Carl in Portland

Recently I became “Carl from Portland” with a move from living in downtown Chicago to the West Coast. It has taken me a while to get settled but I wanted to say hello to my friends at Chicago Boyz.

Originally I started taking pictures of all the weird people I saw in Portland – guys wearing kilts or fishnets, girls dressed up like bumblebees with ukuleles, and all manner of tattoos, nose rings and piercings. But then I realized – hey – that’s like taking a picture of a drunk, fat guy at a Bears game. Unless you can go beyond the obvious, don’t do it at all. Or maybe that is grist for a future post.

First the highlights – Portland has an incredible location. Not only does the city offer everything you’d expect in a big city (restaurants, concerts, cool stores, ability to walk around, nightlife) – they have little to no crime (when compared to ChiRaq) – but you can go about an hour and a half and be on the Pacific Ocean, or about an hour and a half the other way and be hiking in real mountains. Here is a photo I took at Cannon Beach when I went there early in April for an unseasonably warm and beautiful day (I’m told). Below is a photo of Mount Hood from a recent hike we took last weekend.

There are some items about Portland that are quite odd to an outsider. One really cool item for me personally is that the cars here do not rust – it is because they don’t use rock salt on the roads here. Thus you see cars in pristine conditions like this Datsun 280Z which would just be a dead hunk in a junkyard pretty much anywhere else (this car is from the late 1970’s I believe).

They don’t let you pump your own gas in Oregon. I have been pumping gas my whole life but apparently that is off limits now. This is clearly a “make work” project because the gas pump employees are useless; they don’t clean off your windshield or anything – they just take your credit card, slide it in the pump, put the nozzle in, and usually walk to the next guy. Also when you go to a more remote location (a country store), you need to go inside and wait in line and then the person comes outside and pumps and then gives you a bill. Oh well.

While I don’t have any problem with it personally, pot is basically legal for all intents and purposes and a large number of folks on the street reek of it. Thus I find the sign at Target to be quite ironic.

Portland, like Chicago, has a number of great bridges of various designs spanning the many rivers that cross the city. Here is Tilikum Crossing Bridge, which is a pedestrian (and train) only bridge that I walked across this week and it was very beautiful. I walked back across a different bridge. The city is very pedestrian and bike friendly.

Cross posted at LITGM

12 thoughts on “Carl in Portland”

  1. The politics are about like Chicago but not as criminal.

    Outside of Portland, Oregon is not as left wing.

  2. Portland is San Francisco maybe ten-fifteen years ago: bright, cheerful, pretty, but beginning to succumb to what I call the blue-state melanoma. They increasingly jeer and snarl at their rural neighbors, and delight in using their electoral and economic weight to kick them in the shins. Apparently it’s becoming the new gay mecca, now that SF is too expensive to live in… and wherever the Rainbow Fascist Brigade goes, lunatic left-wing psychopathic politics follow.

    Enjoy it while you can.

  3. A guy a worked for many years spent part of his childhood living in Oregon (Ora-gun not Ora-gahn, he told me. :-P) and said that, far and away, it was the nicest place he’d ever lived.

  4. “you can go about an hour and a half and be on the Pacific Ocean, or about an hour and a half the other way and be hiking in real mountains”: where we lived in Christchurch (NZ) we were a twenty minute drive from the Pacific and perhaps 50 minutes from the ski slopes. Nice, innit?

  5. I grew up just south of Cannon Beach and went to college in Portland in the 70’s. Oregon was basically libertarian back then: socially laissez faire and fiscally conservative. Up until the late 80’s, state governance was “conservative” in the sense that it focused on issues like infrastructure and environmental conservation and minimized interference in people’s day-to-day interactions. Once progressives like Neil Goldschmidt and Barbara Roberts started getting elected, however, all bets were off.

  6. I spent a week at Kelly’s Olympian, visiting Lake Oswego now and again. Voodoo Donut. Saw a huge PETA protest outside of a furrier, and then went for cheeseburgers. Amazed at the force and flotsam in the Willamette, fishing out a piece of obsidian. It was January, so the Beavers were not playing. Lots of edgy folks, particularly in some of the surrounding suburbs. Park the car for a week, it’ll have moss growing on it. My kid sister lived there, now she’s up the road in Warshington. Look forward to the dispatches.

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