January 25, 2006

the power is out in 97209

The entire Pearl District lost power this morning at around 9am. I was working from home at the time, so I salvaged my favorite items from the fridge and headed to the office. PGE doesn't have any alerts up on their web page, but the last I heard from the security guy at my condo complex, "It may be out for a while".

Posted by mara at 10:10 AM | TrackBack

July 29, 2005


The Oregon Brewer's Festival started yesterday evening in Waterfront Park. I went later in the evening (to avoid the after-work crowds) and tasted some delicious varieties of beer. 72 breweries are represented. According to an informal poll, the current favorites seem to be 21st Amendment's Watermelon Wheat, Anderson Valley's Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema, and Bison Brewing's Organic Chocolate Stout.

Although most serious beer drinkers scorn fruity hefeweizens, 21st Amendment claims that its Watermelon Wheat is the most popular beer at the festival. Upon trying it, my first reaction was, "I think I need a case of this." It's golden and refreshing, like the essence of a summer picnic. Watermelon and light maltiness take the bite away from the hop flavors.

I still haven't decided whether stouts are my thing, but the Organic Chocolate Stout by Bison Brewing is the best I've had so far. It has a dark, bitter roasted flavor, something I would normally associate with a warm cozy winter's night. The finish is extrordinarily like drinking a good iced mocha. It's like having espresso, beer, and European chocolate in my mouth at the same time. I only had a little sip of this (from my friend's mug) so I think it warrants another try.

Local brewpub New Old Lompoc has a new amber ale called Condor. I had a taste of this at the end of the evening. Condor has a pleasant malty flavor, with a fresh youngness similar to homebrew.

Posted by mara at 10:36 AM

June 14, 2005

give me those wide open bike paths

Saturday morning, I packed a lunch and headed out early to get away from the Grand Floral Parade. Probably the most well-attended Rose Festival event, the GFP always generates a huge mass of crowds, traffic, and general annoyance. My destination was the Columbia Slough Cycle the Wellfield event.

For most of the year, the City of Portland is supplied with water from the Bull Run Watershed. During the hottest summer months, the usual rainfall declines, as does the snowmelt from Mt. Hood. Supplemental water comes from a system of groundwater wells located on the far NE side of Portland, near the Columbia River. For this ride, people from the Portland Water Bureau and the Columbia Slough Watershed Council teamed up to lead a very educational ride through the wellfield area. We even got snacks along the way, free tote bags and t-shirts to commemorate the ride! I felt like a very pampered bike tourist. We also received a wealth of information about how the groundwater wells work, and how the local government works together with the community to protect the water supply from contamination.

First we visited a well site near the airport and learned about the geological composition of the aquifers used for groundwater wells. As we progressed along to subsequent stops, we learned about levees, the topology of the Columbia Slough, contamination from industrial and recreational sources, and how the business community is working to repair old contamination.

The farthest stop in our loop was at Blue Lake Regional Park. Blue Lake is an interesting part of the Columbia Slough system. The lake has no inlets, and is believed to be fed from springs at the bottom of the lake. Since the springs and the groundwater system are intimately connected, the water bureau keeps a close eye on the water quality of the lake. After an outbreak of illness last year, bubblers were put in to help circulate the water in the swimming area. Studies showed that the illness was caused by coliform bacteria, which probably originated from toddlers using the swimming area (eww). Now, signs are posted informing park visitors that children under 5 are not allowed in the lake. This is good news for other Blue Lake swimmers, as well as the groundwater system.

To close our loop, we rode on the Marine Drive bike path right along the Columbia. All in all, a terrific ride, and we only got rained on twice! I've posted a small gallery with more pictures from Cycle the Wellfield 2005.

Posted by mara at 12:23 PM

June 9, 2005

Here, Fishie, Fishie

Last night I walked along the river with my boyfriend, and we saw some people fishing off the gazebo pier. Just as we walked by, they caught a small fish. I wrinkled my nose at the idea of eating anything out of the Willamette. He teased me about tomorrow's sushi.

Today, I did a little research, and as it turns out, people do catch and eat fish from the Willamette, even right off the seawall in downtown Portland. Apparently some anglers even fish during their lunch break. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife keeps an updated report on fishing conditions in this region.

Yesterday also marked the start of Fleet Week, when ships from the Navy, Coast Guard, and Canada dock by the waterfront, sometimes offering free tours. I have a spectacularly busy weekend ahead, with a community bike ride, graduation and a bridal shower to attend, but I hope I can fit in at least one ship tour!

Posted by mara at 1:09 PM