Portlandness All

Portlandness Blog 1

* Both books emphasize the study of place. Define the geographic concept of “place”. Illustrate the concept by describing the place where you are this summer.

A place is defined by the physical and human characteristics of a location. This summer, I’ve been doing research in Richmond. The physical characteristics of the place I am in include the buildings, the lake, the general layout of campus, and its absolute coordinates. The human characteristics include the people I am with and all of our cultural differences, the languages spoken, the forms of transportation used – basically everything that comprises the daily lives of the people here. Richmond as my place is my apartment, my lab and lab group, my friends that I live with and hang out with, where I get my food, and where I go in my free time, like the gym or the river. These things comprise my experience for the summer, and therefore define my place.

* Before reading this book, think about your preconceived idea of the City of Portland. From this introductory material, describe two things that matched your preconceived notion of Portland. Describe two things that you had not previously associated with Portland.

My idea of Portlanders before this book was all hippies and environmentalists who are super friendly and love to eat locally. I was pretty much right with my ideas – the 100 mile diet is very popular, many residents use green and renewable energy sources, and most everywhere in the area the majority votes with their environmental conscious.  One thing I just did not know about Portland was how big beer is. I learned that Portland has a reputation for having more breweries than any city in the world, which is quite impressive. I also had this preconceived notion that literally everyone is a born and bred liberal, but the population density map on page 25 that shows that the further out from the heart of Portland you go, more people vote conservatively.

* Why did the authors choose to introduce Portland as a Cascadian City? What does it mean to be a Cascadian City?

I think one of the major points of the introduction is that maps have tremendous power to influence how we picture a place. The northwest region has always been introduced to me by the political boundaries created to separate the states. The authors introduce Portland as a Cascadian city as a way to break down the preconceived notions about places and borders and to make us look at the northwest region from a new perspective that can be molded almost entirely by this book. Calling Portland a Cascadian city simply means that it and the area around it should be organized by “ecological realities” and “foremost understood as a land of cascading waters” (p 16).

* What is the essence of Portlandness? Why are maps a useful way of presenting this idea?

From this introduction, I think the main essence of Portland is comprised of certain qualities of the people. The list on page 23 sums up the very small knowledge that I have about Portland from this section – the people are environmentally conscious and love the outdoors, they’re mostly liberal, love their beer and coffee, and the “artsy” districts of most cities couldn’t hold a candle to Portland. The essence of Portland is built by its people, who typically have these intrinsic qualities that are very apparent to tourists and outsiders. The maps in this book illustrate the essence of Portland from several different perspectives, so we as the reader can vicariously experience the city through those who know it best – the people who actually live and grew up there.

Portlandness Blog 2

* What is the main concept illustrated in this section (e.g., what is an Urban Landscape)?

A landscape is defined as all of the visible features of an area, mostly considering the aesthetic appeal of the area. Therefore, an urban landscape is all of the aspects that make up the landscape of a city. It goes further than a normal landscape because it stresses the importance of a holistic view of the spaces and structures of the city. This section uses various types of maps to explain the different aspects of Portland’s urban landscape.

* What perspective did you choose to read for this section (e.g., Bridgetown, Under the Bridges, Where the Sidewalk Ends… or Naked City)? Why? How would you describe Portland according to this perspective in a few sentences?

I chose the subsection “Your Attention Please – Billboards and other Visual Noise” to look at Portland’s urban landscape. I chose this perspective because I thought it was most applicable to Richmond and other places I have been, so I can compare this type of urban landscape to previous experiences. The one thing I wish this section included is statistics – all of the maps simply compare the visual noise to other streets in Portland, so I only know that 82nd Ave has way more visual pollution than Interstate Ave, but not how much there actually is on either street. Based on the information that is given, I would describe the heart of Portland as having a lot of visual noise, with the intensity gradually lessening on the roads that lead away from it.

* What map would you produce for Richmond to represent this concept? Why? What would be the title of the map? What might the map look like? (go ahead and sketch it, if you feel you can. Don’t worry about the technology, if you can’t post

I would do a choropleth map, like they used in this section, which would show the density of advertisements on Richmond’s campus. This would best show how much “visual noise” is found around campus because the key would include numbers and you could know how many advertisements are found in each part of campus. On this map, places like commons that always have a lot of advertising would be shaded darkest to represent the high amount of advertisements, places like dorms would have the lightest shade because there are not usually a lot of advertisements, and other buildings and areas would be shaded somewhere in between. This map would be titled “Where Organizations Market around Campus.”

Portlandness Blog 3

* What is the main concept illustrated in this section (e.g., what is an Urban Landscape)?

The main concept of this section is “Views of the City.” This sections calls people to experience a city with all of their senses, not just their eyes as someone usually would. It is difficult to define Portland in one experience because everyone will experience the city differently depending on their emotions, feelings, and ideas about it. Therefore, this section takes general facts, such as population density, and several different opinions into consideration when describing the Views of the City.

* What perspective did you choose to read for this section (e.g., Bridgetown, Under the Bridges, Where the Sidewalk Ends… or Naked City)? Why? How would you describe Portland according to this perspective in a few sentences?

I chose to look at the Views of the City through Psychogeography. I had to make a lot of mental maps in middle school and my human geography class in high school, so it is interesting to see how other people view their home city and how accurate, or inaccurate, they are about it. As far as accuracy, the map of the Willamette River shows that most people think the river is far more east than it actually is, and almost no one knows exactly where it is within Portland. I think this speaks volumes for how people understand their city – people know relative directions, and could tell you landmarks that are along the river, but cannot actually pinpoint where something is on a blank map. This is further illustrated by the “Composite of student’ mental maps of Portland,” as landmarks and the type of people that live in the general area are included instead of actual parts of the city. This map is also laid over an outline of the city, and the students are pretty off as far as their dimensions. I think this page is one of the best representations of what is important to Portlanders when they view and think about their city.

* What map would you produce for Richmond to represent this concept? Why? What would be the title of the map? What might the map look like? (go ahead and sketch it, if you feel you can. Don’t worry about the technology, if you can’t post

While trying to explain to my mom where I’d be living next year, I drew a mental map of Richmond’s campus with the buildings that are important to me. I basically drew a circle as the outline of campus and put circles for the buildings, so it was clearly very detailed and advanced. To explain the “Views of Richmond,” I would create another mental map, but with better dimensions and I would try to get the shape of campus a bit more accurate. However, if the map is just for myself, I would only include places that are important to me – Gottwald, Jepson, Dhall, Gray, the gym, etc. I would probably ignore B-school and the Law school simply because I don’t go there because it’s so far been irrelevant to my Richmond experience. Someone on the mental map of Portland wrote “North-ish” for the northern part of the city, and that is pretty much how I’d handle the parts of campus I don’t know a lot about. Essentially, my map would be very elementary, but might be able to give someone a good enough view about my perspective of Richmond.

Portlandness Blog 4

* What is the main concept illustrated in this section (e.g., what is an Urban Landscape)?

This section is titled “Social Relations,” which is defined in the book as “how people relate and get along… or how they don’t.” Most of the parts in this section compare race and income levels of people in Portland, and how different people respond to each other. Portland is generally known for everyone being overly friendly to one another and even visitors, but this section highlights where this is not always the case, like with the prevalence of gentrification and ignoring or simply not knowing about the amount of homelessness.

* What perspective did you choose to read for this section (e.g., Bridgetown, Under the Bridges, Where the Sidewalk Ends… or Naked City)? Why? How would you describe Portland according to this perspective in a few sentences?

For this section, I chose to write about “The Invisibility of Homelessness.” During the school year, I volunteer at an organization called Youth Life, which is located in Delmont. On the way to get there, I always see the same homeless people out on the streets, and I think about them a lot, which is why I am interested in homelessness in Portland. In Portland over the past couple decades, homeless people were removed from wherever they were living and given campground sites to live in. This is a wonderful idea and gives the people a safe place to stay, but the campgrounds are very out of the way, so most Portlanders never see it, and they forget about the homeless. Therefore, the homeless will rarely interact with those who have homes, and the Social Relationship between the two communities is virtually nonexistent.

* What map would you produce for Richmond to represent this concept? Why? What would be the title of the map? What might the map look like?

I think another choropleth map, titled “Homelessness in Richmond,” would best represent the homeless people in Richmond. Areas of Richmond would be shaded darker if there is a higher number of homeless people and lighter if there are less homeless people. I would also include the homeless shelters on the map. I would expect that regions near the homeless shelters would be shaded the darkest because people would likely stay near shelter and safety.

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Forest Understory All

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* What do you expect to observe when we visit the forests of the H.J. Andrews?

