Portland today and the Portlanders

Today’s post is about Portland, Oregon and Portlanders. I vaguely remember promising one of my readers, ages ago, that I would post my pictures of Portland. I never had a chance to do so. Except once when posting something about postmodern architecture. We went to the Pacific North-West in 2016.

Ages ago it seems. Covid-19 did this to us while we stopped travelling for nearly three years. As a result all our memories appear to be far older than they really are. Nowadays we’ve almost stopped travelling entirely, The Swedes call it Flygskam or Flight-shame. This blog post isn’t just about these old Portland images, it is also meant to encourage you to buy the book published by a long-time reader of antimuseum.com, David McCarthy. The book is aptly entitled The Portlanders.

Portland today and the Portlanders

Since then, there has been water under the bridge.

Portlanders are the lucky owners of one of the weirdest buildings in the world, the 1912 Willamette Steel Bridge: “The only double-deck vertical lift bridge of its type in the world (The Portland Bridge Book) […]. The lower deck retracts (telescopes) 45 feet up into the upper deck (in only 10 seconds); both decks rise together when additional clearance is required. The lower deck is only 26 feet above low water level—the lowest of the downtown bridges—so it is lifted often, especially in summer. Most river traffic clears without needing to raise both decks. The total moving load of that second lift is nearly 9 million pounds and moves only one foot per second” – Source – I love that little shack on top of the bridge and I can imagine the man in charge moving up and down with the bridge.

Today Portland is on the agenda as a long-term liker of my pictures has just issued a book entitled The Portlanders. David McCarthy, that’s his name, sent me the book after a week-long battle with customs and excise on both sides of the Atlantic (Pacific maybe, I’m not sure which way the parcel went).

You can have a look at his blog entitled Sanslartigue, since the world of photography was left by Jacques Henri Lartigue in 1984 (there is a Sanslartigue1 too, maybe David hasn’t found the way to transfer his old blog posts to his new platform).

Lartigue was a dandy and a painter and photographer who had to make a living with his art when the family fortune dwindled in the 1930s.

The Portlanders
David McCarthy’s The Portlanders book can be purchased online

Saying Yes! to the Portlanders

Portland is a positive city. When reading David’s book, I realised I had followed in his footsteps so to speak and stumbled upon some of the same neon signs. The Yes sign from Frances May to start with, which has already been very helpful to me to illustrate many blog posts and presentations.

David’s rendition of the sign. The store is Frances May’s, an indigenous Karuk woman with an attitude. I liked the Yes sign and the yes, yes, yes catch phrase. I found it a lot more positive and enticing. The good news is that free shipping starts at $250.00!

A City with an attitude

Frances isn’t the only one with an attitude in Portland. I can’t quite remember what store front that was and Nassco doesn’t seem to fit the ATM sign. I will have to ask David.



To a European photographer, emergency stairs are an endless source of inspiration.

The portlanders
Portland is also known for being the place where postmodernism was invented.
Small plaques that can be found all over the city.
American-style art nouveau
The Portlanders
We stumbled across these trailers/shacks I wouldn’t know what to call them all around the City. David has taken loads of pictures of these trailers.
The Portlanders
If you travel to that area, it wouldn’t take you long before you reach the vineyards which look very European. At times I thought we were in Alsace or Rhineland. I wish I hadn’t left my driving licence behind. My wife doesn’t like driving too much. We had to retrace our steps after a while for she had had enough.

Portland is also called the “City of roses” and many other nicknames. It was a centre of organised crime in the 1940s and 1950s. But it is now considered one of the safest cities in the United States. In the 1970s it became one of the epicentres of the hippie movement.

If you want to know more about Portland and the Portlanders, now you know what book you should buy and where!

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  1. Yann, thanks so much for the kind words, your patience, and of course your purchase! By the way, the bridge in your photo is the Hawthorne Bridge. You can see a view of the Steel Bridge in my Instagram post, linked at the bottom of Sanslartigue 😉. Also, the trailers are generally referred to as food carts around here. Thanks again, and I love your take on Portland, look forward to more of your photos!

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