I had the two days before Christmas off. (Yes, I worked on Christmas.) Originally I had hoped to pull of a pre-Xmas camping trip like we did last year. But this year there didn’t seem to be the enthusiasm to do it, and the weather forecast looked iffy.* I didn’t feel like having a solo outing, since loneliness is the thing I try to fight at Christmas, so I scrapped that plan. But I felt like I should get a ride in, since I needed to get a ride in. Thankfully Tuesday presented the opportunity for a longish ride–the weather was slightly misty but not cold, and I had to go down to the powdercoater off the Springwater Corridor to check on a color.
The riding itself presented nothing new, a meander through the neighborhoods of Northeast Portland to Montavilla where I hooked up with the I-205 bike path southward. (While I could have caught the 205 path before Montavilla, starting just south of SE Washington avoids the less-than-optimal routing through Gateway.) While I could have gone a different way south, the reason why I wanted to go down the 205 is to get to Lents, the new home of the former Belmont Goats.
I hadn’t seen the goats since before the move a few months ago. I was excited to see the goats! But unfortunately it was a bit of a downer. While the space the goats occupy is no better or worse than the lot off Belmont, Lents is a different neighborhood than inner SE. The lot was just a block away from the heart of Lents, SE 92/Foster/Woodstock. And while I saw folks around, no one else was paying attention to the goats but myself. And this spot was noisy: Foster is a very busy road, I-205 is just a couple blocks away, and everyone seemed to have loud cars. I tried to pet the goat closest to me (none of the other goats came near me) who I believe is Chester, but he wasn’t interested. Have they lost interest? I realize that Lents has been a down-on-its-luck neighborhood in search of a comeback for many a decade, and some folks hoped that the goat herd could provide some sort of spark, some sort of neighborhood pride. But I wasn’t feeling it, and maybe the goats aren’t. I could be making too much out of this, and caught it all on an “off” day, so we’ll see. And I’ll be back.
I headed south and then west on the Sprigwater Corridor, towards the powdercoater. First I paused at the new developments at the Luther Road Habitat Restoration Project. This spot off the current path/former railway alignment used to be an empty lot with hills of dirt and garbage. The city has stripped down the hills and attempted to restore the Johnson Creek channel back to what it was before it was “improved” during the 30’s, when the WPA spent a lot of energy in flood protection. The hills are gone, a big wide area that will (probably) get planted with native plants in the spring. The creek has been stripped of any dams and a new meandering channel has been created. There are a few stone overlooks, too. I’m excited to see what it will look like in a few years when everything’s “grown in.”
The powdercoater stop was quick and perfunctory. It didn’t take me too long to decide on the color.
I kept on heading west on the Springwater in the fading daylight, turned north in Sellwood to keep on following the OMSI-Springwater segment along the lowlands of the Willamette River. Just about a 1/3 mile south of the Ross Island Bridge, I spotted a large white-headed, white-tailed bird in the trees on the bluff side. A bald eagle! This isn’t the first time I’ve seen a bald eagle in town, but the last time was on the bluffs in North Portland, not down here. I spent a few minutes watching it. It mostly hung out in a tree. Unfortunately I didn’t bring my “good” camera, and my cameraphone shot is beyond crappy, so you’ll just have to believe me when I say it was a majestic sighting!
The light was pretty much gone, and I made a few other stops before heading home. Even though I didn’t intend the ride to be longish, it ended up being a 30 mile loop, not bad for an eramblee!
*Of course it turned out to be better than predicted, but I feel if I did try to go, it would have poured, Murphy’s Law and all that.