Before reading this book, I didn’t have many expectations of visiting the forests. I expected trees, a stream or two, and lots of bug bites. I typically think of research as strictly in a lab, so I certainly did not think about how people ran experiments within the forest, or how different of an experience it would be to stray from the given paths. Now, I am excited to see the awe-inspiring beauty that motivated the incredible poetry and stories that people wrote about the forest. I expect to feel very small in comparison to the massive trees and the diverse nature, and hope to forget about the real world – the disruptive, manufactured, “concrete jungle” – for as long as possible.

* What are some different ways of telling the story of these forests? How do methods of creative reflection support scientific inquiry and vice versa?

The way the forest’s story is told depends on the perspective of the storyteller. A scientist’s viewpoint differs from that of a poet, which differs from that of an artist. The scientist sees the perfect venue to run an experiment; the poet finds his muse, and the artist sees a landscape to put on canvas. You, hearing the story second hand, would get a very different idea of what the forest is like if you heard from the three different sources. However, you might get the best picture of what it is like when considering all possible perspectives. Creative reflection allows you to analyze how it looks, whereas scientific inquiry lets you figure out how it works, what happened to make it look that way, and predict how it might look in the future. The different perspectives compliment each other because to further appreciate the beauty during reflection, you have to understand the history of the forest, how it grew, and the science that keeps it alive. Additionally, during scientific inquiry, you have to reflect upon your surroundings to see the worth in the experiments that you worked so hard to conduct.

* Why is the long-view critical to understanding the role of humans in the natural world?

I read a metaphor about unsustainable practices, which is as follows:

“The Earth is 4.6 billion years old. Scaling that to 46 years, we’ve been here 4 hours, and our industrial revolution began just one minute ago. In that time we’ve destroyed more than 50 percent of the world’s forests.”

That really speaks to me as far as the long-view goes because we are not using our natural world, forests in this case, sustainably. Looking at the long-view, we can predict what our forests will look like in the future, and they might be completely gone with no intervention and deforestations continues. Understanding our role can help us change our practices, and hopefully create a long-view that includes forests that are still natural and flourishing.

* Why was this theme chosen (e.g., Research and Revelation for Part One) to tell the story of the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest?

The big revelation from part one is the importance of the forest and that we need to work to preserve it. This theme was chosen as one of the major parts of the story because if the revelation had not occurred, deforestation might still be happening at rates as high as described in the 1930’s. The revelation came as a result of the research conducted in the forests, which is why it is another important theme to this part of the book.

* What do you expect the landscape to look like from the passages in this section?

I expect to see a variety of landscapes, some which have been affected by deforestation and others that have not. Since the research that stopped deforestation was conducted fairly recently, the effects of people viewing the forest as “large saw timber” should still be visible (p 62). In the places affected by this, I expect an area that is in recovery and trying to regrow. In places that were not affected, I’m pretty much expecting just a stereotypical forest dense with tall trees and lots of other greenery.

* Provide an example or two of how the scientific context presented in the Ground Work essay is reflected in creative storytelling for the section.

The ground work describes the forest as being incredibly diverse with over 4000 species. This diversity was discovered through the research conducted since 1970s, also known as the “golden era of old-growth research” (p 63). I thought the amount of diversity was well portrayed in Vicki Graham’s poem, “Cosymbionts.” She uses asyndeton, the absence of a conjunction like and, when listing the different pieces of the forest and to describe some of the animals found there. Asyndeton is used to make a list of things seem even larger, which helps her to illustrate the enormity of the forest and its inhabitants.

* What’s a question you have about the forest from reading these passages?

I wonder how much the research that is conducted in the forest alters how the forest would be naturally. I’m sure the researchers are cautious not to change anything, but their presence surely scares some of the animals, or where they step might affect how some of the vegetation grows. This question isn’t one that can be answered when we go there, because there’s no way of knowing what it would look like without interference, but all the same, I am curious about it.

  • Why was this theme chosen (e.g., Research and Revelation for Part One) to tell the story of the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest?Change and continuity juxtapose each other while still being complementary pieces of the overall subject of this section. The first Ground Work Essay entitled “Disturbance” best explains this: “… despite all this disturbance, ecosystems are resilient” (p 122). People tend to hold a negative connotation with the word “disturbance,” but it has been found that routine disturbances in the Andrews Forest are necessary to help the forest’s ecosystems further develop. Although the disturbances cause change to the landscape, they foster continuous change and growth within the forest, thereby helping it to evolve.
    • What do you expect the landscape to look like from the passages in this section?

Based on this section, I expect a lot of diverse life, even in areas that have been recently subjected to a disturbance. A few of the passages talk about the organisms that are able to thrive in what first looks like debris and destruction, which makes me think that there will be different types of plants and animals in areas that have been subjected to different conditions over the past few decades.

  • Provide an example or two of how the scientific context presented in the Ground Work essay is reflected in creative storytelling for the section.

The poem “Clear Cut” on page 149 talks about the negative effects of disturbances, specifically man-made ones like logging. It illustrates the difficulties that some of the animals face when their ecosystem has been destroyed, and how long it takes for it to recover. The author even “wants time to hurry” so that the forest can regrow, even though he knows he will not be alive by the time this happens (p 149). “New Channel” tells the other story of the forest after a disturbance. The author calls out those who “focus always on the destruction and not the regeneration,” which includes the author of “Clear Cut” (p 123). Although many animals die and trees fall, causing more debris, other organisms are able to thrive in the aftermath of a disturbance, which is what we should focus on when studying the change and continuity in the forest.

  • What’s a question you have about the forest from reading these passages?

This passage makes me wonder how much change has occurred in the forest in the past couple decades. Additionally, with each disturbance like a wildfire or logging, how much adaptation occurs to recover from the event, and how much is the course of evolution within the ecosystem altered?

* Why was this theme chosen (e.g., Research and Revelation for Part One) to tell the story of the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest?

Borrowing Others’ Eyes was chosen for this section because it explains the full sensory experience of the forest. You use your other senses to understand or see the parts of the forest that you could not find with only your eyes. For example, you would not think to turn around to see an animal if you did not hear it moving from behind you. All senses are necessary to fully experience the forest.

* What do you expect the landscape to look like from the passages in this section?

This section didn’t necessarily give me any expectations for the landscape, but it made me want to experience it differently – with all of my senses, and not just my eyes. I expect to be more attuned to the different sounds and smells of the forest, and the various textures of the trees and leaves of the environment. The only new expectation I gained from this section is to have a complete sensory experience.

* Provide an example or two of how the scientific context presented in the Ground Work essay is reflected in creative storytelling for the section.

My favorite poem from this section is “This Day, Tomorrow, and the Next” by Pattiann Rogers. The opening line is “When the blind and the deaf walk/ together in the forest,” which then goes on to explain how the two are able to complement one another by working together with the senses that they have (p 174). Usually we think of just seeing, or just hearing something, and sound and sight are two completely different entities. However, these two with their respective disabilities have to work together to get a more complete experience in the forest. Likewise, when a person with all of their senses goes to the forest, they have to let their sight and sound work together to better and more fully appreciate the forest.

* What’s a question you have about the forest from reading these passages?

This section makes me wonder how much sound will affect how I view the forest. Similarly, I wonder how different of an experience I would have on this trip had I not read this book – would I be as alert to the sounds of the forest, and would I see or understand as much if I was not paying attention to the different sounds?

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Forest Understory

HJA #1

There are numerous things I am excited to observe when we visit the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest. To start off, I am just eager to be in an environment so different from the one I’ve grown up in—in the Forest and within Oregon in general. I expect to see many different types of trees and plants, such as the conifers, and various types of land and bodies of water. I am also looking forward to seeing the wildlife native to the forest and the overall ecosystem. Finally, I hope to see how all parts of the forest work together to become a single, successful, functioning place.

The stories of these forests can be told through multiple different mediums, from storytelling and poetry using imagination to observations and experiments using direct experience and research. However, all of these avenues of expressing thoughts fall on a scale from the sciences to the humanities—two different types of insight that actually complement each other. Creative writing allows its readers to derive their own depiction of what they see from their imagination. It can also open a reader’s mind to new ideas and inventive solutions through the use of similes, metaphors, and other literary techniques. However, by combining it with the conceptual insights of science, creative writers can adeptly express the complex emotional and cultural relationships that humans have with the natural world. Meanwhile, science can then successfully make an impact on a person’s life and ultimately become a part of it. Essentially, these two thought processes build off each other; only when someone feels a deep connection to an issue, that issue will be acted upon. Overall, both scientists and writers together teach us of the many ways we approach, experience and understand the forest and its relationship with people.

