In the Pendleton Bag

Pendleton Large Dopp BagI was looking for a new large purse/small briefcase to carry my new mini-laptop around with me. My first locavore option was to shop for it on our getaway weekend to Quartzsite, Arizona. I thought the huge swap meet would surely have some Southwestern artisan-made bags. Unfortunately, we didn’t stumble across such wares. But as I was getting in line to board the plane, I spied bags in an airport shop that looked like exactly what I was looking for. Surprise, surprise – they were Pendleton Woolen Mills bags, from the 140 year-old, fifth-generation family-owned company back here in the Northwest. I had to board the plane, so my shopping would continue back home.

Our first stop was the Pendleton store at Portland airport. They didn’t have the same bags I saw in Phoenix, so I hit the internet. The Pendleton site itself didn’t have the designs I saw, but I found Pendleton large Dopp bags on eBay and placed an order. On Saturday, I visited the Pendleton store in downtown Portland and found the same bags.

Pendleton Woolen Mills is a Northwest success story. English weaver Thomas Kay came West and set up a woolen products business in 1863. His daughter married into the Bishop family and the company then combined production and retail marketing. They have been producing woolen blankets, shirts, and other items from their mills in Pendleton, Oregon for 100 years and in Washougal, Washington for 97 years. That’s a sustainable business model! They control the entire vertical production and distribution of their items, from purchasing of wool from wool producers to milling, weaving and selling of the finished products.

I generally have avoided wool clothing as I find it scratchy (even cashmere!). But I wanted a durable and attractive bag to take to work beyond. I have several briefcase-sized bags and totes, most of them freebies from conferences. I wanted something smaller that was right-sized and had a shoulder strap. I am pleased to have found just what I wanted, produced by a local company that has found over a century of success.

Transportation Changes Coming for Tualatin

We left Tualatin a year ago after a nice life there for over 20 years. Traffic to, from, and through Tualatin had become a nightmare. Each day I fought traffic jams in commuting to work. But on a day off, I soon realized it was just as bad all day long as traffic was at a standstill on Tualatin-Sherwood Road. That made for unpleasant walking and impossible driving.

The I-5 to 99W Connector Project has been working on the problem. They unveiled their recommendation for Alternative 7 – the Three Arterial Corridors Alternative. Having lived for so long in the neighborhood most impacted, at first blush I like it. My husband attended some of the stakeholder meetings as he serves on the board of a club that could be impacted. I like the multiple-solution alternative, as the cars and trucks making the congestion aren’t all going to the same destinations. Some want to go north on I-5, some south, some to Hwy 217, some east on 205. This plan widens existing roads and adds new connectors with the least impact on neighborhoods.

I am very happy to live now in an area of Vancouver where there are multiple connectors and many different routes I can take home. It lessens the traffic on any one street. I am eternally grateful we didn’t buy a house further east where there are fewer connectors and much more traffic on the existing streets heading to even more new neighborhoods.

No Free Drinks – Less Trash?

Last weekend we flew US Airways to Phoenix for a walking getaway. I knew we would have to pay $15 for any checked luggage, so Rich and I shared a single checked bag. But I was surprised to learn on board that any water or soda would be $2. Luckily, I had brought along my reusable water bottle and had filled it at the water fountain before boarding. Thank heavens they eliminated that rule that prohibited taking fluids on board.

US Airway says this has reduced trash and aisle congestion. I have to agree with that. There seemed to be less of a line for the restroom, and it was nice not to have the drink cart going up and down the aisle.

The plane was full coming and going, and I was very happy that we had checked one bag and had only small carry-ons rather than roll-aboards. The people in the window seats had effectively filled all of the overhead baggage storage by the time the middle and aisle seat people were allowed to board. The only storage was under the seat. This was fine for my Swiss Army bag and Rich’s day pack. I wonder if they charged people who had to check their baggage at the plane door because the storage was full? That might be a way around the charge!

With these charges, the air line saves a lot:

  • Drink, snack and drink cart weight: somewhat offset by wise travelers bringing their own water and snacks aboard.
  • Drink expense, snack expense while also making some money on them.
  • Trash weight and disposal expense: while people may bring aboard their food, I noted far less trash being collected than ever before.
  • Luggage weight and handling expense: People pack lighter to fit it into fewer bags and attempt to carry it all onboard.
  • Flight attendant workload: I don’t know if there are regulatory standards for how many flight attendants must be on board, but those who are there have far less to do. They can concentrate on customer assistance rather than drink service.

Overall, I’d say it is “greener” to eliminate the free drink and snack service and impose fees to make people rethink and reduce their luggage weight.

Lapellah – Locavore Restaurant in Vancouver

Lapellah just opened in the past few weeks at Grand Central in Vancouver. The name means “roasted” and comes from the trade language used in Vancouver in the 1800’s. They feature a wood fired grill, oven and rotisserie. The dining area was designed “with a sustainable approach.” I found it to be warm and cozy, with a mixture of booths and big family-sized tables for groups. Their hours are also convenient – lunch and dinner every day of the week and brunch as well on Sunday.

The menu focuses on local, sustainable and seasonal choices to produce “American comfort food.” These include lamb, steak, fish, seafood and macaroni and cheese. The pork and beef come from Carlton Farms. I made a reservation online through Open Table. We arrived at 6 pm as the snow was falling, and many booths were taken. Chef Brad Root also operates Roots and 360 Pizzeria in Camas, Washington.

The decor was stylish yet comfortable. Our waiter was pleasant and helpful with my husband’s food allergies. We selected a two different local wines they were offering by the glass and each was quite quaffable.

I was tempted to get the dungeness crab and cheese fondue for an appetizer, but we didn’t want to be out too long with the snow possibly accumulating. Rich had the caesar salad and I had the mushroom and wild rice soup. The entrees come with your choice of two sides. I had the molasses greens and cauliflower with gouda. Both were delicious. I had the braised pork shank and Rich had a New York steak. The rolls were much like my mom’s raised yeast bread – sweet and delicous.

The entrees were competently prepared. I would have liked more oomph in a glaze or sauce for the pork. I could have been tempted by the dessert menu, but the snow was sticking and we didn’t want to delay getting home.

I had a $5 off coupon but forgot to use it. No matter, we shall be returning and definitely trying the macaroni and cheese and fish and chips. It is great to have a new restaurant in Vancouver that focuses on local foods.
Lapellah: web site coming soon.
Open Table Listing