Tuesday, June 21, 2011
I moved to Portland 14 years ago yesterday.
Well, I actually moved to Vancouver, Washington which is about 10 minutes outside of Portland. 10 minutes if you're lucky and hit no traffic.
I officially moved to Portland when I was 20. SE 89th and Powell to be exact!
Thinking back on how the city has changed is mind blowing. New condos, new homes, new restaurants, and completely different shopping districts. It's sad to say, but a lot of gentrification goes on in this city. Some of the most trendy areas in Portland used to be home to the very small African American community. Many African Americans wanted to start their own businesses in those areas but either were denied the permits, or simply couldn't afford them. The new condos and businesses forced rents to go up, thus pushing this already small community to the outskirts. There is an unspoken racism that happens in this beautiful city, unfortunately.
I realize that I am part of this problem. I totally support those new businesses in those areas. I buy their coffee, I drink their beer, and I shop at their cute clothing stores.
I'm not really sure how I came onto this topic...
Just thinking about all the changes that have happened in the last 14 years. There used to be a grittier side to Portland. It's become so polished and clean.
So many new places and so many new people. I forget where I am sometimes. I feel lost in neighborhoods that I lived in for years...
It's like when someone discovers your favorite hiding spot and takes over, makes it theirs.
all of the music venues I "lived" at are gone now. La Luna, Stage 4/Meow Meow, The Paris Theater, Thee O! Those places played such a huge role in my life and now longer exist. So many memories live inside, and outside, of those walls. Great memories, like seeing old friends and the huge hugs and exclamations that came after. Sad memories too, like the time a boy I liked (oh I liked him so very very much) told me he just couldn't have a girlfriend at the moment...crushed. I still think of that moment every time I happen to drive by that building...
I guess that's what happens when you live in one place for more than a decade. I've never lived anywhere for longer than 4 years. My dad was in the military, so we moved quite a bit. I've never been back to any of the places we lived. I barely have any memories of them. Well, there is San Diego...but that's a different story.
But as far as childhood memories of places, I don't have many...
The changes that are occurring in this city are natural progressions. Things can't stay the same forever. Like people, cities change. I've changed so much over the last 14 years. I've become a grown-up! Well, almost, anyway. I've made friends, lost friends, gained (and lost relationships), and I've moved in a much more positive direction. I've become a much more open, understanding, educated, confident, and balanced person.
Much like Portland, I have become less gritty, and more polished.
I still have a lot of things to learn and so many more ways to grow.
I wonder if Portland will continue to grow and change with me.