All-Salmon Weekend

A summary of my weekend-plus at the meeting of the Pacific Fishery Management Council (what I'll describe as akin to an advanced seminar on chinook salmon from a world-class faculty) in Vancouver, Washington:

Day 1: I left home for the Oakland airport at 7:20 a.m. or so. My plane departed at 9 a.m. and landed in Portland at 10:40 or so. I was behind the wheel of a rented car by 11 a.m. and at the Hilton in downtown Vancouver by 11:30. In a hallway, I recognized a voice I'd only heard on the phone before–Barbara Emley, a San Francisco salmon troller who's been fishing salmon since the 1980s. I introduced myself and she invited me to lunch with her and two fishermen, Dave Bitts of Eureka and Joel Kawahara, from Washington's Olympic Peninsula. They filled me in on the morning's proceedings and what was to come in the afternoon, including a discussion of limitations that may be posed on this year's chinook salmon catch to accommodate threatened populations of killer whales, which like to snack on them. I spent the afternoon in a variety of meetings and talking to a variety of people, including Chuck Tracy, the PFMC officer who works on salmon issues. At about 5:45, I headed over to my friend Pete's house in Portland to hang out with him and his boy Niko. 

Day 2: Sunday morning I was at the hotel by 10:30 or so for another day of meetings both on the status of the Sacramento River salmon fishery and on initial suggestions for the 2011 fishing season. I interviewed about half a dozen people, pulled a couple soundbites, wrote up a short story to air on KQED's local news on Monday morning, did a read-through with my editor in the Bay Area. I got out of the hotel about 7:45, went to Pete and Niko's, had a late dinner, then voiced and uploaded my story. Pete and I stayed up talking until about midnight, then he went to bed. Since I had promised a second story, I stayed up and wrote that, pulled another soundbite, and sent it off to one of the editors in San Francisco. 

Day 3: Monday, which at one point in this adventure was penciled in as a day off, I was up at 7:30, drank Pete's excellent coffeed, stayed at the house while Pete took Niko to school, then voiced the second piece I had written the night before, wrote a third piece (these are all very short, like a minute, max), voiced that, then uploaded everything to KQED. I made an attempt to talk the editor of our statewide show to put off a Tuesday morning story I had promised her, because I was hoping to have a pressure-free day before flying back to Oakland in the evening. But my gambit didn't work, and a promise is a promise, so I said I'd have a script to her late in the afternoon. In the meantime, Pete had returned home and we had talked about going to Powell's, the landmark bookstore in Portland, which I had never visited. So we walked to the Lloyd Center "Max" station–about three and a half miles from Pete's, as it turned out–and rode free to the heart of downtown, then walked the rest of the way to Powell's. We hung out there and both bought something–I got a cookbook, which I never do, and a novel by Peter Carey that's supposed to be something of a gloss on Tocqueville's visit to America. Then I bought Pete lunch at Little Big Burger, which was awesome (we each consumed 1.5 cheeseburgers and split an order of fries). Then Pete said, "Well, you feel like walking back?" I did. So we set off across the Pearl District, Old Town/Chinatown, the Burnside Bridge, and up Burnside Avenue to Laurelhurst; we detoured through Laurelhurst Park, with Pete filling me in on details of the neighborhoods we passed through. At 3 o'clock, when we got back to Pete's, in the general vicinity of Mount Tabor, we had walked another four and a half miles or so. The total for the outing came to about nine miles. Back at Pete's I packed up, loaded up the car, took my leave, filled up with gas, and made the short, easy drive to the Portland airport for my 6 p.m. flight. There, I schlepped my stuff to one of the cool little work carrels they have in the terminal buildings and, at about 4:20, began writing my story for Tuesday morning. At about 5:30, I had something that was, if not profoundly insightful, most likely would not provoke shrieks of outrage from editor or listeners. I did a quick read-through with said editor, then packed up my stuff and walked to the gate for my flight, which was due to be boarding. It was a little late, but not by much, and the flight was uneventful. We got to Oakland about 7:30 or so. Kate picked me up. We went home, had dinner, walked the dog, and then I recorded my voice tracks and isolated my soundbites and uploaded all the sound. Lest that all sound real quick, I was done with all that at 12:30 this morning. 

Day 4: This morning, while I was asleep, an engineer mixed the sound, and the piece aired at 5:50 a.m. I caught it during a 6:50 repeat and at some point realized I had made a factual error in the piece. So I wrote a correction for that, too.

Later, I vacuumed the house. 

1 Comment

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One Response to All-Salmon Weekend

  1. You forgot to mention the plush sleeping accommodations!
    Re: Little Big Burger, got a chuckle reading the review in the just-out Willamette Week “Good Eats” issue in light of our decision to split a third burger instead of getting two apiece: “The bun is sturdy, but quite small, leading some Yelpers to whine that the burger is an overpriced slider. Don’t let yourself be fooled—I’d guess this is a 500-calorie burger; eating two for lunch would be unwise.”
    Was great to see you.

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