My Portland

If anyone was to ask me where I’m from, I’m immediately proud to say “New Jersey.” Several times in my life, when people first meet me and ask where I’m from, they tend to assume England for some reason. I’ve never been able to explain why except for the joke response that when I was little my parents let me watch a lot of Monty Python and that I tend to be very polite. Dropping a few F-Bombs seems to clear it up though:

“Oh, I thought you were from England or something.”
“The fuck made you think that?”
“Okay, THERE’S the New Jersey, I hear it now.”
… Thanks, Sopranos.

Of course, I don’t live in Jersey right now. For the last six years, I’ve been happy to live in Portland, Oregon. Maybe you’ve seen it on TV or heard about it from your hipster friends. You might even have some ideas about what life here is like from the news of the last few years. Words like “war zone” and “anarchist jurisdiction” were thrown around a lot. For the rest of my life, I will remember riding in a bus around Walt Disney World in March of 2019. Sitting across from Emily and I was an elderly couple, and we started talking about what every tourist at Disney does after the heat, food, and bugs:

So where are you visiting from?”
Portland Oregon! Yourselves?”
The old man visibly bristled and scoffed- “Oh yeah, I hear that’s a great place to live.”
“Oh it is! Beautiful nature, amazing food and beer- you should visit sometime!”

I have never seen a man deflate so fast. Pro-tip: if someone’s looking for an argument, the easiest way to win is not to play. That said, when my little sister and her partner came to visit a few weeks ago, they expressed interest in seeing my Portland. Not the hellscape creatively described on Fox News or the goofy version on Portlandia. They wanted the Portland that a local loves/hates. A few years ago, I wrote a little post for people that wanted to move out here. Consider this a more-experienced addendum, and a helpful guide for anyone who wants to visit but is afraid of running afoul of roving bands of Nazis and/or anarchists.

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