Recently travelled to eastern Oregon and was struck by how vehemently the denizens of rural God's Country characterize my home town (Portland) as a "big ugly city," awash in crime, filth, drugs, terrorists, death, mayhem, you name it.
I've lived and worked in Portland inner city for decades, and I see, every day, good, caring, decent people living their lives in joy, curiosity, and compassion. Yes, I also see the troubles that we struggle with, as we try to reconcile growth with historically inequitable systems that plague virtually every city in America.
When the wholesome country folk take FoxNews as Gospel and shit on my home town, I feel the urge to comment on their decrepit, crumbling towns, the rusting oil tanks, trucks, and campers decaying in their fields, their leeching septic tanks and garbage piles, their rank racism and queerphobia, their unreported domestic and sexual violence, their unwanted pregnancies, and their epidemics of alcoholism and drug addiction.
But this last time, I kept my mouth shut. Like on social media, there's no changing the twisted minds of "Christian" hypocrites who exist to hate Portland, while wearing their fetid "country values" like a Klansman's cloak of honor.
Bottom line: I love Portland and should be more vocal in defending it when I visit rural (and suburban) Oregon. We Portlanders don't lie to ourselves and pretend it's Paradise. And those who run for office promising a return to the salad days of Portland's past are either lying or, worse, delusional.
One final thought: Anyone living in Portland who constantly rips on this city, claiming the answer is more cops and more white men politicians, should leave and move out to rural God's Country, where I'm sure they'd fit right in.