Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Downtown Portland's Benson Hotel, one of A. E. Doyle's buildings

Mama's doing OK, not great, but OK. Thanks to everyone for the prayers.

On our first visit to Portland, summer 2006, Mama and I stayed here. We loved every second of it. I took this photo the evening of November 19, 2010.

Here's what I found at the Oregon Encyclopedia about the hotel:

The Benson Hotel, built in Portland by pioneer lumberman Simon Benson in 1913, was constructed as an annex to the adjacent Oregon Hotel to the south. It was originally called the New Oregon Hotel. Soon after it opened, however, it became known as the Benson. The older hotel was demolished in 1959 to make way for a new addition.

Conceived as a high-end hotel in downtown Portland, the Benson was designed by architect A.E. Doyle, who modeled it after the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago. Doyle's design used the elements of the Baroque Revival Style in a grand manner, sheathing the twelve-story building in red brick and cream-colored, glazed terra cotta.

The massive mansard roof is covered in copper and green terra cotta and pierced with pediment dormers. (My photo, taken August 5, 2010, during the Architectural Heritage Center Downtown Terra Cotta Walk. Near as I can tell, the golden sphere rests inside a vase-like depression and is held in place by a scroll-like shape. I was wishing for a gargoyle.)

The interior also displayed an opulent touch. The lobby featured rare Circassian walnut woodwork from Russia, Italian marble floors, and Austrian crystal chandeliers. The ceiling was punctuated with ornate plaster designs of acanthus, rosettes, egg-and-dart, and other classical motifs. Noted lighting designer Fred Baker created the lighting fixtures for the interior. The Benson Hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

The $1 million, 200-room hotel boasted the latest in modern conveniences, including private baths, automatic door switches, electric lights, and telephones in each room. The hotel has been well maintained over the years, receiving a thorough rehabilitation in 1991. The Benson Hotel has always sought to attract a high-end clientele, which included show business celebrities, business leaders, politicians, and many U.S. presidents.

Simon Benson (1852-1942) gradually accumulated a fortune in the timber business, shipping large quantities of lumber to southern California to supply a building boom in the early years of the twentieth century. He sold his holdings in 1910, invested in real estate, and built the hotel that bears his name.

Written by William F. Willingham

And this is from Wikipedia:

The Benson Hotel is a 287 room historic hotel building in downtown Portland, Oregon, United States. It is owned and operated by Coast Hotels & Resorts. It was originally known as the New Oregon Hotel, and is commonly known as "The Benson." It has a reputation as one of Portland's finest hotels. The hotel is named after notable businessman and philanthropist Simon Benson.

Simon Benson had wished to build a world-class hotel in Portland. During the population boom that occurred between the 1905 Lewis & Clark Centennial Exposition and the Great Depression, Benson fulfilled his wish.

The firm of Doyle, Patterson, and Beach designed the main hotel building in French Second Empire style. The hotel opened 1912 and Chicago's Blackstone Hotel served as the inspiration of the building's overall design. The building was originally an annex to the Oregon Hotel, and was known as the New Oregon Hotel.

In 1959, the old Oregon Hotel next door was demolished to, ironically, make way for a 175 room annex to the 1912 building. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Update: Mama's in the hospital

She's home, in her recliner, waiting for the commercial to do off so that she can watch her beloved Trail Blazers who are playing the New Jersey Nets. We're ahead 52-44, second half is starting now. The doctor said to double her daily LASIK and the potassium and to see her primary care physician in a week. I'm staying home with her tomorrow and will make the doctor appointment calls then.

Thanks for your prayers!

Here she is on December 25, 2007, standing at our building's front door, light snow falling.

When I woke up Friday night around 12:45 p.m. to go to the bathroom, she was still awake and asked me to come see if I thought she was wheezing and/or short of breath. She was, enough so that I called 911 and soon four firemen and two EMTs joined us in the apartment. The firemen left her to the EMTs who checked her out thoroughly, hearing noise in her lungs. They ran several EKGs which they didn't like the looks of, so they called Portland Providence Hospital--the one where she's been most often--and said we were on the way. I rode up front as we sped to the hospital, lights flashing and the siren in use whenever we came upon other vehicles. In the back, along with oxygen, she got some nitro and some LASIK, plus they'd given her a couple of aspirin to chew before they ever got her out of the bed.

In the ER they took a chest x-ray and saw fluid in her lungs. The EKGs didn't show anything significant going on with her heart. About four hours later we were in a room--on oxygen and with a telemetry hook-up in the gown's pocket so that they could monitor her at the nurses' station. Finally around 3:30 p.m. the hospitalist doctor stepped in and said his theory is congestive heart failure which means a weak heart that pumps inefficiently, causing fluid to leak into her lungs which causes the shortness of breath. So he ordered more LASIK and an echo cardiogram so that the function of her heart could be checked. By then we'd both had something to eat and several dozing naps, and Leland had come to the hospital. Lamont had to work, so did Kailey.

