Sunday, August 31, 2008

Guest Post from Tom Wright, in Brandon, Mississippi

Sunday, August 31, 2008
I remember how it was three years ago before we knew of the potential for the danger that was to come. There was a sense of excitement, an anticipation, that something was going to happen but it was more like the feeling that we got waiting for the first day of school to start. A little buzz of emotional electricity. There wasn't a "carnival" like atmosphere, we'd been through hurricanes and their after effects before and know how serious they can be, but folks just went about their daily lives on a bright and sunny summer day.

Now, I live in the central part of Mississippi, in Brandon, just ten miles east of the capitol city, Jackson. When a hurricane hits our coast, believe it or not, we feel the affects, not anything like they do on the coast, but it sometimes gets nasty, a lot of strong wind and a whole lot of rain. When Katrina hit, it was like nothing we'd seen in a long time, at least since Hurricane Camille. The actual storm was something to behold. The wind was like nothing that I'd ever seen and the torrential downpour was a virtual "frog strangler". In my neighborhood there are a lot of old and very large pine and oak trees, many that were uprooted or just snapped off. Many trees came down on houses, destroying a good bit of the house, if not the whole thing. We were without electricity for over a week - it was August and it was Mississippi and it was hot.


At my house we were lucky. A large tree was snapped off at the base and came down on my storage barn and my wife's car, barely grazing the house. A huge pine tree in my neighbor's back yard, behind my house, snapped and barely missed my house, wrecking my back fence. This was nothing compared to the damage that others experienced.




There was utter chaos as Katrina hit. Folks waited until the last minute to evacuate and there were tremendous traffic jams on the roads from the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Louisiana, Alabama and even Texas. The motels and hotels were full all of the way to north Mississippi. After the storm, well, you know the story. I want to say in support of my much criticized state, that good Samaritans came out of the woodwork, providing shelter, gasoline, food and even money to the evacuees.

This time it's different. Folks are taking things much more seriously. The highways from Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast have already been turned into "contra-flow" highways, meaning that traffic can only head one way - north or east. Shelters have already been opened and mandatory evacuations have been ordered. I heard on public radio that, before Katrina, Bourbon Street in New Orleans was "party central", but last night it was almost deserted - a wise move.

If anyone is interested in listening to what is going on in the way of preparing for the storm, you can listen online to Mississippi Public Radio, which is broadcasting storm info non-stop.
You can listen online at:

We'll see what happens. The anticipation and anxiety is definitely here, even though the day has dawned bright and sunny and humid. We'll keep you posted. Wish us luck and keep us in your prayers.

Thank you, Tom, for your memories and photos from Katrina and your thoughts on Gustav. If any of you have photos and/or thoughts you would like to share here on Mama and Me from PDX, e-mail them to me, and I will post them for you. We continue to pray for everyone's safety.

Tom graduated from Corvallis High School in 1964. Be sure to take a look at the CHS Class of 64.


Here's some information/comments from another dear Mississippi friend, Fredna Gibson.

How about Tom Wright???? He did an excellent job describing how Katrina affected our part of the state.
I don't think people realize that hurricane Katrina hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast, not New Orleans. New Orleans received damage from flood waters when their dams breached. New Orleans also got so much more national media attention than the coast because of the devastation from flooding.

The MS Gulf Coast, on the other hand, was wiped off the face of the earth. I don't think people actually realize that.

It will break your heart (three years later) to drive down Beach Blvd from Ocean Springs to Long Beach, there is nothing left but a few casinos. In fact, you can't drive all the way to Long Beach!!! All of the beautiful antebellum homes are gone, none have been rebuilt. It looks like a giant hand reached down and scaped the coast clean.

I have cried every time we have visited the coast. I have family in Gulfport, they will be traumatized for the rest of their lives as a result of Katrina.

We are all praying that the Lord will calm the storm so that the damage will be minimal.

And just now, Fredna e-mailed to say, "I think we dodged a bullet this time with Gustav, thank you Jesus!!! Thank everyone for your prayers." Amen.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I wish, I pray ...

I look at this blue, blue sky and think, "Oh, I wish that was all that was on the horizon in the Gulf of Mexico." Please join Mama and me in our prayers for the safety of everyone potentially in harm's way from Hurricane Gustav. We've been talking on the phone with loved ones in Mississippi about their preparations, and everyone is taking the situation seriously, just like they did Katrina.

