While I was painting at Buckman School, one of the neighbors told me about a building I had never spotted, although it is definitely right in the neighborhood.
This is the original building of the East Portland (Multnomah County) Library, architect A.E. Doyle, built in 1911. The building, at 11th and Alder, now houses offices. Doyle also designed the Multnomah County Library in the center of Portland, a building I greatly admire. This East Portland library branch was built 20 years after East Portland, Albina, and Portland merged to become the City of Portland, and it perhaps soothed the feelings of east bank-ers who have been stepsisters of greater downtown Portland ever since they merged.
A somewhat better photo than mine can be found here.
The Building is handsome, although hemmed in by a cement block building, a Plaid Pantry,and, just off to the left of the photo, the Rimsky-Korsakoffee House, a dessert and coffee bar. The former library building has a charming rotunda with windows as its back, but the other gritty-city structures cut off views as well as access to that area.
The Rimsky-Korskoffee House is almost impossible to find, even though it fronts 12th Avenue; on the outside, it looks like a haunted house, and on many occasions, feels on the inside like one. It used to be a Reedie hangout — hard to know who goes there now. Perhaps when my calorie count for the day is low enough, we’ll have to venture out.
Anyway, as I walked back from my excursion to the block surrounded by SE 10th, Alder, 11th, and Morrison, I came across this bit of neighborhood “art.” I have always thought that pushing smokers out of doors was very good for those of us who have to walk through neighborhoods of varying safety — with a smoker out every door, the thugs are less likely to interfere with one’s perambulations. But this is a new wrinkle on my old appreciation. For those who want to think Art rather than “art”, note the shapes and feel affirmed.