The Trampoline

I walked the neighborhood on an early Sunday morning. The plan was to traverse the Oaks Bottom wildlife refuge but at the last minute, I changed my mind and decided on a pleasant, tree-lined route along the socialist golf course.

What a fine day! A few walkers and joggers were out. A few duffers hacked it out on the fairways and the greens-keepers did their tidying things with greens and sand traps. It almost made me want to play a round of golf again, something I hadn’t done in over 25 years.

As I walked I thought about the upcoming challenges the upcoming week posed. At some point, the season’s first big storm was coming and I wanted to get away to the coast before it hit and embrace solitude.

My walk took me through one of the toniest neighborhoods in Portland and the houses were old and spectacular. Interestingly enough, not far away down ivy and blackberry infested hillsides and under bridges, were dozens of homeless people living along riparian areas and utterly destroying them. I’d long given up trying to get local watershed council authorities to do anything about it. No one really seemed to care. It wasn’t really anyone’s job although people were getting well paid to address the health of the watershed.

I crossed a bridge and looked down to a degraded stretch of Johnson Creek where approximately 10-15 people live on both sides. The creek was running extremely low and I checked for new evidence of further degradation…





smack dab int the middle of the channel, in fact it stretched completely across the channel, a trampoline. A trampoline! A massive one.

I could not believe it. I actually laughed at the stupendous absurdity of it being there. It must have taken four people to portrait the trampoline to this spot. They would have had to lower it 15 feet down a bridge to the creek: two on the bridge, two at the creek in what must have been a complicated physical maneuver

There was no way a trampoline of this size could have been disassembled somewhere else then assembled creekside.

Where had the homeless crew found the trampoline? Doubtless from a front yard of a brick mansion in the nearby tony neighborhood. The sign read FREE and off the trampoline went with a four-person crew balancing it on their heads and carrying on like Snow White’s dwarves as they sang and walked and vaped to the bridge.

I watched the trampoline for a good minute trying to imagine all the various trampoline/creek/malt liquor/meth related hi jinks that had certainly gone down here this past summer.

They were pretty much unimaginable.

It occurred to me that I was probably looking at the only trampoline in the world stationed in the middle of a creek that was used for recreation by homeless people. I think that counted for something. But what?