Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Adventure around Town in the New Year: Newsbits in and out of the City

Hope everybody had a safe, sound, and sweet ring in of the New Year!

There are several walks and rides already going on this morning, and maybe it's a great time to think about adventure in and around town.

Adventure Cycling magazine had a feature on Oregon and multi-agency collaboration recently. It was interesting, though, that the state Capital didn't get a mention.

That's Alex, not Sheila!
Adventure Cycling Dec/Jan story
 on Oregon Bike Tourism and State Agencies
and a wayward caption
From the piece:
Although Portland gets a lot of positive press in cycling circles, and deservedly so, Ginny Sullivan [Adventure Cycling Association’s director of travel initiatives] says a lot of credit should go to Oregon's state agencies.

"Portland is seen as a bicycle mecca for commuters, but really the State of Oregon and the ODOT, Oregon Parks and Recreation, Oregon Tourism, all those agencies with the help of advocates and the cycling community have really been able to tip the scale for cyclists," Sullivan said. "Instead of operating in silos, they're working together."

A good example of what Sullivan is talking about is Oregon's relatively new scenic bikeways program. Alexandra Phillips, bicycle recreation coordinator for Oregon Parks and Recreation, invented the program together with Travel Oregon and ODOT when she was hired five years ago.
The silence on Salem - Corvallis and Portland get mentions, along with Bend - is both a reflection on where we've been, and where we're going. We've lagged behind in the past, and relative to other cities and other areas there's not much leadership going forward.

Significantly, this is earned press and advertising for other communities, and when people think about visiting Oregon, Salem may not be top of mind.  That's a loss for the local economy. Earlier this month BikePortland had a piece on bike tourism initiatives in Clackmas County.  Imagine:  Clackamas, ahead of Marion and Polk!

Think about a different article that talks about what a great hub Salem is for exploring wine-country by bike.  You can conjure other variations.  That's what we miss out on.

Fortunately, Travel Oregon knows the score. In October a new video came out that features farms and winegrapes and hops on the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway!




That's the way to market the valley!

But even that missed something: History! Sure, maybe that's more for locals, but the route's starting point in Champoeg is in the heart of French Prairie, the site of many of the oldest settlement in Oregon! And Champoeg might even be said to be the place where the idea of Oregon was born.

The Oregon Historic Sites Database has had a lot of updating recently, and there's some new features.

Group Names on Historic Sites Database Search
One of them is the addition of groups to the search function. Remaining settlement era pioneer homesteads from 1840 - 1865 were recently surveyed, and many of these are not far from the bikeway, or are easily reached on a short ride from Salem. Some of the houses, in fact, are even in Salem, a few relocated to Mission Mill and a couple of other places in town, and some still in situ.

The database interface is not exactly consumer-friendly, so it might take a tiny bit of effort to use, but if you're interested in finding history along the bike ride, it's a great resource.

Map link on result set
Searches return links to an information form and to a map.

R.C. Geer farmhouse - now called Geercrest Farm
Ralph Carey Geer was Gov. T.T. Geer's uncle
and a relative of Homer Davenport
There's more than just food and drink on the bikeways!

R.C. Geer homestead from 1878 Marion County Atlas
Back in town, an fellow traveler with a great eye pointed out that an old Oregon-Washington Water Service Company pump house had been demolished!

Oregon-Washington Water Service Company
Pump Station at 21st and Market

Pump House on the Sanborn maps
At one time this was right on the city limits - if you look at the goofy property lines and the way the street grids don't connect or quite line up in and around Englewood, you can see the seams - and it's not surprising there might be a pump house here.

As architecture it wasn't very interesting, but as a trace of older infrastructure it was a little mysterious.

Have you seen anything like this around town on your trips?  Even inside town there are mysteries to explore!

1 comment:

TJ P said...

I always looked at the pump house going down Market as a little girl. It was one of those markers you always look for when driving down a certain road. Well anyways, one day I noticed it wasn't there. I thought "must have missed it". Went down the street again and realized they tore it down. Sad!