Monday, June 18, 2001

June 18: Beaches and old buildings - Exploring the area and thoughts on preservation

I hate it when I have to write a post all over again. I started this last night, thought it was saved as a draft and it wasn't. I went to have a bite at Andrew and Steve's, which serves fish and chips, breakfasts, etc. Kate and I came here once, and it probably felt familiar and friendly to me.

I'm now writing this blog in 2009, and I'm using the not-too-good photo above because it shows something. The gray, corrugated building has been refurbished. There are codes for what you can and can't do to historic buildings here, and I'm not sure how this building falls under the code, but I expect that it cannot be significantly altered. The idea is to preserve the feeling, sense, look, etc., of historic Astoria. I have mixed feelings about this. The building has recently been completely re-done inside and out. There are new doorways, new siding, new insides. Yes, it's still low and gray. I'm glad they didn't turn it into a high-rise, which is happening along the river in some places, and is deplorable, but the feel of the original building has not been preserved. It's very nice, upscale, user-friendly, and attractive. I like the building. But it does not preserve the feel of old Astoria, for what that's worth. This happens everywhere. The town I grew up in is an example of a butchering that should never have taken place. It had character when I was growing up. Now, it's so unattractive and uninteresting, I hate to see it. I won't go into it here, but sometime I will. I'm not against new, beautiful buildings, but I do love history and historic, classic buildings. We're losing them and we'll continue to do so, and the latitude given under the "historic preservation" laws is not always on the side of honest preservation. It's better than nothing, but is it enough? Well, anyway, I'm including the photo above as a historic reference.

The other day, Kate and I had discovered Oregon's beautiful beaches on our visit to the Peter Iredale. It was so astonishing to me, I decided to go back today. One of the most amazing things about Oregon's beaches that may not be apparent at first is that every foot of the coast was set aside for public access by a former governor named Oswald West. What amazing forethought he had! I grew up in California where I saw how individual ownership of beach access blocked the public from its use. I love what Oswald West Did for Oregon and for the world. Oregon's beaches are among the most beautiful on Earth. Above, we're looking south toward Tillamook Head, which I later hiked with Lee.

You can actually drive down onto the beach, but you need to check the access carefully, because in some places standard cars like mine can get stuck. I parked higher on the land and walked down to the sand.

What can I say? It's beautiful, nearly empty (since I'd lived so long in California so long, this was almost unbelievable to me; a gorgeous place like this on a summer day would have been completely overrun down south).

Plants and flowers with a sand dune and blue skies. Nice. The weather wasn't too hot. I was falling in love with my new home, and this beach was only a 15- or 20-minute drive away.

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