Thursday, September 25, 2008


A friend of mine recently pointed out that Portland, OR is an entry in the Stuff White People Like book. And, while Portland IS full of things from that book (bumper stickers, hybrid cars, wine, coffee, organic farmers markets, pan-asian-fusion-restaurants, threats to move to Canada, bicycles, lawyers, dogs, living by the water...), his snarky take on our smug whiteness has made me take a step back from my adopted city to think about it. Portland has a LOT of public art. Some good. Some weird. And THIS:
Lots of alternative types. Like him (that's famous papa-Nomad):
Lots of new-age-bookstore-birkenstock-psychic-reading-pan-pagan-types (The Secret was published by a local Portland publishing house):
And we are the coffee/wine/book capital (per capita) of the US:
So that's a large city with a big load of, dancing/protesting/drumming hippies, a side of homelessness (we are bleeding hearts, but not foolproof, apparently), and naturally there's as much extreme yuppie-ism as the rest of the left coast, lots of strippers (really, like...a LOT of nekked here), and rain rain rain... (along with mold, mildew and some of the other fun things that go along with mold)...

It's a mixed bag of interesting and irritating, but I like it here. I've got access to several (although, sadly, fewer all the time) independent bookstores, including the BEHEMOTH of independence, Powell's. Yuppie, organic, beautiful coffee 24 hours a day. Lots of wine, booze, food. It's a city of excess about our excesses. And sure, smug about it. And very white. That's problematic. But not intrinsically wrong.. I grew up in Salt Lake.

Which has a lot of this:

Some of this:

and this... And WAAAY TOO MUCH of this:

I think it's ok here...away from that (hiking aside). My life is here. My kids are here. Hatred and unhappy, unloving people are here too, true, but mostly it is a city of love. Sometimes too much, shreepy, deepy, creepy love. Or nekked love. Or psychically-channeled, a bit off-the-track love...but it's love all the same. *some of these images come from Portland Ground


Hedro said...

Oh yeah, I can easily say that Portland was the first place I ever wanted to call home.


Mrs. G. said...

If I could live anywhere in the world, it would be Portland. Some of my best days were living in Southeast Portland.

Mama Nomad said...

'Tis true.

And, oh, you know, next time I can furnish a much more flattering picture of Papa Nomad:)

Compared to where I grew up in Central Oregon, Portland is a cornucopia of color. Its actually one of the reasons we moved here. Yet Isadore still calls African Americans "chocolate people" and black men Levar Burton. *shakes head* We're working on it.

Amy said...

I'm happy to live just close enough to Portland that the vibe, culture and novelty of it never ceases to strike awe and love and fascination in me.

As much as I would love living in the city, I love "going to the city" for now and soaking it up on a frequent basis.

Love Stumptown!!!