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The Basement
December 20, 2012 6:59 AM   Subscribe

Somewhere in Portland, there’s a very old building, and that very old building has a very, very old basement. An incredible basement, a video-game-level basement, a set-decorator’s dream basement.
posted by samhyland (45 comments total) 78 users marked this as a favorite

 
Silent-Hill-Type shudders at those pictures. hyyyyeeeuurk
posted by ominous_paws at 7:05 AM on December 20, 2012


Before there was Tumblr, there where walls.
posted by The Whelk at 7:05 AM on December 20, 2012 [20 favorites]


Somehow everything always ends up at bathing beauties.
posted by notyou at 7:11 AM on December 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wait, so the internet is a bunch of tubes?
posted by Kabanos at 7:14 AM on December 20, 2012 [10 favorites]


That was great, thanks.
I love how old penmanship, cursive and otherwise, is so distinctive.
Similar to how you can usually tell someone's from Europe by their handwriting.
posted by chococat at 7:17 AM on December 20, 2012


Fiber and internet hub references suggests this is the basement of the Pittock Block.

(Pittock Internet Exchange.)
posted by floam at 7:23 AM on December 20, 2012


Please take your political pastings elsewhere gentlemen, these walls are for porn.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:27 AM on December 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Wait, so the internet is a bunch of tubes?

The internet is not made of tubes, the internet comes in tubes.
Like pringles.
posted by anti social order at 7:31 AM on December 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


I came here after watching the new trailer for Baz Luhrmann's Great Gatsby movie. The film looks over the top and hyper saturated with color and sound. If it were any other movie it would probably not work but the shallower the movie looks the more I get excited because that just makes sense for a Gatsby movie.

Anyway, I watched that trailer, ran quickly out to the grocery store and came back to see this post. It's supposed to get up in the high 40's today and, here in Cleveland, we've barely seen a flake of snow this late into December. Something about that story of the roaring 20's and these pasted articles about WW I near those internet "tubes". Financial crash after a time of over spending and pending world wide crises.

I'm rambling, but the trailer features a paraphrase, I think, of a line from the book where Gatsby exclaims "of course you can repeat the past!" It may just be me being melodramatic about the current state of the world but, after seeing this very cool post all I can think is:

of course you can repeat the past....
posted by sendai sleep master at 7:33 AM on December 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


"The internet is not made of tubes, the internet comes in tubes.
Like pringles."

So the internet is made of tubers?
posted by mbrubeck at 7:36 AM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Without Instagram filters, these are just photos of old walls.
posted by davebush at 7:37 AM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I live in Portland and this makes me very happy.
posted by space_cookie at 7:39 AM on December 20, 2012


That whole building is an entertaining hodgepodge of old vs. new. I haven't been on the 4th floor in a while, but last time I was there (~6 months ago) the Enron cage was still fully intact and humming with the judge's posted orders to not touch.
posted by togdon at 7:40 AM on December 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


I used to drill holes in concrete walls. The guys who installed the InterTubes took a lot of care not to disturb the history around them. Good on them.
posted by jeporter99 at 7:44 AM on December 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


a video-game-level basement

Where are the crates? I'm not seeing any crates.
posted by Anything at 7:47 AM on December 20, 2012 [17 favorites]


So...right now the data about the basement is passing through those tubes...inside that basement. Neat recursion.
posted by happyroach at 7:49 AM on December 20, 2012 [11 favorites]


Don't cross the tubes?
posted by Twain Device at 7:53 AM on December 20, 2012


I saw women's knees!!!!


*gasp!

How pornographic of them.
posted by stormpooper at 7:59 AM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am also guessing that is the Pittock building in downtown Portland.

They also have a data center in there for colocation. One of my customers from a former job is on the fifth floor of that building, and unsurprisingly because of the age of the building, it wasn't until recently they could get anything faster than DSL speeds in the offices themselves. The collocation facility (I believe) was just below them, but wiring wasn't extended to the other floors in any affordable fashion.

I'm surprised they didn't have some sort of renters only deal for customers whose offices were in the actual building.

I always thought one could make a decent business out of offering IT services in the mixed use buildings / lofts that are taking over portland. I've had to deal with customers moving from office to office, and moving their servers up a few flights and waiting for comcast to connect internet to the new suite since the old tenant had DSL. It would take more planning up front, but running fiber/ethernet to a central server room in the building, that had AC, redundant power, multiple feeds, so then when a customer needed to move from suite 23A to 405, it would be a matter of moving cables, not equipment, in the server room.
posted by mrzarquon at 8:00 AM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


The internet was built on top of old media burial grounds, and the spirits are restless.

