Latest LANDbytes Article: “Photography and Design Meet at the University of Oregon”

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Congratulations to Oregon ASLA blog LANDbytes on their one year anniversary. My latest contribution to LANDbytes is up here. Be sure to take the time to read the other great articles on the LANDbytes Webpage.


Seattle Sichuan: No Food Involved


Some of you may recognize Seattle’s sister city, Chongqing, from the recent up roar over the dubious political dealings of Chongqing’s Communist Party Chief Bo Xilai. Political intrigue aside, Chongqing is a major metropolis of 28 million people in southwestern China on the Yangtze River. In 1983, Seattle and Chongqing became sister cities and began cultural exchanges.

The Seattle Chinese Garden is an enduring monument to this partnership. The garden is based on Sichuan Estates. These estates are open and flow into the outside world as opposed to Chinese city gardens, which are walled and emphasize idealized specimen plants and rocks. The garden is being constructed in stages with a pavilion and courtyard currently on the site. The final design calls for a pagoda, pond, gorge, hall for public events and administrative center.

In this water color, we see the walls and north gate of the Knowing the Spring Courtyard on the far right. To the left, the empty land that will hold the garden stretches out to the surrounding cotton wood forest. In the distance, the towers of downtown Seattle peak over the trees.

Want to learn more about the Seattle Chinese Garden? visit here

Want to learn more about the Seattle, Chongqing cultural exchange? visit here

Lenin Keeps Seattle’s Capitalist Swine In Check

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It is a little known fact that Seattle’s Fremont Neighborhood is the center of the universe. This explains the usual assortment of apparitions in the neighborhood. A VW Bug eating troll lives under the Aurora Bridge while a neon decorated ballistic missile vents steam and a group of unfortunate bus riders stand frozen waiting for the interurban.

Lenin strides into Seattle

The neighborhood’s oddest resident is a two storey tall statue of Lenin, captured in this week’s sketch. It is oddly appropriate that Lenin is surrounded by guns and flames as he keeps watch over the capitalist excesses of the neighborhood’s business district. Sculpted by Emil Venkov, the statue was installed in Czechoslovakia in 1988 and was removed shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Lewis Carpenter, a teacher traveling in Czechoslovakia, discovered the statue and recognized it as Emil Venkov’s work. Wanting to preserve this piece of history, Carpenter bought the statue and transported it to his Issaquah home outside Seattle. Unfortunately, he never discovered a permanent home for the sculpture as he died shortly after returning to America. Carpenter’s family loaned the Lenin Statue to Fremont in the late 1990s in an attempt to find a buyer for this piece of Soviet memorabilia. No offers have been forth coming and Lenin remains on temporary display to this day.

Want to learn more about the unusual public art in Fremont visit here

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A Fourth of July Adventure in the Cascade Mountains

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Tree covered cliffs hang over Dorothy Lake.

For the Fourth of July, I went for a hike into the Cascade’s Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest to Dorothy Lake. From a forest service road, a 1.8 mile trail winds past waterfalls, through conifer forests and over rapids to the 2 mile long Dorothy Lake, 3000 feet above sea level. The Lake sits in a bowl of cliffs and tress carved by ancient glaciers. Today, the only hint of glaciers are the snows on nearby Big Snow Mountain. The alpine lake route is much loved by anglers, urbanites from nearby Bellevue and families trying to tame their energetic children. For those looking for an overnight back-packing trip, the trail continues past Dorothy Lake and ascends another ridge to a second pair of lakes where camp grounds allow overnight stays in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

A spectacular view down Dorothy Lake to Big Snow Mountain from the log jammed mouth of the lake’s out flow

Planning a trip to the Cascade Mountains and want to learn more.

To learn more about the Dorothy Lake Trail visit here

To learn more about the Alpine Lakes Wilderness visit here

For general information on hiking in Washington visit here

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Occidental Mall: Seattle, WA

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Hectic line work draws us into a blustery day in Seattle’s Pioneer Square Neighborhood. Looking down the Occidental Pedestrian Mall, homeless men loiter around the firefighter memorial while a women strides across the Plain Tree Alley after a day of shopping.

The Occidental Mall is a sharp contrast with the mud flats that pioneers settled on in 1853. The current brick buildings were constructed in the late 19th and early 20th century after the Great Seattle Fire destroyed the city in 1889. The area was threatened by urban renewal in the 1960s but was protected as a Historic District in 1970. Today the area houses the Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum, Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park and the Seattle Underground Tour.

Want to learn more about Pioneer Square? Visit The Alliance for Pioneer Square’s website here.

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