This photo shows the front of the Emergency Room wall, on the right, and the top of the drive-through cover at Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital on NW 23rd, walking distance from where we live. I don't know why that smokestack is there. I mean I don't know what is in the building it is on. Does anyone know about it, please? Thanks.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Europa on Park

Yesterday after work I rode the bus to the west side of the river, got off next to the
First and Main building site, and walked a few blocks west to the last Music on Main of this summer. Photos will be posted soon, I promise--I took so many that I need some time to look over them.

Anyway, after listening to some fine music outdoors, I walked a few more blocks to catch a bus home, looking here, looking there, like I always do. Of course, I must also own up to the fact that I look down a lot, making sure where my feet are going.

On SW Park, this vignette at the Europa caught my eye.


All of you photo bloggers out there will find this as much fun as I did, I think. Yesterday Jill at Salem Oregon Daily Photo commented, Do you really go to work or just wander around the streets? You have so many great street shots!!

Here’s my answering comment: Thanks, Jill, I do work a 40-hour week, but walking is so easy here, what with these super days of good weather that are so comfortable after work, with well-maintained sidewalks, the sun shining, a breeze blowing, and a TriMet ride home nearby. I can't help myself, I often take walks around downtown, camera at the ready. It's purely paradise.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My alternate ABC Wednesday F post

Originally I had intended to use this Botkier purse with fringe as my ABC Wednesday F, so I thought it only fitting to go ahead and post it today.
I saw it in the window at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

August 26, 2008 - ABC Wednesday - F is for Flying and a few more "F" words

Construction workers prepare steel forms for flying from the flat bed truck to the site of the new skyscraper, First and Main, just west of the Willamette River.
Here's a close up of the forms, on the fly.

In looking at them, I wonder if they are steel rebars, those reinforcement bars that go into poured concrete, into columns maybe. If my dear husband LeRoy were alive, he'd tell me exactly what they are--he was a construction worker and a carpenter. I know his career is one of the reasons buildings and bridges fascinate me so.

What's black and white and red all over, again?

How's this for another serendipitous juxtaposition of like colors? While there is a good deal of gray in this photo, look at the red lights and reflectors on the parking enforcement scooter (far right, going out of the photo), the man's bicycle helmet, the back of the trailer (or whatever you call these vehicles), the reflectors on the bike and on the trailer, the flag atop the pole at the back of the trailer, and the usual spots on the back of the Volvo, as well as the circle Smart Park sign on the pole.

It was the bicycle commuters that caught my eye. I've seen lots of these around Portland, always flying a tall flag to alert vehicles to the trailer behind the bicycle. And I didn't see anything else of interest until I downloaded the photo.

Someone commented on my first WRABARAO for more Ruby Tuesday posts. post that it would have made a perfect Ruby Tuesday photo, so when I saw this I thought, "Why not? I'll try this Ruby Tuesday thing with this photo."

Look at the Mr. Linky list at Work of the Poet for more Ruby Tuesday posts.

Here's to serendipity and creative fun for all.

Monday, August 25, 2008

When I saw this storefront on East Burnside, I immediately thought about Monday's announcement of the next group of celebrities for our favorite TV show. Well, our favorite variety/reality show. Our favorite drama is "The Closer." One more thing, though, to tell you the truth. This season's "So You Think You Can Dance" kept us enthralled week after week, too. Kailey and I are going to their live show at the Rose Garden on Sept. 21. I can't wait! I hope they bring that door because I want to see Twitch and Katee do that wonderful dance. And I want to see whatever Joshua does, period. He was my favorite all along.

Anyway, on "Good Morning America" the actual celebrity list for DWTS will be revealed. As I type this Sunday evening for post Monday morning, there is some gossipy info available with a Google search, but who knows for real. I do know that Mama and I get a kick out of watching the celebrities and the professionals dance together. We thoroughly enjoy host Tom Bergeron and have grown to like co-host Samanatha Harris. The live music and singers are outstanding. And we have a blast with the judges, their reactions and comments.

I found this about Viscount Dance Studios online. And this, 724 E. Burnside St., Portland, OR 97214. (503) 226-3262

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I want to wish a safe trip home to everyone at the Olympics,from all around the world.

This is another one of my miniature art cars. I assembled, glued, stickered and painted it last summer.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

In my eyes

The sun, the shadows, both large and small,
The myriad sharp and soft greens you see,
The ubiquitous blue sky above it all,
So appears Portland's perfect weather, observed by me.

