My uncle called it "Sin City". I never knew why. When I came here it was big and scary--but then I was a country bumpkin, remember.
I soon got over the big and scary. I figured out the buses and learned not to make eye contact with the wrong people. I learned where to go for the best music with no cover charges. I learned about Bingo night at Lolly's Tavern and even won a ham there one night. And in Portland, men invited women to go out to dinner. This was huge! Where I'd come, we always went out after dinner.
Looking back a few years, I have been to many cities. Chicago is friendly. Dallas is cold, but Fort Worth Rocks. New York has everything--ditto London and Paris. The smaller cities are sweet too--Siena, Beaune--lilttle cities with big attitudes. And Portland is still my favorite.
It invites walking. It's musical, and there are still great places to hear music and dance without a cover. I love the Park Blocks that stretch from Portland State to the Pearl with only the slightest interruption. And I love the parks. Forest Park wends for miles through forest, the arboretum and zoo, alongside fancy neighborhoods. People live in Forest Park and are never seen. And don't forget Laurelhurst and Council Crest and tiny DeWitt Park just down the street.
It's a writer's city. I fit in here, comfortable with Chelsea and Marc and Philip and Ursula and Jean and Chuck and and all the others...Willamette Writers, Literary Arts & Lectures, Wordstock, book groups, Powell's, readings, poetry jams. We mix and blend and disappear in the mist.
There are theatres and the opera, the art museum and the symphony. There are galleries and festivals, Gay Pride, Keep Portland Weird Pride, Dragon boats, Races for the Cure, the Bridge Pedal, bridges, shopping, scandals, and gritty crime, exploring the neighborhoods, the streets, leaves drifting to the ground in soft rain. Walking.
And the restaurants--ahh--are as good as any in the world. So many meals to savor on every street. Right outside my door, downtown, in the next neighborhood or the one after that. Restaurants big and small, at home where they live, as unique as their street, neighborhoods, city. My city.
Causes Judy Nedry Supports
Oregon Food Bank, Oregon Humane Society, Oregon Public Broadcasting, Portland Center Stage