The long-view is essential to understanding the role of humans in the natural world because ecological processes tend to be long-term. Therefore, we can only really understand the forest ecosystem if we look at it over time, and along with this, the understanding of our role in the natural world will deepen. Additionally, although there will never be permanent solution to any problem in the world—as society as a whole and its interaction with the environment is constantly changing—studying it over a long period of time is a great place to start learning and building from. Also, by tracking something over time, techniques tend to become sharper and more efficient. Conclusions are more skeptically analyzed and understood as we build a connection and delve deeper and deeper into the topic being studied. Through this process, over time, our understanding of our place in the natural world unfolds.

HJA #2

The theme Research and Revelation was chosen as the first section of the book because it provides the reader with a background and the overall facts of the Forest. It also allows the reader to accurately picture the Forest through its extremely detailed imagery. For instance, the first ground work essay describes the location of Andrews Forest relative to the landmarks surrounding it. It also describes how the Forest was made, the influence of weather on the environment, and the trees and wildlife that can be found within it. The next ground work essay focuses on the “ancient forest” and its relationship with people and research, while the final ground work essay mentions the role of decomposition in forest growth. Together, in conjunction with the other entries in this section, the reader can get a basic understanding of how Andrews Forest looks and how its different parts work together to make it a thriving ecosystem.

Based on the passages in this section, I expect to see a blanket of conifer trees above me everywhere I go filled with different types of squirrels, bats, and birds. Additionally, there will be streams filled with rocks and logs filled with insects, fungi and moss. Furthermore, the woods will be very dense with plants and branches, but there will also be open meadows all over. The ground will be soft and spongy. However, I also think the Forest will contain numerous areas that are visibly marked and outlined for research. Nevertheless, the forest will be picturesque, green, and alive.

An open meadow on the Carpenter Mountain trail.

An open meadow on the Carpenter Mountain trail.

In the poem “The Web,” by Alison Hawthorne Deming, she focuses on the age of the forest and the parts within it multiple times in a creative way, and goes on to question the beauty of a place that has survived over so much time and so many challenges. For instance, Deming references the trees that were able to survive the fires 500 years ago, which was mentioned in the first ground work essay. She also talks about the floods that occur when warm rain falls on fresh snow by calling it “snowmelt” and goes on the describe its effect on the forest in a beautiful way. Finally, she uses a lot of wordplay in the poem. For instance, she uses the word “erupt” to describe the sounds of the Forest, which references the several volcanic eruptions millions of years ago, which created its underlying bedrock. In addition, the word “dense” was used to describe the Forests’ intelligence, while it is also a word that can be used to describe the Forest environment. Deming uses creativity to express something serious in a beautiful way.

I would like to know if the are a lot of microecosystems within the Forest. I recently went on a hike in Shenandoah where there was a small microecosystem that was actually slowly dying out due to the temperature of the area slightly increasing each year. Is this a problem faced in Andrews Forest as well?

HJA #3

Change and Continuity was chosen as the theme of the second section because it is important to understand the disturbances, or changes, in an environment, and their effects on the future of that environment. Only then can people figure out ways to continue managing and studying that environment. In terms of Andrews Forest, wildfires, landslides, and floods have all changed the environment of the Forest. This, in turn, has disrupted its ecosystem and caused plants and animals to have to adapt to a new surroundings. While it has caused some organisms to die out, it has also created a space suitable for other species. Scientists to use the data gathered on these disturbances to prepare for future ones. Although disturbances may be rare, being successfully prepared for them can have beneficial effects for decades after.

Based on this section, I believe I will see a mix of old and new trees—old trees surviving the numerous fires, floods, and landslides, and new trees created after these natural disasters took place. I also think there will be a greater variety of new trees than old trees, as weaker trees would have fallen to the chaos will the stronger trees would have been the only ones to survive. This phenomenon will be mirrored in other organisms as well, such as smaller plants and fungi. I will also be able to see different grounds created by these disturbances and notice the firmness of certain features of the land, such as rocks, in contrast to the newness of the land it is embedded in.

Fallen Trees on the Old Growth Trail

Fallen Trees on the Old Growth Trail

One of the major topics of this section was destruction and regeneration, which Jeff Fearnside focuses on in his poem “New Channel.” He gives the readers a closer look at the February 1996 flood, but instead of just saying what happened, he used imagery and similes to describe what we may have seen had we been there. He even questions the wildlife that died. The way he described it—“How many fish died—the torrent sculpin and longnose dace—their eggs—water skippers…Choked bludgeoned, buried?”—just pulls the reader in even more. It sounds so emotional, as if Fearnside is those animals, which helps us connect to the burden the loss of habitat through the flood brought to the wildlife in the Forest even more. He continues to mention that disturbances should not always be viewed as bad—a point made in the ground work essays—and goes on to say we should realize there is regeneration because of it. This is what we should focus on and build from.

I was very interested in the topic of clear-cutting mentioned in this section. How would the environment of Andrews Forest differ from how it is today if clear-cutting was not practiced? Was that something that was necessary or if it did not happen would the environment be thriving even more? I wonder if it affected how diverse the environment was in terms of trees and wildlife.

HJA #4

Borrowing Others’ Eyes was chosen as the theme of the third part of the book because it is important to look at and analyze things from multiple different perspectives. One may see or understand something by him or herself, but by collecting the thought and opinions of multiple people, more can be seen or understood. Others point out things we make not think of ourselves. In terms of the Forest, everyone will experience it differently, as everyone is unique. Therefore, one may notice the difference in tree color in one area while another may focus on the sound of the water current. However, all of these thoughts, when shared and combined, can create a more rounded experience of the forest. Additionally, by bouncing off ideas and observations, someone may notice something someone pointed out previously in a different place. This is why it is important to share what we observe—it lets others detect what they may not have been able to before. In another sense, to discover long-term changes in the forest, scientists can use other techniques, such as soundscape, to understand the forest in ways we cannot ourselves. Using this technique to examine bird calls allows scientists to better understand migration patterns—something they were unable to do unless they borrowed others’ eyes.

Based on this section, I realize there is not one clear-cut way the Forest landscape will look because everyone will experience something different on his or her visit. Yes, all of us will see the green trees and the streams and meadows of the rainforest, but everyone will focus on different things within those environments. The ground work essays and other entries of this section also made me realize that the “look” of a landscape does not just refer to what can be seen with your eyes—it extends to what can be heard, smelled, or felt. Therefore, I can imagine the squirrels roaming the grounds, the smell of fresh air, the sound of water dripping off the leaves, the denseness of the plants, and the buzz of mosquitos swarming in the air. However, I also know so much will go unnoticed.  I will just have to experience the landscape to find out.

Robin Wall Kimmerer’s “Listening to Water” combines the ideas of water and sound—both mentioned in the ground work essays. He touches on all the different bodies of water and events involving water he has witnessed in the Forest and describes them using sound and imagery. For instance, he talks about the “sshhhh from rain,” “pitpitpit from hemlock,” and “popp of falling alder water,” and the different paces and resonances he hears in a pool of water.  He even goes on the describe the hyporheic water flow described in the ground work essay focusing on water, and says he is listening for it. As the reader, the way he writes this section makes me feel as if I am there and listening for it as well. Also, this entry makes me realize the importance of actually listening to other people’s observations, because I do not think I would have perceived all the things he has been able to had I been there myself. Overall, in his piece, he successfully uses sound to convey exactly what he is witnessing within the water. By combining this with what others have observed over time, the story of water in the Forest may be able to be told one day.

As soundscape seems to be a widely used technique in the Forest, do some sounds overlap for multiple species? If so, what is a way to combat this problem? I also wonder; if sounds do overlap for multiple species, do all these species stem from the same ancestors?

 

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Portlandness

Portland 1

The concept of “place” refers to the ideas, characteristics and perceptions people associate with certain geographical areas or people in these geographical areas. These can be physical, in terms of landmarks and features of the earth, or human, in terms of religion and culture. However, for some, a certain place can hold a more personal meaning, as it is associated with feelings of belonging and comfort. This can be in the form of sights, smells, sounds, memories, or even people. At the moment, I am on the University of Richmond campus participating in summer research. For outsiders, UR would be matched with statements such as “near the James River,” “in the forest,” “liberal arts,” “good basketball team,” or “academically challenging.” However, for me, as someone who has stayed here for most of the past year, it translates to more than that. While all those stereotypes of UR by outsiders may be true, my sense of place here is more in-depth, as the characteristics that make this place unique for me have fostered a sense of personal attachment.

When I think of the City of Portland, I associate it with being rainy and somewhat overcast and housing very hippie people in a very environmentally conscious area. These stereotypes were reiterated by the introduction of this book. However, I did not know that, although liberal overall, there are certainly areas around Portland that are more conservative. Additionally, I was surprised to find that Portland has more breweries than any other city in the world or that the place has experienced a recent boom in food cart population. I had always just linked it with really good coffee.

