Illustration by Ryan Alexander-Tanner

PORTLAND, OREGON is a unique and wonderful collection of human beings. It really is. I know we probably blow that trumpet too much and get swept up creating a self-serving mythology, which has the dual purpose of celebrating the city we love and justifying our own self-indulgent, childlike qualities as the very attributes that make our city great (WHAT A SENTENCE!). But it really is a special place.

Portland is a city where the question "So what do you do?" can be answered with a response that isn't about what you do for a living, but rather what you do to fulfill yourself, and MOST people won't go, "Psh, okay." That experience is rare and exhilarating, cousins. It ain't coming from the concrete, it isn't a symptom of our geographic placement betwixt two rivers—it's the people. Portland the city is a bunch of roads and a couple of RadioShacks, just like every other city. But the Portland people are attracted to is a feeling and an energy (I know what I just said, fuck off), the Portland that people are attracted to is a vibe (shut up)... so why are Portlanders so upset when people move to Portland to be a part of that vibe? Why are we tolerant of everything except people who love Portland so much that they want to move here?

Look, if your version of a good time involves getting together in a bar with a bunch of other Portland natives and congratulating one another for having parents who fucked NOT ALL THAT FAR from that very bar, then I apologize. Continue to be protective and boring. I'm guessing, though, that most of us don't get our kicks like that. I'm guessing that if you Zack Morris'd your favorite moments from this summer, and catalogued the points of origin of all the participants involved, you'd find a bunch of people who had no idea who Ramblin' Rod was until his name was screamed at them by someone who hated California for some reason. The city you love, the Portland you mythologize, is imported. Quit pretending that actually makes you upset.

Jobs are scarce, I understand that. The girl at the coffee shop is from Dallas, the entertainment editor at Willamette Week is from Cleveland or something. Fine. There are plenty of other coffee shops, and you're too good a person to be the entertainment editor at Willamette Week. If you're from Portland, and your entire existence here is hinging on a job at a coffee shop that someone from Dallas ended up getting, you're fucking up anyway. Try harder. You must have pioneer blood in you, based on how much you talk about being so hella from here—so use that blood, customer. Until then, be proud you helped make a city, that you were a part of the creation and sustained existence of a time and a place so alluring and positive that it pulled people out of their rooted ground and brought them here.

Some people were born Portlanders in Mississippi. Some people were born Portlanders in Pakistan. It's lazy to hate them for coming home. Just don't tell them about that one breakfast place... the line is already ridiculous.