RE: Mercury Editor-in-Chief Wm. Steven Humphrey’s introduction to “The Newcomers’ Guide to Portland 2016” [Feature, Sept 14]. “Here’s the thing about Portland newcomers: You just don’t stop coming!” wrote Humphrey. “Even after you read all the snide national stories about how Portland is too expensive, traffic-clogged, and filled with bedbugs, knife-wielding murderers, and angry hornets that attack newcomers in swarms. (We might have written that last story and it might not be true.) That being said... WELCOME TO PORTLAND. If you read all those stories and still decided to move here? That must mean you really give a shit about living here, which means your intention is to make our city even better than before.”

Yo, you forgot one MAJOR thing! (And welcome to all the newbies from a fifth-generation Portlander!) Learn about how Portland became Portland! Learn about the history, from when Oregon was founded as a racist haven for white people to the activists who kept Division from becoming a major freeway, from the many tribes that are still very much alive and active to the people who made sure Oregon’s beaches are free and open to everyone.

There are a lot of people who have worked (and are still working) to make Portland a great place to live, work, and raise a family. Many of those people are just like you and came from somewhere else, but they took time to learn about this place. Drive your BMW SUV every single day if you must, but please take the time to learn about the city that you presumably moved to because it’s awesome. We’ve got our problems, just like everyone else. But we’re rad, because people give a shit about what it means to live here.

Laurel Wolf

P.S. Please don’t actually drive your BMW SUV everywhere. Please get rid of your BMW SUV.


RE: “A Newcomer, Helping Newcomers” [Feature, Sept 16], another piece in our Newcomer’s Guide, written by News Reporter Doug Brown, who moved here six months ago. “You’re new here, so I recommend you learn to talk shit about Californians, so you can deflect any criticism from Portlanders who are upset about your moving in and bumping up the cost of rent,” Brown recommended. “Say it with me: ‘At least I’m not from California.’”

I’m a mixed Afro-Latino Californian. I moved here to escape poverty, pollution, racism, cannabis oppression, and to live without the need for a car. I’m trying to find a sustainable city to raise my mixed race daughter, not make the rents rise. I’m not an asshole.

To better educate your audience, the rent is rising because as a whole the market isn’t facilitating housing growth, and locally, because people believe Portland’s east side should maintain a primarily suburban design and infrastructure when, in reality, it needs to be similar to Northwest, with more mixed-use development, public squares, and structures between four-to-six stories high. In other words, Southeast and Northeast need to grow taller, densify, create more biking infrastructure, add more frequent public transportation, and increase housing. Then the rent will go down and we’ll never be stuck in or be around traffic again.

Brian Allen Martinez


RE: “I Saw U,” the Mercury’s now-defunct matchmaking page. It was kind of like Craigslist’s Missed Connections, except, you know, less horrifying.

Four and a half years ago, I went to a concert at Bunk Bar to see a band I liked, and I danced next to a pretty girl. A month later, that girl posted an “I Saw U” in the Mercury. A coworker of mine saw the post and drew my attention to it. I responded with hesitation and excitement. We had a nice date, and many more after that.

Next month, I’ll marry that girl at the Laurelhurst Club here in Portland. Just wanted to thank you folks for being an integral piece in what has become the very sweet story of how we met. With gratitude,


P.S. Please bring back the I Saw U section in the paper! Think of all the love stories you could kickstart.

AWWWWW. Congratulations, Lauren! We’re giving you the Mercury’s letter of the week, in no small part because we want to give you and your fiancée the prize: Two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater, where you two lovebirds can go on yet another nice date.

Letters and comments may be edited for space. Email us at lovenotes@portlandmercury.com.