Why Is Portland So Liberal? (motel, homes, school)
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You make Portland sound like it was one big hell hole, which obviously it was not. All neighborhoods at one point or another go through gentrification. Yes, Irvington went through that but Irvington wasn't Portland as a whole--the entire city wasn't full of abandoned falling down buildings that white people had to move into and fix up!
I know you think you're making a certain point but it's lost with the other commentary.
I used to live in the Mission District of SF in the late 80s/early 90s when it was cheap and unpopular. Now it's ground zero. Stuff changes all the time. I lived in the Mission because it was cheap and I was young with no money. That's usually how it works. I had no idea that it would be "cool" one day. But I don't think that people who choose to move to the Mission today are followers. If they've got the money to pay to live there, well great! It's more fun to live some place that's full of great restaurants and cafes, safe to walk in, etc. I miss old San Francisco, pre-dot com boom but that's the way it goes. People move there now for jobs and a certain lifestyle that they want. Maybe they'll regret it later financially but it's a lot better than living in the middle of no where hoping it will get cool in order to buy a house. I probably lost out in the long run financially for living in SF so long but I wouldn't trade it for anything--I had a great time and wonderful experiences/met amazing people. That counts for more than money!
ncgal, I am glad you don't seem to be taking offense at what may have seemed an attack on boomers or yourself. I don't know you so I can't hate you and I don't hate baby boomers anymore than I hate gravity for keeping me from flying. That said, I recognize along these same lines that I am organically part of a generation of people who are being royally screwed by the actions of those that came before them. I've accepted that, and I'd rather more of generation "y" or "x" or whatever did the same. They all seem stuck in "guilt" mode because they "had it so good" growing up and somehow owe their parents something in return. This is a perilous stance to take and positions one to be taken advantage of. To young people Boomers, no matter how helpful they may seem, and no matter how well intentioned they are or aren't are NOT your friends. Even your parents. Abberational circumstances have led us to a society where parents mostly take care of their children. In other cultures that faced more pressing circumstances, parents swapped children so they didn't have to eat their own. I'm not cynical, just presenting the laws of nature. When push comes to shove, people are very selfish. I wish things didn't work this way but I'm not going to be naive about it. When/if the shtf as you and I both seem to think is due, boomers are going to make a nice easy scapegoat. They are going to be expecting handouts for working so hard, so long, so they can enjoy retirement. They will demand a greater share of ever decreasing resources. If generation x/y wises up they will tell the boomers to "f off", and scramble to take what's left for themselves. It could get ugly.
Granted, so long as we as a society remain economically well off none of this ugliness simmering beneath the surface will ever have to show itself. We can only cross our fingers and hope. But when you look at certain trends it's hard to stay optimistic. Housing is a prime example. How many boomers think they are going to cash out and retire with the equity from their homes? Well if they all do then where are the next buyers going to come from? Certainly not their kids who aren't going to be able to afford it. Those who don't cash out early simply won't cash out, and you can bet their will be resentment towards those that do. Of course that bubble already looks to be slowly deflating. This is just one aspect to a very complex situation.
Personally I just try to enjoy each day as it comes. No point about stressing about a crash that may never come or will happen so slowly you don't notice. Nor is there any point to stressing about competing in a system that's rigged against you. When I say "be creative" I mean to eschew the traditional route; job, career, family, saving for retirement etc. That ship has sailed long ago and it's not coming back. Find your own path. Which isn't to say one can't take pieces here and there from those out moded ideas. In fact, while society is still around to benefit you, take advantage of it the best you can. Just don't depend on it, or feel you owe anything back. Some (probably boomers) will call this mindset selfish, but I call it survival and common sense.
Don't be too sad for us. Hopefully we will be smart enough to let the baby boomers pick up their own pieces of their mess. If not, we deserve whatever we get.
And your story about the grandchild an mcmansion is interesting. For starters I don't see myself having kids (thus no grandkids). I see the same deal for others my age. Part of it is practical (can't afford them) part of it is choice, (don't want or need to have kids). But for some reason it reminds me of India and China, massive growing economies that have yet to experience the vapid emptiness of modern culture. I bet they just see glitzy mcmansions and fancy cars, and want one for themselves no matter how badly we warn them the consequences. They'll just have to find out for themselves. But that's an x-factor I can hardly afford to get into...
