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October 26th, 2013

Technically, to me, it was a UFO.

...it moved.

Of course, plenty of flying devices move through the air above the Willamette in southern Portland. You get a lot of small to medium planes (up to, say an Alaska Air Bombardier) heading to or from PDX's NE/SW runway, and helicopters. Higher up, you get 737s and larger jets arcing around to head south or east after a westbound launch, or headed the other way towards landings. Plus, of course, birds at many levels.

It's also the air space where Portland had reports of flying saucers, on July 4th, 1947 (scroll down to "07/05/1947 Oregonian"). Multiple witnesses, including cops, claimed they saw round objects in the sky above Oaks Park, a major landmark then and now in this part of Portland.

Tonight, I saw...something. Nothing that dramatic, though I only have guesses as to what it was. I was walking up Milwaukie Ave. after spending the afternoon in Sellwood and Moreland, I was headed home. I stopped at the entrance of Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, to see if a trail through the park was still closed mid-week, then sky movement caught my eye. I've been paying attention to planes and helicopters since the mid-80s -- though not so much before, even when I lived near Naval bases -- so it's now a habit to look up. There. Some moving lights, red and green and blinking, headed slowly over from the river. I first thought it was a helicopter.

Then it swooped. Faster than I'd expect a helicopter to swoop. The object moved quickly over McLaughlin Blvd. and Milwaukie Ave., to the north of me. I moved back south down the sidewalk trying to keep it in view above the low building just south of McLaughlin. The object looked like it was losing altitude. I hoped it was something small, because if it was large enough to be a helicopter -- as in, with people in it -- it'd be losing altitude at a dangerous speed. It recovered. Leveling out, moving around -- slower, faster -- and it was only then, as it moved to be blocked from my view by the building, that I though maybe I should get out my iPad and try to get video of whatever it was.

Of course I didn't see it again, after I got to Camera mode on the flat computer I had with me. (Took me a couple of minutes to get it to start recording anything, anyway.) And I decided not to wait. It wasn't going to turn out to be aliens or futuristic hover-ships. Maybe it had landed. My best bunch: it was some kind of quadcopter, these little radio-controlled, four-propellered platforms that can carry cameras. Maybe it was a model helicopter. Nothing with people on it. Unless the Nac Mac Feegle have figured out air travel...