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Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Tram

After several years of controversy, the Portland Tram has opened for business. There was much protest about the addition of this piece of transportation in Southwest Portland, mainly because it travels over a residential area in such close vertical proximity as to possibly disturb those residents' privacy. Nevertheless, the final product is rather spectacular.

Approaching the Station

The tram runs from the newly and highly developed Southwest Waterfront area up to "Pill Hill," the large medical campus in Portland's West Hills, though it mainly services OHSU. There is only one tower, probably because the tram doesn't have a great deal of vertical climb to it, but also because that's all they could afford to build in the end. But man, is that one tower something else. You can see it in the above photo somewhat, but the profile of this tower is sleek, a dramatic curve that widens to its base. It helps the tram to quickly rise from the waterfront and transcend homes and freeways to reach its destination.

Flying High over Portland

Though I enjoyed the quick transport and watching Molly squirm a bit (reminiscent of my own childhood fears), my truly favorite part of the tram ride was seeing all the machinery. Well oiled. Precise. Reliable. The millions of parts that comprise this simple tram ride are stunning, and I was happy to capture the final photo below, where the car connects with the sturdy cable.

On the Wire

For you photo buffs, I decided on black and white conversions using Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro in Photoshop CS3. I thought that black and white helped accentuate the mechanics of the tram (which have a great deal of texture) and also helped to minimize the grayness of that winter day.

Eric Lovelin Photography


  1. That is super cool. I'm going to have to go on it next time I'm there.

  2. Losing "vertical privacy" sounds very Northwest.