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Old 02-17-2013, 11:14 PM
 
Location: Melbourne
65 posts, read 84,765 times
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I'll give you guys the perspective of an outsider looking in. I'm an Aussie and I toured the United States for 6 weeks last year, and I went all over the place. I noticed quite a few cultural differences between the various regions in the country, a concept quite foreign to me because Australia is more or less culturally the same everywhere.

I didn't, however, feel that the west was any less culturally American than any other region, with one tiny exception. The Pacific Northwest, particularly Seattle (I'm assuming it's the same in Portland but I haven't been there so can't comment), felt very irreligious compared with the rest of America. In other regions I saw religious references everywhere, in the form of billboards, evangelists, megachurches and even people trying to convert you on the street! However in Seattle it felt the other way around, as if atheists were trying to "convert" you (I did in fact see a number of billboards and ads promoting atheism in Seattle). You might think that's an over-exaggeration but for an outsider what you see and hear on the streets paints a pretty clear picture of what the people are like.

Maybe if you venture out into the suburbs and rural areas it's just like the rest of America (I didn't have the chance to do that) but from my personal experience the irreligious aspect is what separates the PNW from everywhere else in America. Football, cheerleaders, fast food, chain stores etc were all abundant.

Edit: I think someone mentioned before about the Northwest feeling like Australia? Not even close. The part of America which felt the most like Australia was probably New England, and I'll put that down to the British influence on both New England and Australia and also a similar "live and let live" attitude in New England to what you get here.

Last edited by Celtic_08; 02-17-2013 at 11:23 PM..
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:39 AM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,992 posts, read 42,037,172 times
Reputation: 14811
Quote:
Originally Posted by Celtic_08 View Post
I'll give you guys the perspective of an outsider looking in. I'm an Aussie and I toured the United States for 6 weeks last year, and I went all over the place. I noticed quite a few cultural differences between the various regions in the country, a concept quite foreign to me because Australia is more or less culturally the same everywhere.

I didn't, however, feel that the west was any less culturally American than any other region, with one tiny exception. The Pacific Northwest, particularly Seattle (I'm assuming it's the same in Portland but I haven't been there so can't comment), felt very irreligious compared with the rest of America. In other regions I saw religious references everywhere, in the form of billboards, evangelists, megachurches and even people trying to convert you on the street! However in Seattle it felt the other way around, as if atheists were trying to "convert" you (I did in fact see a number of billboards and ads promoting atheism in Seattle). You might think that's an over-exaggeration but for an outsider what you see and hear on the streets paints a pretty clear picture of what the people are like.

Maybe if you venture out into the suburbs and rural areas it's just like the rest of America (I didn't have the chance to do that) but from my personal experience the irreligious aspect is what separates the PNW from everywhere else in America. Football, cheerleaders, fast food, chain stores etc were all abundant.

Edit: I think someone mentioned before about the Northwest feeling like Australia? Not even close. The part of America which felt the most like Australia was probably New England, and I'll put that down to the British influence on both New England and Australia and also a similar "live and let live" attitude in New England to what you get here.
You found lots of religious references in New England? I think New Englanders are a bit more observant than the Northwest but they're not that open about it.
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:26 PM
 
Location: Phoenix Arizona
2,032 posts, read 4,040,673 times
Reputation: 2699
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Originally Posted by belmont22 View Post
They're building a Target downtown? What a shame. Even more a shame people are happy about it, whatever happened to Portland being "weird"?

I hope downtown Portland isn't on its way to becoming a cultural desert like say, downtown Columbus Ohio. I remember I had to spend the night in Columbus on the way back to Portland and was forced to get dinner at CVS pharmacy (junk food) because everything closed at 5:30 in the city center. The horror.

Someone mentioned there is a Walmart right within Portland. While that's technically true, I think it's a little misleading, it's on SE 82nd, almost in Clackamas, I mean it's really nowhere near the heart of the city. It's pretty much in the suburbs. There's only about 7 Wal Marts in the Portland metro which is not that many when you consider the density of WalMart in most other parts of the country. Of course Freddies isn't that much better.
Bohemian cities destroy themselves. Say Portland OR and people everywhere say it's the coolest city and they can't wait to get there. When the buzz about a hip city persists long enough business recognizes the opportunity to make money and moves in.

