The time I spent on the east coast made me think a lot about what I value about this city, and what it is lacking and constantly striving for. The most obvious thing that is missing is the pervasive, nonchalant cosmopolitanism and global cultural mash-up that you find in cities like NYC and DC. We tend to refer to this Thing We Wish We Had as "diversity", a washed-out word that white liberals adore. On the other hand, the flipside of the equation is that Portland does have a remarkable atmosphere of consensus and civic participation. Hopefully our vanguardist vision of how people can shape cities and live well in them (for awhile, at least; I read The World Without Us
on vacation) will prevail in the face of a growing population and bigger urban footprint. Portland is like a restless and creative adolescent on the cusp of adulthood; in many ways a place like New York already is what it is.
Unbelievably dense and vibrant and sophisticated, but it feels like there's less room to grow and stretch. We have our own unique joie de vivre here, and while other cities celebrate their increasingly generic heft and wealth, we'll hopefully continue to cultivate our riches in the intertwined realms of food, music, art, architecture, ecology, etc.
Oh, and Portland's parks are unrivalled.
I walked around Old Town and Skidmore yesterday for awhile. It made me realize that I really need to get off my bike more often and just wander on my feet. I had definitely never noticed the deer on the roof before.