But in 2003, when I went downtown one day, and walked into a new store that sold "French furniture" and was also run by a smug European man who looked down from his nose at me, and when my artist friends suddenly became smug themselves and moved from the NE to the tony NW - I knew it was ALL OVER and that my beloved, Portland had changed forever into the self-absorbed, and self-congratulatory place that it is today.
Move there when you are young, stay and have a great time, but get out when the party's over.
What a GREAT post! You've articulated my thoughts exactly. I moved to Portland in 1987, and I also pinpoint 2003 as the turning point. It was when I started looking around and not recognizing the character of this place any more. I am getting out and moving to NC, too.
I'm ecstatic that you've moved somewhere that makes you happy. But try stepping off that superiority soapbox and losing the attitude that should everyone not make your life choices, they're "hopeless followers."
Why are you taking this person's post so personally? Please chill out.
You've implied the town I choose to live in was some sort of a dump, until Californians came along and gentrified it.
I saw that as the opposite. Portland wasn't "a dump" back then; it was less pretentious, and was populated with people from more walks of life. Her post described how this city has changed for the worse, not the better, because of gentrification. As someone who has lived here since 1987, I tend to agree with her.
BTW, Portland is comprised of people from ALL over the country and world. Not just Californians. The majority of my friends in Portland are from East of the Rockies.
I personally think Portland is liberal because Oregon is somewhere that hippies gravated to in the 60s. Many of them did not leave, and they raised their families there. Others moved there seeking like minded people. That is my unresearched guess.
No, your analysis is very good. Very good. Like attracts like.
Most of the liberals I have been exposed to come from any and all of the liberal bastions from Boulder CO all the way to Maine and everywhere in between (Madison, WI, Ann Arbor, MI, Ithaca, NY, and liberal places throughout New England) IN ADDITION to Californians from the Bay Area that are like-minded. It's just that when you move in from a place OTHER than one that has such a "critical mass" as California, you are less of an "enemy."
I am stuck in Portland right now. Yes, stuck, as I am attempting to do a modified career switch and return to my first profession for which I have a license, so I am using this as home base since my family lives here, but I am looking elsewhere (warmer climate).
The funny thing about liberals, or "granolas" as they can be called, is how phoney they are. One would think that a liberal and simple person would also be open, accepting and friendly. Instead, they are very smug, self-regarding and invested in the "statement" they need to make. I think they recoil at the fact that I am well-groomed and "look" conservative. They keep me at an arms-length which is fine...I ain't missing much...LOL. (An I voted for Kerry last time ). When Bush comes to town, he gets the nastiest receptions of anywhere else in the US. I am not crazy about our President, but COME ON. And if you want to be scared, just sit in the coffee house within Powell's bookstore in NW Portland which is absolutely huge but has the UGLIEST people per square foot than anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. C'mon granolas, with a slight makeover, most of you can look halfway decent.
If you are a single, middle-of-the-road, reasonably attractive middle-aged (35 +) professional, DON'T MOVE TO PORTLAND. Pick the Sunbelt cities where you are more likely to meet like-minded people. If you don't fit into (1) granola, (2) small-town Oregon that finds himself/herself in PDX, (3) frat-sorority type with long-standing ties that went to a local school, YOU WILL BE LOOKING LONG AND HARD TO FIT IN. Now, if you are not in those groups but bringing young kids, they will find their "niche" in school and become "locals," while you can then hang out with their friends' parents and possibly find a way.
I am a Californian with an extremely worldly view, my parents were born in Europe, and I have an "irreverent" and humorous outlook on life around me and I can tell you that the SIX years I spent in both Portland and Seattle were the most depressing ones in my life. Bottom line: Ecotopian* liberals SUCK.
* a term used to describe the area from the coast to about 150 miles inland roughly between Berkeley, CA and Vancouver, BC
Last edited by robertpolyglot; 01-26-2008 at 12:15 PM..
I think a million years from now there will be a new religion started in Oregon that worships Californians. Not everything springs from them like so many seem to think.
I lived in Portland in the 1970s and it was very liberal then--more liberal than Boulder Colorado or Cincinnati Ohio. There's a reason the Powell's book store started in the area, I think.
Maybe rain makes people do indoor things--like board games, reading, etc. When you are inside with people you tend to become tolerant of their foibles.
Unlike Colorado where I have lived for years-people just isolate themselves in the sunny weather somewhere.
I don't know why it is, but give Portland some credit for having its own culture. Personally I think people are confusing liberal with materialistic. They are not the same thing at all. You can still be socially tolerant and live a modest lifestyle.
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