Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Municipal Elevator

For reasons still beyond my understanding, Oregon City is supremely proud of its municipal elevator.  It's in the city logo:

And the city just got a $250k grant to shine a light on it as some sort of "art".  The city keeps referring the elevator as an "icon".

So I was kind of excited to go to the elevator the other day.

It was one of the more disappointing experiences of my life.

It's not an icon.  There's nothing remotely artistic about it.  It's just an elevator. Liiiike, the kind they have in parking structures or at the airport.

The round thing with windows is an observation deck that is undecorated and boring.  It is NOT the elevator.  The actual elevator is a plain elevator in the tube.  There's an elevator operator.  When I got inside I excitedly asked the operator to tell me all about the elevator.  He said "it's an elevator that connects uptown to downtown" and also "my shift ends in 3 minutes".  That's it.

I did find it sort of funny that in OC, "uptown" and "downtown" are vertical placements.

Since the operator's shift had ended by the time I was ready to go back uptown, I had to take the stairs.  The stairs are outdoors and take you up the hill in a mild ascent.  The stairs are actually quite pretty.  We walked past a girl getting her senior portraits taken and the photographer had brought her to the stairs specifically.  The stairs go up the hill through a natural setting (hillside) on one side, and down the hill you can look down to the train tracks at the bottom.   The hill ends at the tracks - there's no sidewalk or public area down next to the train tracks.  Which is why it is utterly bizarre that the stairs take you over a beautiful man-made fountain that ends in a pretty sculpture down next to the tracks.  We figured out that the fountain is really for drainage, to help water get from the top of the hill to the bottom of the hill in an organized fashion.  The fountain/fall is only visible from a small street below.

It's strange that OC would spend money on this fountain, but in 175 years have failed to showcase the actual icon of the area, the Willamette Falls.  See next post.

The municipal elevator is less than a mile from my house.

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