Goodbye, Portland

Portland, from my fourth floor apartment window

Portland, from my fourth floor apartment window

My time in Portland has been a period of healing, and I'm excited to leave and pursue the next adventure. While here I’ve experienced snows, enchanting rainstorms, skies filled with balloon-like clouds, filthy heat, parking problems, a horrific homeless problem that intensifies daily, Forest Park, and plenty of bad movies, along with several good ones. And construction - there's way too much construction. I'll miss the building the least, and the clouds the most.

I’ll also miss my 170 square foot apartment that is so small it made the cheap motels I stayed in while traveling feel expansive and often luxurious. I won't miss owning a car, nor having needless possessions cluttering my life.

One can never go home again (as Kazantzakis reminds us in The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel), and should I visit Portland in the future, it won't be the same as today due, in part, to the construction and growth. While out walking recently, I heard someone complain to a friend that “it's all this industrial shit,” referring to the development around my apartment building. In 20 years, when the industrial aesthetic has lost its cachet, we'll look upon these buildings and see them as tired and dated, while some new style will feel modern and fresh. In 50-75 years Portland will be seen as a panacea where the industrial aesthetic merits study because the city has so much of it. The buildings will act like the rings of a Redwood, marking the city’s age.

My neighbor, whose backyard I look into when I peek out my window, has a sign on their front lawn saying “Stop Destroying Portland.” It's already too late. The old city is dying and being replaced by something different.