Archive for September, 2009

Why I hate Carl

September 30, 2009  |  Complaining, Fun  |  No Comments

I was doing a photoshoot on my roof deck the other day [I do freelance photography], and right as I moved to a new position, with my nice big expensive camera, a seagull pooped on me. And not just a little bit of bird crap – this was a massive, cleansing of the bowels bird crap. My first reaction, of course, was to start screaming (which kind of startled the people I was taking pictures of) and to run into the house and after realizing it had splattered all over my camera (not to mention all down my hair), stick my head in the shower.

For those of you who live or work in Pioneer Square, I’m sure that this has happened to you. I was telling Phillip (who works the information booth at Occidental Square), who says that it’s actually good luck when a bird poops on you and that you should go out and buy a lottery ticket.

The Husband and I have named the bird Carl, and I swear he has it out for us. If we’re up on a deck people watching, he dive bombs us. We always have to warn people before they go on our deck that he’s out there, waiting. I know and you know that every time sometimes when they poop on you, it’s totally intentional.

After mentioning our experiences with Carl to our friends, they recommended getting owls (plastic) for our deck. So I did – two in fact. Let me show you how well this works out in P2:


Here’s another example of what could happen to you if you become reticent to the bird problem:


(Just kidding.. this bird is her “pet” – if you haven’t ever taken the time to talk to this fascinating woman, you should. Ask her about her chicken)

What single guys could learn from the homeless

September 28, 2009  |  Call to Action, Fun, Homeless  |  No Comments

I’ve decided that any guy who has trouble picking up girls should head on down to Pioneer Square and start hanging out with the homeless guys. We’ve lived in P2 for over 2 months now, and I’ve heard so many great pick up lines, you have no idea. I may have even been tempted to say yes once or twice.

I was taking a picture of the bricks at Fulston Square for my post the other day, and as I turned around to head back to the apartment, one of the Lazarus guys walked up to me and said “are you taking pictures?” I told him that I was, to which he responded “Will you take my picture? Will you? Take my picture so that you’ll always remember me…. [wait for it].… ‘Cause I’m always going to remember you.”

Oh man – I couldn’t help but start laughing, and as I kept walking, he yelled at me, “My name’s Jimmy – don’t forget me!” And I haven’t.

I should start writing them all down so that one of these days, I can post a “Top Ten Homeless Pick Up Lines” for your reading pleasure / benefit, depending on your situation.

The other lesson that should be learned from them (besides how to dress your best: see above) is to get right to the point with a girl. No use making conversation if it’s not going to lead anywhere, right? Many of them will come up to me, say “hi” and then the very next sentence out of their mouth (imagine this with a great “P2 street” accent) “Are you married?”

When I say yes, they just smile and move on. No time wasted.

I don’t know how soon I’ll even need to post more pick up lines, because I’m sure once you use Jimmy’s, you won’t ever need another.

p.s. I’ve included the special picture at the top because of the happy feelings you’ll have when you see a couple holding hands, walking through occidental square. And you’ll want that. Let me know how it works for you.

Lazarus + Fortson “Square”

September 25, 2009  |  Complaining, Homeless  |  No Comments

Why the city keeps calling city corners or city triangles “squares” is beyond me. Occidental Square, yes, you can have that. You are correct that it is (mostly) square. But Fortson Square?

For those of you who don’t know, Fortson Square is the corner of 2nd and Yesler, and features the stone “art” that has been around for about 10 years. A sculpture that was not meant to be sat on is the gathering place for most of the people who are part of Lazarus. Not to mention the 5 million other complaints against the center (which the Archdioses does nothing about), there are two major complaints I find absolutely ridiculous. The complaints aren’t ridiculous, the fact that it’s happening is ridiculous and that they refuse to do anything about it.

If you walk past the square in the morning, you will see the guys waiting in line to enter the Lazarus Day Center. What many of the guys have started doing is taking bricks from the stone path in Fortson Square to hold their place in line. Is this another one of my witty jokes? No, absolutely not. Here’s a picture to prove it:

Fulston Square

The second complaint? The hundreds of cigarette butts littered throughout the square. Is it so much to ask the guys of Lazarus to keep their “hangout” cleaned up? Lisa (PSCA) is getting a bucket with sand for them to put out their cigarettes. We’ll see if it cleans the corner up.


Comedy in the Park recap

September 25, 2009  |  Event, Fun  |  No Comments

Went to Comedy in the Park on Wednesday night and had a great time! Great collaboration by PSCA and Comedy Underground to provide such a fun show (for free, I might add).


Best parts:
1. The comics trying to keep it clean (especially after two little boys showed up)
2. How many people showed up
3. Tony Daniel(s?) for Mayor
4. Comics trying to joke with the drug dealers in the park

Oh P2 — need I say more?

For those of you who missed it, it was a great event. I second the recommendation of Travis Simmons, aka “The Big Funny”, to do the event again next year.


Comedy in the Park tonight

September 24, 2009  |  Event, Fun  |  No Comments

Reminder to come to Comedy in the Park today after work in Occidental Square — I’ve heard great things about it and am personally looking forward to it.

See you there! (starts at 5:30)

p.s. to get you in the mood, here’s a joke:
The Devil visits St. Peter and asks for a soccer match heaven vs. hell. St. Peter says “Do you really think you have the slightest chance? We got all the stars here in heaven: Maradonna, Beckenbauer, Pele, etc.”