Food Trucks in Portland.

Food Trucks in Portland.

The authors chose to introduce Portland as a Casacadian City because they hope that most people, especially people reading this book, do not have a preconceived notion of what that means. They state that there are “many standard ways of framing Portland as a place,” such as a place in Oregan, the West Coast, or in the United States, but all these labels place the stereotypical views and opinions of these geographical areas on Portland, which is not what the author wants. For many, including me, the idea of a city that is part of Cascadia is a mystery, meaning the authors have reached their goal. According to the authors, Portland being a Cascadian City means it is a place where change is happening. While there are many tensions, it is a place that is politically freer than surrounding area with its own bio-regional coordinated policies on environmental and social concerns. It is also a place that values premium quality and understanding of life over everything else.

The essence of Portlandness refers to common characteristics people from outside of Portland associate with Portland and how those traits actually fit into Portland. In other words, does each stereotype accurately describe Portland as a whole or only a part of it? In this sense, the maps are very useful, as they allow the reader to see how widespread characteristics—such as “breweries,” “liberal,” and environmentalists”—are within the city. Finally, the last map depicting the spread of Portlandness within Portland ties everything together, allowing the readers to see how accurate these stereotypes are to the whole of Portland when combined.

Portland 2

Urban Landscapes focuses on the characteristics that make up the landscape of Portland. The elements of the urban landscape of Portland—the access to transportation, the parks, the neighborhoods, and the buildings—make Portland what it is today. However, beyond these attractions, there is always a story and a history, which is what the authors are elaborating on in this section.

I chose to read the “Stop! Writing on Stop Signs” solely based on the captivating title. Also, stop sign graffiti is always interesting and wanted to read about the stories associated with it in Portland. Based on the writing on the stop signs pictured in this section, I would describe Portland as very politically active place. Personally, out of all the times I have seen graffiti, there are few times when what was written actually impacted me and made its way into my thoughts, as a lot of times what is written holds a personal meaning to the graffiti artist himself. However, in Portland, graffiti on stop signs seems to be used as a platform to voice the liberal views associated with the city. Nevertheless, some are not just smart, but also funny, which I think reflects the hipster vibe the city gives off.

To represent this concept in Richmond, I would make a map including all the streets in Richmond and draw stop line symbols on the map wherever there are stop signs with writing on them. Each sign would be given a number, and in the key I would write the number with what is written on that stop sign next to it. This would be the best way to depict the overall idea of this section because it includes what is written on each stop sign and where each stop sign is located. I would call this map “STOP (and look at this map)!”

Portland 3

What we see, hear, smell, and taste helps define one’s concept of “place,” and Views of the City emphasizes that idea. It addresses the notion that senses play the most integral role in how a person experiences a place and the fact that we use the senses to evoke the feelings we associate with the environment we are in. In this section, the authors attempt to put together people’s different perspectives of the city from place to place to better understand how the city looks and operates and how it can be improved to provide the maximum benefits to all its citizens.

I chose to read “Psychogeography” because, as someone who is very interested in psychology and neuroscience, I found the section on the role of perception and senses in how a person experiences and understands a place mentally very intriguing. It is hard to describe Portland through the perspective illustrated in the section because one of the main points of this section is that everyone experiences psychogeography differently. Therefore, describing Portland would be hard, because each person travels through different parts of the city and has different memories associated with them, so one clear-cut overall opinion of Portland cannot be formed. However, I would expect that a majority of people would name certain parts in Portland as more dangerous, more vacant, richer, more suburban, etc.

As everyone’s experience with Richmond is different, just like with Portland, it is impossible to make one concrete map to represent the concept of psychogeography in Richmond. However, the mental maps of numerous Richmond-native people could be compiled to make the most realistic representation of a single psychogeographic map of Richmond. This would be called “Richmond, Through the Eyes of the People.” I, personally, would not be able to draw a detailed map representing this concept as I have not visited the city enough to have memories associated with different parts of the city, but I would say Broad Street is the most buzzing area and Shockoe Bottom has a lot of murals.

Portland 4

Popular Culture focuses on the quirky subcultures groups of people in Portland practice in everyday life. Portland is home to numerous, varying subcultures—from competitive scrabble to African drumming—making it place everyone can enjoy. According to the authors, these alternate fun activities are one of the reasons so many people move to this city despite its lack of jobs. Subcultures are just another way people can relate to and play a part in the city. Therefore, they provide a chance to gain another set of perspectives on Portland.

I read the Soccer City, USA section because I love soccer and wanted to see how prominent that love was in Portland. Soccer brings people together, and this idea is reflected in how widespread and dense the population of season ticket holders of both the Timbers and the Thorns is in Portland. Also, through this perspective of Portland, I would say the people of Portland are really committed to both their teams and love watching them play. Therefore, I would agree with the title of this section, as Portland clearly is a “Soccer City.”

In Richmond, the support of the Richmond Kickers could be mapped by illustrating the distribution of season ticket holders all over Richmond and in surrounding towns. This would allow people to see what areas are the most invested in the team and if there is outside influences on this distribution. For, example, are there more season ticket holders in the richer part of Richmond? I believe there would be the highest distribution of season passes for people living in middle class areas because they seem to be the ones most invested in sports like soccer. I would name this map “Richmond Kickers Support Distribution.”

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Portlandness Reflections

Portland 1

Place is an area of land distinguished from surrounding land in some way. Sometimes that defining factor causes the definition of a place, other times the definition of the place gives rise to the defining factors. For example, I spent my summer at home in Norwood, MA. Long ago in 1872 someone decided to draw a boundary between my town and those around it. Since then Norwood has distinguished itself by developing an independent school system, town resident only sports leagues, tax policies different than our those of our neighboring towns, etc. However Norwood is a suburb of Boston, an area that first developed as a center of commerce and transport and was later defined with respect to that.

My preconceived understanding of Portland is primarily based upon it’s stereotype – it is synonymous with the Introduction’s definition of “The New York Times’ Portlandia” (8). From the half episode of Portlandia that I watched, I absorbed an understanding of Portland as a city so quirky and unique in its culture so as to be worthy of a television show exploring said culture. The book’s existence in and of itself reinforces this notion – Portland has a culture that deserves an atlas. However, the atlas doesn’t take Portland’s culture at face value nor does it pretend its culture homogenous. The culture of the City of Portland is made up of the cultures of its neighborhoods, and furthermore it’s neighborhood’s inhabitants. Maps are useful in distinguishing and unifying an area but also in showing the variety that makes up an area.
The way in which I thought of Portland was also influenced by its prevalence on travel and outdoor adventure websites, which left me with the impression of a geographically rich area inhabited by an outdoorsy population. The Introduction reinforces this notion with its decision to introduce Portland as a Cascadian City, thereby characterizing it by the geography of its land instead of its location on a political map.
I had not previously thought of Portlanders as elitist, or racist. In contrast, I imagined it to be a city of welcoming, loving hippies. After noting the Introduction’s mention of this side of Portland, I came across an article deeming Portland as the most racist city in America and another calling it the whitest.
Another thing that I hadn’t thought of before was Portland as a place filled with “people with so many connections to other places in the world (8).” I’ve always thought of Portland’s as a niche for a particular breed of locals, however it’s logical that it’s cultural uniqueness and natural beauty would be attractive to many different types.

The authors chose to introduce Portland as a Cascadian city because, recognizing their power as mapmakers to influence people, they wanted to avoid the stereotypical characterization of Portland. They didn’t want their Atlas to simply reinforce preconceived notions of Portland but instead give honest insight into the “Portlandness” experienced by the city’s everyday inhabitants. In that pursuit, they introduced the city as part of Cascadia, a region unfamiliar to many readers, signaling that most people are equally unfamiliar with the true character of Portland. Cascadia can be defined in many ways – as an Ecotopia, a watershed region, or simply by political borders. Portland being a Cascadian City means that it is a manifestation of those characteristics. It falls in accepted boundaries of Cascadia but also has an eco-conscious, independent culture.

Portlandness is the combination of characteristics that come to mind when describing Portland, such as liberalism, environmental consciousness, and breweries. Maps are useful in illustrating this concept because the embodiment of Portlandness is not black or white but rather a spectrum. Some areas are very stereotypical of the region while other areas may as well be in another state. Moreover there are areas in between these two extremes, easily shown on a map with a color scale.

