Scared to Live Here



Buying into the hype from the TV show "Portlandia" and other outlets, and expecting to tap into Portland's well-deserved reputation for beauty and livability, thousands upon thousands of people moved here in the 2010s. They brought their expectations and needs with them. Some were well-heeled retirees or those with lots of capital from the sale of overpriced homes and businesses elsewhere. We weren't ready for the huge influx of people -- much less for the astronomic jump in traffic, commercial rents, and housing costs that resulted. Many others were from society's margins -- poor, addicted, unemployed, even criminal. We weren't ready for that either -- for the enormous burden placed on our available policing and social services. We've also, in Portland, had several unqualified or ineffective mayor's and police chiefs, including the current Mayor Wheeler. As Portlanders and Oregonians, our general nature is to be open and welcoming; but we've been blindsided by so huge an jump in population -- many expecting "paradise" wrapped in a bourgie pink box of doughnuts or at the bottom of a (craft) beer mug. The late governor Tom McCall said it best: "Welcome to Oregon. Please don't stay." The city's going through painful, expensive growing pains, and agitation in the face of injustice and inequity is part of who are in Portland. So cut us some slack. You can either grow with us in community and help Portland live up to the promise, or leave in disillusionment. But please don't whine and winge and kick us when we're down. We'll get through this, with or without high praise and good grades from those who came to Portland wearing rose colored glasses. Hugs.


OMG @1 PEOPLE MOVE PLACES and they don't move places because of TV shows. Seriously. People have been moving places since there were people and there were places. IF ANYONE moved to Portland because of Porltandia (which is inconceivable and utterly stupid), it isn't the cause of all of Portland's problems.

I agree that the influx of people has put an enormous strain on the city's resources and infrastructure.

And Portland and Oregon have a long and vicious history of white supremacist policy and violence. So let's not pretend that that's not involved in the mix here, either.

Portland continues to attempt to run itself like the tiny provincial town it used to be and it hasn't been for more than 20 years now.

To the OP - only you know if you've made a mistake. If those incidents are enough to put you off of living here, it's not going to get any better anytime soon. Cities everywhere are packed with wealthy people and homeless people and few of any people in between - because cities are where people want to live and the wealthy have overtaken them and forced everyone else out into the streets. Poverty and inequality breed violence.

The worse the inequality is allowed to get and the more violent and unchecked the police in Portland become (they're under the thumb of the US DOJ now for the second time in 9 years), the worse things are going to get.

Portland does not want to house the homeless, help the mentally ill or drug addicted, provide any affordable housing to anyone, address white supremacist violence, or do anything to mitigate or stem the ever increasing wealth inequality. Until Portland chooses to do those things, the people living in Portland have to live with it - or vote for people who WILL do those things. And despite what people in Portland would like you to believe, Republicans are not going to do that (if they ever regain power). Only people actually committed to true social change will make that happen and that's not happening in this state, not even in Portland, anytime soon.


Well said. I appreciate your perspective and own my poor generalizations.


That's awfully compassionate of you to hold that person's hand while in such a distressing moment, for both of you! That is itself a very Portland thing to do, no?
Portland is unhinged! Whatchya gonna do about it? There's an uptick in violence throughout the US, anyways. We live in "unprecedented times"! Whatchya gonna do about it??
There are lots of contradictions here. Every evil has some mirroring good somewhere. You can always get involved in community things to help spread community and care, and see the better parts of Portland.
I've lived here my whole life nearly and the current situation today is distressing to me too. But it is what it is... and despite the glaring poverty the homeless population here is just as wonderfully human and essential to Portland like the rest of us. They live here, anyways. And unlike the nouveau Portland bourgeois yuppie class, they've probably made less of an impact.


@xina -- Bingo.

as goes Wealth Inequality
so goes America

south &
in Between

Q. does Bezos
taste like Chicken?

b. how 'bout Zucky?


Christina, I'm sad to say I've met several people who moved here due to a TV show. I've also met several people who moved here to work as a busser at a restaurant with a certain chef they follow and never made enough to actually live without 5 roommates who moved here for essentially the same reason. People, especially when they're young, move for a lot of goofy reasons, TV's just one.

OP, Sorry to hear your about your experience. Thank you for holding their hand, I bet it helped them quite a bit. You're seeing the part of Portland that gets swept under the rug. I used to be able to tell people we might have crime, but we don't have random violence. Now I can't, because we do. The area you live in used to be the neighborhood of junkies and prostitutes. That wasn't all that long ago, and while The Pearl may have changed, the neighborhoods around it haven't.


"Did I make a deadly mistake moving here?"
Yep. Better head back to where you came from.