Bridge of the Gods Southbound
Cascade Locks, Oregon
April 30, 2002
In just under three years, I have passed the two-thirds milestone.
Other milestones along the way (for retakes, order is based on when the first picture was taken):
Now back to the show.
Oregon is just one of those states that you don't hear about too often. My first visit to the Beaver State came in April 2002 where I had to deliver two weeks of training to a new technical support call center. Talking with some of the students during a break, I said that when people hear "Oregon," the images that they conjure include medical marijuana, physician-assisted suicide, and disposing of beached whales by blowing them up with heavy explosives (which actually happened back in 1982). I also learned that the Willamette River is pronounced "wil-LAM-et" and not "WIL-a-met".
And, of course, the quintessential educational computer game for those of us who grew up in the 1980s, Oregon Trail.
This picture was taken on the landing of the Bridge of the Gods in the town of Cascade Locks, about 45 miles east of Portland. There aren't that many bridges over the Columbia; there's one at Astoria, one at Longview, two in Portland, this one here in Cascade Locks, and then one at Hood River. Six bridges over a span of about 160 miles. The I-5 and I-205 spans in the Portland area are the only Columbia crossings for 40 miles in either direction.
The Bridge of the Gods is named for an old Indian legend, where two brothers were fighting over land. In one version of the legend, the Great Spirit gave lands on the Oregon side to one brother, who became Chief of the Multnomah; and the lands on the Washington side the other brother, who became Chief of the Klickitat. The Great Spirit then built a bridge across the Columbia to symbolize goodwill. They started fighting again, so the Great Spirit took the sun away and the lands became very cold. The people prayed for warmth, so the Great Spirit went to an old woman named Loo-wit and promised her youth and beauty in exchange for fire. The fire was placed on the bridge so people on either side could access it and the Great Spirit ordered the sun to return. Now the brothers started fighting with each other for Loo-wit's attention and war eventually broke out. The Great Spirit was so displeased he destroyed the bridge, and its rocks fell into the Columbia and became the Cascade Rapids. The Spirit also turned the two brothers into mountains (Mt. Adams on the Washington side and Mt. Hood on the Oregon side), who still continued to fight with each other, spewing fire (Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood are both volcanoes). Loo-wit became Mt. St. Helens.
April 25, 2002
This is the first Project 50 picture that I took on my business trip to Beaverton, Oregon. I hadn't planned on visiting Salem this day. My idea was to drive out east on I-84 towards The Dalles and the Columbia River Gorge. But after a delay getting out of the office, not to mention very depressing traffic reports about I-84, I figured that I would hit the Gorge sometime during my second week out there and instead make the trip south down I-5 to the capital.
Portland to Salem is an easy drive, even leaving Tigard at 5 pm on a Thursday. At one point the road is straight for several miles. Looking to the east I saw lush green sod farms with the Cascades in the distance. It actually reminded me of the view off the Autostrada between Rome and Naples.
Just north of Salem there is a sign in the median indicating the location of the 45th Parallel, exactly halfway between the equator and the North Pole. If you want to take a picture of it, take it when driving south. The median has shrubs and the sign is all the way on the southbound side.
I got off at Exit 258, made a right, and went down a mile or two until I turned left onto Winter, which is a block past Summer. About half a mile down you can see the capitol.
I arrived at the capitol at around 5:40 and parked in one of the many empty spaces right outside the Oregon State Library. The parking meters are active until 6, and I didn't have any change so I drove around for a little while. By the time I got back a few minutes past 6, most of the spaces were already taken up.
Just to the right of the main entrance is a replica of the Liberty Bell. I also saw one of these in front of the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix. I had to wait a few minutes to take a picture of it; as I was walking toward it a rather unkempt-looking gentleman in various forms of hobo attire came out of the Capitol talking, quite loudly, to nobody in particular. I had a similar experience a few days later in Seattle with some guy who looked like Andy Warhol.
When I got into Oregon they did a story about the capitol on the news. They had just installed a series of solar panels on the roof of the capitol so that from now on, the golden pioneer statue will be illuminated by lights powered with solar energy, a first among U.S. state capitols.
Salem has a great capitol mall, of course beset by the ubiquitous (and ignored) "No Skateboarding" signs. The sidewalk along the mall is engraved with the names of Oregon's counties as well as different highlights in the state's history, both good (Oregon becomes a state) and bad (Oregon is bankrupt). The different executive agencies align the mall, and there is an abstract (and unnamed) fountain near the north end.