Portland 2

The authors present Wildness as a characteristic of Portland to describe the interaction, and sometimes battle, between increasing urbanization and the region’s existing ecosystem, as well as between residents desire for both modern comforts and untouched wilderness. For example, in Portland it is not uncommon for moss to grow on cars. I chose to read the “Scattered Showers and Sunbreaks” perspective because for a city with so many outdoor recreation opportunities, it has the reputation of having bad weather. I learned that Portland doesn’t have the most rainfall in the country, but it has the second most cloudy days. Pacific North Westerners even have a term, sunbreak, for temporary sunshine that interrupts the cloudiness. I’d be interested to find out how the cloudiness affects the happiness of residents. Perhaps the negative effects are counterbalanced by the natural beauty of the area. Earlier today at work, a few people were discussing moving to California or Florida because everyone seems happier there. To apply the concept of “Scattered Showers and Sunbreaks” to Richmond, I would place two maps of the East Coast side by side, one using a color scale to show the number of cloudy days a year and the other to show people’s reported happiness levels, on a scale of 1 to 10. The map would be called “Cloudy With a Chance of Happiness.”

Natalie being happy

Natalie being happy

Portland 3

The concept of Social Relations is presented as not only relationships people have with other people but also relationships between people and ideas. The section is is an exploration of the type of relationships Portlanders, past and present, have held. The perspective “Mission Invisible” uses only its title and map to show that “the path of least surveillance” between Union Station and Cramer Hall is actually one with no surveillance. I chose this perspective because I think it shows that sometimes text isn’t the best way to convey a message. This map shows that although Portland is well lit and has a decent amount of security cameras, its system is not perfect. It also brings to mind questions of crime rates relative to the surveillance camera density of an area. The map prompted me to think about the blue light system on our own campus. If I were to produce a map of UR representing this topic, it would be a map of campus with the blue lights highlighted and the distances between them noted. This could be extended to VCU and the area surrounding its campuses, encompassing a large portion of urban Richmond. The map’s title would be “Where the Blue Light Doesn’t Shine” or maybe “Let your Blue Light shine,” depending on how prevalent we find the blue lights to be.

Portland 4

The introduction to the section “Food and Drink” presents Portland as a “foodie haven,” and yet again mentions The New York Times’ interest in the area. Food and Drink is meant to convey not only the trends of what people eat and drink but also what less-fortunate people go without. I chose the perspective Any Given Sunday both because the map caught my eye and with respect to a central purpose of the Atlas – presenting Portland as it is on any given day. From the map I learned that people in Portland love Sunday brunch to such an extreme that they will wait hours to be seated for it.  To apply the concept of Food and Drink to UR, I would create a map titled “Dining Dollars Down the Drain” that depicts the popularity of the different eateries on campus on any given weekday. It would be a series of maps of campus, each representing a different time of day (breakfast, lunch, dinner, midnight) with the size of the eatery larger or smaller relative to its current business.

Heera enjoying some local Portland cuisine

Heera enjoying some local Portland cuisine

Monica Stack

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Forest Under Story Reflections (HJA 1-4)

HJA 1

At the HJ Andrews Forest, I expect to observe an ecosystem that’s been alive and developing much longer than I or anyone I know has been, and will survive long beyond everyone living has passed. I expect to see a lot of really, really tall trees and the small creatures that call those trees home. There are as many ways of telling the story of these forests as there are people to experience it. Some choose a scientific lens, asking questions that can be answered and then collecting data to do so. Others ask unanswerable questions, exploring the forest through poetry or creative writing. Science gives the world of creative reflection more material to analyze with every experiment carried out, and creative writing may prompt science with never before asked questions. In both realms it is important to understand to have a long-range focus. Humans seek interaction with unspoiled nature, but in doing so often spoil it. We need to look to future so that we can prepare for it, and look to the past to know how to do or not do so.

Old growth trail

HJA 2

Research and Revelation was chosen because scientific inquiry is permeates most of the permanent ongoings of those who work at the forest, as it is such a great scientific resource in the study of old growth forests and their ecosystems. Before addressing the forest poetically, it is important to have an understanding of the physical makeup of your surroundings. After reading this section, when I picture the forest in my head I see green everywhere I look and many, many trees taller than any I have seen before surrounding huge lakes. I also see decaying logs. In the ground work essay, the author emphasizes the ongoing change in the forest, whether it be by the season, year, or century. The excerpt The Web captures this change with vocabulary such as “beauty moves,” “snowmelt sieving through fungal mats,” “tunneling,” and “fluming” (21). A question I have about the forest is if there is any portion of it that is unmapped or unexplored.

HJA 3

Change and Continuity is an applicable concept to explore because the HJ Andrews is a dynamic ecosystem that is constantly developing, but never strays far from its roots. It reminds readers and researchers alike that no matter how long you have been studying the forest there will always be something new for you to observe or interpret. After reading this section I’ve added some large open fields into my landscape of tall trees, and I also image a lot of fog that sets the mood for contemplation. The Ground Work essays introduce the idea of humans as being instruments of change in the forest instead of just observers. An example of this is purposefully setting forest fires and then observing the results. In Clear Cut by John Maloof, he explores the negative side of this human – forest interaction, criticizing the “men in machines” who have “given us sun” but given left the woodpecker with no place to land (149). This section left me with the question of how close people live to the forest.

HJA 4

The section Borrowing Each Other’s Eyes is applicable because both the scientific research and creative inquiry carried out at the forest builds upon and is enriched by work that has been done by others. After reading this section a lot more bodies of water have entered into the landscape in my mind – rivers, streams, etc. The groundwork essay emphasizes this prevalence of water in the forest and this importance is echoed in “Parsing my Wise as Lookout Creek,” which simply by the title equates someone’s wife with a creek. The author’s wife is as important to and intertwined with him as the creek is to the forest. I am curious as to what the biggest body of water in the forest is.

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Monica Stack

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Forest Understory

Forest Understory:

HJA 1

  1. When I visit Andrews the thing that I expect to see the most is a massive amount of green everywhere.  To go along with this, I also expect everything to be in a perpetual state of dampness.  In addition to the lush green, I am picturing huge trees that are relatively close together and create a dark and shady forest.
  2. There are many different ways of telling the story of these forests, with the most obvious being through data collection and analysis.  However, by combining this with creative literary methods, a more human story of the forests can be told.  These other ways of telling the story are necessary because they relate the scientific elements to humans in a way that would be impossible to do with just raw data.
  3. The long view is critical because society and the environment are intertwined, and because both of them are constantly changing, the relationship between the two is also changing, and thus cannot be fully understand in a short term view alone.  Many environmental processes are so long term that looking at them in small increments of time would not yield useful results.

HJA 2

  1. The name “Research and Revelation” was chosen to illustrate the relationship between time spent studying specific parts of the forest and the understanding of how the whole ecosystem functions.  Research is also tied to the societal understanding of forests and influences the way that humans interact with their forested surroundings.  This name demonstrates these concepts, and offers a motivation as to why the Andrews research was started in the first place.
  2. Based on these passages, I expect the landscape to be covered with many decaying trees and plants that have been not moved by humans.  While they have not been moved, from the amount of research going on that these passages suggest, I am picturing the forest to also be filled with man-made items which take away from the natural beauty but are essential for research purposes.
  3. The Ground Work essay “Old Growth” explains the need for old growth and the intricacy of the forest processes.  These processes are expressed in a creative manner in “Log Decomposition”.  The creative storytelling here offers an artistic view of the scientific explanations in “Old Growth”.  Here, the human emotion and feelings that arise from taking in the described landscape are expressed to create a tie to humanity.
  4. I would like to know what, if any, effects does the presence of the researchers and the research station have on the forest and what efforts are taken to eliminate those effects from the data results.

HJA 3

Change and Continuity:

  1. This theme was chosen to show the path that the Andrews Experimental Forest has undergone throughout history.  It has been continuously been affected by numerous environmental disturbances.  These disturbances create a changing environment that can often not be easily predicted.  The disruptive floods and volcanic formations change Andrews experimental forest but are instrumental to its actuality as a place.
  2. I expect the landscape to be more torn apart than I originally thought.  The aftereffects from the logging and the flash floods would seem almost out of place in what is a protected environment.  This would be a stark contrast to a lot of forests on the East Coast that do not have to deal with flooding as much.
  3. The natural disruptive changes described in “Disturbance” are paralleled with changes in “Ten-Foot Gnarly Stick”.  The author in this section is using a piece of nature to reflect on the many changes and unexpected experiences in his life.  He is also acknowledging his inability to know what is yet to come.
  4. I would like to know the exact frequency of major disruptive changes and how the researchers deal with them impacting their experiments.

