By Carye Bye

A daily game I play is: "Where's Big Pink?" From the Mississippi hill to Washington Park, Mount Tabor to Chinatown—even in Vancouver—Portland's unofficial mascot tower is a curious and photogenic icon. For the past 10 years, I've been taking its portrait—never with fancy camera equipment or any setup. My photographs are snapshots taken while I'm out and about and happen to notice Big Pink in view.

My original fascination came when I learned that the 1983 U.S. Bancorp Tower is known universally as "Big Pink." The color comes from pink granite quarried in Spain, but the reason it's so eye-catching took me longer than I'll admit to discover: There are no right angles, an architectural marvel.

But what I really love about Big Pink is that it's out there on its own. In most downtowns I've been to, the skyscrapers congregate. Big Pink, by circumstance, gets a special presence in Portland's skyline and is, at times, its own figure—almost a friend.

With our growing and changing Portland, Big Pink's fame as a solo artist may get some new competition soon. So, for my farewell art show to Portland—I'm moving to Texas next month—here is some of my collection.

SEE IT: The Big Pink Love Show Valentine's Day reception is at Coffeehouse Northwest, 1951 W Burnside St., 5 pm Sunday, Feb. 14. Free.

On the River (Evening Glow)

photo courtesy of Carye Bye
photo courtesy of Carye Bye

I was biking along the Eastbank Esplanade when I noticed a small bonfire on "Pirate Island" near the Morrison Bridge.



In October 2011, hundreds of people gathered at Waterfront Park as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and then marched down Burnside. The bank tower might be the 1 percent to some, but to me, Big Pink was there in solidarity.

I <3 Big Pink

I heart Big Pink

Last Valentine's Day, when then-Secretary of State Kate Brown was announced as interim governor, she held her hands up in a heart shape and said, "Happy birthday, Oregon. We love you so much." That afternoon, I held my hands and said, "Big Pink, I love you so much."

On the Corner

photo courtesy of Carye Bye
photo courtesy of Carye Bye

Sometimes Big Pink is so shiny you just fall in love on the corner.

Little Rain Cloud

Little Rain Cloud

On other days, Big Pink gets its very own rain cloud. You have to try hard not to laugh and remind Big Pink that it's just passing through.