A coffee outside and post ramble, plus vanishing places. 23 April 2022

Southwest Community Park, 23 April 2022. Olympus 35RD, Kodak TMAX 400, developed with Ilfosil 3, 1:9 solution at 6:20 in a Rondinax 35U tank

I’m really happy that PDX Coffee Outside has moved from the “weekday morning at 7 am” template that many of these types of events have, instead landing on Saturdays at 9 am. This means that the event is much more relaxed and convivial. It also means that I’m more likely to go. But it’s still not as often as I want. Sometimes I’m just too lazy, sometimes I’ve got other things going on.

On the morning of Saturday April 23 everything lined up: the weather was good, I was available, and best of all, Coffee Outside was happening at Laurelhurst Park, just a couple miles from my house. I loaded up my coffee gear, in this case my simple setup: Esbit stove and pot to boil water, some pre-packaged “pour-over” bags. There were a couple dozen folks there when I arrived around 9:30 AM. The bonus: Spencer of Nomad Patches just moved back to town and he brought his smöl with him!

PDX Coffee Outside at Laurelhurst Park, 23 April 2022

Coffee Outside wrapped up around 11:30. Several folks went off on a group ride, but I set off on my own. I wanted to go at my own pace, and on my own route. (I also needed to stop by my Post Office.) I had a route in mind for Pedalpalooza and I wanted to do some routing. Oh yeah, even though the Bantam would make the “most sense” for the ride, I rode the Brompton instead. I’ll be heading out to the Lake Pepin Three Speed Ride in less than two weeks, and Emee and I will be bringing our Bromptons, which means we’ll need to ride a maximum of 45 miles in a day. I wanted a few more longer rides on it before we took off.

The ride mostly paralleled Johnson Creek and jumped on-and-off the Springwater Corridor. It explored some more secret nooks than what you’d see if you just stuck to the Springwater, which is the point of the future Pedalpalooza ride. And I went further out than I usually do, out to where the Gresham-Fairview Trail branches from the Springwater at the headwaters of Fairview Creek.

Before…  17 March 2021. Olympus 35RD/Kentmere 400

Before I got on the Gresham-Fairview Trail, I swung by Southwest Community Park, on the west side of the Fairview Creek headwaters and just north of Powell Blvd/US 26. I had only been to this greenspace once before, during my (failed) Grant Butte ramble in March of 2021. On the south side of the park was a fenced-off property with a very abandoned house (or barn) and a car (of 1950s vintage) that I described then as “in a state of accelerated entropy, returning to the forest.” I was excited to see this bit of urban/rural decay again.

It was gone.

I did a double-take. Did I imagine this? Or was it somewhere else? No and no, I have the evidence in that past blog post. Did it finally return to the forest? That would be some entropy for it to happen in a year. No, someone tore down the structure and removed the car, and did a pretty good job of leaving no evidence.

After. 23 April 2022. Olympus 35RD/Kodak TMAX 400

Once I got over my shock, the question is Why? This was an out-of-the-way spot, hidden from the outside world. It seemed like it would just be there forever. Maybe the owners of the property were worried about liability: the fence doesn’t do that great of a job of keeping people out; there were several remaining “holes” in the fence, opened up by those wanting to wander ’round in the ruins, or do more nefarious things.

But I’m guessing that the land finally got sold. It wouldn’t surprise me if it was for another suburban development in the ever-expanding Portland metro area–there’s a newer neighborhood on the other side of it. What I really hope happened instead is that either the City of Gresham or our regional government bought the land instead for the intent of adding it to the existing park. Critical headwaters and habitat sit adjacent to it, it would be a shame if it was going to be more houses instead. I’ll wait and see.

After this disappointment, I rode a few more miles along the Gresham-Fairview Trail to where it intersects the MAX light rail at Ruby Junction, and took the train home. I rode 27 miles overall, not bad. I’m excited about Lake Pepin, excited about my future Pedalpalooza ride. I just wish that bit of forest entropy was still there…

A Brompton in the forest. SW Community Park, Gresham OR. 23 April 2022
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