Apr 07 2004

The first amazing thing about Portland is how nice it looks. It seems too clean and attractive to be a real city. Bus-stop shelters have pretty patterns in the glass, crosswalks are red brick, and sidewalks are lined with flowerpots. The trains and buses are clean, and have very friendly signs that say things like “Hang bike here. Thanks for riding.” While I was there, I kept thinking “This would never last in Chicago. This would get vandalized within three days. No one in Green Bay would ever do it that way.” I don’t mean to disparage my origins but blast if it isn’t more appealing to me than anywhere in the Midwest. This is what a typical downtown Portland street looks like: cool little shops, the train tracks right on the street, lots of trees, and lots of little free publications on the corner. We picked up a ton of apartment-finder and job-finder books and newspapers.