Leland brought me home because I was pretty much shot from lack of real rest. I ate supper and fell asleep off and on in my chair, finally going to bed at 9 p.m. This morning I woke up at 5:40 a.m. and started on the laundry. I've talked to Mama on the phone. The nurses are talking like she could come home today, so we've decided the easiest way to get her here is a cab because the doors will be wider and at the best height for her to get in and out of. I'll wait until I've had some lunch before I head that way on the bus, then if/when she gets released, we'll call the cab.

She's supposed to go to her primary care doctor tomorrow, the hematologist on Tuesday and the pulmonary doctor on Thursday. I don't know what this hospitalization means in relation to those appointments.

The blood count from the blood taken at the hospital shows that she is not anemic and doesn't at this time need a blood transfusion which is good news. And from reading about congestive heart failure, it appears that her increased fatigue could certainly be related to it, along with the Sjogren's Syndrome which also can cause fatigue.

All in all, Mama's outlook in the face of continuing fatigue which means she can not do very much around here to contribute to our lives makes her sad, guilty, upset and/or down in the dumps. Naturally, given her nature which is basically to make the best of any situation, she continues to struggle to enjoy life as much as she can. I've explained to her that her main job here at home is to keep herself from falling down--she's doing her best at that.

Y'all please add her, her condition, her doctors and us to your prayers.

Thank you.

Love y'all,


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all

For your enjoyment, the window at Knit-Purl on the corner of SW 10th and SW Alder.

I took a picture of what I suspect is some of the same felted Thanksgiving food in 2008. When you click on the link, you'll see not only the earlier photo of the felted food but also the turkey pot pies that Lamont had made that Thanksgiving, plus our loved ones who enjoyed being together, thankful for each other. Two are no longer with us--Brody's dad Gary and our darling dachshund Duncan. Oops, I just noticed that I spelled Brody's name wrong back then--sorry, Brody.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?



Saturday as the 15 bus pulled to a stop at the traffic signal at NW 23rd and NW Everett, I spied this little boy in arms, wearing a wintertime hat that I at first thought was a teddy bear. Then I realized, the hat actually was Scooby-Doo! I managed a few quick shots before the bus moved--thus this one--and then took a few standing still on the sidewalk--thus the top photo.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Look closely at the ballerina. The word core comes to mind. She's certainly paid proper attention to hers. Wow.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The absence of color waits to board the 70 bus

I took this photo looking north at the intersection of NE Sandy, NE 12th and East Burnside. The 70 bus stop is on NE 12th. Perhaps someone is inside the bus at the door, about to step off. I say this because it appears the woman with the white hair hesitates, with her right knee bent, before stepping forward. She seems to be looking straight into the bus, too, which makes me think she sees someone moving towards the door. Or perhaps I just clicked at the split second that captured her beginning to move. What do you think?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Field trip from California got off the bus

After work on November 3, once I left the Hawthorne Bridge and got on the 4 for part of the ride home, I realized I had boarded a bus loaded to the gills with energetic, talkative kids, mixed in with several curious adults as well as your standard Portland commuters. I couldn't make out a single word the kids were saying, but I could hear the adults discussing the location of their next stop. When I stood up to get off the bus, I asked one of the men in the group, "Is this a field trip?" "Yes," he replied. "We're here from California." Then without pausing as the bus pulled to a stop, he turned to the rest of the bus and said loud enough to be heard over the din, "This is our stop. Line up on the wall." Which they all did.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Special Delivery for Greg Oden


I've just been reading some of the comments at the Trail Blazer Facebook page--some of those people are way too mean, others are thankfully very supportive.

Greg, I want you to know something that is very important to me. My almost 85-year-old mother and I moved here to Portland from Jackson, Mississippi, the summer of 2006. My two wonderful sons had already moved here and welcomed us with open arms. When you were drafted by Portland in 2007, my Mama perked up at all the news stories and became a basketball fan--she'll even miss "Wheel of Fortune" to watch the Trail Blazers. This is a cutie-pie little ol' lady who merely tolerated all sorts of sports during her 57 and one half year marriage to my Daddy who always had the TV on some sort of sporting event, but never basketball. I myself have been a basketball fan since the 1960s watching my brother play in school, and I kept score for the high school teams where I was a librarian for six years, home and away games. I adore the squeak of sneakers on the gym floor.

