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on hanging out in portland as seen in kodak tri-x 400 black and white

PORTLAND, OREGON has pizza and wine and artisan coffee and artisan breweries and a cheese monger who took the national title once upon a time and there are many food carts and many many ethnic restaurants and cocktail bars and lots of wine. After all Portland sits between the vineyards of Washington state to the north and the vineyards in Sonoma county, California to the south and let’s not forget the many vineyards that dot the Willamette Valley and southern Oregon.

PORTLAND, OREGON has a large river—the Willamette—and nearby it has a humongous river—the Columbia. Not too far is a large mountain with skiing and hiking—Mt Hood—and nearby, sort of, are several other mountains, some larger and some smaller but still big, along the Cascade Range.

PORTLAND, OREGON is a short drive to the Pacific Ocean. One can drive straight west across Oregon along the Columbia River to Astoria. Or, one can drive south and west from Portland to Lincoln City. Or, one can take I-5 south toward Corvallis and cut west to Newport Beach. Further south are other ways to go to the beach from Interstate 5.

No wonder the population continues to grow. The admonition years ago to Californians “to visit but not stay” has not worked. Apartment buildings pop up regularly. Leave your neighborhood for three months and return to find a new building under construction or one finished already and is advertising for new tenants.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

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on the homeless in portland, oregon

PORTLAND, OREGON, like many American cities, is not doing well. Many streets are lined with tents. Grass parking strips have tents. Vacant areas, around freeways, where grass needs to be mowed, have small towns of tents.

Portland is not alone. Other cities, larger and smaller than Portland, continue to struggle with the same issue. When someone cannot pay the rent, because the rent is too high or because the initial costs of moving into an apartment or a house—the deposit, the guarantee, the insurance, the month-in-advance, in addition cost of the utilities—is impossible to pay, what is to be done?

(The images in this post are in a black and white style called 1930’s Grainy BlackMag. It is a look found in magazines and newspapers of the early 1930’s. This post tries to capture in part the harsh reality of the early years of the Depression.)

Oregon governor Kate Brown cannot seek re-election in November, 2022. Three candidates, all women, a Republican, a Democrat, and an Independent, are wanting the voters to give them a chance to resolve the homeless issues.

On homelessness, all three candidates have argued that they would bring urgency to “an unacceptable humanitarian crisis.”

Two of the candidates, the Republican and the Independent, who speaks like a Republican on many issues, want a harder line approach and have suggested that “they’d force accountability on houseless Oregonians and reduce public camping.”

Legally, I am not sure they can “sweep” Oregon public places, the streets and other public places, if that is what they intend to do, of people who have no where to go.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

Once upon a time, Portland and Oregon towns and cities did not have a “problem” with homelessness. We did not ever see the homeless.

Once upon a time, Portland and Oregon towns and cities did not have a “problem” with people with mental and medical difficulties. We did not see them either. They did not exist.

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on looking past to . . .

The openings are not found only in small villages in France, perched above the Mediterranean Sea. Go to larger towns such as Nice or Grasse or Monaco where the neighborhoods date to the middle and high middle ages.

The Château Grimaldi—the Musée Picasso—in Antibes dates to the late 1300’s. Buildings from the period of the Medicis can be found in Grasse.

The Prince’s Palace of Monaco was built in the 1190’s.

These towns have buildings and walls that open with arched passages to streets and plazas. Sometimes the openings are not arches; but covered and narrow passages, they lead to other streets and sometimes to another small place, to another unique small neighborhood.

Place des Ficanas, for example, is in Vieil Antibes. “Place” means “square” or “location” or “gathering space.” La Place des Ficanas, it is quite small and similar in size to others in many French villages from the middle ages.

“The word “ficanas” is not found in many dictionaries; it is a part of the local language of Nice. It refers to « des personnes curieuses, qui aiment bien colporter des ragots. Le genre qui se mêle des affaires des autres ». It refers to those who like to gossip about others and meddle in their affairs. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

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on crack art in antibes

Someone in Antibes, France is messing with the cracks in the walls in Vieil Antibes. The walls have chipped paint and some small areas are crumbling and in other sections plaster has fallen away. Someone is turning these into works of art. I think that I know who is creating them.

Some years ago, while wandering through the streets and alleys of old Antibes, I saw small figurine sculptures embedded into the stone walls. It looked like someone had molded putty into figures on the plaster between the stones.

The sculpturing material is strong and permanent; the pieces cannot be removed from the walls without hammer and chisel.

Recently, a new kind of image has appeared on the walls in Vieil Antibes. An artist is showing new ways to look at the crumbling facades and chipped paint and plaster.

The artist looked at the patches on the walls and imagined an image; and with a few deft lines, accentuated with chalk or black paint, and with some smudges here and there, a image appeared. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

But wait, there’s more!