One senses the competitive spirit in Portland, Oregon, USA – by J. E. Boles

J. E. Boles

J. E. Boles

Someone brags that the city has the world’s highest per capita occurrence of brew pubs, but nobody checks the numbers.

Someone else brings up the World Naked Bike Ride, for which nobody can state the purpose, except that it is vaguely anti-consumerism.  Before you buy your plane tickets, know that the girls all wear bottoms.

A real numbers wonk says about 4,000 young people moved here in the last decade. With the small number of people voting, this group can sway any local election.

This is the place young people go to retire, quips someone else.

Home of Voodoo Donuts, a triumph of marketing to tourists, with a long line waiting outside 24 hours a day. How could a city, claiming to be hip, promote a form of fried bread?

Home of nearly a dozen marijuana stores, especially since the last election.  See the local papers for their ads.

The place where two big rivers come together.  The Willamette, rhymes with Goddamnit!  And the Columbia, the most radioactive river in the world, on account of Hanford Nuclear Reservation upriver, a relic of the Cold War. Dozens of big hydroelectric dams everywhere on both rivers and their tributaries, but some dams are coming down to give the salmon a chance to swim upriver to spawn.

On a clear day, five snow-covered volcanoes on the horizon, with four of them active.  Lots of people here keep track of earthquakes, for fear of more eruptions.  Or worse, The Big One, a 9.5 mb earthquake originating from an offshore fault line nobody ever hear of 20 years ago.  Those earthquake and tsunami scientists are getting really good.

Outside of Portland, the original Oregon immigrants hold sway. Their ancestors came on wagon trains, 1849-1852.  In Polk County, west of state capitol Salem, more than 102 families still live on farms founded then.  They are the landed gentry of the future, they hope.  They decry the Portland hipster.  Native Americans displaced by Europeans have become visible, what with their numerous casinos.  All it took was that gambling money, lots of it, for Native Americans to rebound.

In Portland, hipsters over the ages of 40 and 50 compete with these younger immigrants. “Hey, you brats, I was hip before you were born, and it was really difficult then!  In those days, we had to take change from our food stamps at the supermarket in little coupons, not real money, don’t you know!”

J. E. Boles is an author from Portland, Oregon, USA.

for more of her work, check out

Portlandia: The Back Side

This Guy Took A Walk Around Oregon. What He Filmed There Will Give You Chills (The Good Kind).

One thought on “One senses the competitive spirit in Portland, Oregon, USA – by J. E. Boles

  1. Oh, so excellent commentary on the tediousness of our beloved Portland culture. Oh the contradictions!! Great commentary!! Thank you!!


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