Astoria Oregon

Driving up through Jewell on Hwy 202 to Astoria, I followed along Young’s River and entered into Young’s Bay. Many resorts from the 1920s and 30s dot the river along the highway. I’ve never entered Astoria this way before and I am so glad to have experienced this entry into one of the oldest cities in Oregon. I arrived in the part of town settled by Scandinavian immigrants. Many Finnish settlers brought their fishing techniques from their homeland and built a strong fishing empire. In the past, I’ve bought locally caught and on-site smoked salmon at Josephson’s Scandinavian Smoked Fish House. Great hiking snack, driving home snack and salad topper. In business since the 1920s, this family owned business resides in one of the oldest buildings in Astoria. Warm up by their over 100-year-old antique wood stove that made its way around the horn of South America from Scandinavia. Behind the store and under the bridge are many war memorials. Perfect to visit over Memorial Day weekend.


Just after the New Year a few years back I had arrived in Astoria at night and had a colorful, quiet and beautifully look at this historic city. I had done all the touristy things in Astoria that weekend. I took photos of the Column and the Flavel House Museum. I ate pizza and drank beer at Fort George Brewery. I toured the Bumble Cannery Museum at Pier 39 and I learned about the hazards of the Columbia River through stunning exhibits at the Columbia River Maritime Museum.

On this trip I focused on visiting places that allowed my dog, Buddy, to go with me. The trolley was closed when I visited during the winter, so I was able to ride with my Pomeranian companion on my lap.

Astoria really isn’t a small town like I plan on reporting on during these trips. However, I did want to see a friend who lived in Eugene a few years back and now has her artist studio in downtown Astoria. Buddy and I had some time before I was to meet Becky at 5 at Imogen Gallery. It was a beautiful warm day for late May and I was able to have a fresh, moist hand-made brownie and coffee outside at Table 360, while Buddy received a fresh bowl of water. I catch up on some freelance before I met up with Becky. From the gallery, she was going to take me to her Shift studio.

Becky from Shift


I had seen Becky’s Shift clothing line at Passionflower Design this past winter on a First Friday Art Walk in Eugene and was dying to see her studio in Astoria. An artist’s studio is where you really get to know the artist and see what inspires them and how they get the creative process going.

Becky said she started making clothing she liked for herself. With a background in clothing design, she made clothes that fit her, and it turns out lots of folks are big fans of her designs and fabric selections. She prefers natural textiles, denim, linen and cotton.

Her studio is in the heart of downtown historic Astoria. Entering the victorian building, going up a flight of stairs you enter into a brightly lit area with skylights. Clearly this building was built before electricity. Transoms over the doors and large windows let the daylight in.

More exciting than I imagined, Becky’s studio was full of wonderful and inspirational art, antiques, notions, fabrics, and a bit of humor as well. Definitely an inspiring and comfortable place to work. She also creates her own suspenders, this allows the wearer additional customization and accurate fit with a bit of flair.


Becky recommended Buoy Beer for dinner. My waitress was wearing one of Becky’s “shifts”. Amelia was too busy to pose for me, but she let me know how much she adores Becky. I’m a dark beer fan, so ordered the Oatmeal Stout. Clam Chowder and a wonderful house salad was a perfect way to end the day. The sunset over the Columbia River was a beautiful through the large windows at Buoy.

Photos of downtown Astoria and the trolley ride
Finished up the day north of Gearhart

Heading south from Astoria you can find the Wreck of Peter Iredale, the Battery Russell at Fort Stevens State Park, and Fort Clatsop. I’ve stopped there in the past, but it was getting dark, time to settle in for the evening just north of Seaside, as I needed to be in Waldport the next day to have time with my Aunt Ruth and her fabric store, Ruth’s Family Fabrics.

Jewell Oregon

IMG_7650The ghost town of Jewell was so small I almost missed it. I parked a bit up the road from this sign (shown on the left) and walked back to what looked like an old store or gas station. The only two buildings along the highway I could find were abandoned and looked like they had been ravaged through a flood. Had this Coast Range area of the Nahalem River seen the same floods as Vernonia in 1996 and 2007? I could easily imagine this little market or gas station in its prime. A logging truck came noisily rambling down the road and parked on the other side of highway 202 from my trailer. I watched the logger in his suspenders check his load while I peered into an abandoned house.


IMG_7671.jpgFurther north along the road I arrived in an area called the Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area and was delighted to come upon a park ranger showing animal skulls to some elementary-aged children. I didn’t see any elk, as this area is famous for, but informational kiosks at the rest area filled me in on what I was missing. I drove on further in this wildlife area and discovered many rest areas with picnic tables and bathrooms along the highway.

I would be entering into Astoria by following the Young’s River that leads to the bay between Warrenton and Astoria.

For more photos visit my SeenEugene Flickr site.

Peering inside the abandoned house in Jewell. Looks like flood damage.

