Thursday, June 14, 2007

About the well-tour

Getting back to last Saturday, the tour was put on by the Columbia Watershed Council and the Portland Water Bureau. We cycled around to various parts of Portland’s well-water system. People from the water bureau explained everything. Unfortunately I didn’t retain all that much of it because it’s all new information to me. Not to sound like a dope, but in order to absorb information, there has to be something in your brain to stick it to, or it falls right back out. And before this field trip there was almost nothing in my brain on that topic.

Besides, my powers of retention are cut to about 25% when I’m freezing and sopping wet. But though it poured the entire time, only a few people defected. Just when my friend Jennifer and I were about to abandon ship, we learned that making our own way back to the transit center would take just as long as if we stayed with the group. So we stuck it out.

Call me ignorant, but I thought well usage had to do with people too far out in the boonies to be reached by the city water system. Now I learn that the whole city’s on wells – gigantic super-deep specially engineered wells that are really complicated. These ain’t no hole-in-the-ground with a bucket-on-a-rope kinda thing. I’m impressed. And I’m glad there are people out there who know how to make water drinkable because it definitely wouldn’t be my forte.

I’m signed up in advance for the re-run when they have one. Now that I’ve got something in my brain to stick it to, I should learn a lot more second time around. I think that Bull Run Watershed is our main source of water, but we have this elaborate well system for when the Bull Run water is low. Don't quote me.

Here are some pictures of all these loony Oregonians standing around getting drenched. I think there were about 20 of us.Who knew wells could look like this?
They had maps, they had charts, they had diagrams; and they forged ahead and proceded as if the sky were not falling.



At 1:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kate, thanks for the nice summary of the event and great pictures. I too am amazed and thrilled by the perserverance and curiosity of fellow local residents who will spend a day riding in the rain learning about their drinking water. I felt a little guilty piloting the van, but someone had to do it! By the way, since the Water Bureau loves the blog, you are now on our blog. Check it out: and also check out some of our upcoming events. Thanks so much for participating in the ride and best of luck in your bike adventures! Rebecca - Groundwater Protection Program Manager, Portland Water Bureau.

At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Sarah Bott said...

Kate, this is such a great summary! I went on the tour last year and it was interesting and fun. This year I couldn't attend because I had a 50 mile training ride for the Seattle to Portland ride next month. Keep on pedalin'!

At 5:06 PM, Blogger kate gawf said...

Thanks, Rebecca! I love it that I'm on the Portland Water Bureau's website! Your links don't work from this comment you submitted, so I'm going to publish them in a separate posting.
Yes, I was envying you the van -- but you had an important role! You carried the food! -- an extra benefit I neglected to mention in my description.

At 5:16 PM, Blogger kate gawf said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 6:43 PM, Blogger kate gawf said...

Sarah Bott: While I was whining along doing 16 miles, you were plowing through the downpour for 50! Which one of us is crazier? I think it's a toss-up.

You might want to read my posts from last year on that Seattle to Portland thing. I'll try to link them here: One was July 25th, 7-25
and the other was July 26th, a tardy reward for a long ago feat of strength, bravery and foolhardiness
You'll find some handy tips on saving tons of energy and time.


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