Monday, November 06, 2006

November 6, Grand Ave. between Clay and Madison

There are so many trees in Portland that when it rains during the fall, leaves plaster the streets, the vehicles parked on the streets and the sidewalks. Those cars there must have been in covered parking or not underneath trees; you should see ours!

Since we've had 3.56 inches of rain in the last 48 hours (with another 2 forecast by noon on Tuesday), the storm drains are blocked, all backed up, with massive amounts of soggy leaves. Flooding is already happening in parts of the city, in businesses, at intersections, on roadways. The weatherman says it hasn't been like this since the '90s. Over on the coast, rivers are flooding in places where they've never done that before; somewhere over there went up 10 feet today. Newscasters have been standing in the water, shoving pushbrooms inside businesses, sticking their hands into water on the street to show how deep it is or pulling at clumps of soggy leaves to show the build-up at the drains. What a job.

These leaves are on the sidewalk beside the county parking garage which is across Hawthorne from my building. By lunch, a man was out there with a leaf blower strapped to his back, blowing them from the sidewalk into the street. I couldn't understand that at all, but hopefully a crew with some sort of big sucking hose on it was scheduled to come by after rush hour, which is hilarious because it lasts way longer than an hour. Where those beautiful leaves were piled up at the base of a tree, only dirt and bits of mulch remain.

You can see by the flag over the Burger King how hard the wind was blowing. It did that all day, so much so that if I caught a glimpse of the twisting trees, I felt ill, like I was on a ship in a tossing sea. I almost had to put my motion sickness bracelets on again; I usually take them off once I'm in the building--they really save me on the bus before and after work.

That shot of the traffic is from the BK parking lot, looking at my building. The lower part is where I am, on the third floor at the opposite end. That light gray line is actually the top of the wall that encloses the rooftop garden you can access from the 5th floor.

The photo with the one way sign is of the Grand Ave. side of the building, my side of the building. That blue trak is just below my window. In the background, above the hood of the truck, you can see a large white vehicle with dark windows. That's a bus at the bus stop where I catch it after work.

Today at 5 p.m. I calmly joined the citizens of Portland who walk in the rain, layered to withstand the wet. I stood beside that building with rain dropping onto my head, my shoulders, my hands as I grasped my vinyl bag close so that no water could seep into the zipper. I had on my rain parka and my grandma-style rain hood, tied tightly to keep it from blowing off my head. It was dark by then, not light like this shot that I took about 7:20 a.m.

By the time I got on the bus, my skirt was quite wet from the blustery, blowing rain. By the time I had sat down for the ride to where I get off to catch my next bus, my underwear was wet, too. Thank goodness it was in the 60s today. Tomorrow I'll wear my longer raincoat beneath the rain parka; maybe I won't get so wet in the seat that way. If the longer raincoat had a hood, I'd just wear it, but Lamont pointed out that rain would drip down my neck inside my coat if all I had on my head was my rain hood. Ah, life is good when your kid can help keep you dry and up-to-date in Portland.

I'll be going on Saturday to look for a longer raincoat with a hood.

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