Sunday, May 18, 2008

eruption of 1980

Looking for an old magazine, I came across a stash of old Willamette Weeks. I used to illustrate articles for the rag when Reed Darmon was the art director, especially music articles by Mark Sten. When I came across the above piece today, I had to wince – because today is the day the big one blew exactly 28 years ago. Barry Johnson is only anticipating it here because this was printed in April.

It’s particularly telling that Johnson refers to San Francisco and how it has an earthquake. But hey, they got nothing on us! Up until that time, some of us scare-d-cats were actually avoiding the inevitable move to the Bay Area because of the earthquake. Once the mountain blew, I just didn’t care anymore. Turns out Portland wasn’t so sleepy after all - and I liked making art around lava lake activity.

I remember hearing a big bomb. Just like that, it disturbed the peace in my house on NW Kearney. I walked outside and heard it before I saw it: the pitter pat of light grey ash hitting the lawn. Eventually it invaded the house, got into our sheets and lungs and eyes. I had to make a trip to SF soon after that and remarked in my diary how nice it would be just to get away from the ash.

The best part was the deserted streets. Only the buses went up and down Burnside and the streets belonged to the people, some of us wearing masks. I’ve posted this photograph by Rupert Jenkins before. It’s a group on Burnside waiting for the bus.

1 comment:

Sheree Rensel said...

Gosh, I can't imagine that. It must be so awful to have that grey soot everywhere. I have only seen flying ash on TV. It looks like it would be unbearable to try to live in that kind of environment. Shoot, I am sensitive to the Florida pollen. I couldn't survive all that grey soot.
There isn't a place in the world free of natural disasters. We have hurricanes. SF has earthquakes. You have natural bombs and dust. They are all equally terrible!