Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest

Monday, November 14, 2016

Hillsboro to South Waterfront

Hillsboro to South Waterfront
We've got a doctor's appointment at OHSU this morning. Checking with the Waze smartphone app shows that Highway 26 (the yellow line running diagonally across the above map) is all red indicating traffic is like totally jammed up, man. So we're thinking we'll take Evergreen for a bit and then switch over to Cornell, but that means going through Tanasbourne, which is always the pits, so I think we'll skip Evergreen and just take Cornell. Cornell is usually slower, but at least it doesn't cross the main routes of people commuting from Portland to Intel Corporation.
    We're sitting at the light at Arrington and I see big flash of white light out of the corner of my eye. What the heck was that? It was like aircraft landing lights, but it was only there for a second and it illuminated the buildings across the street as well. Whatever it was it's gone now. The car in front of me goes and then I, thinking the light had changed, go. Light hadn't changed, traffic light is out. A little confusion, but I was halfway into the intersection, so I just went on ahead.
  Now we're driving down Cornell and we see another big, bright flash of light. It's a transformer on one of the power poles. Now we notice that the power is off at all the businesses here. The traffic light at 25th is out as well. People are coping.
    Driving along Cornell, the smartphone is still showing Highway 26 as all red, so we decide that maybe we should go ahead and take Cornelius Pass over the mountain to Highway 30. That is way out of the way, but sitting in traffic for an hour doesn't sound like much fun, so we say okay and head north. I probably take this route once a year for some reason or other, but this is the second time I have taken it in the last couple of months, and in both cases it has been because the Sunset was clogged.
   Usually I take Cornelius Pass all the way to Highway 30. This time we turn right on Skyline and then left onto Newberry. It seemed much shorter than just continuing on Cornelius Pass, but looking at the map, it looks about the same. Newberry is a very winding road, so you can't go that fast. You come out a couple miles down Highway 30 from where Cornelius Pass comes out so you save a couple of minutes, but unlike the intersection at Cornelius Pass, there is no traffic light, and no extra lane, so you are jumping right out into high speed traffic. You just have to wait for an opening. We saw hardly any traffic on this road, but when we got to Highway 30 there were half a dozen cars sitting at the stop sign, all waiting to turn right toward Portland.
    It was smooth sailing down Highway 30 until we got to Germantown Road and the St. John's Bridge. Once past that traffic cleared up until we got into town and now we've got normal heavy traffic. Now it's across the Fremont bridge and then merge onto I-5 South which is crawling along. I get over to the left lane which is moving along quite well. Everyone in the right lane was waiting, queued up for some exit. Now it's back across the river on the Marquam Bridge . . .

South Waterfront
and duck under I-5 to get to the South Waterfront area. This place is almost completely cut off from the rest of the city by the Interstate.
   Our appointment is on the top (16th) floor. The reception area has a wall of glass windows giving a grand view of the downtown. They have the shades all pulled down to just above eye level. I am tempted to raise one, but then I would have to put it back and I really don't want to get into a fight with the window blind Nazi, not that there necessarily is one, but you know, someplace like this is there is liable to be one. And what would raising the blind get me anyway? Just more gray sky. Why do I even care? I don´t know, but I really want to raise the blind so I can see more of that gray sky. That's just weird, man. Outside the windows is a walkway that extends the length of the building. It is separated from the railing (that is made of more glass panels) by a strip of garden about three feet wide. I didn't go out. It was raining, and besides the door was probably locked.

Zidell Marine (left), Tram (center), OHSU Office Tower (right)
    I have some time to kill so I go for a stroll around the neighborhood. Not much has changed since the last time I was here. Still massive construction projects, still only a few retail establishments, still a small shipyard building a barge, hemmed in on all sides by modern development.
    Time to head back to the top and I decide to get some exercise, so I take the stairs. I have to stop to catch my breath a couple of times, but I make it only to find I can't get out; the door is locked. No biggy, just go down one flight. It's locked too. I have to go all the way down to the 12th floor before I find a door that isn't locked. So we've got blind Nazi's and door Nazi's. Ain't that just typical?

Power guys replacing the blown transformer
P.S. Later on I'm running errands and I see the power crew hard at work where I saw the big flash of light earlier.

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