Y'all, California is not a Portland. It's not a li'l niche of meaning and identity. It is a vast and bogglingly diverse place the size of a nation, with a population to match (about the size of England's). If your wonderfully livable city inspires people to live in it, then mathematically and geographically, the likelihood is that at least some of them will come from a nearby, heavily populated area which takes up almost all of the West Coast of America. Hm. Uzbekistan? Or gee, I don't know, maybe California. People of the world are fucking each other a lot, making new people at a lot faster rate than they are making cool, creative, beautiful cities to live in. The housing market is up, partly due to changes in interest rates; it's up all over the country. If it's not up, that's a sign you might live in a shithole, which we mostly agree Portland isn't. The job market is growing much slower than the housing market, again, all over the country. Housing is not more expensive recently because rich Orange County airheads stole your Portland. These are called market changes. Everybody has them. And nobody in California is from there either, so really, guys, cut it out. I came here 20 years ago, and even then, when just about anyone with a checking account could own a 1926 Craftsman bungalow, everybody was slinging this same dumb shit about how Portland has been utterly ruined by all these evil Californians. It's kind of endearing, in a way, but you're a real live big city now, and it's time to eat at the grownup table.
Also, PDX buzzwords on your credit union are infinitely better than two out of three businesses being Saul Goodman's nail salon. Ever wonder why all those businesses on Glenoaks never have any customers?
Guys, I've been a bike nut since Greg LeMond was a young hopeful; I rode almost daily for fifteen years all over LOS ANGELES, fer chrissake, and I've never even had a particularly frightening close call.
If Portland's bike corridors scare you, you might want to stay off of the freeways in your car – the cocoon of safety you feel you're in there is almost entirely an illusion. If one of those semis does something stupid enough, you are going to die, period. Your side-curtain airbag will get squashed just as flat as your gooey, dead-ass torso. It is –statistically– the most dangerous thing you do with any regularity, yet you take a few precautions, stay aware, and get on these death factories all the time without a second thought.
Feeling naked and defenseless on a bike is natural. But the idea you're any better defended in your car against a tanker truck than you are on a bike against an Escalade is based more on your feelings than the laws of physics.
Part of my spotless bike record is luck, yes, but so is your (and my) ability to survive I-5. But most of my staying upright is due to following a few simple principles of safety and staying in a high state of mindfulness. Also, if a part of your regular route is stressful and gnarly, find a way around it. The extra few minutes are usually more than worth the peace of mind, and it is NOT hard to find mellow alternates in PDX. And really, y'all, if breezing down Ankeny or Clinton is your idea of terror, you need to harden up in a general sense. I mean, come on.
Good luck, Ian. There's a great community of comics in LA, so be mindful and take time to notice that, because, er... the rest of it... Uh, Dave Anthony and Greg Behrendt are particularly swell guys; try to get to know them if you can. I left there just in time to get to know your column, and though I'll miss it, for a comic I think you're making the right move. I hope your adventure is going to be a thrilling one, and I've really enjoyed reading you.
But dude. As Patton (another completely awesome human being to know) once said, it is an involuntary-sexual-relation-based economy down there. Really get into comedy, because you are gonna miss this place.
Yeah! Right on!! KC is WAY better than Portland! (giggle-snorts weed-flavored ice cream through nose)
Oh ho ho ho (slaps knee). I'm reading this in LA (dries eyes). The fact this mayor is getting treated like a war criminal in these comments is just adorable. You guys are so cute. Down here the 30% of us who know who the current mayor is are sort of grimly satisfied if his crimes aren't capital. Whoooo heh heh. Precious.
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