The “Inner Cleveland” of Trendy Cities

8 thoughts on “The “Inner Cleveland” of Trendy Cities”

  1. What’s wrong with a little bit of heavy industry? We can’t all live on wirting silly code to make yuppies’ already priveleged lives even easier (half the web 2.0 junk). Portland can OWN its industry!

  2. I’m with you…up to a point. I live in a small Southern college town (not one of the cool ones like Chapel Hill, Athens, or Charlottesville) in the poorest region of the state. It’s true that I can afford a very nice house here, in a quiet, tree-lined neighborhood, with a 10-minute bike commute to the campus where I work and to the two bars, one coffee shop, and two galleries downtown. I can afford to travel, pretty much as often as my schedule will allow. I get excellent local produce for about a quarter of the price of the greenmarkets in SF or NYC. People are nice. Manners are heavenly. But is it worth it, if there’s nobody around to talk to but good-ol’-boys and Baptists? If the public schools are staffed by well-meaning illiterates (I know: I teach them) and the private schools are stuck on the wrong side of the Civil Rights era? People put up with big-city prices for a reason.

    1. Brian — that’s ’cause you’re in *THE SOUTH*. Move to a small college town in upstate NY or New England — or maybe even Ohio — you’ll get all the good without most of the bad.

  3. Yes, I have to agree that, while I love Portland (my home!), I often think how overhyped this city is in the media. We are held up as a bastion of urban planning and green eco practices, but that isn’t the whole picture. My neighborhood, Cully (which i LOVE, don’t get me wrong) has a very poor walk score and hardly any sidewalks. There is a very high poverty rate here too. The busy freight corridor nearby and lots of industrial businesses contribute to very poor air quality on some days. I kind of embrace the dilapidated infrastructure part because it feels like the country. There are many other such neighborhoods in Portland where there is high poverty/crappy streets or no streets: Lents, many areas in East County. Don’t get me wrong, I love this city, but the hype is getting on my nerves and it’s refreshing to hear people call it out sometimes.

  4. For the sake of your readers, fyi,, Portland doesn’t look like that. The river is not brown like that and all of those industrial buildings are in one small section (maybe 10-15mile radius) of Portland, right by the river very close to downtown where everyone can see. It’s actually really cool looking and a source of pride because it’s where the beginning ports of Portland began and they’re still functioning. Also, Portland is one of the most green cities in the country. The housing market isn’t outrageous here, employment rates are decent. It’s not that the article doesn’t make good points, but for the most part Portland *is*, in fact, everything it’s cracked up to be and it doesn’t lend credibility to try to make the city look like half of it is some neglected, dirty, industrial craphole that we’re trying to hide, when it’s not.
    I’d be happy to take photos of the same exact buildings and places and post them so readers can actually see what they look like.

    That being said, we Portlanders all hope you believe that it’s a craphole and don’t move here because we like it the way things are and don’t need more out-of-staters, thankyouverymuch.

    Love, a native Portlander.

    1. Thank you for your comments. But you’re actually reinforcing my entire point. When we see photos of Portland in the media they depict happy bicyclists, sidewalk cafes, charming historic homes on tree lined streets, and elegant glass towers set against the backdrop of the forest, river, and mountains. On the other hand, when we see photos of Buffalo, Cincinnati, Cleveland, etc. we see a desolate late Soviet era moonscape of industrial decay and abandonment. I intentionally cherry picked unflattering photos of Portland for the purposes of demonstrating that popular opinion is molded by the stories we tell about a place. And those stories have a very real impact on life on the ground. You were rightly offended by the inaccurate portrayal of Portland – which I personally love and know to be beautiful. Now do you understand what it must feel like to live in Cleveland and see nothing but crap depictions of your home town on the national media? Get it?

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