I've seen it happen in my life to Tempe AZ. Since the 60's it was a great, fun, culturally rich, college town, mostly overlooked by the mainstream. It was always full of bikers and hippies from the old days, lots of cheap bars, music venues, and cheap rent for throughout the 80's and 90's. In Arizona, Tempe was the place every kind of person from outside the mainstream had a blast and many from ASU ended up staying.

Then by the late 90's business realized what a goldmine it was being such a magnet for young people and in the span of a few years the rent went way up, for homes and businesses. The old bars where bands used to play and it was a $4 cover at the door started disappearing one by one, unable to keep up with rising rent, replaced with Appleby's and Hooter's. Now Tempe is a disney version of itself, with the occasional "art fair" selling wind chimes or old ladies hawking statues of coyotes wearing Southwestern themed bandanas, and a frat boy puke show on the weekends.

It can happen so quick bohemia can't have adequate time or resources to stop it.

Portland will still be a nice city, but it may just end up like San Francisco; the old youth-centered creativity driven out by high cost of living, replaced by wealthy aging hipsters cruising along on memories of how fun and crazy it used to be.

Then another city will become the new Portland or another region will become the new version of the hip PNW and the cycle will go on.
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:20 PM
 
Location: Melbourne
65 posts, read 84,765 times
Reputation: 74
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Originally Posted by nei View Post
You found lots of religious references in New England? I think New Englanders are a bit more observant than the Northwest but they're not that open about it.
Maybe I didn't phrase that correctly. What I meant to express was that New England in general felt very similar to Australia in this regard in that people couldn't care less about your faith and weren't bothered with trying to convert. The only place I visited in the northwest was Seattle, and there I saw lots of ads and billboards promoting irreligion in the same way that you see billboards everywhere else in the country (apart from New England) promoting Christianity. It just felt weird to me that almost everywhere I went in America someone was trying to "convert" me. Hence why I felt most "at home" in New England
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Old 03-05-2013, 02:24 AM
 
Location: West Coast - Best Coast!
1,977 posts, read 2,873,385 times
Reputation: 2322
Walmart isn't American - it's Chinese.

Seriously, if Walmart and fast food restaurants are what define "America" to you, I'm thrilled if you think of me as Canadian. Those are two things that are literally killing America.

Here's what I consider "American": freedom to practice any or no religion without intrusion, reverence for the spectacular and nurturing land we've been given (and taken from the Native Americans), support of local businesses and locally/American made products, civil rights for all regardless of sex or sexual orientation, support of those who serve in our Armed Forces, freedom from identifying one's self as affiliated with one political party, courage to stake a claim (no matter how unsafe or unconventional), support of rights granted by the 2nd Amendment, innovation in all things, and playing sports - all sports - not just watching them. These are all things found in my state of Washington, and I think it's one of the few places in this country still recognizable as America.
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Old 03-05-2013, 04:38 PM
 
Location: Just outside of Portland
4,635 posts, read 5,874,128 times
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Originally Posted by cacto View Post
Bohemian cities destroy themselves. Say Portland OR and people everywhere say it's the coolest city and they can't wait to get there. When the buzz about a hip city persists long enough business recognizes the opportunity to make money and moves in.

I've seen it happen in my life to Tempe AZ. Since the 60's it was a great, fun, culturally rich, college town, mostly overlooked by the mainstream. It was always full of bikers and hippies from the old days, lots of cheap bars, music venues, and cheap rent for throughout the 80's and 90's. In Arizona, Tempe was the place every kind of person from outside the mainstream had a blast and many from ASU ended up staying.

Then by the late 90's business realized what a goldmine it was being such a magnet for young people and in the span of a few years the rent went way up, for homes and businesses. The old bars where bands used to play and it was a $4 cover at the door started disappearing one by one, unable to keep up with rising rent, replaced with Appleby's and Hooter's. Now Tempe is a disney version of itself, with the occasional "art fair" selling wind chimes or old ladies hawking statues of coyotes wearing Southwestern themed bandanas, and a frat boy puke show on the weekends.

