96 hours in america – portland, oregon.
June 21, 2011
portland seems to me like it’s this miniature version of new york city. of course, never having been to the big apple, i can’t be sure. but though the scale of the city cannot even compare, there is a solid refinedness and sense of identity here that is hard to find in vancouver.
i could go on for hours about the wonderful food, the fascinating people, the delicious beer and coffee, the music and cultural scene, but then it wouldn’t be easy to distinguish a weekend here from a weekend back home. consumption is consumption, regardless of what you want to call it. not that such is inherently bad, but it’s probably best to call it for what it is.
rather, what i am really interested in here is that portland’s biggest stereotype is its people. there is a lifestyle here that is just so perfect. many might call it banal – these same people probably did their MBAs and will easily eschew critical thought for cash. and it’s partly true – sometimes it seems like nobody ever works in a “big boy” industry here – no finance, no big real estate. it’s almost like everyone works at a bar, or in a coffee shop, or in a bookstore.
but that’s what makes this place amazing. that observation might just be largely true.
social stratification is relative. it doesn’t seem that portland’s working roots have been uprooted. this place has preserved its middle class with dignity and grace, in style and with a good deal of plain old weirdness. that economic ubermensch crowd doesn’t exist here in any big numbers. and it shows. and it makes portland shine.
i could live here in a second.