Friday, August 22, 2008

What's black and white and red all over?

The scene: I'm sitting on a green metal bench across the river from work, in the park named Chapman Square. I'm on my lunch hour. Beside me on the bench I have my camera at the ready, my sweet ice tea, my half peanut butter sandwich, and half of a plain muffin sprinkled with chocolate chips.
The action: A woman wearing a red helmet, riding a red scooter, passes in front of me at the corner. I grab my camera, take one photo as she crosses SW 3rd, swivel to my left and take the photo you see above.
The serendipity: When I download the photo, I immediately know I could not have planned this photo any better.
The joy: I hope you share it with me as you take in the colors, the juxtapositions, the action.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The look of love

Tuesday evening I looked up from the computer when Mama said, "Look where Duncan has his head now." The camera sat right beside the computer, so I quickly got this first photograph as Mama talked to the little ol' man. I can't tell you how many times he has looked up at her like this over the years, his sweet little head resting on her arm. I guess he heard the camera because he looked at me, so I asked Mama to look at me and smile.
Even with the dimness of available light making them not so clear and crisp, I just love these two photos.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

ABC Wednesday - E is for egg, as in the ornamental device egg and dart

Wikipedia has this to say about egg-and-dart.

Here's what I have to say about egg-and-dart. Last week I took these two photos at the Hamilton Building,529 SW 3rd Avenue, downtown Portland. In fact, I was looking for ABC Wednesday subjects as well as architectural details to photograph for a contest sponsored by the Architectural Heritage Center.

I walked along, stopping here and there, looking up at the riches of downtown Portland. When I realized that I could lean against a wall in the doorway of the Hamilton Building, parallel with the street, and focus with my zoom completely out of the way of others on the sidewalk, I settled in for the moment. When I looked through the camera, I got even more excited. Just two days before I had discovered egg-and-dart in the dictionary, complete with an illustration. I looked, thinking, "I've seen this downtown. I just know it." If realized that if I could find some photogenic egg-and-dart, I could, to paraphrase, shoot two projects with one click. Happy at the Hamilton, I took lots of photos, moving from the wall to first one column, then the second one where I zoomed out and discovered the reflection of the last column and the brilliant blue sky in the window.

Of all those photos, I picked these two for ABC Wednesday.



Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the Hamilton Building--The Hamilton Building is a historic office building in downtown Portland, Oregon. It went through a renovation in 1977, and was listed on National Register of Historic Places in March of that year. It is the neighbor of the Dekum Building, a fellow NHRP listing on Third Avenue.

The building, completed in 1893, is an anomaly among its contemporaries. While many buildings built during the late 19th century were often ornate, the Hamilton building has little decoration. It is said that architects Whidden & Lewis designed a ground-breaking building, built decades ahead of later (and similar) trends in commercial architecture. Decoration comes in the form of granite-clad cast iron entry columns and cable mouldings, set against a Japanese-brick facade.

The Hamilton Building is 6 stories tall, and is named after Hamilton Corbett, son of Henry Corbett. It is also the first building in Portland designed in the Classical Revival style.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bar Avignon, délicieux

Here's the refreshing, tasted-just-right margarita I had at Bar Avignon, right before I took Photo #5 of the Deux Chevaux from yesterday's post. It was our first visit to Leland's new work place, two blocks from where he lives and on an easy one-transfer bus line for us.

About Bar Avignon, From the June 25, 2008, Oregonian:

Summer sipping

Just in time for the season of carefree loafing, Bar Avignon opens Friday night on Southeast Division Street. Wildwood's long-time wine director, Randy Goodman, and wife Nancy Hunt, who helped open Wildwood in 1994 and went on to run the bar at groundbreaking Mexican restaurant Cafe Azul, have long wanted to open a casual bar in their neighborhood. The 50-seat lounge will emphasize affordable wines from around the world, with 25 glass pours, single-malt scotches, artisan bourbons and offbeat sherries, plus a handful of classic cocktails for good measure.

Hunt's simple food menu is focused on bar nibbles such as panini, bruschetta and cheese-and-charcuterie plates. The couple envisions Avignon as a place where people can drop by after work, after dinner and in between. Mark Annen, who gave Park Kitchen and Noble Rot their distinctive classy-casual interiors, designed a space that Goodman calls "pretty and rustic, more feminine than masculine."

