saddened to find that the letters didn't add up; nonsense, babel. What does this intone for our work? As (now) students of the language used for centuries to safely traverse foreign waters, what does it mean that the language has been (if not lost, then) transferred to something...else? Does it look better? What is the purpose of a visual language without a translation? We are outsiders to Portland, visitors who have surveyed your history and focused on images that resonate with us, however briefly or oddly. These flags are hung strategically along the Eastbank Esplanade, like graffiti, occurring at multiple sites. Walking the waterway becomes an aspect of this project, discovering flags and unveiling histories along the way. Meanings are suggested in fragmentary, partial ways, emerging erratically and transitionally.

Like a flag waving in the wind.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


now is a ship

which captain am
sails out of sleep

steering for dream

from e.e. cummings, 73 poems, new york: harcourt brace jovanovich,inc., 1962.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Get the full story here

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Thanks to for this article


Polychlorinated biphenyl
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbonDioxin

Top image from the Oregon DEQ, their website is here, with information about progress on improving the water quality in the Willamette

Link to Willamette Riverkeeper here

As they note on their website, some of the current problems (including habitat modification and pollution) facing the river include the following:

The Willamette is on the Clean Water Act 303 (d) list for violations of water quality standards.

  • The Willamette currently violates temperature, bacteria, and mercury standards.
  • A large section of the river, some 40-miles known as the Newberg Pool, is home to resident fish (those that don't migrate such as the northern pikeminnow) that exhibit high percentages of skeletal deformities. For example, in some samples in this area over 50% of the juvenile fish were deformed. This section of the river, as well as others, contains PCBs, dioxin, and PAH among others.
  • A six-mile stretch of the river in Portland is now a federally designated Superfund site. This site is highly polluted with all manner of toxic pollution, heavy metals, and other substances. It is now going through a cleanup process that will likely push a decade to complete.
  • Spring Chinook and steelhead, the Willamette's native salmonids, are listed as threatened under the Federal Endangered Species Act.
  • Other species such as lamprey eel and white sturgeon have been found to contain significant concentrations of man made chemicals in their tissues.
  • There is a fish consumption advisory for people that eat ANY species of resident fish. This is pretty much any fish other than salmon, lamprey, and sturgeon.
  • New studies are underway that are looking into additional impacts from toxic and other pollution on the Willamette River and the species that inhabit it.

Lucky Beaver

More information on the Beaver(s) here.

As the website notes, "With the United States firmly involved in World War II, local radio station KXL sold over $300,000 in war bonds in 1943 to fund the building of a bomber for the war that would be dubbed "The Lucky Beaver." Concealed in this is part of what we are interested in addressing with this project; "Lucky Beaver" moves uneasily around the logging history of the region, the sex industry, a baseball team, and a bomber, all at once.
Like a flag waving in the wind.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Pettygrove Wins!

Francis Pettygrove is in the center of this photo. His hand may possibly be covering the coin used to decide the name of Portland, as his hands appear arranged in the classic *heads or tails?* stance... More information on Pettygrove is here. And, just for the record, the toss was best two out of three.

Lovejoy from Boston

Asa Lawrence Lovejoy (1808- 1882) was one of the founders of Portland, and in 1845, in one of my favorite coin tosses in history, lost the naming rights to Portland to Francis Pettygrove (Lovejoy was going for *Boston*, his hometown, Pettygrove hailed from Portland, Maine). The whole story is here. Lovejoy is buried in Portland at Lone Fir Cemetery, and the epitaph on his tombstone reads,

He endured the adventures of the plains and mountains, and here—beside the Willamette chose and wisely developed the site of the greatest city of the Columbia valley, afterward holding many offices of public trust, and passing with the esteem of all.