Chronicles of Portland


"You Can't Go Home Again"


As Thomas Wolfe wrote, You Can’t Go Home Again. I recently took a job in Portland and while it is not “home” per se, it is the third time I have lived here over the past 25+ years. The first time we were here in the mid-1990s, we lived in a suburb west of Portland. The next time we were here from 2012-2015, we lived in a suburb to the east. This time, I decided I would try urban living in downtown Portland.


To say the place has changed a bit since 1996 would be an understatement. Not quite as idyllic as some would claim (slogans like “Keep Portland Weird” and “The City That Works” seem rather quaint today) and not as post-apocalyptic (“Portland and Seattle today – your town tomorrow”) as others would say. A vignette from my first month back:


A couple weekends ago I was walking around the neighborhood on a sunny afternoon when I walked past a gentlemen sitting on a bench:


Him: “Hey man, spot me a $20?”


Me: “Nah, no thanks” as I walked by. But then I stopped and turned to him, “But I gotta tell you man, I appreciate you throwing the deep ball. You skipped the change request and went right for the $20.”


Him: He laughed, shrugged his shoulders and said, “You know man, you don’t make 90% of the shots you don’t take.”


Me: “I don’t think you got that quite right but I like your game.”


And we both parted with a laugh

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