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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 24, 2006 11:44 AM. The previous post in this blog was All's well that ends well -- or is it?. The next post in this blog is Mrs. Mayor. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Friday, February 24, 2006

Home, home on the Pearl

A reader writes:

I thought this photo might make you smile. Someone is tying little plastic ponies to the old "sidewalk horse rings" (don't know what else to call them) in the Pearl. They are in locations all over the neighborhood. It's pretty amusing to see them. Most of the time, only the kids notice them (or the people with child-like imagination!).

UPDATE, 4:31 p.m.: Now the reader writes: I sent you the photo a bit prematurely... it is being considered for publication (soon) and should not have been released to the public. I'm glad that you liked it enough to add to your blog, but would you mind removing it?

O.k., I guess. Good thing for you it's Nice Week.

UPDATE, 2/25, 2:50 a.m.: Another alert reader has a photo of this that he's willing to share. Not as artsy, but more illustrative of the setup:

(Note: Time stamps on comments for this entry were changed in a server migration.)

Comments (24)

What exactly are those rings?

They're for tying up your horse.

No, really. When they repair the sidewalks, they leave the horse rings in there for charm. They really are as old as you think.

This is the kind of thing I consider really nice-and serendipitous- about Portland; people who provide you with antecdotes for out-of-towners while you're givng them the Grand Tour.

Of course, there are rings in the sidewalks in the Pearl -- which are brand-new sidewalks. Not sure about the details, but they're putting new little rings in. I love 'em.

perhaps these are dehydrated horses, strategically placed for emergency use only by the PPB's mounted patrol.

add water and STAND BACK!

I didn't know about the rings until we moved to our place in NE portland. My boyfriend pointed them out and explained what they were. I thought he was kidding (as when he told me about the California Barking Spider), but since then I've heard that when the sidewalks started needing repairs and the rings weren't included in the new curbs, citizens protested, thus now new curbs have the old rings. I think it's pretty cool beans.

The rings are one of the quirky things about this town that I actually like! It makes me think of the "good ol' days" and wonder what Portland was like back then.

That's a well-composed and well-lit photo. I'd actually frame that and put it on a wall, to be honest.

I've seen a couple of those little ponies in North and Northeast, I believe.

How excellent.

The colorful ponies ARE really cool, and I adore the horse rings, but when do we get to stop being nice? Jack is trying to distract us by posting this cute little pony to keep us calmed down, I suspect.


"Just add water"?

In that case, there's gonna be a whole lotta horses in the Pearl very soon, if is right...

Not that that's a bad thing.

Too Late.

I just saw several PETA members with wire cutters on NW Lovejoy.

They were carrying "Free the Ponies" signs.

They didn't look nice.

The confluence of the concepts "plastic" and "the Pearl" is so tempting. But there are still 30 hours left in Nice Week.

Being involved with the hospitality industry for so many years, a common question from out-of-towners was: "What are those rings on the curbs for?" We'd just laugh and tell 'em that the rings were there to tie up our boats to when the rain got too heavy and the river flooded. Amazing how many people bought that old joke...and to this day, the rings still bring a smile to my face!

There are even people so young they don't recognize the 'western movie' scenes where cowpokes are hitchin' their horses to a stantion in front of the mercantile slash saloon, and with a public trough for the horses' slake. The rings, though, I think, usually were tying down horses hitched to delivery wagons and buckboards, today in the Pearl it could be surreys or the park carriage tour that clip-clop, clip-clop's around downtown. Somehow the 'neat' in it is it's capture of a time spread, like history is in the present. It's that contrast that is the 'information' or neat 'thought' in it, otherwise it's just iron rings in the sidewalk. Contrast, always contrast, we know nothing without contrast. Fire nice.

Joni Mitchell --
"Be Cool"

If there's one rule to this game
Everybody's gonna name
It's, be cool!
If you're worried or uncertain
If your feelings are hurtin'
You're a fool if you can't keep cool
Charm 'em
Don't alarm 'em
Keep things light
Keep your worries out of sight
And play it cool
Play it cool
Fire and ice

If your heart is on the floor
Cause you've just seen your lover
Comin' through the door with a new fool--
Be cool
Don't get riled
Smile-keep it light
Be your own best friend tonight
And play it cool
Play it cool
Fire and ice

Don't get jealous
Don't get over-zealous
Keep your cool
Don't whine
Kiss off that flaky valentine
Youfre nobodyfs fool
Be cool fool
Be cool
(lots of other fish in the sea)

Play it cool
Play it cool
Fire and ice

So if there's one rule to this game
Everybody's gonna name
It's--be cool
If you're worried or uncertain
If your feelings are hurtin'
You're a fool if you can't keep cool
They want you to
Charm 'em
Don't alarm 'em
Keep things light
Keep your worries out of sight
And play it cool
Play it cool
Fire and ice

This Old Barn might have stuff that hitched up downtown for real once upon a time. ((c) me 2006)

Then here is a picture of a good old wagon, circa 1900 with my grandfather sitting next to his sister, in Gresham off Sandy Blvd.

I can only guess whether it made it downtown, but whom else would the little rings have been intended to serve?

In the time after Peak Oil maybe we'll look back at the 1910-2010 "oil bubble" when people thought they would drive cars forever, and we'll be glad they left those rings in place for our horses.

"You remember the oil bubble... back before people started getting around on horses again. Good thing they left them in place, those far sighted Portlanders. Have some hay."

This Old Barn might have stuff that hitched up downtown for real once upon a time. ((c) me 2006)

Then here is a picture of a good old wagon, circa 1900 with my grandfather sitting next to his sister, in Gresham off Sandy Blvd.

I can only guess whether it made it downtown, but whom else would the little rings have been intended to serve?

The horses are part of a public art project by Scott Wayne Indiana.

More about Scott at

More about those horses at

My wife dragged me off to a "Cowgirl Ball" benefit in the Pearl last year, a benefit for "Foreward Stride" a group that uses horses to help developmentally disabled kids. They had a real horse tied up was cool. And we've still got rings in our home's curbs, in inner SE.

I'm glad you enjoy the horses! I invite you all to tie one up to a ring anywhere, snap a photo and email it to me, and I'll add it to the collection of images on my site:

(the real "art" (in my mind) is the actual horses though, the pics are just for documentation, even though some of the photos have turned out quite remarkable, like the one on this blog!)

scott wayne indiana
portland, oregon

The real art (in my mind) is that ....

....kittens are very nice.

I enjoy kittens and cats and horses and....


(almost) Everything is beautiful,

in its own way

Frank, allergic to horses, and hay, has blocked out the real recent history of horses in The Pearl. Last year there were two, not one, horses camped out on a busy Pearl corner, munching hay, visiting with passers-by, and calmly ignoring all the hullabaloo of a fine Saturday night in The Pearl.

It wss almost the most interesting thing about that night -- how all the passersby took their presence -- oh, hum, sure, horses camping (and pooping) in The Pearl. Nice horsee. Oh -- there's our restaurant!


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
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Locations, Spanish Red Wine
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Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
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Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
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Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
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G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
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Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
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The Occasional Book

Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
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Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
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Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
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Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
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Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
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J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
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Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
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Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
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Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
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Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
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Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
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Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 113
At this date last year: 155
Total run in 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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