July 3, 2011 by David Gillaspie
WHICH PORTLAND IS YOUR PORTLAND
The big city wasn’t always big. That includes every city in every country.
Some cities look bigger, like Los Angeles, because of the spread.
Other’s have a concentrated core, like Center City Philadelphia.
Portland has both, but goes one step further. It has the sprawl and the tall, along with a certain attitude of a ‘city within a city.’
It’s a new choice every day.
One Portland is Bridge City.
If that’s your Portland you must know the name of bridges crossing the Willamette River within the city limits.
For extra credit throw in the Oregon City bridge and the inter-state bridge.
Another Portland is Keep Portland Weird Portland.
Even if the idea came from Austin, Texas, it’s a good one.
Weird Portland rides a bike, a skateboard, or takes a bus, trolley, and light rail with their bike, skateboard, and service dog sporting matching ink and piercings.
Weird Portland is an on again-off again homeless camp under the Hawthorne Bridge on Naito Parkway. What’s weird about that? It’s a few blocks from the police station on a very busy street. It might be illegal, but…
They are the soul and memory of what Portland was, and what it will be.
Their Portland didn’t get the riff-raff a gold rush brings. No one jumped off a boat, snagged a shovel, and headed to the Klondike like they did in Seattle, or to Sutter’s Mill like San Francisco.
Portland was different then, as it is now, still evolving and growing in many ways.
So far 2011 produced a record for consecutive rainy days, the best political statement of the decade (Mayor Sam Adams, “I haven’t decided to run for re-election or not,) and a forecast for the greatest number of gang-related shootings and deaths.
About that last one, you’ve heard of The Hoovers, or Hoova Crim?
It’s not a band you’ll catch at The Candlelight Room.
If you’ve heard of the Bloods and Crips, just know the Hoovers fight them both.
And they fight with guns.
If you know your Portland gangs, then you know their style of gun play.
An Asian gang and a Russian gang zero in on their problems with the sort of accuracy a mafia hitman would approve. It may not be the one shot-one kill ideal, but it seems they try for one kill even if they show up with automatics.
The Hoovers follow drive-by tradition and might spray a house from across the street without practicing shooting range etiquette.
They also introduce a new color to the time-honored red and blue of the better known street gangs. Orange is their trademark ID, which is also a hot hue in fashion circles this season.
If this is the first you’ve heard of The Hoovers, you’re about to hear more.
Olde Portland tries to explain how gentrification in North and NE Portland displaces families who then seek cheaper housing in further east and southeast. They can point at the panoramic view from their West Hills great room windows and trace the migration.
Weird Portland tells you about their new neighbors and how it’s all good, until it’s not.
Bridge City Portland makes their statement, but the river sounds more like a moat between east and west than a natural feature.
With any luck, The Hoovers and their fellow shooters will stand down.
Portland needs many things; a new record for shootings and killings isn’t one of them.