"I think in Portland," Goodman says, "people are looking for different options where they don't need to make a huge financial or time commitment." (2138 S.E. Division St., 503-517-0808, 4-midnight Wednesday-Sunday;

Monday, August 18, 2008

Un, Deux--Deux Chevaux

Driving on July 31, from downtown to the Southeast, with Lamont and Mama on board, when I slowed at an intersection I saw this cute little car. I grabbed the camera from the seat beside me and quickly got Photo #1 and Photo #2. I couldn't back up to get a better photo because another vehicle was right behind me. So, I held the camera up to the window, pointed it back toward the car and clicked off Photos #3 and #2.
Photo #1
Photo #2
Photo #3
Photo #4

Little did I know that a couple of hours later, after the three of us and Lindsay had had a good time at Bar Avignon, that Leland would look up from behind the counter where he worked diligently preparing orders and say, "Mom, look at that car," then point with his chin out the front door, onto SE Division. Thus, Photo #5. I believe it's the same Deux Chevaux, but there is every possibility that more than one shiny, maroon and black beauty lives in Portland.
Photo #5

Thanks to Snapper at Gabriola Daily Photo for his post that helped me identify the car.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Reflecting on Michael Phelps' accomplishments

Merriam-Webster Online defines accomplishment several ways, one of which is a special skill or ability acquired by training or practice.

I've just seen Phelps, Aaron Peirsol, Brendan Hansen, and Jason Lezak win the gold medal in the 400 medley rely. And as a mother, I know how Phelps' mom felt just now when he made his way up through the crowd of photographers, and she was able to reach out and touch her son. Even if he had not won the eight golds, he'd still be her son, she'd still be filled with love for him, still have that connection that transcends.

What it all says to me is, as parents, when we can, the best we can, we nurture our children and their dreams. We're blessed to have the chance to do so. And we can let them know with something as simple as a touch what they mean to us.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Thursday, 102, Friday 100, Saturday predicted 100--in Portland.

Once we left REI Thursda, I got my camera out again, just in case something caught my eye. It didn't take long, either. Here's the framework that obviously used to hold a different water tower. Right after I snapped this photo, I looked up at Lamont and said, "That looks like an alien spaceship that grew legs." He laughed, dutiful son that he is!

Those temps in the headline come from the Portland airport, wherever it's read out there on the Columbia River, northeast of our apartment. Around the metro area, and out into the nearby countryside, some places reported 100, 101, 102, and 104 degrees today! After work I was talking to my bud Eve, down in Mississippi, on the phone, telling her how we were fine once we got situated in our chairs in front of fans. "You don't have AC?" she yelped. "No, we've never had it up here," I replied. "We could buy one of those little window units, but we'd probably need three of them to make a difference." Then I went on to explain that we really didn't need any AC because it doesn't get this hot that often. In fact, starting Monday our predicted high temps range in the 70s. And just two weeks ago, our night temps were in the cool 50s--wonderful sleeping weather.

Let me tell you something that made Mama and me laugh Friday night. We're sitting at the table, in front of one fan that sits in the window and another fan across the living room, pointed right at us, eating some Breyers Lactose Free vanilla ice cream. In between spoonfuls, she looks at me, in all seriousness and says, "I think it's cooling off quicker tonight than it did last night." I look back at her and say, "Do you think it might have something to do with the fact that we're sitting in front of two fans on high, eating ice cream?" Then we laughed and laughed. Good memories are made of such moments.

Friday, August 15, 2008

It's doggone hot in Portland. And I'm thinking this water tower looks pretty cool.

After work I rode the bus to the Pearl District so that I could meet Lamont at the REI store. I don't know what the temperature was, but I certainly gravitated towards the shady side of the street! Whew, it was hot! (And now, four hours later, it's still hot. The thermometer in the east-facing kitchen window reads 87 degrees, at 9:10 p.m.)

This water tower atop the Chown Pella Lofts has long fascinated me. Today I thought, "Wonder how hot that water is inside there? Wonder if there is still water in there? What am I doing out here, wondering about this, when I ought to be walking on to REI?"

So I took a couple more shots, including this closer one, and went on my merry way. The intriguing water tower appears to be made of wood, doesn't it?

