Good Bye Pattie’s Home Plate

For 22 Years Pattie’s Home Plate has been my neighborhood’s local greasy spoon. Of friend of mine used to refer to Pattie’s as the Wailing Wall of St. Johns. It stood as the quintessence of the North Portland working-class neighborhood. It had existed as a local lunch counter and soda fountain long before Pattie owned it. Old-timers have told me of how they used to eat there when it was Rexall Drugs before World War II..

An empty restaurant building shot through the window.  The light is dim and moody.  The room is litter with debris.
Pattie’s Home Plate restaurant empty after all these years.

The building certainly has seen better days. I’m guessing that the new owner will be razing it to replace with something that can be rented for a higher price. Pattie told me that she was told her lease would not be renewed because of the sale of the building.

Three people sitting at a counter.  Left to right is a man in is 60's with glasses.  A middle-aged woman smiling (this is Pattie) and a young woman dressed as a waitress.
Here’s a photo of Pattie (center) at the lunch counter seen in the previous picture. This image was captured way back around the turn of the century — 2003 to be exact.

Pattie has found a new place to open her restaurant. Sadly it’s in a different neighborhood and the St. John’s crowd won’t be able to walk there anymore.

Ward Shortridge

Over the weekend fellow photographer Ward Shortridge died at the age of 59.

I will forever be glad that I got to know Ward. He was thoughtful and humorous, and a perfectionist when it came to his craft. Through this past year he was working on new series which only reinforced my belief that Ward was one of the best photographers I’ve ever known.

See some of Ward’s work here:

Ward Shortridge, black and white image of a bearded man with a cap in his wheelchair with a mounted Hasselblad camera in front of him.
Ward at the City Fair in 2019 with is camera rig.

The way he was able to approach strangers without fear or hesitation and capture soul-rendering images of them astonished me. His work will always inspire me.

Close up of Ward Shortridge, man with a beard in a red t-shirt and a blue cap.
Ward Shortridge Summer of 2019

Conoco Refinery in Montana

Conoco oil refinery in Billings, Montana. I was on a bicycle too.

A long time ago, (1993 I think) in Billings, Montana, I came upon this industrial scene. Raising my camera, I fired the shutter one time before I heard a stern voice behind me.

“Hey, you can’t take pictures here!” said the security guard. I said “ok.” He asked how many photos I took. I said “just one.” I could see he figuring if it was worth trying to get my film from me. Finally he said “well, if it was only one…” I turned on my bicycle and pedaled away.

If it wasn’t for the employee on bicycle this photo would be nothing.

Return of the Night

Happy Equinox!

It will be six whole months of more darkness than light.  Autumn in Portland seems to have come all at once.  We went from desiccating heat and thick smoke to cool rain and clouds all in a day.  I’m sure that warm weather will return before winter sets in, but storm was welcome relief.

The change of seasons seems like a good time to restart the Photo Of the Day blog.  I’ll also be migrating the ten years of blog entries into this new web site.  Many of the old posts have already been republished by Summer, my wife.  Summer also designed this site.  See more of her work here.