Do we live in the Eden of America?

The word seems to be out: Portland is Eden for America. Huh, you might ask? That is what the latest issue of the travel publication Travel & Leisure is saying about our city any how. The article is now online for your reading pleasure here (thanks to alt.portland and the Portland Logue for noticing that). It paints a very pretty picture of Portland:

Alternative Portland is a peculiar utopia that believes in both unbridled sensuality and the notion that doing good actually makes people happy. This may be the most right-thinking community in the United States, brimming with green buildings, biodynamic wine, light-rail systems, homeless programs, fair-trade restaurants like the Proper Eats Market & Caf√© (“organic, local, proper!”), bicycle-commuter lanes, solar-powered parking meters, and such resolutely moral establishments as the Red & Black Caf√©, a collectively run coffeehouse lousy with laptop beatniks conforming in their devotion to the fight-the-power manifestos the management has posted on placards: We Want to be an Example of an Ethical, Nonhierarchial, Worker-Run Operation. The more heedless this country becomes, the more thoughtful Portland tries to be, and the city invariably makes visitors wish their own hometown could be a little nicer.

I read the article in full when it first hit the stands and it did make me a bit misty…sort of. Does it paint Portland too rosy? I’d say so, though I think you’ll find it an interesting read nonetheless.

16 Comments so far

  1. Kevin (unregistered) on August 8th, 2007 @ 10:59 am

    “America has become a lonesome country, full of isolation and distrust, but strangers actually talk to one another in Portland, and more. One summer afternoon on Northwest 23rd Street, the local equivalent of Rodeo Drive, a homeless woman suddenly began pulling at her face and screaming about dry skin: rather than turn away, two Prada warriors who were passing by rushed over and gave her some moisturizer.”

    Christ Almighty.


  2. Mr. Viddy (unregistered) on August 8th, 2007 @ 11:39 am

    I love Portland and the state of Oregon. I would not want to live anyplace else. I plan to die here.

    That being said, Portland is filled with a ton of hype spinning media and marketing stooges that make it a point to paint a pretty picture about Portland. Eden or not, I dig this place but I never believe the bullshit I read about Portland in the news.


  3. The Guilty Carnivore (unregistered) on August 8th, 2007 @ 12:46 pm

    Are you sure that Travel & Leisure isn’t a companion to The Onion?


  4. Mr. Viddy (unregistered) on August 8th, 2007 @ 2:03 pm

    What about all the rude people, watery coffee, overpriced drinks, trigger happy cops, heavy traffic and polluted river?

    We should be telling that to the rest of the world to keep them from bothering us here in Eden.


  5. Miz J (unregistered) on August 8th, 2007 @ 2:53 pm

    Mr. Viddy beat me to it, but I would add: don’t forget to tell everyone about our constant rain & concurrent mold problems, the high levels of pollen & other allergens, the nearby active volcano, etc., etc.

    Are you listening, SoCal?


  6. warner (unregistered) on August 8th, 2007 @ 3:53 pm

    “One summer afternoon on Northwest 23rd Street, the local equivalent of Rodeo Drive, a homeless woman suddenly began pulling at her face and screaming about dry skin: rather than turn away, two Prada warriors who were passing by rushed over and gave her some moisturizer.”

    I’m sorry, I know we are friendly and all, but I doubt this story really happened that way.


  7. Taylor (unregistered) on August 8th, 2007 @ 4:54 pm

    I fail to see how NW 23rd even comparable to Rodeo drive? People must see a Restoration Hardware and go all cross-eyed.


  8. Lady (unregistered) on August 8th, 2007 @ 7:26 pm

    The folks on this blog utterly confound me. Everytime Portland gets a public kudo for being Portland a portion of you seem to denounce the person or organization giving credit to this beautiful city. Is that how you act in your personal life when you get a compliment? “I like who you are.” Response “You are either stupid or evil for liking me”. Hmmmnn….


  9. Kevin (unregistered) on August 8th, 2007 @ 8:29 pm

    I have no objection to the fact that this man was obviously beguiled with Portland…only the language he used to express his enchantment.

    Barbara Cartland herself might’ve said, “You may want to pull back a little.”


  10. RM (unregistered) on August 8th, 2007 @ 11:28 pm

    “This may be the most right-thinking community in the United States”

    Obviously they mean the most left-thinking community.


  11. Beulah Mae (unregistered) on August 9th, 2007 @ 8:40 am

    Here is the most ironic part.

    Keller died last summer–his daughter Vicki runs the place now–the Oregonian ran a story that lionized him as an all-around great guy and visionary of the industry: “…a man who hired gays, African-Americans, transvestites, and snake handlers….” ***At times, even the voice of mainstream Portland can get a little too dreamy.***


  12. warner (unregistered) on August 9th, 2007 @ 9:03 am

    I think the attention is great, I just think the over the topness of the writing gives it less credibility. But perhaps they were just being whimsical.


  13. martin (unregistered) on August 9th, 2007 @ 11:39 am

    “Southeast encompasses the let’s-do-the-1968-time-warp Hawthorne neighborhood (head shops, socialists working the streets”

    I’m kinda getting sick of that stereotype. Hawthorne ceased to be that way in about 1993.


  14. Betsy (unregistered) on August 9th, 2007 @ 4:51 pm

    I’m just sad about the apparent dearth of editors at publications like the NYTimes and now Travel and Leisure.

    It’s apparently reaching crisis proportions – if the flabby, puffy prose I’ve seen in recent articles about PDX is any barometer, that is.

    Think I’m kidding? Check out the 86 word sentence in the example cited above, with no less than six multi-word hyphenated phrases for emphasis. (They actually missed one that should have been legitimately hyphenated – shouldn’t it have been ‘collectively-run’ instead?)

    EB White is turning over in his grave right now. Or should I say, ‘he’s flailing madly in a constantly-revolving yet consistently-clockwise spinny-kind of motion’ instead?


  15. Richard (unregistered) on August 9th, 2007 @ 6:48 pm

    “shouldn’t it have been ‘collectively-run’ instead?”

    Actually, no. In general phrasal adjectives preceding a noun should be hyphenated, but not when the first word of the phrase is an adverb ending in “ly.” The hypen indicates which words in a series of adjectives are linked together to modify a noun, but when the first word in an adjectival phrase is an “ly” adverb, we always know, without aid of a hyphen, that it is linked with the following word.

    Not that it matters all that much–but you did ask.

    I agree that the article is ridiculously excessive in its praise. While as a long-time Portlander I find it a little flattering, humility and good sense prevent me from taking it too seriously. For the most part, Portland’s social and cultural differences from other places in the US are pretty subtle. That’s not to say those differences aren’t important, but we in Portland are not really some kind of different, more highly evolved species. (Except maybe in comparison to those who choose to live in most places in Texas.)


  16. Kai (unregistered) on August 13th, 2007 @ 9:45 am

    I thought the article was hilarious. When did Belmont become “Leave It To Beaver” and Voodoo Doughnuts move next to Mary’s? It was an interesting portrait of Portland. I wish things were as happening as the author depicted.



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