Anyway, I want to say a great big THANK YOU for the part your smile and your desire to do your best for Portland had in turning my mother into a basketball fan because we now have one more thing we can share as a couple of widows living together. She sits in her recliner, pulling for the Trail Blazers, pleased as punch when things go right, uttering a four-letter word that starts with an S, which she turns into two syllables, when things go bad. She's asked me to explain all sorts of terms--pick and roll, in the paint, setting a pick, and from the bench, to name a few. I've had to look some of them up on the Internet, rely on my ol' lady memory, and/or call my brother in Mississippi to get some help with the definitions. He's in the wrong time zone to be much help. Beside Mama on the table, she's got the schedule I printed from the Internet so that she won't forget about an upcoming game--she's keeping up with the wins and losses.

I sit in my chair watching the games, too, but some of the time I'm watching my Mama, the basketball fan. Thanks, Greg. Mama and I wish you the best with your surgery and recovery. We know you will rise again. We know it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I got off the bus to take this photo before they all blew off, they lit up the vista.

Wednesday, November 3, I decided to get off the bus and walk back east onto the Hawthorne Bridge. Too many beautiful trees had gone un-photographed by my trusty Nikon D50. Not wanting to be too late getting home, I decided to try this shot from the north side of the bridge approach, rather than walking down the stairs, beneath the bridge, and then back up the other side. I sort of like the railing at the top of the wall which shows up at the bottom of the shot. I especially like the golden tree in the center of the shot, as well as the green leaves mixed with the reds. While some of these leaves remain on the trees, in the last 12 days, rain has fallen and winds have blown. All over the city, leaves line the curbs, cover the cars that haven't been driven, and either cover or speckle the sidewalks. Slippery when wet applies.

Here’s a link to the Mayor Sam Adams' leaf pick-up fee fiasco, for which he’s taking the blame.

Later that evening after I got off the bus and walked east on our street, I took this photo. You can see that while leaves cover the parking spaces and most of the sidewalk, lots of leaves are still on the trees. Today they're all blown down, waiting to be removed. Click here to see lots and lots of autumn leaf photos from November, 2008, and to read all about the NW Portland Clean Sweep.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Colorful walks beside the MAX

Once again I'm at the MAX station near the Lloyd Center Mall. Only difference between this photo and the others with the colorful hair is that this time I'm on the same side of the fence as her.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Colorful rides the MAX

I couldn't get focused quick enough to get a photo of this woman before she got on the MAX. However, I did manage to get this one that shows her vivid pink hair after she had taken a seat. And how about that autumn leaf stuck on the fencing? It sort of looks like a feather, stuck there on purpose. By the way, this is the MAX station near Lloyd Center, a shopping mall, and it's where I saw a cute girl clown with shocking, neon, sort of purplish pink hair.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The week before the end of Daylight Saving Time, when I could see

Wednesday, November 3, once again I'm at the corner of SW Washington and SW Broadway, waiting for the 15. Ah, the joys of being in the right spot at the right time. It certainly didn't hurt that this Dodge Daytona was thumping, so much so that I had time to look, get the camera out of my bag and turn it on, then point it for several quick shots. When the light changed to green, the driver slowly advanced for the left turn. I'm loving this blurred bicycle and rider. Those reddish smudges on the pavement are actually the blurred rims of the bicycle's wheels! What I want to know is where is the bicyclist's head? Even at the largest image, I can't say for sure, but I think he's lowered it between his shoulders. At least I think it's a he. And I can see that the driver of the Dodge Daytona is a man. Fun, I'm having fun with this photo!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The evening of July 18, downtown Portland, look what I saw and had seconds to grab the camera

I'm loving this photo, just about as much as I love that back window. This is the last photo I got as it pulled away.

This is the first photo I got as we pulled up behind it at the traffic signal. See what I mean about that wrap-around back window? Magnificent.

Anyone have any idea about about the make of this beauty?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sunday evening, corner of SW Broadway and SW Washington, waiting for the 15

After an excellent, exciting, wonderful SYTYCD live show, we rode the MAX from the Rose Garden into downtown. Leslie got off at the Big Pink--her significant other works on the 30th floor at the Portland City Grill; we enjoyed Happy Hour there before we rode the MAX to the show--and I continued on to Pioneer Courthouse Square where I got off and walked to this corner. I can't count the number of times that I've waited here for the last bus home, the 15, after work, after volunteering, after watching the lighting of Portland's Christmas tree on the day after Thanksgiving, after walking downtown streets looking for those special sights to photograph.

