I was a kid who would look on maps and see that Astoria on the other coast, on the Pacific, and who wanted to go there. It was a port city, downstream from Portland, and I imagined ships in addition to bricks like the Astoria I was growing up in, on the Atlantic.
This year I went to that other Astoria.
|There is a 600 foot column in a park on a hill above the city. It was put up by the Astor family and sports a mural depicting scenes from the lives of the indians that their ancestors displaced.
|Those who climb the inevitable spiral staircase are able to see all the way to Megler, Washington (unless there is fog), which is said to be inspiring.
|Down below is the town, a riverfront harbor city hit hard by the recession, dog-eared home of the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival. There are a few brick warehouses near the docks but, unlike the Astoria of my eastern provenance, the buildings are mostly paint-starved wood.
There is also the inescapable bridge.
The bridge across the Columbia dominates the town, towering over the main road whether you're coming from east or west. A tiny park at the river's edge clings to the base of the southern tower. It features plaques welcoming visitors to Astoria and more murals celebrating displaced aboriginals.
|When in Astoria, one simply must take pictures of the many wooden posts in the river, soulful remnants of rotted docks. I learned this by researching my trip on Flickr, where enthusiasts may find many excellent contributions to the genre. These are mine.