Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Main Street as Park

I visited a most unusual Main Street in Portland OR: the Park South Blocks, at the southwest edge of downtown Portland. 
Park South Blocks, bordered by an array of residences, commerce, and university buildings.
It is a long double allĂ©e, with curving paths, fountains, sculpture and grassy lawns. It is bordered on either side by roadways, and those, in turn are edged with buildings of fairly uniform height, but a surprising array of uses, from convenience stores to the historical society.  It is, in form, like the Ramblas in Barcelona.  Because of the dense canopy of trees, it is a sheltered and mystical spot, inviting passersby and lingerers.  I went to dinner there, getting a wonderful meal at a food truck, Tall Boy's Fish and Chips.  A young man stopped to order dinner.  I appreciated his tee shirt, which read, "All the good chemistry jokes Argon."  

While I was eating, another young man walked by with a large case -- perhaps a portfolio? I thought -- and a large box.  A few minutes later, I realized that he had set up an informal barbershop and was busy giving a trim.  
Barbershop in Park South.  
I liked Park South so much I went back in the morning.  I got a latte from Starbucks, which opens at 5am, and sat on a bench, watching the dog walkers.  Why do people let their dogs poop and pea on park grass, also used by people for yoga, and reading, and sleeping? I wondered.  A woman looked at my Starbucks and walked off with determination.  A few minutes later she reappeared with her Starbucks.  She raised it in solidarity and said, "I got some too!  I need it."