Thursday, April 30, 2015


This is the infamous Michael Graves Portlandia Building with Portlandia herself about to gig a small car with her frog-hunting trident.  Graves was asked to build as cheaply as possible on a slanted lot.  He made up for the challenges with decoration -- first the dramatic coloring of the outside and then the addition of an invented goddess of the river.  Basically, he admitted that it was only a warehouse with very small windows.  Inside we suffocated, cooked, froze, sneezed, held our noses, got stuck waiting for elevators, and tried to invent barricades for our carrels.  In the end, the plans examiners and inspectors made such a ruckus, all documented, that they were moved out of the building.  It was cheaper than upgrading the Portlandia.

This is the inside.  The City Hall was next door.  It had an atrium inside that was an elegant place to grab a cup of coffee.

City Hall

The Justice Center was just across a little park.  The top is a jail and had an outdoor basketball court with one wall made of wire.  Inmate shouts echoed overhead.

My official portrait for employees only.  It was just beginning to be dangerous for people to know who you were if you worked for the city.  I spent my lunch hour at Rich's Cigar Store (for magazines) 
and the bead shops (for earring materials).


Even worse nuisances.  (My rose shirt.)

Site development -- a little breathing room
but with bear spray in the desk drawer, just in case.


This was a great guy to work for.  Vietnam taught him to read.
(Hurry up and wait meant lots of time.)
Thoughtful, generous, easy-going, intelligent and moral.


Another thoughtful, "big picture" guy
who grew up in a tough part of town which only made him kinder.


Gentle and rueful, he was the most outdoorsy.  
Both he and Bill would have liked to move to Montana with me.


I can't remember his name.  Too new to be on the phone list.
A quiet guy, a true engineer.  Stats and charts spoke to him.


From Great Falls, Mike was endlessly fascinated by Hill 57.
In summer he brought me huge handfuls of roses, still wet from the night.
He tried to shake all the earwigs out, but usually missed some.
He and his son made the little hanging bird house in my yard.

He was the "flood plain man" and tried to teach me to read the maps so I could answer questions.
I was careful not to learn or I would have needed TWO bear spray canisters.

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