Qualified Condition

November 27, 2008

East Side

Filed under: Portland — qualifiedcondition @ 10:12 pm

The last time that we came to Portland we stayed in Kenny’s old apartment building in the Northwest area and most of our travels were back and forth between Northwest, The Pearl and Downtown.  These are all very fun, beautiful, walkable neighborhoods.  Northwest (or is it simply NW?) is a fairly dense neighborhood with a lot of elegant older apartment buildings, two and three-story Craftsman and Victorian houses and parks and trees everywhere.  It’s active with a ton of shops, bars and cafes and it’s the type of place (like much of this city) where you could easily do without a car.  The Pearl is a major redevelopment area.  At one time it was an industrial center right on the river and today it is a bonanza of high-rise lofts and pricey shops and restaurants.  Urban Planners love to talk about the renewal of this area which has been a laboratory of environmentally friendly architecture .  Downtown is exactly what you would expect given the previous two descriptions.  It’s great.

In talking to a local friend yesterday, I realized that he liked to rip on these areas for being douchey and pretentious.  He sounded like me talking about West Hollywood or Santa Monica or something.  If the Pearl, full of socially conscious, environmentalist, urbanites is as douchey as it gets around here I think I’d do alright.  I get so down on the Westsidey neighborhoods in LA because I think that there are so many negative and sociologically dysfunctional things about them–exceptionally wealthy people who haven’t earned a penny, people with so much power and even more ignorance, McMansions… I don’t really get the impression that it’s like that here.  Basically I’m saying that I could be a douchebag in Portland, no problem.

On the other hand, I’m still waiting to see the edgy neighborhood, the ghetto, the projects.  We’re staying on the east side in a neighborhood in Northeast called Laurelhurst.  It’s very pretty and a lot like what I think Highland Park would look like had the middle class not rejected the urban core of Los Angeles in the 1950s.  I’ve heard that the Mississippi neighborhood is supposed to be a gentrification hotspot, an Echo Park if you will, but I’m guessing that there hasn’t been about 50 years of poor immigrant families, gangs and a lack of municipal services and so it’s probably as cute and tree-lined as everything else around here but with less Volvo station wagons in the driveways.  We’ll see.

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1 Comment »

  1. I don’t want to read about the East Side anymore. I want to read something funny or pithy or about the holiday party fliers at your office!

    Comment by Spiny Norman — December 6, 2008 @ 10:53 pm


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