Just when you think you’ve uncovered all of the jewels in Portland’s funky crown, along comes an abandoned boat shaped like an alien spaceship that sits on a nude beach. We’re talking about a local landmark fittingly dubbed the “Collins Beach UFO Boat.”
If it sounds like something from a Keep Portland Weird treasure hunt, that’s because it is — sort of. Finding this peculiar site requires some adventuring… in more ways than one.
Depending on the season, the boat may be surrounded by water. | Photo by Another Believer
🧭 A quirky quest
The old boat is stranded on Collins Beach on the Columbia River side of Sauvie Island. Part of the beach is clothing-optional, with signs clearly marking the area where you may glimpse a lot of skin. The boat is tucked among the trees somewhere between the second + third parking areas. You likely won’t be able to spot it until you’re about 200 ft away.
⛵ How’d it get there?
The front page of a Jan. 5, 1973 issue of The Oregonian featured a photo of the “floating saucer” bobbing on the Willamette River in West Linn, complete with two large sails and a paddlewheel. Engineer Richard Ensign built it at a cost of $10,000 and was taking it on its maiden voyage to the Pacific Ocean.
Four-year-old Charlotte Smyth and her family joined Richard on the trip; 40 years later, KOIN 6 News tracked down Charlotte to ask her about the three-month journey (which included a brush with some curious military pilots). “It was like a giant fort that floated,” she told reporter Tim Becker, “it was so much fun, it was an adventure — the adventure of all of our lives.”
The boat ran aground on Sauvie Island during a flood in 1996. Today, it’s an empty shell covered in colorful graffiti that’s best admired from the outside, because the interior is littered with debris (from past alien visitations?) and isn’t safe to enter.
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Portland Fashion Week | Tues., Aug. 16-Sun., Aug. 21 | 8 p.m. | Moxy Portland Downtown, 585 SW 10th Ave. | $80+ | Billed as “the world’s most sustainable fashion week,” these six nights will feature indie designers highlighting “slow fashion.” 👡
Melange: A Queer & POC Variety Show | Wed., Aug. 17 | 8 p.m. | Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton St. | $15 | This monthly performance features drag, burlesque, music, raffles + more — and anything goes at this month’s open theme. 🏳️🌈
Opera a la Cart | Thurs., Aug. 18 | 12 p.m. | Pioneer Courthouse Square | Free | This mobile performance venue will share an interactive demo lesson + music from “Carmen” and other stage hits for its final lunch hour performance. 🎼
Fruition with Rainbow Girls | Thurs., Aug. 18 | 6:30 p.m. | Topaz Farm, 17100 NW Sauvie Island Rd. | $35+ | Squeeze every last drop out of this summer by enjoying live music, food + drinks in the shade of a historic oak tree on a 130-acre family farm. 🌾
“Othello” | Thurs., Aug. 18 | 7 p.m. | Luuwit View Park | Free | The cast of the Original Practice Shakespeare Festival use Elizabethan England techniques (limited rehearsal, audience interaction + more) for their next open-air performance. 🎭
Date Night in the Park | Fri., Aug. 19 | 6:30 p.m. | Columbia Park Annex, North Woolsey Avenue + Willamette Boulevard | Free | Stroll hand-in-hand or sit and relax while the sounds of saxophone jazz serenade the summer evening. 🎷
PDX Adult Soapbox Derby | Sat., Aug. 20 | 10 a.m.-4 p.m. | Mt. Tabor Park | Free | Cheer on local daredevils as they zip down Portland’s extinct volcano on inventive homemade cars in pursuit of hometown glory. 🏁
We have amonthly guide filled with events + activities you can plan for in advance. Click the button below to bookmark ideas for upcoming date nights, family outings, and time with friends.
Temperatures are expected to climb after today as another heat spell settles into the PNW. The Willamette Valley will see thermometers come close to (or reach) triple digits on Wed., Aug. 17 + Thurs., Aug. 18. While the heat wave may be relatively short-lived, the weekend will likely still be hot. ☀️ (Portland Tribune)
Sunrise + Sunset
Rise: 6:12 a.m.
Set: 8:16 p.m.
A new tiny home village for those experiencing homelessness will welcome its first 10 residentsstarting next week. Newly formed nonprofit WeShine Initiative is behind the “microvillage,” which is located on land owned by the Parkrose Community United Church of Christ at Northwest Halsey Street + 122nd Avenue. (Portland Monthly)
A record shop is helping spin the Lloyd Center into an upbeatnew chapter. Musique Plastique rediscovered its rhythm post-pandemic by moving into the shopping mall, bringing its dedicated customers with it. The move sparked something of a renaissance, inspiring other businesses like Floating World Comics to follow. 💿 (Willamette Week)
“There are no other restaurants like it in Portland,” wrote Portland Monthly of the city’s first deaf-owned eatery, Pah! The queer, Latinx, and deaf-owned eatery’s name is ASL slang for “success” or “finally” — which customers will understand after tasting its pub-style cuisine at The ZED in the Lents neighborhood. 🍽️ (Portland Monthly)
Don’t just eat better — eat the best.Sunbasket’smeal kit service delivers delicious, healthy meals created by award-winning chefsstraight to your front door. Bonus: PDXtoday readers can get $100 off their first four deliveriesand more when they sign up. 🍽️ *
The PNW’s cool spring is taking a bite out of Washington’s apple crop forecast, with state officials predicting a total of 108.7 million 40-lb boxes of fresh apples in 2022 — down 11% from last year’s 122.3 million boxes. Hopefully an apple every other day will still keep the doctor away. 🍎 (The Columbian)
Sun., Sept. 4 will mark the 40th anniversary of Le Femme Magnifique International, a drag pageant for contestants from around the globe. Portland’s own Walter Cole — aka Darcelle, aka the world’s oldest drag queen — will host the event at the Oregon Convention Center. 💅 (Willamette Week)
10,000. That’s how many people joined the 26th annualProvidence Bridge Pedal and Stride on Sunday. Cyclists of all ages + skill levels joined the event, which offers multiple route options — including a 23-mile trip that crosses the Fremont, Marquam, Sellwood, Hawthorne, Ross Island, and Steel bridges. 🚲 (The Oregonian/Oregon Live)
New Braunfels, TX + Celebration, FL are a few of the cities you’ll find on the list of the hottest neighborhoods right now — and we’re not talking about the heat index. See which neighborhoods were most attractive to homebuyers so far in 2022. 👀 *
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City Editor Cambrie here. I spent a sun-drenched afternoon this past weekend at a sunflower festival — and I highly recommend visiting one if you can this summer. It’s impossible not to grin while walking through rows of flowers that symbolize optimism, and listening to the buzzing of honeybees as they collect pollen goes a long way in relieving stress.
Put your feet up at Packer Orchards’ sunflower fields in Hood River. | Photo by @packerorchards
Packer Orchards, a family farm that’s over 100 years old, grows thousands of sunflowers for people to enjoy each year. The farm at 3020 Thomsen Rd. in Hood River is open to visitors Thursday-Sunday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. — and you can even bring some blooms (and farm-fresh goods) home with you. Hurry, the sunflower fields will close after this coming weekend.
Editor’s pick: You already read about my weekend wanderings through sunflower fields, so I won’t drone on about that. But I do have a tip if you visit a farm with u-cut flowers: If your bouquet has wilted by the time you get home, snip the ends + pop them into a jar of boiling water for about 15 seconds, then place them in a vase with room-temperature water and let them rest out of direct sunlight. They’ll perk back up like magic.
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