Looking north at the same intersection. Where I wait is beside Pazzo Ristorante which you can see there on the right corner of the photo. Just out of sight to the right and around the corner on SW Washington, I wait in front of two huge windows which are in the bar section of the restaurant. There's an awning and lots of light at that particular spot, a perfect place to wait for a bus in the evening. The irony of how often I wait here rests on the 11th floor of the white and brick building on the left side of the photo--the one with the well-lighted exterior stairwell. That's the Benson Hotel, the place where Mama and I stayed for our first visit to Portland in 2004, from June 30 through July 9. We never had to turn on the air conditioner, never had to shut the windows AND there were not any screens. No bugs, no mosquitoes, no humidity. I mean I knew I wanted to move to Portland when we got off the airplane and onto the MAX for the ride to the Benson, but the fact that we didn't have to turn on the AC, that we didn't have screens, that we never saw a bug--wow! Totally sold me and planted the seed of moving here firmly in Mama's mind.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A few more SYTYCD 2009 photos

Randi Evans and Evan Kasprzak danced contemporary, choreographed by Mia Michaels. It will forever be known as the "butt dance."




I like the fact that she took off her shoe--it gave her the opportunity to move her butt around even more.




I'm not sure when the other shoe left her foot, nor am I sure when his hat took off.

Friday, November 5, 2010

More of my 2009 SYTYCD live show photos

Two of my favorites from that show, Brandon Bryant and Janette Manrara. I got to see Janette this summer when I went to see "Burn the Floor" at the Keller Auditorium. Exciting. Plus Pasha and Anya from an earlier season of SYTYCD, who returned in 2010 as all stars to dance with the new hopefuls.




Thursday, November 4, 2010

The countdown has begun. I'm going with my friend Leslie on Sunday evening to see this year's "So You Think You Can Dance" live show!

So I think I will share photos of the show I saw in November 2009 here in Portland.

The Top Ten Dancers!

Melissa Sandvig

Evan Kasprzak

Kayla Radomski

Jeanine Mason - Jeanine Mason was crowned America's Favorite Dancer on August 6, 2009, making her the second female to win the show.

The Top Ten Dancers, plus Caitlin Kinney. Here's what I found on Wikipedia about the plus: Tour - So You Think You Can Dance will again be going on tour to 40 cities across the US and 1 city in Canada, Toronto. Nigel Lythgoe also announced that Phillip Chbeeb and Caitlin Kinney would also be going on the tour as swing dancers since they made it to the top 12 before being cut.

Come back tomorrow for more photos of individuals and groups. Believe me, I've got loads of photos!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Autumn Lining the Streets

This is our street in the Alphabet District of Northwest Portland. Our building is on the right on the corner. That wall with the windows that you can see is across the side street. to the east of our building.

This is one street to the north of our street. In both photos I'm looking eastward.

A final photo for today's post, taken from the northern sidewalk on our street, looking through an opening caused by a space between an office building and an older house that now is a law office, and looking to the northern side of the street that is just north of ours. The tree on the right amazes me every time I have looked at the photo since I took it on October 23--the vivid color peeks out from the corner of the house wonderfully.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Autumn Stepping Out

Couldn't get focused quick enough 'cause she was steppin' out! I sort of caught the essence of that with the photo--look at the diagonal lines of the back of her coat. She's got that vivid auburn hair that matches so the autumn leaves. She's walking south on NW 23rd, just past its intersection with NW Flanders. Notice the upward slope? This corner is just a couple of blocks from our place, and the grade has already increased this much and more. These changes in elevation make for a good place for me to walk, right near home. I am blessed.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Seen on the MAX Light Rail, part of TriMet's public transportation in Portland and the surrounding metropolitan area

On the day before Halloween, I boarded the MAX Blue Line across from the Lloyd Center Mall for a ride to the station across from PGE Park. There I could wait for the 15 bus to catch--it would get me only a block or so from the apartment. I sat down across from a young man holding a rather large pumpkin in his lap. Naturally I had to glance at the pumpkin. Immediately I noticed there was no lid on it. At another glance I noticed the stem was still on, that the large opening must therefore be on the bottom of the pumpkin, and that the inside had been scraped rather smoothly. So I asked, "Are you going to wear that on your head?" "Yes," he answered, going on to state that he'd been doing so ever since he was 16. I didn't pry and ask how old he was, but he certainly didn't look far out of his teens. Anyway, we talked for a moment about how much work is involved in getting the inside of a pumpkin that smooth, and then I asked if he kept his stocking hat on when he wore the pumpkin. "Sometimes I do. It softens the bump," he explained, pointing towards the inside of the pumpkin opposite the stem. "Ah, yes, there's a bump there." He agreed. In a few minutes two cute young ladies sitting across the aisle from us asked about the pumpkin, and he started with the same line about how long he'd been doing this. "Want to see?" he asked them. Naturally when he place it on his head, I lifted the camera and clicked.

Just goes to show you never know what experience you'll get to have on public transportation; it's best to have the camera out hanging around your neck at the ready, I always say.

Today's Monthly Theme at City Daily Photo is public transportation. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants.