Taking the kids back to Oregon

Friday, September 2nd, 2005: Took the kids to Kristine’s today and said all our goodbyes. Then went to my parents and back home. Finished up our packing, went to Richard & Shirley’s to say a few more goodbyes. Tomorrow I take the kids back to Oregon.

Saturday, September 3rd, 2005: This morning I woke up at 5:30am (my alarm was set for 6am but I always wake up before the alarm goes off), got the kids ready and my brother drove us to the airport. Today summer is officially over – they go back to Oregon for school. Had a pretty eventless 2 flights with a short layover in Salt Lake City. Payton’s quote of the day, as he was throwing a paper towel into the trash: “They should just put portals in the bottom of the trash cans that lead to the dump.”

Layover in Salt Lake City Emily playing Gameboy on the plane

Now I’m stuck in Portland, Oregon for 24 hours with no kids and nothing planned. I contacted my birth dad, Jack, earlier this week and said I’d try to meet him at Saturday Market in downtown if I could find him. So right now I’m on the train, heading towards downtown. If I don’t find him I’ll probably track down Heywood or something. And damn, these trains have really come a long way since I lived here 10 years ago. It used to be just a straight line from Gresham to downtown. Now they cover half the city. It’s nice. And best of all, I can use the internet while I’m on the train. Unlike NYC where the internet and cell phones don’t seem to work too well since it’s mostly underground. Hmmmm, what else can I rant about until I get there. The lightrail’s ticket machine ripped me off. I bought a $3.75 ticket but it only gave me back $1.00 in change. In the form of a Susan B. Anthony coin, of all things. Hey, we’re at NE 82nd Street. I used to live at this stop.

Sunday, September 4th, 2005: I’m now sitting in the PDX airport, waiting for my flight to my layover in Seattle. I’ll have an hour there, then on to St. Louis. Yesterday, after my entry, I ended up at Portland’s Saturday market and spent about 30 minutes walking around the market and looking for Jack. My cell phone rings and I see a call from “Private.” Since those are rare on my cell phone I’m a little wary about who it is. The conversation goes something like this:

“Hello, is this Brad?”
“I thought I’d reached Brad’s number”
“Is this 618-xxx-xxxx?”
“Okay, I must have misdialed!”

I have no clue who it could have been. Then I cross the street and I spot Jack at a pay phone. It was him! And it looks like he’s trying to call me back. We walk around for a bit and then end up going to a nearby bar to share a pitcher of beer. Do some more walking around, help tear down one of the booths at the market and eventually we end up in the same bar again and share yet another pitcher of beer. For some reason, a lot of the evening seems blurry now, but I remember lots of walking around, introductions, train rides, bus rides, dinner somewhere in Northeast Portland (and another glass of beer) and then we retired for the night in a large garden shed which he sleeps in a few nights a week (some arrangement with the owner).

This morning we woke up around 7am, stopped for coffee/Pepsi and went back to the market. Set up a few booths and then left for lunch around 10:30. I forget the name of the place but it seemed to be some kind of organic grocery store/sandwhich shop. After that we visited Dignity Village which I’ve never actually gotten a proper tour of even though I’ve visited it a couple of short times in the past year.

I remember in 1994, while living in Portland, being surprised by the large number of homeless people in Portland and the large number of homeless shelters. Dignity Village adds a whole new level of surprised for me. The place is impressive! They’ve evolved from a homeless city with tents into a homeless city with actual houses (mostly room-sized houses) for most of the residents. There’s a huge common room with lots of couches and a TV, a store with donated goods, a computer room, kitchen, showers, gardens, a library. They’ve erected a turbine hooked up to a bunch of batteries which I guess isn’t working yet but is being worked on. Houses are under construction and going up everywhere, even being worked on as we walked around the city. There are piles of donated, organized wood and other building materials everywhere. If I were ever going to be homeless again, apparently I would be homeless in style. Not that I was one to ever use homeless facilities very often. I didn’t take any pictures but I found some here with a Google search.

After Dignity, we rode the bus to Llyod Center, said goodbye to Jack and took the lightrail back to the airport. And here I am, getting ready to board a tiny propeller plane.

Update: Made it to STL alive, my brother took me home and now I’m waiting for Jammie to call me. The flight attendent said on the intercom as we were taxiing, “You may now resume use of cell phones and pagers but the use of other electronic devices is still prohibited.” I don’t know if that was an attempt at humor or if she just needed some sleep. Or maybe I’m missing something. Anyway, hurry up phone RING.

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