Portland historically has been viewed as a less-sophisticated Seattle wannabe. So Portland has always proclaimed why it is better than its neighbor to the north. Seattle has Starbucks, Microsoft and Amazon. Portland has Nike. Sonoma County –where I spent the last twenty years in Santa Rosa before recently moving back to the Northwest’s Rose City – has a similar view of Napa. The slogan, “Sonoma makes wine; Napa makes auto parts,” is often credited to Sonoman Tom Smothers. Napa doesn’t recognize the existence of Sonoma.
Having become hip, in large part a result of television’s “Portlandia” comedy, Portland now self-consciously wants to keep Portland weird. I was recently in Austin, Texas, where the slogan “Keep Austin Weird” is unavoidable. Rather than compete with Austin, however, OregonLive, the on-line remnant of the once-proud Oregonian newspaper, has declared that Portland is weirder than San Francisco. Not that San Francisco claims to be weird or cares much what Portland thinks. They just refer to their home as The City.
OregonLive enumerated all the things making Portland weirder than the City by the Bay, from having a weirder mayor to a weirder NBA star.
Portland has become so hip that the rapidly gentrifying New York borough of Brooklyn is known to many as the “Portland of the East.” The TV series “Portlandia” told the world that the City of Roses is the place “where young people go to retire.” Portland brags that it has more breweries – and strip cubs – than any other city in the country. It is also overrun with dogs (water bowls outside entrances to businesses are mandatory) and bicyclists (most of whom flout traffic laws.)
If you’re coming to Portland to participate in the World Naked Bike Ride this summer, you’ll be glad to know the PDX airport has set aside a place for you after you’ve claimed your bicycle.
If you’re traveling with your pet, not to worry, there’s a special place for you, too.