HJA 4

Borrowing Others’ Eyes

  1. These theme was chosen because it describes how, by noticing small fragments of an environment, we can use those little bits as “eyes” to see the inner connections of the forest.  The many connections found in the forest then can be viewed in a way that creates a big picture and furthers the general understanding of our natural environment.
  2. From this passage, I expect the landscape to be filled with a wide variety of plants and animals.  The trees and rock formations will appear to be scattered across the landscape and will have streams crossing back and forth through them.
  3. The Ground Work essay “Soundscapes” describes the techniques used to capture forest sounds and turn them into usable data by extracting individual bird or insect sounds.  Many of the creative passages in the whole book describe the sounds of the forest, and in this section, “Listening to Water” describes ecological reflection with the sounds of the streams and the rain.
  4. After reading this section, I would like to know if there are any specific areas of Andrews that naturally draw the creative writers to them.
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Portlandness

Portland 1

1.  Place can be defined as the combination of all of the geographic and human aspects that are found in a specific area.  These aspects are often intertwined and can be tied to other geographic places.  I am spending the summer on Otsego Lake in upstate New York.  This place is surrounded by protected forests and has a wide array of birds, fishes, and mammals.  The lake is also the source of the Susquehanna river, which feeds into the Chesapeake Bay.

  1. My preconceived ideas of the city of Portland included that the people there were obsessed about environmentalism almost to the point where it places the environment over humanity.  In addition the people there are supposedly all hipsters  and distrustful of people outside of Portland.  The hipster vibe and the environmentally conscious traits both matched with my preconceived notions.  However, I was not aware of the large number of breweries or how tolerant the people there are of diversity.
  2. The authors introduced Portland as a Cascadian city so as to examine Portland from many perspectives and not reinforce the traditional stereotypes about its location.  This also allows the authors to implement the many ties to the environment by stressing the importance of Cascadia as a bioregion.  To be a Cascadian city is to be a city that is closely intertwined with the numerous watersheds of the region and on a key location in terms of the tectonic plates and continental shelf.
  3. The essence of Portlandness is that no place can be properly understood in the traditional sense of maps and descriptions.  It has to look at the many ties between the culture, environment, and the way that man-made structures impact all of this.  This book does that by attempting to show as many different points of view as possible.  Maps are useful in this effort because they provide a visual aid that can effectively link the man-made with the environment

Portland 2

Urban Landscapes:

  1. The main idea in this section is that people have transformed the natural environment into a more urban one, so as to better fit their needs.  Portland is different than most cities in the sense that it has done a better job emphasizing the needs of the environment than most other cities.  These urban landscapes can also be analyzed from a variety of different perspectives that illustrate ways the culture is shaped by the new urban environment.
  2. Bridgetown:  This perspective illustrates the concept that bridges play an instrumental role in the inner workings of a city, especially cities that are built around rivers.  The many different styles of bridges here shows that regardless of architecture, these bridges all have a distinct role, such as the pedestrians-only bridge or the ones that serve more industrial purposes.  From this perspective, Portland appears to be a city that’s planning has been central to its interactions, both commercial and environmental, with the river.
  3. I would produce a map that shows each bridge across the James River, placing emphasis on railroad bridges because of how they fuel industry and have historically shaped the city of Richmond.  It would be titled:  “Overpassing or Passing Over?”.

Portland 3:

The Once and Future City:

  1. The main concept illustrated by this section is that there always needs to be a focus on the past because by remembering what is lost, there is a better ability to plan for the future.  Cultural history helps to better understand the motivations of people in the present and how to create spaces that foster tolerance and diversity.  A constantly changing landscape forces a need for proper planning and analysis in order to properly minimize loss of historic or environmental spaces.
  2. Swan Island: This perspective shows the numerous transformations that a place can undergo.  The many roles that Swan Island has played in industry, wartime efforts, and transportation can be paralleled with the history of Portland and changes that the entire city was undergoing.  Additionally, the ship building industry further illustrates Portland’s close ties between economic development and its location on a river.
  3. I would create a map that showed each island along the James with each one individually color coded to its purpose, such as being a park, wildlife refuge, or industrial center.  It would be titled: “Surrounded by Water in Many Ways’.

Portland 4:

Wildness:

  1. The main concept illustrated in this section is that even though Portland is a city, it still is impacted by wildlife in many ways.  Plants and animals have not been expelled from the city but rather have found ways to adapt and thrive in the new urban environment.  Many of the people have encouraged this, as “the line between city and wilderness is intentionally blurred in Portland”.
  2. Lost Waters and Phantom Streams:  I chose this perspective because it shows that cities cannot just be built up viably disregarding the natural environment.  It talks about how pipes and culverts are used to reroute streams and infill is used in certain situations to try and eliminate water flow.  Streams such as Tanner Creek run underground across the entirety of the city without being seen.  This shows the drastic measures that are taken to avoid the influence of running water on valuable city infrastructure.
  3. My map for Richmond would show any place where water would have taken over the land if there had been no human influence.  This would include flooding and any potential erosion of the riverbanks that would cause deleterious effects on the modern city of Richmond.

Aerial View of Portland Streets

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Portland

Portland 1

Both books emphasize the study of place. Define the geographic concept of “place”. Illustrate the concept by describing the place where you are this summer.

A place is a geographic location that is described by physical and human characteristics. Physical characteristics can include earth features such as lakes, mountains, and valleys. Human characteristics can describe attributes linked to a place including things such as culture, political institutions, and religion. The scope of which you describe a place alters the way it is viewed, such as how Portland could be described as a city in Oregon, a city in the Northwest, or an American city. This summer, I am living and working in my hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia. As a place, Charlottesville is known for being surrounded by the beautiful Appalachian Mountains and rolling hills. It is also known for being a very cute, liberal, active, and happy college town.

 

Before reading this book, think about your preconceived idea of the City of Portland. From this introductory material, describe two things that matched your preconceived notion of Portland. Describe two things that you had not previously associated with Portland.

Two attributes of Portland that matched my preconceived notion of what Portland is like were environmentalism and being bike-friendly. When I thought about Portland previously, I thought about it being one of the most liberal cities in the United States. While the maps show that it is definitely liberal overall, many of the areas and suburban areas surrounding Portland are more conservative, which did not match my previous understanding. I also was unaware of the major brewery presence in Portland. I had thought of Portland as “hipster” and could guess that there were breweries around, but I did not know it was a central part of Portlandness and that the breweries were so prominent in Portland culture. I also was unaware how dog-friendly Portland is!

 

Why did the authors choose to introduce Portland as a Cascadian City? What does it mean to be a Cascadian City?

The authors argue that setting a place in context has an effect on the perception of the place. For example, thinking about Charlottesville, Virginia, as a city in the “south” brings different characteristics about my hometown to light than if you think about Charlottesville as a city in America. For Portland, where many different characteristics are at play and where many already have preconceived notions addressing the city, the authors chose to introduce Portland as a Cascadian city. Being as Cascadian city means that the city falls within the geographic Cascadian border, drawn through watersheds. The authors’ choice in framing Portland through Cascadia is very important to consider. For one, “[Cascadia] is a bit of a mystery, an unknown” (Banis & Shobe, 16). This allows for more of a clean slate when we picture Portland, as readers aren’t imposing their ideas of a greater place (i.e. the Northwest, Oregon) onto their idea of Portland. Furthermore, Cascadia is an idea for a nation that grounds itself in geographic borders, such as waterways and watersheds. This is important in the concept of “place.” Where does Portland begin and end? Most of our borders are imaginary lines drawn by man. Cascadia reminds us of this point.

 

What is the essence of Portlandness? Why are maps a useful way of presenting this idea?

The essence of Portlandness describes cultural characteristics Portland is argued to possess. Some of these include a multitude of breweries, being liberal and environmentally conscious, using green energy, and being bike friendly. Maps are extremely useful in presenting the essence of Portlandness because maps can spatially show these characteristics over the city of Portland. From this information, it is easy to see which areas of Portland have the most perceived Portland qualities, and how far these qualities reach. Maps help show the characteristics in an organized and easy to follow manner, which help solidify our idea of Portland as a place.

Here's an interesting example of the graffiti found in Portland. It was all very unique and beautiful!

Here’s an interesting example of the graffiti found in Portland. It was all very unique and beautiful!

Portland 2

What is the main concept illustrated in this section (e.g., what is an Urban Landscape)?

An urban landscape describes the urban features (such as buildings, streets, and walkways) that constitute a place. Through analyzing these attributes, a deeper understanding of a geographic place can occur. For example, Portland’s urban landscape shows off its liberal, eco-friendly nature through bike lanes, city parks, and food trucks. However, taking a closer look at the urban landscape, remnants of Portland’s industrial past still linger close to the Willamette river.

 

 

What perspective did you choose to read for this section (e.g., Bridgetown, Under the Bridges, Where the Sidewalk Ends… or Naked City)? Why? How would you describe Portland according to this perspective in a few sentences?

