OH! WHY, HELLO THERE, newcomer! Welcome to Portland, Oregon. You've picked a wonderful city in which to live, and... oh. Okay, I see you've brought your friends. Aaaaand they've brought their friends, too! Well... NO PROBLEM. In fact, on behalf of everyone here at the Portland Mercury, I say "the more, the merrier!"—although you might run into a few people who don't share our enthusiasm for your arrival. But don't sweat it: Whether you're a new arrival or not, these grumblers are in constant battle with the natural order of the universe, which as we all know demands change. Spending their lives unnecessarily fighting their way upstream can be EXHAUSTING, hence their grumpy and unwelcoming demeanor.
That's why this should be your mantra for the next few months: "I belong here just as much as anyone else—and I promise not to be a dickhole about it." (Unfortunately a few insensitive, entitled dickholes arrived before you, thereby saddling all newcomers with the unfair reputation of being insensitive, entitled dickholes. Don't worry... these people are being dealt with.)
The fact of the matter is, your arrival is a blessed, joyous event, and we're sincerely glad you're here. So! What did you bring with you?
Now, I'm not talking about money or personal belongings—I'm talking about that special "thing" longtime Portlanders possess that makes this city the kind of place where people love to move. Maybe you play a guitar. Great, start an awesome band! Or maybe you create performance art. Terrific! Let us know and we'll review it in our paper. Or maybe you're into activism and important issues like the environment, homelessness, or rent control. Hooray! We need people like you! Or maybe you don't do anything super creative, but you supply jobs and treat your employees fairly while paying a livable wage. HOLY CRAP, I'M IN LOVE WITH YOU.
You may have heard this idea simplistically phrased as "Keep Portland Weird"—but since "weird" is often a derogatory term, let's put it this way: "Don't hide your light under a basket." The reason most of us chose to move here is because Portland is interesting, and the people who live here take an active role in making it interesting.
And that's what you're going to do, too. You're not going to sit back and be another entitled butthole who thinks everyone should entertain you. You are going to bring something interesting and new to the equation—and if you're incapable of doing that? No problem. Again, just don't be a dickhole to those who are doing interesting things. And be generous to others. And be sensitive to the people you may have accidentally displaced because you can afford the (comparatively) exorbitant rents many landlords charge. Oh, and don't drive like a dumbshit.
Annnnd what else? Ah! Most importantly, be sure to read our "Newcomers' Guide to Portland" which will make your recent crash landing far more comfortable. This issue is dedicated to quickly getting you up to speed on the important stuff you'll need to know: politics, sports, music, the weather, finding a place to live, film, myth debunking, fashion, legal weed, things that sound great (but aren't), how to make friends, and even how to apologize for moving here. (Pro tip: Never apologize for moving here.)
The Mercury is dedicated to bringing you new, fun things to do, and important stories to get riled up about every single week. And we're super glad you moved to Portland—because together? We're gonna have a blast.
Your new friend,
Wm. Steven Humphrey
Editor, Portland Mercury
More Newcomers' Guide Articles:
Welcome to Portland!
Rain! Rain! Rain! Rain!
A Portlander's Pronunciation Guide
A Newcomers' Guide to Making Friends
Portland Free Stuff
Getting Around Town
Finding a Place to Live
How to Apologize for Moving to Portland
Bicycle Death Traps
Portland History 101
Portland Myth Bustin'!
Portland Tourist Traps