Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Dumpsters hate feudalism

Under heavy siege
The dumpster is an unassuming but deadly foe.
This is the old Child World store in the Pine Tree Shopping Center on Brighton Avenue, one of the few buildings in architecturally-rich Portland that has survived twenty years' worth of my memory. As I recall, the old mascot for Child World was a panda, a friendly ambassador from the motherland of cheap toys.

For almost twenty years Child World has been out of business and the castle's keep has been occupied by Mardens, a "surplus and salvage" store. Mardens is sort of a retailing vulture, moving among disaster areas, trailer truck crashes, and bankrupt big box stores to bring cheap, almost-good-as-new merchandise to Maine. Apparently they've finally realized that maintaining a castle is superfluous to their business plan.

So now, the Child World castle is under heavy siege. It will probably fall any day now to construction workers intent on replacing a bizarre anachronism (of the 1980s) with something innocuous and coated in bland stucco: the architectural equivalent of Muzak.

In the meantime, if anyone needs a free battlement, inquire at the dumpster on outer Brighton Ave. If the first one is taken, a second should be available soon.


Stephen Gross said...

Wow, that is indeed bizarre. Abandoned buildings are strange, ugly, and weirdly beautiful things. There's a gas station in New Castle PA, and you can tell how long it's been closed because it still advertises gas at $1.35 a gallon. Plus, there's a department store, out of business for 20+ years, whose name still appears on the awning of the abandoned building: "Troutmans".

BTW, I've posted some entries on Portland you might find interesting. I've got a few more in the pipeline: http://grossreport.blogspot.com


takinanap said...

i watched this go down last week...can't fit the tower into my studio apt.

i am reminiscent of what happened in my home town outside of baltimore, where the enchanted forest was given up for 'progress.' another beautiful paper mache forest...gone.