The Halloween story begins as a pay wall is broken. The fools discover it wasn't to keep us out of the old newspapers, it was to keep the newspapers in.
posted by TwelveTwo at 8:02 AM on December 20, 2012 [32 favorites]


The pop culture nerd in me is a little annoyed that the writer doesn't know those anonymous women are movie stars. And athletes. And regular ol' bathing beauties.
posted by loriginedumonde at 8:06 AM on December 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is lovely. Yeah, I use words like "lovely." I know.
posted by JHarris at 8:16 AM on December 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


The photos were great. I thought the prose was a touch too breathless, but it's a very neat thing.
posted by OmieWise at 8:26 AM on December 20, 2012


These walls were Internet porn even before there was an Internet.
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:29 AM on December 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Reminds me of the Empire State Building. When I worked there it was undergoing various renovations. A new fire alarm system. More electrical conduits. So there was the same juxtaposition of old and new. All of the mechanical spaces had graffiti going back to the 1940s. And the holes bored through stone and concrete. In the tower (the part just below the antenna) there was graffiti from 1938 straight through to the 1990s. Which my partner and I added to. I wish I could go back and take photos, but with security the way it is now, that would be impossible. I morn chances not taken.
posted by Splunge at 8:50 AM on December 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I apparently missed my chance to be a stocky bathing beauty by about 70 years. :(
posted by JoanArkham at 8:53 AM on December 20, 2012


All my horrible mind can think of is how many times someone has masturbated in that basement. Probably in the millions.
posted by orme at 9:06 AM on December 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


That map of WWI makes me think of my great uncle's globe. Uncle Les was a Dough Boy, served in an engineer's battalion before a long career with western electric like the rest of his family. His squad maintained telephone lines to the front and his was the only line open to his part of the front when the news of the armistice came. Uncle Les's globe had been stabbed repeatedly with a dull pencil. Most of Prussia was dug out and Berlin looked to be the target.
posted by shothotbot at 9:17 AM on December 20, 2012


Huh. The internet was laid through porn.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:56 AM on December 20, 2012


You mean, people could read in Oregon a hundred years ago?
posted by Chuffy at 10:10 AM on December 20, 2012


Portland, when the walls peeled.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:11 AM on December 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


Probably in the millions.

Well, that's basements for you.
posted by Artw at 10:15 AM on December 20, 2012


I kept pressing the space bar hoping for a secret room behind every photograph and I desperately wanted to rack a shotgun.
posted by Renoroc at 10:49 AM on December 20, 2012


All my horrible mind can think of is how many times someone has masturbated in that basement. Probably in the millions.

And now you know where they got the paste to put up more bathing-beauty pictures...
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:49 AM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


All my horrible mind can think of is how many times someone has masturbated in that basement. Probably in the millions.

Old porn conduit meets new porn conduit.
posted by benzenedream at 10:58 AM on December 20, 2012


I'm glad you guys enjoyed it! Thank you for taking the time to check it out.
posted by cabel at 11:26 AM on December 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


I can confirm that this is the Pittock Block basement -- I work on the 8th floor, and have had a couple of tours by building management down there.

They didn't show us this part though!
posted by drfu at 11:38 AM on December 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


For some reason I thought this post was going to be about the world's most awesome basement filled with video games & arcade games of yore.

It was equally delightful, however. Nice, cabel. & Hi.
posted by yoga at 12:51 PM on December 20, 2012


This is basically how I want to decorate my next place.
posted by bongo_x at 2:31 PM on December 20, 2012


For those wondering about "a video-game-level basement," apparently The Fullbright Company (ex Bioshock 2/Minerva's Den, currently working on Gone Home) went along and took away some inspiration from it.
posted by juv3nal at 3:30 PM on December 20, 2012


The Oregonian has picked up on this and now, and confirmed it is the Pittock building, and has more photos of it as well.
posted by mrzarquon at 8:05 PM on December 20, 2012


Actually I'd like to know if there are any people here that would like to petition the owners of the Empire State Building to go up to the top and document the graffiti that I saw. Assuming that it hasn't been painted over. Although they never painted there for as long as I was working. Please PM me. I live in Florida now, but I still know people in the building.
posted by Splunge at 9:14 PM on December 20, 2012


This is fantastic.
posted by caddis at 6:33 AM on December 21, 2012


Cabel, these photos are fantastic. Thanks for sharing them here with us. Nice to see you in and on the Blue.

It is rather interesting... the evolution of how we deliver and consume information...
posted by PROD_TPSL at 10:20 AM on December 21, 2012


This is all kinds of awesome. Thank you, Cabel for sharing them with us, and thank you samhyland for posting!
posted by zarq at 7:45 AM on December 22, 2012


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