One Full Year In Portland

8 04 2011

I’m a year old.  One year ago today I rolled into Portland, alone and absolutely exhausted.  Since then so much has happened and I’ve had such a wonderful time exploring the city and surrounding areas.  It’s a fabulous place with great people and an endless amount of things to do.  I could take this opportunity to discuss what is so great about the area, but I think it’s more fun to reveal what have I noticed over the last year about Portland that I didn’t know or expect.  Here are some observations:

•  Car burglaries/break-ins are called “car prowls” here.  Are the bad guys just lurking around, or are they smashing windows and taking stuff that’s not theirs?  The latter is not a “prowl”.

•  The liquor laws are seriously idiotic.  A) You can’t take kids into certain areas of a restaurant near the bar, but you can sit less than a foot away and order all the booze you want?  What does that prevent?   B) Seeing an all-ages show means there’s a 4’ moat of nothingness separating the drinkers with a (seriously) moat-keeper monitoring their moat for beer-handovers.  C) All liquor is sold by state licensed stores (even bars and restaurants have to buy from them!), so it’s expensive.  Could be worse though, right Utah?

•  I knew about this one before I moved, but I always thought not filling up your own car with gas was ridiculous, but as it turns out I’m totally wrong and it’s actually about the best thing ever.

•  The sun comes up quite early in June, it makes a great case for blackout blinds.

•  When people find out you haven’t been here for a winter before, they convince you that you’re going to brutally kill yourself halfway in.  I didn’t think it was all that bad actually.

•  Beaverton police really don’t want you to speed, or they will ticket you… Portland police really don’t want you to disobey them, or they will kill you.

•  If you move from out of state you have to take the written exam to get a drivers license, which they don’t tell you on their website, so when you find out about it after you pay your fees and think you’re all done and can go get some lunch, you totally fail it because you don’t know things like when frickin’ studded tire season is or that you can drive a firetruck with a normal license.  Didn’t happen to me, just uh, someone I know.

•  If you move from out of state, do tell locals you’re from the Midwest or something like that, they feel sorry for you, throw a blanket over your shoulders and bring you in from the rain.  Don’t say you’re from California, they don’t like Californians, at all.  Serious stateism there.

•  Public Radio is statewide, not city-specific.  So when they start reading the call-letters at the top of the hour for every city in Oregon, get ready for 12 minutes of letter randomness.

•  And finally, people pronounce Couch St. “cooch” instead of “couch”.  That’s not silly.  It’s just stupid.

So that was fun! But seriously now, how have I adapted and embraced the culture over the past year?

Well, I haven’t started a band, grown a beard or gotten a medical marijuana card, but what I have done (aside from really diving into the local beer) is started to bike to work.  Since I don’t do much mountain biking, and my bike was so old anyway, I invested about $150 (you read that right) into modifications and gear and started biking 6 miles each way.  Been great so far, check out my rig:

All you need to commute is: a bright rain-proof jacket, helmet, gloves, glasses, pant strap, ear covering, bike shoes, spare tube, air pump, front and back blinky lights, rear rack, Timbuk2 bag, a bungee cord and fenders. That's all.

So, year one down, all the rest to come…

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3 responses

8 04 2011
Susan Brock

I also noticed when I arrived that they always call a car accident a crash. That always sounds worse to me, sort of like a sound bubble in a comic book POW! WHAM! CRASH!

17 05 2011
John

I wish I could balance the great things you say about the place with what I’ve seen on “Portlandia”.

27 08 2011
Amy

I had to laugh about the fire truck question because that one stumped me too and what I mean by that is, I got it wrong too.
And just so you know a few years back on the news they did a story on the Couch family, which the street is named after. They said it is pronounced couch and they aren’t even sure when it got switched to cooch. So you can feel better knowing that even they are confused.

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