Lamont and the rest of them, Lindsay, Leland and Kailey (when she can fit it in due to her work schedule) have been hiking and/or camping lately. They're getting ready for a multiple-night-trip in the middle of September. Being a mama and all, I wanted to look at the GPS-locater-thingeys. Way too often people get lost and/or hurt or some such up here while out enjoying the gorgeous Pacific Northwest. Lamont had looked at a few of them onine; REI has one that we can probably afford, as well as the subscription service to make it function the way we want it to do when they are out in the wilderness. It's called SPOT. I'm going to check with a few folks at work, to get their input, too, before we make a purchase.

Believe it or not--and Mama said she thinks she remembers it right--the weather guy reported it got to over 100 degrees here today and is forecast to do so on Friday and Saturday. Yet, while at REI I looked at the raincoats on the clearance rack! I found a Marmot, a breathable one, on sale, that fit, that had a hood, that I can layer under, that was way longer than my green Helly Hansen. So, on a day when I really wouldn't mind standing in the rain with absolutely no coat on because I know I'd get cooled off rather quickly, I bought a new rain coat. Ain't the variety of life grand?

Here's a bit about the Chown Pella building, now lofts of various size and enormous prices, at 416 NW 13th Ave: Nearly 100 years ago, Portland Hack & Dray changed its name to Oregon Transfer Company and moved into a new four-story building at the corner of NW 13th and Glisan. Business was good and a year later a company, owned by city fathers Ben Holladay, George Weidler, and William Halsey, added a six-story structure next door. The two buildings operated as one from that time on. Over many years, Coca Cola, Wrigley, National Lock, Cudahy Packing, Ponds, and others warehoused products there. This was especially convenient when the old Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railroad provided both freight and passenger service from North Bank Terminal, located just around the corner at NW 11th and Hoyt. This "neighborhood" railroad service continued until after World War I.

In 1979 Oregon Transfer Co. outgrew its space and Frank and Elenor Chown moved in their Window and Door Division of the Chown Company. Operations continued for nine years: clearly the neighborhood had begun its transformation from an industrial area to what it is today. Now, as this building begins a new life in a revitalized neighborhood, the Chown family name continues to endure. It's a landmark that sets itself apart -- Portland's Chown Pella.

I found that info at the original real estate site for the lofts. There are five for sale right now, ranging from 963 sq. ft. for $379,000 to 1,156 sq. ft. for $597,000. Need I point out that Mama and I mostly go through the Pearl District, looking, window shopping and/or dining? We couldn't ever afford to live there. Besides, we don't want to own or be responsible for all that goes with owning.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Providing protection and a shadow

On this brick wall, a mundane metal cage protects the caution light while, thanks to the bright sunshine, it also provides an intriguing shadow.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

ABC Wednesday - D is for Delicate and Dinner

Hydrangea, delicate blossoms

Hydrangea, dinner blossoms

In our Northwest Hills neighborhood, a hydrangea bush about six feet tall stands beside a nearby house, robustly growing in a narrow dirt-filled garden space between the sidewalk and the house. When I walked by one morning, taking a different route to the bus for variety's sake, I stopped to take a few photos of the lovely blossoms.

Back-In Angle

Let me just say that this parking space presented me with a challenge. It's on the corner of SW 3rd and Ankeny where Voodoo Doughnut operates 24 hours a day, according to their Web site. That's for another post.

It took a maneuver or two, but I finally made it, inside the line, the bumper not bumped. This one and only time I've tried this was in March, when Mama felt like making her first outing to the Bijou Cafe, a little over a month after she came home from the skilled nursing facility. On our last trip to the Bijou, we rode the bus there, then went on our MAX ride.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Windows in a Wall

What's that hanging in one of the windows in this interesting wall? I can't quite tell. I took this photo from the car--I pulled over to the curb to do it. The Oregon Macaroni Mfg. Co. label got my attention, then the windows and the color that the wall has been painted, in contrast with the neighboring wall and the light blue sky.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


To paraphrase, "Yes, Virginia, there is life after Red Bull Flugtag." Let's get it on, starting with a shot of sunrise from the apartment's kitchen window.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Saturday, August 9, 2008 - and more also flew

Team B.A.M.F. is next. Hey, don't get on me--that's the team name for real. That propeller really turned--neat!

The pilot made a hard landing, and loads of safety personnel swarmed to the site.

Here you see him headed for the pier. I never heard any other news about him, so I hope he's A-OK.

