I walked to work Tuesday, May 20th. It was perfect Portland walking weather. It wasn’t chilly, so I didn’t need a hat, and the wind was slight, so the rain came straight down, onto my umbrella.
Rain after several days of sun makes Portland smell, for the most part, wonderful. In my neighborhood I smell earth, then trees, then flowers, then fresh baked cinnamon rolls. There is a mysterious manure smell under the tentacles of the Fremont Bridge, but that soon passes. I hardly notice the odor as I’m overwhelmed by the roar of the freeway.
It might be my imagination, but cars seems slightly more respectful of pedestrians in the rain. Cyclists never seem too concerned with pedestrian right of way, but there are a far fewer cyclists to contend with on rainy days.
Widmer‘s not brewing this morning, or at least not belching steamy clouds of malt sweetness into the air.
The walk along Interstate is not especially pleasant, but at least, due to the Max tracks down the middle, I only have to contend with traffic coming from one direction. At N Tillamook, if I’m waiting my pedestrian turn to cross, and a train approaches from either direction, I get a bonus, out-of-sequence cross signal. This is one of my favorite pedestrian pleasures.
I veer up the slight incline to Larrabee. As it flattens out, past the grain silo on my right, the West Hills come into view. Clouds cling to the green curves. The Broadway Bridge is very red.
It’s election day. The big concrete island on the east end of the broadway bridge hosts folks with signs advertising their favorite candidates. I’m not sure why they’re so intent to get cars to honk at them. Plus I voted weeks ago.
The river is high, and roiling, with swirling swathes of debris.
On either side of the bridge I cross over train tracks, but there are no trains this morning.
There are fewer cyclists due to the rain, and none try to run me over at west end of the Broadway Bridge when I cross Lovejoy. This is another simple pedestrian pleasure. In a year of walking this route daily, I can only recall one cyclist turning onto Lovejoy actually stopping for me in the crosswalk. To be fair, cars with drivers on cell phones turning onto Lovejoy from Broadway often ignore the red light and “No turn on red” sign. They recklessly cross the cyclists’ right of way, and mine.
As I head down the Broadway ramp, Union Station strikes its postcard pose. The post office on my right doesn’t warrant a postcard.
At Burnside exhaust is the predominant aroma. I’m more awake now, vigilant of turning cars trying to run me over as I cross with the signal.