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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.

@rickynoragg:

"Just add water"?

In that case, there's gonna be a whole lotta horses in the Pearl very soon, if weather.com 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
Fifty-fifty
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
Fifty-fifty
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
Fifty-fifty
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
Fifty-fifty
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 http://www.39forks.com/39pages/projects/Horse/HorseMAIN.htm

More about those horses at http://pdxartwork.blogspot.com/2006/02/duchamps-horse.html

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 outside...it 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: www.39forks.com

(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!)

cheers,
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....

arrrrghhhh.

(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!


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