I decided since I will be leaving Oregon soon and moving to another state, I would write a blog post about Portland Oregon. “Keep Portland Weird” is a slogan that can be seen on many car’s bumpers in the Portland area. I lived my first 5 years in the city of Portland when I first arrived in Oregon. My last 20 years have been spent in the suburb’s.
All I knew about Oregon when I first moved here was the Rajneeshpuram were trying to take over, the tree huggers were determined to save the spotted owls, the salmon were endangered and there were lots of flannel wearing lumberjacks. It rained constantly and a local Portland group, Nu Shooz had a hit song called, “I Can’t Wait.” During my 26 years of “Portlandia”, it just gets weirder.
Currently the population of Oregon is approximately four million, around 604,000 of these Oregonians live in Portland. There are eleven bridges in Portland, and the majestic Mount Hood towers over the Portland skyline. Approximately 305 wineries in Oregon boast the best Pinot Noir’s in the world. Oregon is also home to Nike, Intel and Columbia Sportswear’s World Headquarters. Steve Jobs the founder of Apple spent a year or so at the very liberal Reed College located in Portland. Powells book store, located in Portland is the largest independent book store in the world.Portland also has the highest budget for public art in the country. A stroll through downtown Portland will “blow you away”, with fantastic sculptures at every turn.
Portland is also considered the most beeriest of cities in the country. There are so many local alternatives to the old beer-so-thick-you-need-a-knife-and-fork-to-drink-it. Portland’s Saturday market is the largest open-air craft market in North America.Hundreds of local craftsman and exotic food booths set up every Saturday and Sunday on our incredible waterfront, for thousands each weekend to purchase their wares, and fill their tummies with incredible unique dishes.
The Portland Rose Garden is the oldest official continuously operated Rose test garden in the United States. During the month of June is when the roses are most beautiful and fragrant.
Portland is also extremely pet friendly, many of the downtown boutique’s , gift shops, restaurants and dessert locations will have food and water along with a leash area to tie your furry child up for a snack while you wander inside to shop their wares. In fact there are several doggie day cares, pet hotels and salons all within walking distance. Dog parks are in abundance, not your typical dog parks, I am talking, beautiful off leash areas for your furry friend to socialize with their compadres.
You would never want to own a non-rescue dog in Portland because other pet owners would be horrified. How dare you get a regular dog! There is one upping of everything. Even among the rescue dogs, it’s like this. “Mine was rescued form a burning forest fire in the mountains of California”, so where’d you get your dog? “I rescued mine from the hurricane disaster in the Philippines, he was buried under debris and I saved him .” OK, YOU WIN ! Don’t think I am joking, because I am not.
One of the business’s that truly captures the kooky essence of Portland is Voodoo donuts. Portlander’s will snub the traditional wedding cake, for a display of unique donuts. The namesake voodoo doughnut is shaped like a voodoo doll and oozes blood red jelly. Should you visit Portland, and don’t mind standing in a long line, you must try one of these delicious treats. If donuts aren’t your thing, then visit one of the many movie brew pubs and relax on a couch or recliner and enjoy a mason jar full of beer and a movie. But stay away from eating a burger in public because Portland is a health conscious city, children look forward to their brussel sprouts on the lunch tray. Or stop by one of the food carts, 20 or so in just one city block. Some of the finest food I have tasted in Portland came from a food cart.
Don’t be surprised if a homeless person asks you if you can spare a smile instead of asking for spare change. All in all, Portland takes pretty good care of their homeless compared to other cities, we still have a long way to go. Portland also has a huge hippie scene, tattoos are acceptable, your wallet should be made from post consumer recycled material or duct tape. You don’t have to worry about. “fitting in”, wear tights and they don’t have to match the rest of your outfit, its cooler when things don’t match. Thick black rimmed glasses are cool. Make sure you bank at a credit union. Never buy your boots new, they need to have their own cool story from a past life. Only shop in small local owned shops , never in a corporation or a chain. Be sure to turn your nose up at Starbucks when you visit. Only drink coffee at a boutique coffee shop that roasts coffee in house.
You may receive a dirty look with pure disgust from a cyclist when you pull up next to them in anything but a hybrid car. And for pete’s sake, whatever you do, don’t cut that cyclist off at a turn, you will get a hefty ticket. Check out Portland’s music scene, the local music talent is incredible. If you move here, get on board and make a decision quick if you will become a Duck or a Beaver, we have a huge college rivalry, I chose the Beavers. And the love of Portlander’s and their Trailblazers will make you nauseated, they are obsessed. Sometimes I wish that darn team would just win another championship, so the state could move on…..
Should you move here, forget about having fluoride in your water, its not going to happen. Expect lots of hugs from strangers. Make sure you build a cool chicken coop if you live in the suburbs. It must look like a condo for chickens, stylishly decorated. Your chickens must be exotic. Never throw away plastic or metal, recycle, recycle, recycle !! Otherwise you will piss off your neighbors for life. Don’t care or judge others, and for God’s sake… “put a bird on it.” You will fit right in.
I will miss the diversity of Portland along with the beautiful coastline and not having a sales tax, and I will miss all my friends. Portland is worth visiting at least once, be sure to visit between August – October if you can. There will be a less chance of a torrential downpour of our liquid sunshine.
In closing, if you enjoy an ale or 12, or a glass of wine while you tour the city, jump on the brewcycle and have a pub crawl with 14 others its hilarious.