I was born and raised in Portland. I moved away for college, and later returned to transition in a familiar place. I grew up cutting through the forests west of the valley, following deertrails and coming upon magical remnants: broken bridges, forgotten foundations, and other things the green would spend my lifetime swallowing. The flora of our temperate rainforest isn’t just what you see sprouting; it’s underneath the city too, emerging and insisting upon itself. Even the well-kept trees of downtown crack sidewalks, issuing their sobering reminder of the forest’s relentless gravity. Portland exists because we assert its existence amidst that indomitable pretext. If that assertion ever falters, this whole place will return to it. That’s fine by me — I’m not much for the artisanal urbanism or tourist chic or the city’s ethos in general. I’m in love with the fecund dirt of this strange place and all its patient spirits.