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May 23rd, 2020

Watching the sky

Yesterday I went on an errand to North Portland. I was in the mood for a different route than usual, so I crossed the Glenn Jackson Bridge on I-205 into Washington and went west on Hwy. 14 before getting onto I-5 and crossing the Interstate Bridge to, as promised, North Portland.

This goes by Pearson Field. It's a longtime general aviation airport right next to Fort Vancouver and a mile from the city's downtown. Small planes go in and out of it, obviously nothing the size of the passenger and cargo jets going through Portland International Airport just a few miles away.

While driving west, I saw a small single-engine plane on approach from the east, heading west. A few minutes later, as I got onto I-5, I saw a small plane launching, also pointing west. Either it was the same plane doing a touch-and-go or a second plane launching; I didn't look closely enough to be sure.

In the same amount of time, driving the several miles across one bridge then down 14 then across another bridge, I usually would have seen four or five planes, usually larger, on approach to PDX or leaving PDX. Yesterday afternoon, I didn't see a single plane headed to or leaving that airport.

Traffic at PDX is down over 90% from what it was a year ago. Yes, there's another reminder of pandemic life.

(And yes, I was wearing a mask while out. I'm doing what I can to be very, very careful.)


Whale fluke
Chris Walsh

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