The same weekend we rolled out of Portland, we rolled back in-Memorial Weekend, two years later. The first full day back we decided to be tourists in our hometown. We didn’t need the van to tour Portland as there are many transit options. Probably the most bike and pedestrian friendly city in the country. A transit model for other city planners. We took the walkability option.
So we strapped on our boots and took a 12-mile hike through our old stoppin’ grounds.
If Pioneer Square is considered Portland’s living room, the Willamette River might well be its front yard. The river divides the city into east and west. The Burnside Bridge then separates Portland into north and south. So once you know the four quarters of Portland ( NW, NE, SW,SE) it’s pretty easy to get around. Oh yeah, and there’s the 5th Quadrant, North Portland, where I spend my Tuesday afternoons with these “Tightwads “.
Later that day, Hali and I had the privilege to see Portland with our friends Patty and Steve from their boat in the front yard of Portland. A lovely day on the water in a cool city. The city was alive with the start of Rose Festival. The time of year we celebrate community in the Rose City.
Despite its self-proclaimed proclamation to KEEP PORTLAND WEIRD, Portland is not weird, it’s cool. Portland seems to suffer from the Goldilocks Syndrome. Not too big, not too small. Not too hot. Not too cold. It’s just right. It’s cool.
Maybe we should start pasting KEEP PORTLAND COOL stickers on our friends’ bumpers. Time to get rid of the WEIRD stigma and go with COOL. Makes sense. We’ve lived here half our lives, and most of the people we know here in Portland are NOT weird. Notice I said most. Like any city, big or small, there are the exceptions: the weird ones, the UN-COOL ones.
After traveling around the country, trust me, we’ve seen plenty of weird. For instance, people in Apalachicola, Florida eat oysters without cooking them first. Raw! That’s weird! Yuck! In Texas it’s mandatory that every hotel waffle iron make waffles in the shape of Texas. Weird? Yeah, but slather that buttermilk state in butter, peanut butter, and Mrs. Butterworth’s and one might consider moving to Lone Star State.
A hot dog joint in Ohio called Dogs Are Us won’t let you sit on the patio with your pooch and enjoy a Chicago style hot dog. WHAT?? WEIRD!!
A 40mph speed limit for 400 miles without a stop light or fast food chain on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Totally Weird.
As tourists traveling our country for the last couple years, our impression of Portland is. . . it’s COOL. WEIRD? Nope, WEIRD has to go to the entire state of Florida and its mascot “Florida Man “.
What makes our hometown cool is its neighborhoods. Each neighborhood in every quadrant of the city is its own unique village. It has its own heartbeat. That’s where the COOL factor fits in. COOL seems to exude from every coffee shop, food truck, brewery, or pizza joint.
COOL is strapping on your boots and enjoying a 12-mile hike through every section of town, sitting down, savoring a craft beer, and sharing stories with COOL people. COOL is where you feel welcomed. Portland IS COOL.
Let’s keep it that way.