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Rant #1: How We Ruined Portland

A few years back I was told by someone a bit younger than me about how she was jealous about the history of me and people like me who were in Portland in the 90’s.

Here’s the thing you need to know. We didn’t choose to come here. We just ended up here, washing up on the shore after the shipwreck. You probably think I’m kidding, but my previous city of residence was Key West, Florida. We ended up here, since no other place would have us and we built a cargo cult out of the debris we found lying around.

Yes, in 1994 we did end up renting a two-bedroom home in NE Portland for $600/month – doesn’t that sound impossible now? Here’s the thing: in 1994 much of “North Portland” was a slum. It was not a place you wanted to live in, if you had a better option. It’s all we had.

For a year or two we had a homeless guy living out of his car across the street. “Gidget? Shuddup!” he’d yell at his dog. I’d see the same family of raccoons crossing the street every day at the same time when I’d be getting in my car to commute to my job in the suburbs. Once an actual prostitute opened the door of my car and hopped in to proposition me.

Is the Portland you know? This is the Portland we lived in.

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