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On January 26, 2013, I noticed the pigeons once again swirling above the intersection of NE MLK and East Burnside, at the west end of the used car lot. I've seen them off and on since I moved to Northeast Portland in January, 2011, flying in all directions at this intersection, sitting on the wires between utility poles and on the billboard above the mid-century roof of the used car lot. Once I had seen the pigeons being fed by a man as I stood at the bus/streetcar stop just a few steps to the right, out of this photo. On this particular day, I happened to discover that the man feeding them came out of the office at this used car lot. See several photos on this topic, below.
The evening of March 23, on my way home after the members' party at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center which is south of here, imagine my surprise when I saw this sight from the bus shelter on East Burnside. No used cars beneath the roof, just a few left at the back edge of the lot, far from the street. When had someone moved the cars? Why? A quick Google revealed no online evidence of going out of business connected with this business. A mystery.
Here's a photo that I took on March 29, trying to capture the vast emptiness of the lot. I like that the Big Pink towers in the background, several blocks past the other end of the Burnside Bridge, less than a mile from where I stood to take this photo.
Back to the pigeons and their movement. The original billboard, pigeons perched, taken on January 26.
The pigeons take flight because the man who feeds them has come out of the office and is walking west, to feed them across MLK, just south of the bus/streetcar shelter where I had seen once while I waited to transfer from one bus to the other. Can you see him? He's towards the bottom left corner of this closely cropped photo, smack dab between two poles.
Once he's tossed all of the bird food onto the sidewalk, the man crosses the street and goes back to the office. The pigeons ignore his movement, way more interested in eating than in following him. I suppose the actions of these pigeons prove that they are capable of learning.
The original billboard, minus the pigeons along its top edge--they're over to the right on the utility wires. I bet they're wondering what's happened to the man who used to come out of that yellow structure with the blue roof, carrying an orange bucket of bird food for them.
Another surprise. The new billboard, photographed on April 2. One pigeon perched.