Photo: EB Adventure Photography/Shutterstock

12 Signs You Were Born and Raised in Oregon

Oregon Travel
by Stephanie Hosmar Sep 5, 2015
1. You’re a water snob.

The idea of drinking water outside of the state makes your tongue curl and your stomach turn. Is this at least filtered?! I really only drink fresh mountain runoff…

2. You’re tired of the word ‘hipster’.

Just because Portlandia characters tend to look like ’90s grunge band members doesn’t mean the entire population of Oregon does (let alone Portland), nor does it mean that everyone is a raw food-munching, non-prescription glasses toting, homemade clothes-wearing cliché.

When approached by an outsider with the inevitable question of, “Is it really like Portlandia?” you answer with a defensive, “No. Er…yes? Well, sort of.”

Portland has been weird for ages. We love our coffee, books, bikes, food trucks, and live music to no end, and we prefer organic but we’re not extreme. Those of us with bad eyesight are just thankful that four eyes are finally an acceptable accessory to wear out at night. We may relish in the non-conformist hipster attitude, but giving us that label is almost as insulting as asking if we still ride in covered wagons. Please.

3. You take craft beer for granted.

As Hop Valley experts, we’re proud of our vast connection to local breweries. Venture anywhere outside of the PNW looking for a thirst-quenching Golden Ale or rejuvenating IPA and you’re quickly disappointed with the generic stock of 4% watery lagers like Budweiser and Coors.

4. You’re friendly. Maybe too friendly.

It’s little wonder that farmers, manufacturers, and city slickers alike have benefited from the relaxed attitude of this lush green state (not that I’m implying any connection to the fresh soil opportunities for a particular plant that was recently legalized).

Having been born under these notorious grey rainclouds is likely what made most of us immune to seasonal depression and naturally drawn to Sorel boots and flannel. We’re not here to impress. We’re here to appreciate life. Oregonians are open-minded, carefree people with a modest understanding of “stranger danger.” We aren’t afraid to say hello to new faces on the street, and we can strike up a conversation about practically anything. We will probably feel guilty if we ignore your passing smile, and we’ll definitely apologize to the homeless if we don’t give up our spare change.

5. You cringe when people pronounce it “Or-y-gone.”

Who started that? We haven’t gone anywhere. There’s no good way to spell it out, but say it with me: “Oar-ih-guhn.”

6. You recycle.

Remember that spring morning in third grade when the teachers sat you down for an exciting presentation, only to have the phrase “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!” incessantly ingrained into your innocent being? I think the indoctrination continued throughout our entire childhood. Along with over-the-top Earth Weeks, it added up to years of training about the importance of recycling.

So it doesn’t matter if your parents were the most organic tree huggers on the block, or a gas-guzzling family of 6 that just couldn’t escape the city’s mandates, all of us Oregonians are now the product of avid environmentalists whether we like it or not, and recycling has become both a force of habit and a terrifying task. You’re paranoid of accidentally tossing your throwaways into the wrong bins, and it pains you to visit places that don’t separate (although you’d never admit that…or maybe you would, and then you’d be just as crazy as your mother).

7. You know what Rip City means.

Sure, it’s where other teams come to “Rest in Peace”, but you know it really just represents the foundation and passion for Blazers basketball. It doesn’t matter if it’s a playoff year, a rebuilding year, or a year of the worst trades in NBA history, we will always be home of the best 6th man.

8. You actually look forward to the rainy season.

Long summer days at Sauvie Island are hard to beat, especially when your friend’s dad brings his boat so everyone can wakeboard down the Columbia and Willamette Rivers from Kelly Pointe Park into Government Island or all the way to Sellwood. But there’s something equally special our crisp, wet falls when the sun reflects on orange-leafed trees.

9. You don’t use an umbrella.

Seriously. Do they even sell those here? If you can’t bear the crying clouds in your rain jacket, then ponchos are surprisingly acceptable…but never an umbrella. You may as well be wearing a dunce cap. You’re probably in shorts and flip flops anyway, because last time we checked there’s no rule stating 60 degrees and below require full coverage. Besides, there’ll be a sun break in an hour and we’ll get warm then…so will our soaked feet, which will dry much more quickly outside of suffocating socks.

10. You shred pow, not waves.

Duuude, that was some fresh pow today! Of course, you know your buddy is referring to the newly-fallen powdery snow on the mountain that resulted in an epic day of snowboarding. Bring on winter so we can hit Mt. Hood Shredows (Meadows) or wreck some flakes on snowmobiles at Bachelor. We might sound like a snowman’s surfer, but this is some serious business. Once the regular season ends, just to milk each snow day for all its worth, you’re first in line to get your spring pass. Living so close to the mountain means cabin stays don’t have to be a vacation, but when they are they’re the best. After a hard day on the slopes, there’s nothing better than sipping hot chocolate and hot toddies in the hot tub.

Plus, you still have time to spend the last weekend of Spring Break at the coast. Truly hot days are rare on the Northern Pacific Beaches, but you’ll get salty in anything but a wet suit. As the sun sets the layers pile up; rolled-up faded jeans and a bright green University of Oregon sweatshirt never felt so good atop that gritty swimsuit scratching at your chest as you soak in the embers of a burning campfire, laughing about being buried in the sand and searching for sand dollars at the muddy base of Haystack Rock until the Coast Guard tells you to pack it up

11. You’re obsessed with talking about the weather.

Considering this is the third point about the weather, it must be true. We love the rain, we hate the rain. It’s always too wet, too dry, too hot, too cold, too muggy or too breezy, and the weatherman is always wrong. Don’t even get us started on the snow.

12. You don’t know how to pump your own gas.

Okay, maybe you do know how after driving over the California border on your annual summer road trip to San Francisco for the umpteenth time only to be treated like a fool for waiting in your car for the attendant. At home we’re just spoiled with top-notch service. Drive up, sit there, drive away full of fuel. It’s like magic! I mean come on, you expect me to touch that nasty handle? Aren’t they, like, full of germs and bad for the environment or something? Having a gas attendant manage your fuel is one of the best luxuries after drive-thru coffee. That is, until they make you get out of your car to enter your pin or pay inside. But it’s so warm in here…and I’m so lazy…can I just tell you the number? Here’s cash instead!

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