I snuck into the Envoy again a few nights ago. My friend was driving me back to my neighborhood, and I saw the building from an angle that I'd never seen before, an angle where I could see scaffolding that I simply had to climb.

Luckily, my friend is always up for adventure, and had accompanied me on my previous late-night venture into the Envoy. I should mention that the Envoy is the most romantic building I've ever seen; it's the reason I discovered this neighborhood. Who can resist an old, ominous pink chateau that presides over all of Portland, with a neon green sign that lights up King's Hill? Not me.

Anyhow, it's being gutted and turned into condominums.

We climbed the scaffolding until we got to the top, where, lo and behold, an unlocked door led us into the penthouse. We stood in the shower, ran up and down stairs, hid in closets, and got soaked looking down at the city from the eighth-floor veranda.

It's so amazing to wander through the halls; there's two worlds contained in one building. We'd walk into one apartment, completely remodeled with one of those fancy silver refrigerators and modern light fixtures, and the apartment next to it looked like it hadn't changed since 1924. Eerie and wonderful, and so, so sad.

In one of the apartments that was in limbo I came upon a dismantled old-fashioned telephone; the "face plate" was off and underneath was this piece of paper that someone had handwritten a list of numbers in blotchy black ink, maybe a hundred years ago. I wanted to take it, but I didn't. I guess it's better to let it go down with the ship.

Then we stood at the window, and watched the rain for a long time.

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