Stuck in Portland

My flight out of Portland keeps getting delayed. The gate attendant just assured me that I would get to San Francisco in time to make my connection to Boston. To be honest, though, I wouldn’t mind getting stuck in Portland for another day. Here are some reasons why I like Portland:

  • Everyone I have talked with in six days in Portland has been unfailingly friendly, polite, and just plain nice. It’s amazing what a difference politeness makes.
  • For me, the climate is ideal: cool, relatively dry air, plenty of clouds and light rain to break up the sunshine. You know you’re north of the 45th parallel.
  • It is a truly multicultural city.
  • The coffee is really, really good. True, good coffee is probably necessary to make it through the long, gray winters. But the coffee is so good, even here in the airport, that it just might be worth it.
  • You can see snow-covered mountains from downtown Portland.
  • The public transportation system is just as good as you’ve heard. The light rail system is fast, clean, efficient, and free in the city center. The Portland street car is charming. No one pushes or shoves or casts glowering glances. And they have special bicycle hooks built into the light rail cars.
  • Everyone rides bicycles. Riding the light rail out to the airport today, I stood behind a wiry man in a black t-shirt standing next to his hotshot mountain bike. I realized that his funny-looking bicycle helmet was actually a hardhat, and that his black t-shirt was from the local ironworkers union. In Boston, he’d drive a truck.
  • Lots of trees grow in downtown Portland, making the city feel green and delightful.
  • Free wifi throughout the airport.

Of all these reasons, the first one is most important:– it really does make a difference when everyone is polite. (One of the reasons I like New Bedford, where I live, is that most everyone is polite.) And the fact that everyone is polite and friendly has made the delay here at the airport far more bearable.

The free wifi helps, too.


4 thoughts on “Stuck in Portland

  1. mskitty

    I’m glad to know you like my city, Dan! It was good to meet you, even briefly. I like Portland for all the same reasons, plus the fact that I lived for several years as a kid and as an adult in Portland.

  2. Lizard Eater

    I’ve enjoyed your bits during GA! I’d love to see something like that on the GA site. “Roving reporter” kind of thing.

    Now, get home, and enter my contest:

    You can enter as many as you want, so I expect one of the first entries to be one of yours.

    Dang, I’m bossy.

  3. hafidha sofia

    Yay! You liked Portland! It’s not perfect, but it’s a good place to live, in general. A bunch of my own friends complained about Portland. Apparently, Portlanders are freaks, dirty weirdos, and smell badly! Two people even told me that the Max was “nasty.” I wasn’t offended so much as confused. What? Where? When? I’ve been riding the Max for years, and “nasty” is just not a word I’d ever thinking to describe it.

    But, I have to say that Portland is not that multicultural. It’s just where the convention center is happens to be the most multicultural part of the city. In fact, not long ago, Portland was named the whitest big city in America in the Oregonian. It’s become more diverse over the last decade, but almost every person of color I know who lives here (and moved from another place) comments on its homogeneity.

  4. Administrator

    Lizard Eater — Actually, the UUA Web site had a couple of “roving reporter” features. Doug Muder did a nice (written) blog about GA: Link. Plus, there was an NPR reporter volunteering for the Web staff, and she did some “audio postcards” which are now up on the UUA Web site: Link.

    hafidha sofia — I’m a little disappointed to hear that Portland is so white. On the other hand, having at least one multicultural neighborhood counts for something.

    But someone called the Max “nasty”? Jeez, what a gratuitous insult. Obviously, that’s someone who has never ridden the subways in New York, Boston, Chicago, or Philly. I’d say that the Max was even nicer than either BART in San Francisco, or the Metro in Washington.

    And people said to you that Portlanders are freaks, weirdos, and smell badly? Compared to what? Compared to the rich white suburbs they live in, where all the nasty stuff is carefully and conveniently hidden away (but still exists!)? Those are people who lead lives that are *way* too sheltered.

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