It can happen so quick bohemia can't have adequate time or resources to stop it.

Portland will still be a nice city, but it may just end up like San Francisco; the old youth-centered creativity driven out by high cost of living, replaced by wealthy aging hipsters cruising along on memories of how fun and crazy it used to be.

Then another city will become the new Portland or another region will become the new version of the hip PNW and the cycle will go on.
Great post!
As a life long resident of Portland I can say that this is exactly what's happening now.
It's at the stage where the "planners" and "developers" have taken over and are all but ruining the city, politically and aesthetically.
Portland doesn't seem to care about preserving it's historic areas and buildings, and a lot of cool neighborhoods are being destroyed by huge apartment bunkers going up.
Instead of preserving the old, it's just torn down and replaced with the new.
In many aspects it's better than it was, but in other aspects it's a lot worse.

Portland is becoming a very expensive place to live, relatively speaking.
The bad thing about it is that it has carried over to the whole west side of Oregon.
The good thing is that a lot of us natives saw what was coming and were able to hugely profit from it real estate wise, because everyone seems to want to move here. Thank you, transplants!

There is a whole myth (Thanks, New York newpapers!) about Portland and Oregon, and some people are really disappointed to find out it's not the inexpensive liberal greenie anything-goes koombaya wonderland they picture in their minds eye.

As far as the original question about the west, being a lifelong multi-generational Pacific NorthWesterner, it's the rest of the country that's a little off.

We are completely normal and 100% American here in Oregon!

Last edited by pdxMIKEpdx; 03-05-2013 at 04:50 PM..
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Old 03-05-2013, 05:04 PM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,698 posts, read 23,692,507 times
Reputation: 35450
Quote:
Originally Posted by cacto View Post
Bohemian cities destroy themselves. Say Portland OR and people everywhere say it's the coolest city and they can't wait to get there. When the buzz about a hip city persists long enough business recognizes the opportunity to make money and moves in.

I've seen it happen in my life to Tempe AZ. Since the 60's it was a great, fun, culturally rich, college town, mostly overlooked by the mainstream. It was always full of bikers and hippies from the old days, lots of cheap bars, music venues, and cheap rent for throughout the 80's and 90's. In Arizona, Tempe was the place every kind of person from outside the mainstream had a blast and many from ASU ended up staying.

Then by the late 90's business realized what a goldmine it was being such a magnet for young people and in the span of a few years the rent went way up, for homes and businesses. The old bars where bands used to play and it was a $4 cover at the door started disappearing one by one, unable to keep up with rising rent, replaced with Appleby's and Hooter's. Now Tempe is a disney version of itself, with the occasional "art fair" selling wind chimes or old ladies hawking statues of coyotes wearing Southwestern themed bandanas, and a frat boy puke show on the weekends.

It can happen so quick bohemia can't have adequate time or resources to stop it.

Portland will still be a nice city, but it may just end up like San Francisco; the old youth-centered creativity driven out by high cost of living, replaced by wealthy aging hipsters cruising along on memories of how fun and crazy it used to be.

Then another city will become the new Portland or another region will become the new version of the hip PNW and the cycle will go on.
I have to agree with this.When Portland went from a unique city where an eclectic population thrived and there was a little something for everyone to a city with people trying so very hard to be either "crunchy" or "wierd" the uniqueness disappeared. The only people who were really happy were those who made a profit off those who bought and are still buying into the dream. The rest of us are trying to manage the best we can scratching our heads over people who feel the need to judge what should and shouldn't be a part of Portland because it doesn't happen to fit their "crunchy" "weird" image of it.

Target coming to downtown!!?? Oh no!!! Sacrilege! How uncool!

Forget that we used to have something similar in Newberry's Department store that was very much Portland and many of us have missed it a lot. And Target is a good substitute. But Target isn't hip enough for some.

Still, it's a nice place to be if you can afford it. It's just one of those cities that will soon no longer be the flavor of the month with the New York Times and maybe that's a good thing because then we can go back to being unique again.
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