Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Am I Worthy?

This picture of the park on the bluff was taken looking north in winter, 2011. It was taken just before the final closure of the Blue Heron papermill seen below the bluff and on the Willamette River side of the railways. The leftmost pairs of tracks were laid to service the mill, delivering raw wood chips and possibly chemicals and such at one time. In the last decades of operation however, most if not all incoming and outgoing traffic was by truck. The main gate opens directly onto the main street of the downtown part of Oregon City but the first crossroads is a main highway leading toward the interstate arterial and Portland in one direction and heading south downstate toward Salem in the other.

The bluff is a favorite walk because of its vantage points on the riverside of town and industry below and across the river. It gives several very good views of Willamette Falls. At the south end of the bluff there is also a walking bridge across the main highway, a walk leading to a primary highway viewpoint set up for gazing on the panorama of the Willamette Falls, the industry and the downtown of Oregon City beyond. Downstream (north) are the two bridges, the original Oregon City Bridge and further downstream the much newer Interstate bridge.

I lived for twenty years in a tiny house in what was once a town for the mill workers on the far side and now a part of the city of West Linn. That area is also known as Willamette, and there once was a commuter trolley running down the main road to the falls.

I worked as a designer on both sides of the Willamette in this location.

I worked on contract in the Smurfit Papermill's engineering department on this side for most of a year a couple different times, working on various projects. This mill ended its days as the Blue Heron Papermill. I also worked on contract for Portland General Electric on the far side, first at their engineering department in downtown Portland preparing and planning and then as onsite construction supervisor in their Sullivan Plant. The Sullivan Plant was once known as Station B as noted on the Wiki page linked below. There they use the energy of the Willamette River to drive thirteen 1KV turbines and generate raw power. Then they transform that power on the hill above and feed it into the area's power grid.

I helped PGE create the first "downstream migrant bypass facility" which allowed the fish to pass over the turbines and continue downstream in 1991. That facility worked so well for PGE that through the ensuing years they have upgraded and remodeled several times in part to improve its function. The original bypass facility is not easily recognized for what it was when first installed. PGE has responsibility for the upkeep of Willamette Falls because the natural state of the falls has been improved mostly for this power generating purpose. Willamette Falls is where Portland General Electric started as the Willamette Falls Electric Company in 1888.

Now I live in a house situated just down the slope from the walkway along the bluff in a natural flat zone. The yard is a little bit multi leveled because of the basalt of the bluff which is all ancient volcanism. Right outside my basement entrance door the graveled and otherwise unpaved extension of the street dead ends at the greensward of the park.

For those who care, the Wiki article on Willamette Falls has a fairly accurate historical synopsis of the area.

Am I Worthy

It has crossed my mind
I do fall short these strange days.
I am fed for free
and I glide on wings
I've found abandoned nearby.
I don't even need
to ascend some cliff
face to find a preflight site.
The bluff is outside,
right outside my door,
the abandoned tracks below
and rough red in last
light. I would invite
you in but I'm uncertain
you would laugh at my
jokes or take me at
my simplistic words of praise
or just pray with me.

‎November ‎25, ‎2014 2:41 PM

Oh by the way... I just realized I have written over 2000 poems since August of 2008.


  1. There was a bluff
    Outside my back door
    I would take you there
    But you are not there
    It's a beautiful place
    With rhodendrions and roses
    Clifftop panorama
    Fallside view
    It would be nice
    To see you there
    You are more
    Than welcome

    1. Must be someone else since I am already on a bluff. "But you are not here..." probably reads better. "rhododendrons"

    2. My wonderful spelling strikes again


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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