Plus: Bear safety in Forest Park
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Today’s Forecast

49º | Showers | 84% chance of rain | Sunrise 7:50 a.m. | Sunset 4:40 p.m.

A compelling story arch
A long wooden beam with worn red paint rests on supports.
The kasagi crossed approx. 5,000 miles before washing up on the Oregon coast. | Photo by Jonathan Ley, courtesy of Portland Japanese Garden
On March 11, 2011, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake off the northeastern coast of Honshu (Japan’s main island) triggered a catastrophic tsunami that wiped out coastal communities and led to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.

Almost exactly two years later in Oceanside, Oregon, a resident walking along the beach spotted debris from the Great East Japan Earthquake: a large wooden beam painted red. Sadafumi “Sada” Uchiyama, the curator at the Portland Japanese Garden, identified the wooden beam as a kasagi from a torii gate.

A torii is a traditional gate that marks the entrance to the sacred grounds of a Shinto shrine. They characteristically feature two vertical posts topped by a sturdy crossbeam, or kasagi.

One month later on April 9, a second kasagi was found on a beach less than 120 miles away in Florence. Unlike the first, this kasagi bore a Japanese inscription: the name of the person who dedicated it in 1988, Toshimi Takahashi. Both were added to an online database for lost items, but no one claimed them — so the Portland Japanese Garden team made it their responsibility to find the beams’ original homes.

In a country with over 10,000 shrines, the mission was like finding two needles in a haystack. A trip to Japan to spread the word town-to-town narrowed the search to the remote fishing village of Okuki where two torii had once stood before the tsunami swept them away. The team found Takahashi, then 85 years old, who told local news he was “surprised” and “truly thankful” the kasagi had been recovered.

Fundraisers organized by the Portland Japanese Garden helped pay for the beams to cross the Pacific Ocean once more. The same Japanese carpenter — Suetako Takekomo — who crafted the original gates four decades earlier rebuilt the structures and, in the fall of 2015, they were reinstalled at the shrine entrance in Okuki as symbols of perseverance, recovery, and hope.
Tuesday, May 23
  • Journal the Arboretum Trees | Tuesday, May 23 | 1-2:30 p.m. | Hoyt Arboretum, 4000 SW Fairview Blvd., Portland | $70 | Let the natural world inspire your illustrations as you walk the wooded trails.
Wednesday, May 24
  • Mario Kart 64 Tournament | Wednesday, May 24 | 6 p.m. | The 4th Wall PDX, 1445 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland | $5 | All ages are welcome at this epic night of ‘90s gaming nostalgia.
  • OMSI After Dark: CiderFest | Wednesday, May 24 | 6-10 p.m. | OMSI, 1945 SE Water Ave., Portland | $25-$50 | Treat your taste buds to cider samples from more than 18 PNW cidermakers and enjoy live music, science demos, aerial performances, laser shows, food, and more.
Thursday, May 25
  • “BARE: A Pop Opera” | Thursday, May 25-Sunday, May 28 | Times vary | Metropolitan Performing Arts, 6403 E. Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver | $21-$25 | This contemporary rock musical follows a group of students at a Catholic boarding school as they prepare a production of “Romeo and Juliet” and grapple with who they are.
Friday, May 26
  • Portland Farmhouse and Wild Ale Festival | Friday, May 26-Saturday, May 27 | Times vary | Von Ebert Brewing Glendoveer + Kitchen, 14021 NE Glisan St., Portland | $35-$50 | This invitational-style beer festival highlights some of America’s best farmhouse brews and vintage beers.
  • Rose Festival CityFair | Friday, May 26-Sunday, June 11 | Times vary | Tom McCall Waterfront Park, 98 SW Naito Pkwy., Portland | $12-$20 | Enjoy entertainment, interactive exhibits, fair food, and carnival rides along the Willamette River.
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News Notes
  • Forest Park visitors, be beary careful as you explore the trails — three separate sightings of a black bear have been reported in recent days. Signs have been posted in the area, cautioning people who encounter a bear to make noise, avoid eye contact, carry bear spray, and keep dogs leashed. (The Oregonian/Oregon Live)
  • Starting Friday, July 14, the state of Oregon will publicly post the names of people and businesses who have failed to pay at least $50,000 in state taxes. Delinquent taxpayers will be listed on the state’s website in accordance with a bill approved by lawmakers in 2019. (The Oregonian/Oregon Live)
  • A downtown Portland food cart with an established fan base is on the market for $80,000. The owners of Stretch the Noodle — Duane and Xue Mei Simard — plan to retire after seven years of business at Southwest Washington Street and Third Avenue. The sale includes 30 days of training. (Portland Monthly)
  • The Ritz-Carlton’s 20th-floor restaurant, Bellpine, has officially added chef Lauro Romero to its team. Romero, who will join executive chef Pedro Almeida, previously served as executive chef at República before launching Clandestino at Lil’ Dame in 2022. Bellpine is expected to open later this summer. (Portland Monthly)
  • The Portland Football Officials Association (PFOA) has thrown a flag for help. The organization is in dire need of new recruits to officiate youth, junior varsity, and varsity football games as it grapples with a prolonged referee shortage. Learn how to make $65-$85 per game and sign up. (KOIN)
  • Stephen Zipprich of Portland is the “911 Dispatcher of the Year.” The senior dispatcher at BOEC was picked from among 50 other nominees across North America. Zipprich said he was honored by the award, but would still be proud to help people every day even if he didn’t get it. (KGW)
  • Vanport was the largest temporary wartime housing project in the country when it was destroyed by flooding on Memorial Day in 1948. At least 15 people were killed and 18,000 others were displaced. “Vanport is something I think we have to never forget,” said survivor Janice Okamoto, now 81 years old. (KGW)
  • Contemplating an e-bike purchase? Upway — the No. 1 certified e-bike provider — sells top-quality electric bikes up to 60% cheaper than retail. Shop top e-bike brands in new or like-new condition. Bonus: Your bike will ship right to your door, so you can immediately experience the sheer joy of effortless travel.*
There’s no crying in Portland
Tom Hanks stands next to Antony Valoppi, the owner of Type Space.
The Oscar-winning actor promised to send a signed typewriter from his own collection to Type Space. | Photo courtesy of Antony Valoppi
A small business in Southeast Portland’s Richmond neighborhood had a “You’ve Got Mail” moment last week when a manager for Tom Hanks emailed, saying the Oscar-winning actor wanted to stop by. Antony Valoppi, the owner of Type Space, proceeded to have a “Sleepless in Seattle” night to prepare for the special visit.

Valoppi told The Oregonian/Oregon Live that when Hanks stopped by the next day, the two chatted about their shared passion: typewriters. Hanks was in Portland to promote his new novel, “The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece.” He jokingly posted about making frantic, eleventh-hour changes to the book via typewriter.

Before he left the shop, Hanks mentioned that he’d been searching for a Smith Corona to add to his collection of approx. 200 typewriters. Valoppi happened to have one that he sold to Hanks for $185.

The Portland business owner said the rumors about Hanks are true: he’s simply a “really great guy.”
The Wrap
Cambrie Juarez headshot Today’s edition by:
From the editor
How do you like your amusement park — full of fairytale flair or traditional thrills? Portland Monthly compared Enchanted Forest and Oaks Park, covering everything from the vibe to the logistics of each. Which park is your favorite and why? Let us know.
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