Portland, Oregon: another big city watches its only daily imploding.
How did we learn last Thursday? From one of the two free weeklies, Willamette Week, which you can see was a little rough--was home delivery reduced to three or four days?
Friday's Oregonian deigned to let subscribers know that it was four. And formally announced layoffs of "some staff" would be shared with the 650 [anxiously] wondering.
It is Sunday here in Rose City, and nothing appears in our home-delivered rag. Like a little note about when this begins and what it means to print devotees. What we do know is this begins the slide to totally digital. Also that we will be able to buy those undelivered issues on newsstands. Does this mean at supermarkets? Only place I've ever seen copies for sale.
Meanwhile the hugely conservative Oregonian barely noted after the first day the BIG environmental news, a massive bee die off at a local parking lot.
Began at 25,000 early in the week, grew to 50,000 by week's end. Of far greater import than what today's paper lead screams about--Mexican drug gangs increasing (my word) their footprint in Portland.
Bumblebees and honeybees dying--that's news but not enough for this publisher. More later.
It was early May. Two days before leaving, I cracked my front tooth on a thick bar of chocolate. Got a tempo fix to last two weeks.
We began with the sight of an object that seemed far more California than Oregon coast. I called it the Radish Goddess on first sighting, was corrected by woman at front desk before we left. Noticed a cord hanging behind it, plugged it in, rewarded with moving lights. I was surprised there was not music too. If you've visited Newport Beach and spent the night in one of the Sylvia Beach Hotel's rooms named for writers, this Kitchen God would make sense.
Our overnight was in the "Amy Tan" with a window right on the windy Pacific. I'd eagerly read The Kitchen God's Wife after Tan's first novel, The Joy Luck Club. Most of us had know little of Chinese American lives. These novels revealed immigrant stories of Chinese-born mothers as seen by their American-born daughters.
As I grew up, mostly in New York City, this was the least visible ethnic group. Most of us only saw the Chinese as people who worked in the many neighborhood laundries and Chinese restaurants. Chinatown was the only other place. I have no memory of Chinese children in my elementary school.
Nor were they in my high school in suburban St. Louis, or college in northern Ohio. My father was interested in the Chinese, would often take me to eat in Chinatown, walk through the streets. He began to teach himself to do Chinese calligraphy brushwork. His ink pad was inside a beautiful square silver box with green incised letters on the top. He gave it to me--the only object of value he gave me--when I moved to New York after college. Still sorry that I lost it in one of my many moves from apartment to apartment.
But I digress. Ron has missed the ocean a great deal, happy to be near one again even though it was the Pacific rather than the other, so central to much of his life. The beach at Newport was beautiful both night and day.
Moving on, we stopped in the Farmers' Market at Port Orford, "oldest town on the Oregon coast...most westerly in the 48 states." As with others we've been in from here to New York City, each has its own charm.
Drawn to local honey, we spent some time at the stand for Lee's Bees. Man on the right is the husband of Lee, the beekeeper. Originally from upstate New York, he had a compelling story about his travels and jobs from there to settling in Sixes, Oregon, population about 330 and home of the hives. Lee had invented something unusual--bee cloth. an alternative to plastic wrap, it's cotton cloth impregnated with beeswax. For what, you ask. "You can wrap cheese in it, put it in the fridge." I have not done that yet; keep hoping to discover other applications.
"Suspended items" was explained to me by this young woman. Think it was a homemade bread that will not be offfered again till some time in the future. Escaped me then as it does now. One of the major differences between Farmers' Markets around Portland and this one was the absence of piercings and tatoos. Nice.