Approaching Portland


I have no problem with most of the flight directions airline crews give passengers, except for one. The order to turn off all electronic devices–“anything with an on or off switch”–gets in the way of picture-taking on takeoffs and landing. I have never heard the electronic point-and-shoot photography has even interfered with a plane’s avionics or brought down a flight, and I’ve seen landing videos shot right in the cockpits of big commercial jets, so I persist in the habit. Here’s an example from last Saturday: my Southwest flight from Oakland on approach to Portland airport. The image is looking southeast over Sauvie Island, just west of the Willamette River and the city. How do I know? I spent a while checking my images of the approach against Google Maps satellite images and online maps. I don’t know the area at all, and had to orient myself as to the direction of our approach–some later images corrected my impression that we were landing east-to-west; it was the exact opposite. That upside-down Y intersection at the lower left is where Reeder Road, coming from the left, meets Oak Island Road, coming from the right. I couldn’t find the name of that stream winding through the center of the frame, but you can see the Multnomah Channel, just west of its confluence with the Willamette, at the very top of the picture. Compare the satellite image of the spot.

8 Replies to “Approaching Portland”

  1. Sauvie Island! I love that place. There’s a very impressive and popular maize there ( that’s great fun on a sunny October day. The island is also home to the Foot Traffic Flat, a half and full marathon (course map: held early in the morning on the Fourth of July. That intersection of Reader and Oak Island roads is around mile 19 in the full marathon (you’ll want to read all about that: One thing I didn’t know until checking out the Sauvie Island Wikipedia entry is that it is the “largest river island in the United States.” How about that?

  2. I knew I’d heard the name Sauvie Island before, and that’s where: from your race out there. My first response to that geographical trivia fact is: What about Manhattan? Though it’s clear this is a big island.

  3. Doh — “maze” not “maize.”
    According to Wikipedia, Sauvie Island has a land area of 32.75 sq mi and Manhattan’s land area is 22.96 square miles. Manhattan wins in population density, however.

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