I have lived in Portland since 1991, when I moved here from Seattle. Back then I felt like Seattle was starting to get too big and wierd. I was 21, and it wasn’t the quiet seafaring town I remembered from my earlier teen years.
I came to Portland and fell in love with the town. I liked how things looked old and renovated, rather than ripped down with a new shiny thing built. I liked the way people thought…they were liberal like me. I like bike lanes and bridges and craft beer and good coffee and wineries and all the nature…I liked it all, I loved it.
I moved all over this town. I lived everywhere from 10th and Market downtown to 12th and Morrison on the SE side, later West Slope, Alberta, Mississippi, and off of MLK on Russell. I lived on the down side of the West Hills and for a couple weeks, I even lived in Northwest, where I had worked for years. I liked it all.
Now I live in East Portland. For the first time, I found a part of Portland I don’t like. Or maybe it is that Portland is changing, or maybe it is that I am changing.
Now rather than funky street fairs, coffee shops and interesting ethnic restaurants, I have people who dig through my trash, snoop through my mailbox, and break into my car.
Now instead of salsa dancing 7 nights a week, concerts at the Crystal and funky cocktail joints (remember Colosso anyone?), I see methamphetamine wizened faces picking up cigarette butts at bus stops with stained and messed up clothing hanging off the rack of their body.
Instead of UFO museums, coffee houses and pubs, I see paycheck loan places, triple X video stores and Pawn shops.
For the first time, Portland looks kinda bad to me.
I bought our house here because it was first off, an area we could afford as first time home buyers, it has a park less than a block away, the house was big and in good shape, on a corner with many large trees that made us feel like it was sort of private too.
My neighbors say it is the same everywhere. But I don’t really believe that.
Maybe it is because I got more cautious and less liberal. Maybe it is because I drive around with a baby in my car that I am more sensitized to the topless joints “Mommy, what is topless?”
Naturally I can’t tell my neighbors “I want outta this hellhole!” so when it comes up that we are moving, the reason is to be closer to Jeff’s work, but barely under my breath is “Cause I want outta this hellhole!”
How could we have known when we moved here there would be people rifling through my trash, checking mailboxes at the beginning of the month, breaking into my car and stealing the pennies out of my ashtray? What else could we afford anyway?
I have never wanted to move to the suburbs, I still don’t. I just want out of the city. A small community with its’ own name and its’ own history will have to do for this city girl. This place is bummin me out sometimes.
Favorite quote of the day “MEOW MEOW MEOW!!” -AJD trying to let me know she not indeed taking a nap