HOME HANGAR: Silverdale, WA
PILOT: Baraka Poulin
FLIGHT CREW: Chris Arend, Emily Arend, David Shamrell, Sondra Tripp

ITINERARY: “The inspiration for our Flying Day aircraft is the P51 Mustang from World War II,” says Chris Arend, captain of a team from Silverdale, Washington. “It’s a beautiful plane, and we think that it will be amazing to create a scale replica – especially if it flies!” The members of Team B.A.M.F., while using an acronym that is distinctly modern (you figure it out), will otherwise be evoking an earlier era: the time of victory gardens, Rosie the Riveter, and a sleek, single-seat fighter aircraft that helped to foil Hitler’s plans for global domination.

Graduates from Gonzaga’s mechanical engineering program, Baraka, Chris, and David appreciate fine design, and they are “eighty-five percent sure” that their homemade model will score some decent hang time. Meanwhile, Emily and Sondra (a pastry chef and a musician/novelist, respectively) are bringing their creative skills into play to make the entry’s presentation as authentic and entertaining as possible. “We decided to compete in Flugtag on a whim, but now that we’re in it, we’re all over it,” Chris comments. “Our design is a classic – many people are fond of the P51 for its historical significance – and our skit will be classy and cool at the same time. We think it will get some good points!”

Team Oregon or Bust--you've gotta read how they came up with their team name--it's a hoot!

One of these guys might be the one who did the back flip off the deck. I just can't remember, but I seem to remember someone tall headed for that floating wooden framework, all of a sudden. And the crowd of 80,000 collectively gasped.
PILOT: Christopher Rosch
FLIGHT CREW: Kyle Dover, Robby Marshall, Kevin Mozingo, Pat Tyvand

ITINERARY: "We grew up in the same neighborhood and have been friends since day one, almost fifteen years ago," says Bend's Chris Rosch, captain of Team Oregon or Bust. "We're five guys who went to the same middle school, high school, and college and have spent our lives riding things – sleds, bikes, or whatever – on tow ropes behind cars, off bridges, and into porta-potties." Lost in nostalgia, he cracks a smile, "We also spent our lives in love with our friends’ mom. I'm not at liberty to say who, but the bet is still on."

As Chris and his Bend bros Kyle Dover, Robby Marshall, Kevin Mozingo, and Pat Tyvand build their flier on the sun-dappled shores of the Deschutes River, they explain the team's name. "OREGON: for lucid water that rivers off the only mountain in the world with year-round snow riding, for making shoes with waffle irons, and for the Fosbury Flop." They go on, "OR: because it's the postal abbreviation of Oregon," and finish poetically, "BUST: for the unlucky folks who fall short – like Charles Floyd of the Lewis and Clark expedition into Oregon Territory, who learned that you can kill many things, namely buffalo, with a gun; but not appendicitis." There's a brief pause before Chris finishes the rhapsody, "Also, for being a synonym of cleavage."

Team Chinese Take-Out used the Kung Fu fighting song in their skit.


Then someone called to make a take-out order, on the giant phone.

So, the driver took off to make the delivery.
PILOT: Jesse Lenihan
FLIGHT CREW: Amy Codd, Tony Codd, Steve Cogdill, Eric Freytag

ITINERARY: “We met over some delicious Chinese take-out,” says Tony Codd of his Red Bull Flugtag Portland team. “We were all eating in the parking lot of P.F. Chang’s when we realized that we were probably soulmates, or at least meant to be friends – really good Chinese take-out friends.” Tony claims that the Seattle-area crew was already building a glider shaped like a carry-out box when they serendipitously heard about the Flying Day competition and realized they should enter.

When they’re not trying to figure out the best flying feng shui for their crazy carton, Tony and Amy Codd, Steve Cogdill, Jesse Lenihan, and Eric Freytag attend school (North Seattle Community College and Highline Community College), practice karate (Steve has his yellow belt), and work at jobs in fields ranging from construction to pulling espresso. And, of course, all of them practice their chopstick skills on a daily basis. At the big event on August 2, their skit will be based on that benchmark of civilized society, Chinese food take-out and delivery. “Someone will call in a take-out order from a giant telephone while the other four of us are practicing kung fu onstage,” explains Tony, the team’s captain. “The order will be delivered by our glider.” Perfectly deadpan, he adds, “The music will probably be something Mexican.”

Team Kells Irish danced and then flew.