For this section, I chose to look at the “Stop! Writing on STOP signs” map. I chose this perspective for several reasons. First, graffiti on stop signs is something I have noticed in my own hometown. It seems to be very popular due to the difficulties associated with removing the graffiti paint without removing the reflective quality of the stop sign. I also chose this map because the graffiti present on Portland’s stop signs exemplifies the passionate people living in Portland, people who want change and progress. The graffiti on the stop signs shows what people in Portland are angry about, such as homophobia, KFC cruelty, war, and global warming. The stop signs also show Portland’s quirky and humorous side, with graffiti urging to “stop hammertime” and “stop Voldemort.”

 

What map would you produce for Richmond to represent this concept? Why? What would be the title of the map? What might the map look like? (go ahead and sketch it, if you feel you can. Don’t worry about the technology, if you can’t post the drawing.)

One unique thing about Richmond’s urban landscape is the beautiful graffiti surrounding the city. It is something I noticed while first exploring the city last year, and it seems to be present all around the city. Like Portland’s stop sign graffiti, Richmond’s graffiti allows residents to express themselves and, as a part of Richmond’s urban landscape, the graffiti tells a lot about Richmond as a artsy city. The map could be called “Richmond’s Artsy Graffiti” and showcase the different buildings in the city coated with graffiti along with some of the major themes presented by the graffiti. This website shows some examples of the colorful graffiti present in RVA that could be showcased on the map: http://graffitirichmond.tumblr.com/

 

Portland 3

What is the main concept illustrated in this section (e.g., what is an Urban Landscape)?

The once and future city aims to discover Portland’s character as a city through examining its past and its failed projects. As a city, Portland is constantly changing. This section looks at the parts of Portland that have changed or that were planned but never followed through. By having knowledge of a place’s past, a better understanding of a place’s present and its future can be gained. “Considering what’s missing invites us to imagine not only what’s gone but what could have been” (Banis & Shobe, 55).

 

What perspective did you choose to read for this section (e.g., Bridgetown, Under the Bridges, Where the Sidewalk Ends… or Naked City)? Why? How would you describe Portland according to this perspective in a few sentences?

For this section, I chose to read the perspective called “The Streets Speak the Languages of the Past.” I chose this section because nomenclature is something that interests me, and you can learn a lot about a place based off of the names chosen for streets. For example, the three streets near my house are called “Raven’s Place,” “Poe Lane,” and “Allen’s Way,” all named in honor of Edgar Allen Poe, who attended UVA (the university in my town). By examining the old street names of Portland, you can easily find the names of the early prominent members of Portland’s society who helped found the city. For example, a street named after Francis Pettygrove reveals that Pettygrove was one of Portland’s founders. Portland is a city that cherishes its past and the important people who helped make it what it is today.

 

What map would you produce for Richmond to represent this concept? Why? What would be the title of the map? What might the map look like? (go ahead and sketch it, if you feel you can. Don’t worry about the technology, if you can’t post the drawing.)

A map of Richmond to represent the concept of changing over time would have to include Richmond’s rich history. I think it would be interesting to portray Richmond’s importance in different years on a map, particularly the Revolutionary War and the Civil war. The map could include famous battle sites, as well as remnants of the wars that the city still holds. The map would showcase the statues along Monument Avenue that have ties to wars, such as the Robert E. Lee statue, the Jefferson Davis statue, and the Stonewall Jackson statue. The Virginia War museum, located in Richmond, could also be highlighted, though it focuses on later wars. The map could be called “Wartime in Richmond.”

 

Portland 4

What is the main concept illustrated in this section (e.g., what is an Urban Landscape)?

I chose to examine Food and Drink in Portland. Food and drink can tell a lot about a city. For example, Portland is known for being eccentric and eco-friendly, therefore many of their food options can be described as full of “organic production, locally sourced ingredients… and an explosion of food carts” (Banis & Shobe, 141). The type of food available often connects with the cultural background of the people living in a place. Therefore, examining what a city has to offer as far as food and drink are concerned can reveal quite a lot about the culture and habits of people living in the city.

 

What perspective did you choose to read for this section (e.g., Bridgetown, Under the Bridges, Where the Sidewalk Ends… or Naked City)? Why? How would you describe Portland according to this perspective in a few sentences?

For this section, I chose the perspective “Farm to Market.” I thought this would be an interesting perspective for this section for me to look into because I love farmer’s markets and I thought it would connect to how people from Portland like to eat local. I was surprised to learn that most of the stands at a typical Portland farmer’s market contain baked goods, prepared food, coffee, and crafts. From looking at the farmer’s markets in Portland, it is clear that they have grown substantially as time has gone passed, seeming to at least double in the twenty years between 1990 and 2010. This shows that people in Portland care about supporting their local economies, preparing food, and eating locally.

 

What map would you produce for Richmond to represent this concept? Why? What would be the title of the map? What might the map look like? (go ahead and sketch it, if you feel you can. Don’t worry about the technology, if you can’t post the drawing.)

To represent food and drink in Richmond, I think it would be interesting to look at the different kinds of food present at different places around the city. I would be curious to compare a map showing food types, such as Asian cuisine, fast food, Italian, Mexican, etc. to a map portraying concentrations of race and ethnicity in Richmond, such as this one:

race

I think this would be an interesting map to analyze in order to discover if there is any correlation between ethnic/racial distribution across the city with what food category is prominent in the area. The map could be titled “Does Richmond’s Cuisine Correspond with Ethnic Distribution?”

 

 

 

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HJA

HJA 1

What do you expect to observe when we visit the forests of the H.J. Andrews?

I anticipate seeing a beautiful paradox in visiting Andrews forests. Amongst the ancient, muted, towering trees will be our small class, conversing with excitement. In a protected area of peaceful forest, meant to be left untouched, we will find signs of scientists and artists, studying to show the beauty in leaving nature unaffected by humans. Scientists with lifespans of only a century research the long-term consequences of human actions, research that cannot be concluded in their lifetime. Throughout the paradoxes of the Andrews forests, I expect to observe and be immersed in the beauty that is an antique, old-growth forest.

 

What are some different ways of telling the story of these forests? How do methods of creative reflection support scientific inquiry and vice versa?

The stories of these forests are most commonly told through scientific research and creative expression. When combined, creative writing and science enrich each other deeply. Creative writers can better communicate and express ideas scientists are researching, making those ideas more meaningful and comprehensible to the public. Creative writer’s work also inspires scientists to ask new questions and discover new things. Scientists enrich creative writers by giving them ample subject material and inspiring them with new discoveries. In Andrews forests, science and creative inquiry are combined to explore a deeper understanding of our place in the world. By constructing a compelling narrative centered around the scientific discoveries being made on site, the value and irreplaceable beauty of the forests can be expressed to the public, giving the public a better understanding of what we’re trying to save.

 

Why is the long-view critical to understanding the role of humans in the natural world?

Humans tend to be very shortsighted when making decisions. We focus on the instant gratification of a solution without taking time to consider the long-term risks involved. We drain all of our nonrenewable resources in order to fulfil our short term needs, businesses make snap decisions to turn a profit without addressing the long-term risks, I eat three desserts a day without taking time to consider my future and long-term health (that dessert bar in dhall though… amazing). We do this because it’s easy. Trying to predict the consequences of our actions years (and even centuries) from now is not only daunting, it usually illuminates all that we are doing wrong. However, the long-view is crucial in understanding human impact on our surroundings. It forces us to acknowledge all of the consequences our actions will have. As a society, we may demand Styrofoam in a short-term mind frame. We see it’s cheap and effective. If we viewed Styrofoam in a long-view, however, we would be able to better understand all of the environmental risks it holds. Thinking long-view is critical because it allows us to better comprehend just how huge of an impact our decisions hold and allows us to make more conscious decisions that are better for us and the environment in the long run.

 

HJA 2

Why was this theme chosen (e.g., Research and Revelation for Part One) to tell the story of the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest?

Research and Revelation as a title could refer to many things in the narrative of the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest. Because of the unique convergence of creative writing and science taking place at Andrews, Research and Revelation may be referring to the process by which these scientists and artists experience. The scientists research intricate details of the old growth forest, and the writers express the revelations to the public in a compelling and beautiful way. The title could also be related to the public’s changed view of old-growth forests that took place in the 1990s. Previous to that decade, forests all over America were being readily logged and destroyed without much thought, including parts of the Andrews forest. However, after research showing the uniqueness and value in these forests, a revelation occurred, allowing Andrews forests to be preserved.

 

What do you expect the landscape to look like from the passages in this section?

