On Monday I arrived in Portland, went to the Warren; that’s what my landlady calls her charming basement apartment. It has three windows looking out onto the hedges and garden. I feel as if I’m in an Impressionist painting. Unlike Santa Fe, bikers wear helmets. I also noticed people reading books. Remember those? Dear friends took me to one of their favorite haunts, Jimmy Mak’s, to hear the Dan Balmer trio. While Balmer made hay with the guitar, I tucked into a divine chorizo and beef hamburger, carefully avoiding the n. g. designation. If Santa Fe represents opera for me, in Portland it’s jazz and folk. Next day we went to Jantzen Beach to visit a floating house. Unlike a houseboat, a floating house is moored to its site.
That evening we went to a leafy Dawson Park picnic to hear the singers, Lorranda Steele and Linda Hornbuckle. Ever use a salt block? Me either, but after Powell’s City of Books hosted a cook talking about the magic of salt, I’m sorely tempted. The next day we had a wonderful party at my friends’ enchanting house which they bought when north-west Portland had not been developed. On my daily walk to the Portman pool I saw a sweet and sad message that I photographed. “Whoever stole my skateboard you suck that was my bday present”.
We went to Timberline, the WPA lodge built in 1937. It’s a timber framed structure that reminds you of the glories of native woods, stone and murals. As a kid I Ioved the Oz books. With its quirky charm and singular pleasure in its own identity, Portland could be a town in Oz.