Alice Experiences the Willamette River

Pauletta and Alice salute a delightful day on the Willamette.
Pauletta and Alice salute a delightful day on the Willamette.  Alice was concerned the wind blowing through her denim blouse made her look fat.

When Alice and I moved to northwest Oregon in September 2014 from Doylestown, Pa., two dear Bucks County friends made us an offer we could not refuse: Remain in close contact via two like-minded folk in Portland.

How lovely!  That’s how we stay close to Harry Georgeson, a world-class sculptor and talented architect, and Joan Perkes, an accomplished gallery manager/owner.

We followed up on their offer, and the fortuitous consequences are clearly evident throughout this photographic essay.

Pauletta Sagen Hoffman and husband, Terry, have been in frequent evidence about our lives ever since we arrived.  And after Alice endured her stroke on March 11, they have been Johnnies on the spot.

A good captain sees to the comfort and goodwill of his passengers.
A good captain sees to the comfort and goodwill of his passengers.

On Sunday, May 3, Pauletta and Terry offered a unique excursion: See Portland from a waterway perspective aboard their 36-foot Chris-Craft yacht to celebrate Cinco de Mayo two days early.  It’s safe to say we didn’t need any urging.

At noontime on Sunday, May 3rd, Alice and I ventured forth to Portland’s RiverPlace yacht basin where we joined our hosts and plus fellow guests of honor, Scott and Diane Chill.

The Italian Renaissance towers of the Burnside Bridge, built in 1926, salute boaters as they pass below.
The Italian Renaissance towers of the Burnside Bridge, built in 1926, salute boaters as they pass below.

What a divine day!  Skies were sunny, winds were relatively light and temperatures hit the mid-70s, as Terry carefully piloted the yacht into the popular watercraft-laden Willamette River where the vessel’s propellers eventually splashed downriver with a Jolly Roger flag leading the way.

The Jolly Roger leads us to the Steel Bridge, built in 1912.
The Jolly Roger leads us to the Steel Bridge, built in 1912.

On the water, Terry taught us how boat owners must constantly keep themselves alert to prevailing wind, water currents and impatient drivers to assure all passengers of a smooth, uneventful passage.

The Fremont Bridge (1973) carries Interstate 405 and US 30 above.
The Fremont Bridge (1973) carries Interstate 405 and US 30 above.

During the five hours we spent on Portland’s notoriously polluted Willamette River, the lyrics of a 1949 song resonated appropriately inside my head:

Cruising down the river,
On a Sunday afternoon
With one you love, the sun above
Waiting for the moon.

Scott Chill assists in the captain's chair while wife Diane provides the camaraderie.
Scott Chill assists in the captain’s chair while wife Diane provides the camaraderie.

The old accordian playing
A sentimental tune
Cruising down the river,
On a Sundy afternoon.

All sorts of watercraft enjoy Portland's river scenery.
All sorts of watercraft enjoy Portland’s river scenery.

The birds above, all sing of love
A gentle sweet refrain
The winds around, all make a sound
Like softly falling rain.

What's that rumble?  Why, it's the Burlington Northern Railway train passing overhead!
What’s that rumble?  Why, it’s the Burlington Northern Railway train passing overhead!  The bridge was built in 1908.

Just two of us together,
We’ll plan our honeymoon
Cruising down the river,
On a Sunday afternoon.

Terry keeps his attention focused even when the water ahead appears placid.
Terry keeps his attention focused even when the water ahead appears placid.

With the cruising done, I can’t help but think: If any group can make changes to address the health of our waterways, Portland Rising Tide could.  This Friday, a folk benefit concert will raise funds for the organization to accomplish some lofty goals, including resistance to climate change.

Pauletta cheered when she heard Portland's mayor withdrew his support for a propane terminal in the heart of the city.
Pauletta is a gracious host while Terry pilots the yacht.  After she heard Portland’s mayor withdrew his support for a propane terminal in the city, she cheered unabashedly.

The night kicks off with cellist and folksinger Anna Fritz of the Portland Cello Project, heats up with bluegrass shredders The Wild Wood, and finishes off with a rocking set of Johnny Cash cover songs by a band named Counterfeit Cash.  The venue: Ecotrust at 721 NW 9th Ave Ste 200, Portland.

Here’s a link that gives more particulars.   Maybe we’ll see you there!

2 thoughts on “Alice Experiences the Willamette River”

  1. What a wonderful experience you shared with your friends! It’s been many years since I have been boating on the Chesapeake Bay but those were fond memories with my late husband Bud Martin! I haven’t done that in over ten years! Lots of good times fishing and crabbing the Chesapeake Bay!

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