Portland, Part One

Tomorrow: A Different Side of “The City of Roses”

My wife and I traveled, first time post-Pandemic, to Portland. As always, there were delightful aspects to the prevailing counter-culture.

There are numerous tiny, free libraries for books, but this was the first time we had ever seen a “Free Fridge.” Hungry? Help yourself.
Hopeful, colorful street art is everywhere in the outlying residential areas.
Colorful, hopeful, but with a touch of edginess and black humor. There’s always a sense of the apocalypse on the Left Coast.
Portland is also the epicenter of “Tiny”. Put a bunch of tiny houses together and whaddya got? A tiny hotel.
Murals depict an idyllic world where people of all colors, flavors, sexual dispositions, faith, creed, and aroma live together in free-flowing harmony.
It’s a delicious world where you can appreciate the simple pleasures. Here, for example, the simple pleasures of a BLT sandwiches is made over-the-top delicious by serving it on a fresh croissant and augmenting the sandwich with an avocado, fried egg, and garlic aoili. What can they do to a PB & J?
Of course, there’s more to life than beautiful street art and outrageously good healthy food. Black lives matter in Portland, very much so.

BUT … Downtown Portland is the most grim place I’ve ever been to in North America. There are no communities, but rather squalid clusters of homeless people. No tiny houses, but tents, tarps, pallets, and boxes that provide minimal shelter. No colorful street art, but spray-painted, expletive-laced graffiti. The only thing that is not in short supply is human misery.

The “city of roses” has this amidst its blooms.

Don’t call them “homeless.” They prefer the term “houseless.” They live by the on-ramps, underpasses … any place that provides a semblance of shelter.

It’s a jungle out there. I wanted to do a sensitive photo essay on the current state of downtown Portland, but I didn’t have either the stomach for it, nor the courage or talent. I saw this man lying helplessly on a Portland sidewalk:

The rest of the world (me included) passed him by. This is just too common a sight in Portland to be noteworthy. Apparently the same scene is replayed constantly in our West Coast cities. The following clip is not Portand, but Los Angeles, but it gives a scope of the problem facing America:

Now, I have returned to my green island of Vermont, land of maple syrup, country roads, and crazy uncle politicians. It’s tempting to put downtown Portland somewhere deep in the closet, but this is really something you cannot un-see. We’ve got to do something, America.

4 thoughts on “Portland, Part One

  1. I see that LA clip got to you too…

    I saw very similar scenes in Miami. Unfortunately, my guess is that most American cities are edging towards homeless apocalyptic conditions.

    At least we’ve got Vermont and Portugal to retreat back to…


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    1. After visiting Portland I feel like Vermont is an island within America. Portugal is one of our favorite places to visit. We’ve been there three times in the past five years.


      On Fri, Jun 18, 2021 at 8:44 AM The Silverback Digest wrote:


  2. I may be one of the slower SBs, but nowhere does it state whether we’re talking about a Maine city or an Oregon city…I honestly didn’t know…

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