PILOT: Jessica Gilrein
FLIGHT CREW: Jake Flynn, Chris Harrison, Brooks Masiba, Mike McGinty

ITINERARY: Kells Irish Pub in Portland is rated the Number 1 Irish Restaurant and Pub in the nation. Besides awesome food and drink, Kells offers live Irish music nightly, and each March people travel from far and wide to attend the Kells Portland Irish Festival, a multi-day event that raises thousands of dollars for charity. With many long months until next St. Patrick’s Day, however, it seems that Kells employees Jake Flynn, Jessica Gilrein, Chris Harrison, Brooks Masiba, and Mike McGinty just couldn’t wait for another Irish party, so they’re bringing the high spirits of the Emerald Isle to Red Bull Flugtag Portland.

“Our inspiration was 75 percent Guinness, 24 percent whiskey, and 1 percent sheer stupidity,” laughs Mike, the team captain. ”As to what our craft will be constructed of – I can’t say at this time. But I can tell you that we will bless it with the tears of our opponents.” (Aye, there’s a good lad.) While the team’s construction materials are confidential, their blueprint is not: they’re going to launch a pot of gold crowned with a four-leaf-clover wing. It’s all about luck, in other words. And, Mike says, with the luck of the Irish this team isn’t worried about spanning the Willamette – they’re wondering if they can clear Mount Hood.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Friday, August 8, 2008 - more also flews

Team Pink Viking jumps with wild abandon. One of them is upside down!

How about these hats? The horns stayed on!

PILOT: Amanda Knoedler
FLIGHT CREW: Brian Billiter, Chris Combs (off-deck support), Scott Dixon (off-deck support), Seth Henderson, Josh Johnston, Scott Petersen

ITINERARY: Anyone who’s ever watched rugby knows that rugby players are tough. Unstoppable. Oblivious to pain, cauliflower ears, and random jokes about what it means to be part of a “scrum.” In Portland, a special breed who appreciate rugby hang out at North 45 Pub to watch OSU matches – and plan their Flugtag victory.

“The construction of our aircraft, the Pink Viking, is an elaborate process that we’re taking one pint at a time,” says Josh Johnston, the owner of North 45 and captain of the Pink Viking team. Inspired by a legendary culture whose reputation is as fearsome as that of any menacing rugby pack, Josh and teammates Brian Billiter, Chris Combs, Scott Dixon, Seth Henderson, Amanda Knoedler, and Scott Petersen are building a replica of a Viking drakkar, or dragon ship. “Pink Viking’s version of the drakkar will be made of canvas, pipe, and a giant pink hang glider fastened atop as our sail,” Josh explains. Supported by pounding drums and chanting spectators, the Pink Viking teammates will throw down a presentation evoking “The Haka” – an intimidating Maori-inspired war dance that the dreaded New Zealand All Blacks rugby team performs before every international contest. Josh vows, “Pink Viking will definitely give the crowd something they’ve never seen before.”

Team Chips 'n' Dips stirred up a treat for the crowd.

The pilot gets situated in the dip bowl.

Love this huge chip!

The chips and dip heads for the drink.

This makes me think of the Flying Burrito Brothers.
PILOT: Kees Beemster Leverenz
FLIGHT CREW: Shane Boland, Riley MacPhee, Will Pigott, Will Sweeney-Samuelson

ITINERARY: Are Shane Boland, Kees Beemster Leverenz, Riley MacPhee, Will Pigott, and Will Sweeney-Samuelson mind-blowing philosophers, or just a bunch of dips? No fair peeking at the name of their entry – listen and judge for yourself: “Flugtag is a chance for a generation inundated with media and life-made-easy electronics to step back and think for ourselves, creating a tangible expression of our ingenuity and determination,” says Beemster Leverenz, as Pigott chimes in, “It’s an opportunity to dream, and maybe even fly.” Riffing on that motif, Boland expounds, “We have imaginations that soar like mighty falcons above a calculating world full of naysayers and accountants – our craft will be fueled by our limitless yearning for glory and buoyed by our incomparable optimism.” Sweeney-Samuelson nods, “When you can tap into the cosmic ether and harness the sparkle of the stars, you have little to fear from terrestrial competition.”

Although these visionaries now spend the school year at colleges from coast to coast, they all grew up together in Seattle. The concept for their “Tortilla Chip Air Ship” was born from the heretofore unexplored aerodynamic possibilities of processed corn products – and growing young men’s preoccupation with between-meal snacks. “We’ve already got a salsa suit for our pilot,” states MacPhee. “On August 2, we’ll hope for a good headwind and let the chips fall where they may.”

Here's something totally unique, Team Naugahyde Numskulls.