Amity to Vernonia

1 Amity
Coelho Winery, Amity

Leaving Corvallis, my first stop was was in Amity for a break and a leisurely walk around town. I discovered Coehlo Winery, and decided to “christen” my trip with a flight of red wines. Luke, the pourer, introduced me to their very special Ports.

After the wine wore off, I headed straight to Vernonia through some beautiful wine-country towns. My best friend’s nephew was having a milestone birthday and invited me to camp at their place for the week. Buddy, my traveling companion (9-year-old Pomeranian), enjoyed having free rein and loved running around with the chickens and other pups on the 5-acre property.

Vernonia History.JPGVernonia, a historic logging town, had the largest sawmill operation in the world in the 1920s. I wanted to know more about this quaint little town so I sought out as much history about it as I could find. Charlie (my best friend’s brother) and I paddled around in the former mill pond and wandered through graffiti covered walls of the former fuel building for the mill, near the pond.

Graffiti covered walls of the fuel building

Downtown Vernonia has a surprising number of excellent eateries. The spicy aroma wafting from the La Cabaña Restaurant lured Charlie and I in. One piña colada for me, one berry margarita for Charlie. I ordered Pollo a la Créma, a favorite of mine. Great food at a great price. While dining on the sidewalk under a faux grass umbrella, a middle-aged man drove by on his riding lawn mower like he owned the road. Assuming he’s headed for the hardware store. The little R&S Market in town has very reasonably priced groceries and a broad selection of goods for such a small town. The produce was fresh and varied. I just needed s’more mixings.

The most surprising thing in Vernonia is the Liquor/Hardware store! Yes, one location for all your weekend projects! A cocktail in one hand and rake in the other? I can picture it too easily.

Vernonia Hardware and Liquor Store
Meeting all your weekend needs
Signage does not necessary indicate services inside. But if you do happen to chip a tooth on your pint… Just kidding.

My final eating out experience was at the Black Iron Grill. I have to say they have the best outdoor seating and great burgers. We had to wait a but for our food but it was worth it.

Black Bear Coffee
Cadaver Dog “on-tap”

The Coffee next door, The Black Bear Coffee Company had some interesting varieties, like Cadaver Dog, Slug in a Mug, Bull Bucker and Mule Skinner. Next time I’m there I hope to try them all and sit in the sunny courtyard and maybe catch that guy with the riding lawnmower heading back to the hardware store.

See all the photos of Vernonia on my facebook album. Coelho Winery in Amity photos. Also find the trip photos on my SeenEugene flickr account. #mikayletravelsoregon

Celebrating 10 years of the Wildish Theater

Twitter post full-size

Working with Dan Egan at the Richard E. Wildish Theater, aka the Wildish Theater, has a familiar feel as he was my boss at the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce a few years ago. A dedicated Springfield citizen, art supporter and musician, his focus on keeping the theater a “jewel” in the City of Springfield. Often a regular at the Wildish myself, I appreciate the architecture by renowned architect, Otto Poticha. He devised an ingenious design for the limited available space. With 283 seats in stadium seating, there is truly not a bad seat in the house. The excellent acoustics and flexible stage showcase a wide array of activities. I photograph for one of the resident companies, Chamber Music Amici and have photographed the theater itself. I was honored when Dan asked me to be a part of the 10-year Anniversary Event with helping out with the design and event planning.

Springfield Arts Commission Public Art Brochure

I was asked by the Springfield Arts Commission to photograph, design, and write a brochure for the downtown murals and sculpture that the Commission helped to procure. I also developed a route for the self-guided tour and mapped it in an easy to navigate path that made a loop of the downtown area including riding Lane Transit District‘s Emx bus route as many sculptures are located at LTD stations.

Included in the brochure are also the Indoor Cultural & Arts Exhibits such as City Hall Gallery, Springfield Public Library, Springfield Depot, Springfield Museum, Emerald Art Center and the Richard E. Wildish Community Theater.

Click the links below for two versions of the brochure. The first one is the Tabloid size brochure that is commercial print ready, the second is a version that prints as 4 letter size pages.

Download 11×17 2 page brochure
Download a 4 page letter brochure

Side note:

I drew the “Springfield” logo from this historical photo of City Hall. I skewed it in photoshop to be flat and adjusted some letter spacing as I felt the “S” was a bit too far away front he other letters.


More items including the “Springfield” hand lettered type:

Street banner:Artwalk Banner

Past posters for the Downtown Springfield 2nd Friday Art walk:


Nana’s Caffe

Nana's Caffe'Terry Dawson, Owner of Coburg Pizza Co. and Nana’s Caffe, contacted me about taking a thumbnail sketch an artist created for him and creating vector art that he could use for many applications such as a facebook icon, signage, and flyer for his caffé at his Coburg, Oregon location.

Nana's Caffe