Big Ships and Big Bubbles
Tuesday 23 June 2015 — Category: Outings
During the few weeks of the annual Portland Rose Festival there are dozens of interesting events which take place all over the city.
For more than 80 years, ships from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and Royal Canadian Navy have visited Portland as part of the Rose Festival celebrations. During the five days of Fleet Week, these ships are open to the public for tours — however, I skipped that part.
Because Saturday’s Grand Floral Parade was going to make downtown even more crowded and crazy than usual, I arrived at the Rose Quarter station on a MAX Light Rail train by 7:00 on Sunday morning, so I could check out the big boats in relative silence and solitude.
The largest ships were two U.S. Navy Ticonderoga-class cruisers — the USS Chosin (CG-65) and the USS Cape St. George (CG-71) — docked along the Tom McCall Waterfront Park on the west bank of the Willamette River in downtown Portland. As you can see from the second photo to the right, I had a great view of them by looking south while standing on Steel Bridge.
In addition to boats at rest, there was quite a bit of action on the river that morning. I was fortunate enough to see four of the city’s historic lift bridges in action: Steel Bridge, Burnside Bridge, Morrison Bridge and Hawthorne Bridge.
The first and last of these bridges are vertical lift, while the middle two are bascule. During my two-hour walk along the Willamette, a number of ships went up and down the river, and these bridges went up and down as well, in order to allow them passage.
Ships and bridges were not the only things in motion. In two different locations — on Steel Bridge and along the Eastbank Esplanade — a man with a large bubble-making apparatus and a bucket of soap was creating huge, incredible soap bubbles. So many amazing things for this country bumpkin in the big city to see!
All told, I took 353 photos of ships, bridges and bubbles. The best 65 have been gathered into the new Portland Fleet Week 2015 album, including 14 black and white images, three color splash pictures, and one panorama. An additional 61 shots are part of the nine photo sequences I assembled, which help convey some of the motion I was capturing that morning on the river.