The edge of the flight deck beckons. Wait. What's that dangling from the craft?

It's a stowaway! See what I mean about finding neat stuff when I crop these photos?

She got a ride to the pier, just like a real team member.

PILOT: Kris Roberts
FLIGHT CREW: Mark Adams, Lisa Angst, Scott Henriksen, Matt Huntley

ITINERARY: The Naugahyde Numskulls have a unique Flugtag strategy: "In a word, it's Geekosity," explains Matt Huntley, a Portland-area computer engineer and special effects artiste. "The shared impairment of the voting audience," hazards Mark Adams, a local government bean-counter. Finally, a telemarketer with a name that's all too appropriate for membership in this oddball group – Lisa Angst – sums up, "We're counting on sympathy votes." Joined by chemistry manager Scott Henriksen and production-manager/theater-student Kris Roberts, they're going to be putting the "Imp" in Impaired, the "eek" in Geekitude, and their dignity in the Willamette by bringing the WoW factor to Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
These teammates will be “honoring” the World of Warcraft, a multiplayer game set in a fantasy universe, where players can be lord of their domain without ever leaving their mom's basement. And why not? Sure, WoW is the kind of activity that sentient beings admit to only in the anonymity of dimly lit chatrooms; but there are millions of players out there, people. Millions. Can a fan base larger than the entire population of Oregon be wrong? Just in case there are any haters in the audience, though, the Naugahyde Numskulls are stacking their deck with an asset that will appeal to everyone with a love for the absurd: an interpretive dance tribute to the YouTube/WoW greatest musical hits.

PDX Flyers came from the Port of Portland which owns and operates four area airports.

Are those fairy wings on one of the team members, there at the edge of the flight deck?

Every team member made a successful landing in the Willamette.
PILOT: Steve Koester
FLIGHT CREW: Ava Frank, Walt Haynes, Melissa Porter (off-deck captain), Jenna Smith, Josh Thomas

ITINERARY: “We speak the international language of flight,” says captain Melissa Porter of her Flugtag team. The “PDX Flyers,” as they’re calling themselves, are all employees of the Port of Portland, which owns and operates four airports. The Port’s motto is “Possibility in every direction,” and Flying Day teammates Ava Frank, Walt Haynes, Steve Koester, Jenna Smith, and Josh Thomas (supported by Melissa and a number of other employees behind the scenes) feel that they have more than just the “possibility” of flying into fame. “We represent both the aviation and marine sides of the port – that means we have expertise in both the air and the water, which is perfect for this event,” explains Steve, who will man the controls of the group’s human-powered craft. He goes on, “Many of us are actual airplane pilots.”

With the team members’ collective know-how, they thought it only fitting to construct an airplane-shaped flying machine, which they’re building using PVC, vinyl, recycled carpet tubes, and “random odds and ends.” They’ve also recruited a local musician to compose a song for their skit. When asked if all this preparation will result in actual flight, Melissa grins and states, “YES! We are totally betting on it. But in the case of a water landing, the seat cushion can be used as a floatation device.”

Yep, one team really did go bananas at the competition!


HOME HANGAR: Beaverton, OR
PILOT: Sean Devlin
FLIGHT CREW: Will Cahoe, Ceci Estraviz, Lauren Macey, Sean O’Hollaren

ITINERARY: You can’t help but love some Red Bull Flugtag Portland teams. Take the Banana Bonanza crew from Beaverton – they’re just naturally apeeling. Will Cahoe, Sean Devlin, Ceci Estraviz, Lauren Macey, and Sean O’Hollaren recently graduated from high school, and they’re a tight bunch. Sure, they’re a little green – but what they lack in experience, they make up for with enthusiasm. “Ceci got a banana costume for Halloween and needs to get more use out of it!” says Devlin, the team’s pilot. “We all wanted to get one, too!” It’s clear these teenagers have soft spots for one another, so why shouldn’t they spend their last summer before college building a banana boat that really is a boat made of bananas?

Of course, they see it as an aircraft. “When the time is ripe,” Devlin explains, “we’ll present our Banana Bonanza to the Flugtag faithful and weigh in with a flight that will be unforgettable no matter how you slice it.” The 18-year-old acknowledges that the 30-foot vertical drop from the flight deck has been a hot tropic – make that topic – among his teammates; but they’re not yellow, and they don’t plan to slip up. “We may be young, but our courage won’t dessert us,” Sean states. “We know it’s a jungle out there.”