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  • The metal walkway of the esplanade takes you over the murky Willamette River. On the right roars Interstate 5 connecting Canada with Mexico. When they built it critics questioned who would want to walk there with the noise and pollution of the freeway blasting you.

    There was bold talk at one point of moving the freeway three blocks east to free up the waterfront for development. Such a waste to have a Freeway occupy the prime views of the downtown skyline. But that would force a wide swath of buildings to be wiped out and cut the eastside industrial neighborhood in half. No easy answers.

    But the critics were wrong. The esplanade is alive with people escaping at lunch.

    I often look down at these piers sticking their rotting heads through the water, trying to picture the dock that used to be there long before the freeway. These are the remnants of the past, too hard to remove. We add layers through the years. The hand of man is visible almost everywhere you go. Nature reclaims some of our decay but rarely erases it. We may be small specks in the Universe but our impact on the earth is giant.
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