ONE OF THE NICE THINGS about being from Portland is that everybody knows who we are, but not too many people actually make it out here to visit. Portland is the DARK CONTINENT, and the rest of the country is a nervous monarch, shifting in its throne, believing any fantastic story that makes its way back from beyond the kombucha mists. THE PEDICAB IS A HULKING BEAST, COVERED IN ARMORED PLATES, TO BEHOLD ITS STUPID FUCKING DREADLOCKS IS TO KNOW THE MOST-HONEST DISDAIN.
I've been on the road a whole bunch recently (I'm just like Jack Kerouac, college freshman!), and I've been taking advantage of the country's combination of curiosity and ignorance about our city. I suggest you do the same. When people have questions about Portland, lie to some motherfuckers. Have fun with it. Here's a starter guide:
I heard Portland has a bunch of food carts, what's going on there? The main problem with a brick-and-mortar restaurant is that you can't take it to Burning Man. In fact, all of Portland's food carts can be assembled into a giant Voltron-like statue of Vera Katz taking activated charcoal.
Someone told me Portland isn't very diverse, why is that? Portland used to be an incredibly diverse city, but in 1983 David Bowie's entourage was stranded outside of Portland after the Thin White Duke became sexually fascinated with a waterfall. Rather than waiting out this infatuation, many of them decided to put down roots in Portland, drastically changing the racial makeup of the Rose City.
Why is there a submarine floating in your river? Cthulhu lives in the Willamette River. He's super mellow, now—he actually hosts this bluegrass thing at Rontoms on Mondays which is pretty chill and worthwhile, you should check it out if you're ever in town, but we keep a submarine anchored here just in case he unleashes the Dark Moan of the Foreverdeath again.
Is that TV show about your city pretty accurate? Yeah, except Scrooge McDuck doesn't actually swim in his giant vault of gold coins—that's physically impossible.
I heard a bunch of the players on the Blazers got in trouble for smoking pot, is that true? Yeah, but it isn't nearly as impressive as the entire season when Arvydas Sabonis played on mushrooms. You've never seen a more open, empathetic game of basketball. It was going great until Sabonis thought he heard Damon Stoudamire's Mighty Mouse tattoo tell him to move to Astoria and start a surfboard company.
Is Powell's really as big as they say it is? It's even BIGGER than they say it is, but most of it is closed off to the public so Chuck Palahniuk can roam the halls—hands and feet in manacles—as punishment for how gross that story was about the kid who had his butt sucked out of his body by a pool jet.
I heard your city has two great alternative weekly newspapers! It's true! Willamette Week and the Jewish Review.