Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Gas And Coke. Pfoyfa...

This building housed the administrative offices of Portland Gas and Coke.  This site was purchased in the 1880s.  It was up and running by 1913, and continued in this location until 1957, when natural gas arrived.    At that point, gas and coke was no more, since it was an incredibly filthy energy source.  (Honestly, I can't imagine a clean way of converting coal into gas.)  And... really, they were pretty damn sloppy.  They didn't seem to care at all about what happened with the waste they generated.  From 1913, to 1925, all of their waste was dumped directly into the Willamette.  They even separated tar from waste water, in settling ponds.  By 1956, about 30,000 cubic yards of coal tar had settled in the ponds.  These ponds were buried in 1973, by about 10 feet of fill.  There were also a few other buildings.  Those were torn down in the 1960's.

Hearing about the extensive damage this company caused, I'm just shocked.  Still.  I haven't even listed everything, because the list goes on, and on, and on, to the depths of 70 feet in the river.  It's just... really... bad.  To this day, this site is considered highly polluted, and is still a superfund site, on the Willamette.

One of these days, I'd love to gain permissions and actually enter the grounds.  Although... after being about 50 yards from the site, the smell sort of got to me.  It reeks!  I have also heard from a few people, and even actual reporters that it is just not even possible.  Many have tried, and they all get slapped on the knuckles with a ruler.

Today, there were men working at the adjacent area, and would not even let me cross the railroad tracks, saying that it was too dangerous, in case a train came along... because apparently I'm blind and deaf, and also stupid.  Whatever.  There were signs that said "No Trespassing", and I didn't really want to deal with whatever consequences could have resulted.  So... I worked around it as well as I could, within the confines I was dealt.

I did climb up onto the side of the highway to get a few shots, and may go back sometime to get a few more.  I have a feeling this would be an incredible shoot on a foggy morning.  Stay tuned.  It is a really interesting building.  It is hard to say whether or not it will remain there though.  There has been talk of clearing it out, recently, as well as talk of renovation.  (I'd be wont to avoid whatever did go in there, though.)

Ah well, let's get to the pictures, shall we?

The gates were open, but that guy sweeping was serious about my whipper-snapper status, and those railroad tracks!  I wonder what he would have done, had I just run past him and climbed up onto the roof.


There are ferns growing on this roof.

I'm not entirely sure what that is on the roof.  I'm guessing it had something to do with ventilation.

No comments:

Post a Comment