I expect a very unique landscape in the Andrews forest. The bedrock was altered and disrupted during volcanic activity followed by Ice Age glaciers, molding the landscape into what it is today (Brodie, Goodrich, & Swanson, 35). The mountainous terrain perfectly fosters the stream and forest ecosystems it supports. I anticipate a beautiful display of mostly evergreen trees growing together, specifically young Douglas-firs, pioneering the forest after disturbances, western redcedar trees, the Pacific yew, and the western hemlock. These trees will be old giants, making me feel small looking up to their tallest branches three hundred feet above me (Brodie, Goodrich, & Swanson, 62). More on my level, I expect to be surrounded by a variety of different ferns, shrubs, lichen, and saplings. At my feet, the decomposition of wood and other organic matter is vital the life the forest is supporting (Brodie, Goodrich, & Swanson, 84). Altogether, the forest landscape will prove to be diverse and intricate, complex and beautiful.

 

Provide an example or two of how the scientific context presented in the Ground Work essay is reflected in creative storytelling for the section.

The scientific research performed at Andrews forest inspires a variety of creative expression and inquiry. These pieces help connect people to the forests in a very meaningful way. In “The Long Haul,” by Robert Michael Pyle, the research concerning the important role of decomposing logs is examined and explored. Pyle discusses the value in taking the long-view in an eloquent and compelling narrative. Though difficult, meditating on our actions and their long-term consequences is crucial. Pyle argues that thinking about our future generations is the right thing to do, saying “to peer much further down the line requires not only empathy for those who follow, but also faith in the future” (Pyle, 18). At Andrews, log decomposition study encourages long-view thinking. Pyle movingly drives the idea home by discussing the importance of the long-term view by theorizing looking into the future is the only way to ensure “there will be something to see when we get there” (Pyle, 20).

 

What’s a question you have about the forest from reading these passages?

I noticed from reading these passages about the forest that there are many different objects in the forest that are unnatural. Many human objects seem out of place in the forest, both research related and plain litter, such as the many different kinds of testing equipment, the “empty tortilla chip bag, empty rolling rock can, empty mountain dew bottle,” and the gauging station (Alison Hawthorne Deming, 53). How strictly preserved is the Andrews forest from human disturbances? Would any of the human changes being made to the forest affect the forest and the research being done there in any way?

 

HJA 3

Why was this theme chosen (e.g., Research and Revelation for Part One) to tell the story of the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest?

It is a common saying that the only thing that is constant is change. Even while trying to preserve and protect our forests, there will always be change and disturbance. This idea is explored in part three of Forest Under Story to help narrate the story of the Andrews forest. The Andrews forest is experimental, allowing scientists to study the effects of different changes on the forest over a long period of time. For example, when there was massive flooding around the Willamette valley in February of 1996, scientists studying the Andrews forest could discover the effects of this ecological disturbance on the forest, learning more about the species affected and the long-term outcomes (Brodie, Goodrich, & Swanson, 121). Similarly, by performing a clear-cutting and comparing it to a control area of land, scientists at Andrews can show the negative consequences of logging in an accurate and scientific manner, as they did in the 1990s (Brodie, Goodrich, & Swanson, 152). Research performed at Andrews showing the harmful consequences of many anthropogenic changes to the forest has helped persuade the public to preserve many areas of old-growth forest, leading to many endangered species (such as the spotted owl) regaining habitat (Brodie, Goodrich, & Swanson, 136).

 

What do you expect the landscape to look like from the passages in this section?

From this passage, I expect there are some areas of clear-cut in the Andrew forest to explore. Steep slopes teeming with small shrubs and poison oak, a few small saplings daring to pioneer the land, along with native plants such as the Oregon iris, purple peavines, blue vetch, starflowers and mariposa lilies (Christensen). From cleanly stripped lands shaved of all trees, I anticipate seeing the beauty of succession play out before me. I also expect to see signs of other disturbances, such as the stream path changing after flooding in Lookout Creek.

 

Provide an example or two of how the scientific context presented in the Ground Work essay is reflected in creative storytelling for the section.

In both “The Other Side of the Clear-Cut” by Liard Christensen and “Clear-Cut” by Joan Maloof, the issue of clear-cutting is explored. The groundwork sections describe how Andrews forest is helping researchers discover the long-term effects of clear-cutting. The creative inquiry excerpts allow for readers to get a closer look and connect more to what is happening. For example, Maloof helps connect us to the loss of habitat clear-cutting brings when he says, “a woodpecker flies by/ with no place to land” (Maloof, 149). Christensen gives us a closer look at the humans involved in the logging industry and how the movement to stop clear-cutting affected them. She discusses how many environmentalists, realizing the harm clear-cutting creates to ecosystems and the environment, protested clear-cutting. Opposing the movement, loggers were dependent on clear-cutting for their livelihood. It was especially interesting to see how many in the industry not only needed logging, but saw it as something beautiful and symbolic, pointing to a clear-cut forest and exclaiming, “that’s what’s really beautiful!” (Christensen, 139). Christensen brought forward a viewpoint foreign to most readers, but interesting to discover.

 

What’s a question you have about the forest from reading these passages?

From reading this passage, I wanted to learn more about the controversy and opposing sides taking place in the 1990s following the efforts to slow and stop clear-cutting. Do the loggers once so opposed to legislation to protect forests still firmly believe in clear-cutting? Perhaps the efforts from Andrews forests to connect people to nature and research disturbances and their effects could help change the logger’s minds. I am curious to find out more about the different sides of the issue and how it resolved.

 

HJA 4

Why was this theme chosen (e.g., Research and Revelation for Part One) to tell the story of the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest?

It is difficult to know the many secrets that the H.J. Andrews forest holds. Scientists work through many different studies in order to discover the forest’s voice. With our own eyes, it is difficult to decipher the changes the forest undergoes and why these changes occur. It is also sometimes difficult to see the true usefulness and unique beauty of the forest. Therefore, scientists rely on other means, borrowing others’ eyes, in order to truly see the secrets of the forest. For example, the scientists at Andrews use stream sampling as a lens to investigate the damaging effects of clear-cutting. By borrowing the eyes of the stream and monitoring the changes it experiences, scientists can develop a more complete understanding of the short-term and long-term effects of these anthropogenic changes to the forest. Additionally, scientists use the sounds of the forest as another lens to study. By examining bird calls through the soundscape, scientists can better understand and see migration patterns. By borrowing others’ eyes, we can develop a clearer picture of the story of the Andrews forest.

 

What do you expect the landscape to look like from the passages in this section?

The Andrews forest is a rainforest. Based on this passage, I can imagine the thickness of the plants. The mushy ground beneath my feet. The heavy moisture in the air. With around 100 inches per year of precipitation on average, I anticipate everything more soaked and moist than I previously imagined (Brodie, Goodrich, & Swanson, 197). I can imagine myself seeing some of the beautiful creatures the forest supports. Maybe we will spot a quiet northern spotted owl perched high in the trees, watching us as we pass through. Perhaps a salamander will pass between our sneakers, unnoticed. Animals thrive under the ancient trees, completely secret to all those unwilling to stop and stare and notice.

 

Provide an example or two of how the scientific context presented in the Ground Work essay is reflected in creative storytelling for the section.

Part of the beauty of the Andrews forest is the convergence of poets and scientists; together they can find “a record… of the world’s hidden beauty” (Deming, 203). Referencing the Groundwork piece on the soundscape and study of birds from this section, and also the Groundwork section on the northern spotted owl, Deming gives us a closer look at the beautiful creature that an entire scientific community came together to save from extinction. When first reading about the northern spotted owl, I was surprised at the level of intervention and action taken to try to resolve the spotted owl’s habitat crisis. Animals are put on the endangered species list consistently with seemingly little to no action taken to remedy the situation. I found it moving, yet unexpected, that such a large community of individuals were willing to help the northern spotted owl. After reading Deming’s piece, “The Owl, Spotted,” I have a better understanding of why saving the owl was so important. Deming does a beautiful job of connecting the reader to the owl. By comparing the confusion spectators have while viewing the owl to the owl’s own confusion when viewing the spectator, the reader feels a deep bond with the mysterious owl. Through descriptions of the beautiful mystique of her flight and her trusting gaze, the northern spotted owl becomes a symbol of the success of the preservation of her habitat. A symbol of the success humans can have when we work together to solve our environmental issues.

 

What’s a question you have about the forest from reading these passages?

It seems that from this passage, many different aspects of the forest are being studied, from the streams and soil to the soundscape. I am curious about how many different studies are taking place within the forest and how they all connect together to create a picture of the Andrews forest and the changes it undergoes. I would like to know more about how many studies are taking place at Andrews and the data that is being collected. I am also curious if a similar experimental forest exists somewhere else in the world. Are experimental forests common, or is Andrews forest completely unique in its purpose?

Surrounded by countless ancient trees, a feeling of peace and connectivity is easy to feel in the Andrews forest.

Surrounded by countless ancient trees, a feeling of peace and connectivity is easy to feel in the Andrews forest.

Old trees means huge trunks!

Old trees means huge trunks!

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