Devil smiles :”Well, we have all the referees…”

Construction Noise tonight

September 24, 2009  |  Complaining  |  No Comments

Tenants and Building Managers

Completion of today’s construction activities on 2nd Ave Ext S in the vicinity of S. Washington St. to S. Jackson St. will require evening and nighttime saw cutting.

This work entails cutting relief joints in newly poured concrete road panels to prevent cracking and damage as the concrete reaches its critical cure points.

This operation may be loud and disruptive and will continue beyond 10pm this evening.

Our crews are working to ensure that this process is completed as efficiently as possible to minimize our nighttime disturbance.

David Kerr
Project Engineer
C.A. Carey Corporation

Broken Windows Theory Busted?

September 22, 2009  |  Call to Action, Politics, Violence  |  1 Comment

The Broken Windows theory suggests that a high concentration of small, petty crimes leads to a higher incidence of bigger, nastier crimes.

Ben Adler, a Next American City writer, looks at Berlin and Copenhagen and finds the crime trends don’t match the idea behind Broken Windows.

“Increasingly, criminologists are challenging Broken Windows’ hegemonic grasp on urban public policy. My travels in Europe have convinced me, once a Broken Windows believer, that it is largely a lot of hokum. Let the pot dealers return to Washington Square Park, the graffiti sit indefinitely on the mailboxes, the hookers wander Times Square, and I’m not at all sure you’d see an increase in violent crime as a result.

Berlin, Germany, a city of 3.4 million, is rife with symbols of social disorder. Sitting at a bar’s outdoor table you’re liable to smell hash wafting over from the table next to you, and to be offered it while walking through some of the city’s parks. Prostitution is legal. If there are any open container laws, they are completely unenforced. Beer is drunk openly on the streets and the metro.

And yet there is very little crime.” [article link]

Disregarding whether or not the theory is proven or “unproven,” do you think this applies to P2?


It begs the question: if the small crimes don’t lead to bigger ones (that usually get more attention), should we worry about the small ones? Are the drug deals and drug use that happen throughout P2 better left alone? They’re not harming anyone, right?

What do you think?

p.s. the main picture’s blurry because I had a few of the other guys sitting up there gave me a good swear fest for taking pictures of them without asking. I was warned that I was going to get f-ing sued for taking pictures without permission. Man.. I’m getting so tough!

Waiting On the World to Change

September 21, 2009  |  Call to Action, Event  |  No Comments

I just put on my headphones to listen to some music at work, and the song “Waiting On the World to Change” came on.

It makes me reflect on all the various situations in P2, and how many people have dedicated so much time to making it a better place to live, work, and play. It’s easy to walk around the neighborhood and get discouraged by all of the problems that are so easily visible: the drug dealing in Occidental Square, the unruly crowds in front of the Saveway (and drug dealing there? Topic for another post…), the homeless that line the street in front of Masins furniture, and leave a mess there every morning, etc. I know a lot of you have a lot to add to that sentence.
Husband and I are getting ready to do our first interview this week, and to be honest, I’m nervous about it. I never had any real interaction with a homeless person before moving down here to P2. I think I’ve already grown since moving down here, and find many of them are quite funny. I’m nervous, though, because it’s a world that I don’t come even close to understanding. I’m worried that I’ll come off as naïve, or even judgmental. But our motives are innocent enough – we just want to learn more, and get to know the people who share our neighborhood.

The lyrics from the above song say “We just feel like we don’t have the means To rise above and beat it,” but from what I’ve seen so far in this neighborhood and on the various PSCA committees, I know that’s not true. There are so many people working so many hours behind the scenes to make this a successful neighborhood. But to the rest of you, you can’t just wait for the world to change. You need to get involved, even if it’s on a small scale.

It takes more than a few dedicated people and committees to make a substantial difference. It takes the efforts of the business leaders in the neighborhoods, the efforts of the residents, even the homeless residents, and the efforts of everyone else who has a stake in whether or not this neighborhood will get better, before real change can happen.

p.s. a good way to start is by coming to the “Comedy in the Park” event this Wednesday – I’ve heard they’ve been really funny so far.

Delinquent Seals in Pioneer Square

September 18, 2009  |  Fun  |  No Comments


(I’m not deleting this because I still think it’s funny, but thanks to Lisa at PSCA for pointing out that there are no seal sculptures in P2 and that this is probably Portland’s Pioneer Square)
(via @synjck)

Drugs + P2= no good

September 18, 2009  |  Call to Action, Complaining, Drugs  |  No Comments

The husband and I were walking around Pioneer Square last night when we passed a man standing in a store entryway on the corner of 3rd and James. With just a casual glance, we saw that he had a thin line of “white powder” and was getting ready to use it.

We walked around the corner and called 911 while we kept walking, although I was a little freaked out to be telling the 911 operator out loud about the guy using drugs just around the corner with a bunch of other P2 familiars still milling around. I thought for sure someone was going to yell “snitch” and beat us up or something. I also watch lots of movies.


Anyways, I’ve called 911 before when I thought I saw someone dealing, but first I had to talk to Chris (with PSCA) and our local cop about what a “drug deal” actually looks like and how to report it.

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