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Thursday, June 01, 2006


or, St. Joan Ride
Coe Circle, i.e. the traffic circle at NE 39th and Glisan


6:30 came and there I was at the Hostel, anxious. Only one person had shown up by then. I plan events around "Portland Time" (i.e. no one is ever on time), but what if no one else comes? Would the big tub of vegan mac n cheese and the jug of iced tea I made go to waste? Thankfully by 6:35 a gaggle of folks had shown up, and at 6:45 we departed the Hostel, pausing briefly at Zupans for more supplies.

The ride zipped up SE 33rd and cruised through Laurelhurst Park, and what a beautiful day for a ride in the park, a high of 75 and sunny. We crossed 39th and Ankeny, took a turn up 41st to NE Glisan and turned left on Glisan to enter the traffic circle.

Ah, the traffic circle. The circle within the traffic is a park, just like the one in Ladds. And suferficially they are pretty similar, some grass, some bushes. But Ladd's Circle is in a low traffic area so people actually use it, while Coe Circle is surrounded by two busy streets, so no one uses it. This may explain the looks of surprise and wonderment from the car drivers and bus riders who passed us. Who the hell would plop down in the middle of this circle to have a picnic? Well us, of course. I'm all about using public spaces that haven't fulfilled their potential.

And Coe Circle is lovely! It's got a great gilded statue of Joan of Arc on a horse in it! (The ultimate irony is that this ride took place on the 575th anniversary of young Joan's burning at the stake, and I didn't even know that planning the ride!) The statue was donated by Henry Waldo Coe (aka "the statue dude") in 1924 in rememberance of World War I veterans. One odd thing about the statue is its placement. Rather than dead in the center of the circle (as customary), its somewhat on the south side of the circle. This is due to the fact that at the time of placement a streetcar line (the Montavilla line) ran down Glisan through the circle. And I guess they never got around to moving it after they removed the tracks!

We all hung out and munched on our food until somewhat after 8pm, when obligations called and the daylight faded. We got on our bikes and headed south on 39th, a mini-mass back through Laurelhurst.

The next Pedal Potluck Picnic meets up at the Hawthorne Hostel, 3031 SE Hawthorne Blvd, on Tuesday June 6th at 6:30pm. Won't you join us?

1 comment:

  1. I'd have liked to be there (St. Joan is one of my favorite places in Portland), but I've been working all week. See ya next time, though, and don't forget the vegan mac!


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