Tag Archives: Park Blocks

Reflections on the Stump on the Park Blocks

The other day, as we strolled down the Park Blocks between NW Flanders and Glisan, we came upon a stump.  Trees in this part of the Northwest are not uncommon.  Neither are stumps, for that matter.  Yet this was no ordinary stump; it was a large, low cut stump which bore a striking resemblance to Gondwanaland.

What was also striking about this stump was its location.  The Northwest Park Blocks, stretching from Burnside to NW Hoyt street along 8th Ave, are home to a great many oversized trees.  The trees stand, lining the blocks like a royal guard creating a corridor for kings and queens to pass.  The kings and queens of Portland’s NW Park Blocks represent all ages and walks of life.

The Stump: Evoking memories of Gondwanaland

These grand trees have observed and endured many a changes in their surroundings as Portland the frontier town has grown into the pleasant city which we now enjoy.  The trees, circa 2011, enjoy the delight of children racing through the playground, the musings of men and women as they commune on the many benches lining the blocks, and the gentle, respectful pace of both car and bicycle as they quietly traverse the paved portion of the blocks.

The trees serve as a constant reminder to the contemplative passerby that our noble lives are but a whisper on the winds of time.  Much of what one does will be forgotten, and in an age where information is abundant but wisdom is in short supply, the trees offer a humble reminder that in order to stand tall, one needs roots which run deep and branches which extend to embrace.

This day, amongst the grandeur and wisdom which the trees continuously display, the stump served as a reminder that even the grandest of trees can be laid low on a temporal whim.  There is nothing to gain by lamenting its passing.  Rather, as with all loss, we must take the opportunity to pause and reflect on our daily actions.  Perhaps the stump’s resemblance of Gondwanaland is not an accident, for it offers a glimpse of the eternal time in which everything around us yearns to live.

Art on the Harlow Block – The Woodpecker


Next up as one strolls Glisan in the Fire Engine red color which dominates this motif is the woodpecker. While each piece on the block shares a common color theme and for the most part size, the subject matter of each is unique enough that we may be witnessing the work of not one but several urban artists working in concert with one another.

What do you think? Please comment below!

Signs of Life on the Harlow Block


More Urban Art at the Harlow Block. A silouette of Sir Tophamhat of Thomas the Tank Engine fame, perhaps? A plume of angry smoke? Only the artist knows for sure!

Signs of life at the Harlow Block – The Bat


These days a stroll by the Harlow Block at the corner of NW Glisan and 8th is like turning the pages of a scary childrens book.

Painted wooden forms grace the
plywood canvas that too long has defined the facade of this overlooked gem in the Pearl.

The first page features a bat which lets the reader know that this unique display of urban art will follow a nocturnal theme.

The Harlow Block gets a Facelift


The Harlow Block, located at Glisan and NW 8th at the Northern end of the Park Blocks has sat shuttered and abandoned for as long as we can remember. It is a stark reminder that urban renewal occurs in fits and starts and can leave some buildings frozen in time.

We detected signs of life today outside of this once proud structure in the form of wooden artforms gracing the plywood which one normally encounters on a stroll up Glisan.

What does it mean?

Stay tuned and Stay Fresh!