I miss downtown Portland.  I used to go there every couple of days, for work or for socializing or just my own entertainment, but haven’t been there in a while for the obvious reasons–I’m working from home full-time now, and haven’t been going out to do anything beyond the bare minimum since the lockdown started.

I miss my favorite places–our own, much smaller version of Broadway, the huge Powell’s bookstore, the Central Library, my favorite hangout Case Study Coffee, and of course, all those bridges.

Don’t get me wrong, my neighborhood is very nice.  But being in the suburbs all day long can…drive you a little nuts.

It’s been a few weeks since the last time I drove through downtown, so I have no idea what it looks like right now.  From what I hear, it’s been bruised and battered a bit.  First the pandemic closed down businesses, and then it got hit a second time by the social unrest.  Some fires were set and some windows were broken, and there is quite a lot of plywood up.

But that’s okay.  Change and turmoil happens to everyone and everything, and that includes cities.  Portland is still my city and our city, and we will clean it up and open it back up someday.  Except that, hopefully, we will not bring it back to what “normal” used to be–we will make it even better, a more beautiful and more caring and more creative place than it was before.

See you soon, PDX.

Downtown Pics BroadwayDowntown Pics SunnyDowntown Pics Wells Fargo

 

It’s possible I’ve said it before, but it needs to be said again:  in these difficult times, I often find myself taking my amazing hometown for granted.  I whine about my life, I wonder if it would be more spectacular if I lived in Brooklyn, and then I read a news article about how our bike lanes or our microbrews or our seasonal organic food is the envy of other cities around the world.

So here’s to you again, Portland.  I love your costumed erotic balls and your steampunk-themed croquet matches and your confusing art festivals.  I love your fantasies about a city filled with bicycles and streetcars, its shiny buildings run by sun and wind alone.  They may never happen, but damn it, I dream about the same shit, so I’m a good fit for you.  I love that if the country turns Republican, we Portlanders will continue to be that tiny band of brave progressive resistance–and that we are so progressive right now, Obama seems like a Republican to us.  I’m willing to forgive you for some of the things which annoy me, like hipster moustaches and guys playing banjos.  The unemployment may be high and we may be low on the list of business-friendly states, but that’s not a bad thing.  We know there’s more to life than money.  And yeah, I love the beer.  More than that, after hearing what was on the menu during the caucus at the Iowa State Fair, I’m thankful for the food, too.  No midwestern style cuisine here, please.

So I promise never to take you for granted again.  You may not be as big or famous or exciting as other cities…but you’re perfect for me, you hopeless little dreamer, you.