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13 Things Portlanders Take for Granted

Portland Insider Guides
by Janelle Lassalle Jun 16, 2016

1. Our community is big on acceptance and we can pretty much wear whatever the hell we want.

I was raised in Southern California, where I grew up believing that L.A. people had to be fashion-conscious — i.e. there were certain things we could wear, and certain things we would never touch. One thing I can’t thank Portland enough for is the open environment that it’s managed to foster. Portland’s community is a community of acceptance where figures like the Unipiper — a local Portland hero that rides a unicycle while wearing a kilt and Darth Vader mask — can roam the city freely without any fear of judgment.

2. We’re able to order food at every bar.

Whenever I go out to meet friends, I have the tragic knack for showing up hungry. This is particularly unfortunate if I’m staying somewhere like London or LA, where bar snacks are either slim, unavailable or priced at $10-plus. This is never the case in Portland, Oregon. In our magical city, all bars and pubs are required to have food items on their menus. Thanks to an Oregon Liquor Control Commission law, every licensee vendor that serves hard liquor must also serve at least three different types of foods to patrons, meaning that food is plentiful and cheap.

This also has the side effect of significantly reducing my annual number of hangovers, too.

3. We have access to an endless variety of beer and breweries.

With more than 70 breweries in town and counting, we have more places to get good beer than any other city in the country. We even have environmentally conscious beers called ‘eco-brews’ from breweries like Hopworks’ Bike Bar — their brewpub is 100% powered by renewable energy. Is that even a thing yet anywhere else?

4. Everyone is seriously really nice here.

When my boyfriend Arthur and I first moved to Portland two years ago, we were struck by how absurdly kind everyone was to us. We thought it was some sort of joke at first. People greeted us enthusiastically when we walked into a store, drivers on the road were far less aggressive and everyone wanted to hug us all the time.

5. We’ve got crisp, clean air.

Another thing that made me do a double take when I first arrived in Portland was the incredible volume of trees and wildlife that surrounded the city. I didn’t even realize how much living in large cities like L.A. had affected my health — until I took my first breath of Portland air. It felt like it was saturated with extra oxygen, seriously so much fresher than anything I had ever breathed in before.

Honestly, it may have been the first breath of fresh air I had ever taken. That’s kinda crazy.

6. Portland has some of the best food in the entire world.

With restaurants ranging from high-end eateries like Beast and Le Pigeon to world-famous food carts like Nong’s Khao Man Gai, Portland is famous for its wide range of sensational cuisine. We’ve got chefs like two-time James Beard-nominated Cathy Whims of Nostrana, Pok Pok’s Andy Richter and Beast’s Naomi Pomeroi. That really is something to be proud of.

From vegetarian to vegan to paleo, if you’re health-conscious, you really have it good in Portland. And if you’re not health-conscious, you still have it good — you can get an “Old Dirty Bastard” Voodoo Doughnut stuffed with Oreos and peanut butter or even go for a Foie gras bon-bon at Beast.

7. We are a community of very patient drivers.

When I went to Vegas, I thought walking there was almost too dangerous — drivers seemed to have little regard for pedestrians or human life. Then I went to Syria and got hit by a car on my way to the souk. In Portland, it’s pretty much impossible to get hit by a vehicle. One of the best perks of the city is that people’s kind demeanors generally translate into less aggressive driving styles, making the streets safer for everyone to roam on freely.

8. We have easy access to the rest of the Pacific Northwest.

The Pacific Northwest is, by far, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. There’s craggy, cool coastlines and beaches to flock to on hot days; an endless litany of parks, forests and hiking trails and just about every type of natural, scenic getaway you can think of. We can even take a shuttle from downtown Portland to get to the breathtaking Multnomah Falls, all for a measly $5 round-trip.

My favorite place has become Sauvie Island, located just 10 miles northwest of downtown. We can swim and hike, but also pick our own fruits and veggies in Wapato Access Greenway State Park. That’s not something that’s available to many other American city dwellers.

9. We can float down the river in the summertime.

This is a uniquely-Portland experience. Every summer without fail — once the heat climbs up high enough — you will see a mass exodus of people swarming to float down the river. There are a variety of different rivers you can choose to trek down in your inner tube (with Clackamas and Sandy being the most popular), but the result is almost always the same: a big, free-for-all party on the move that’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

10. Our water is delicious.

A minor point, but an important one nonetheless (particularly after my trips to the Middle East). Portland’s drinking water — perhaps as a result of all that nature and majesty — tastes really awesome.

11. We have the most strip clubs per capita.

Do you know of any place where you can get a steak-and-lobster buffet at a strip club for a paltry $10? Only in Portland, my friends. Whether you catch the dazzling burlesque turned carnival every Sunday at Dante’s, or go wild with Stripper-oke (Karaoke + strippers) at Devil’s Point, it’s hard to go wrong with any one of the endlessly eccentric strip clubs in the area.

12. Our public transportation is actually reliable.

I still have vivid memories of riding the bus in Oakland, and I really wish I didn’t. While public transport across the US can vary wildly, in Portland, it’s clean, safe and prompt — a HUGE bonus point in my book. An all-day pass for all transport is only $5, and you can purchase your ticket on your phone directly from the TriMet app. Yay.

13. We take brunch very seriously.

All hail Sunday Funday, aka the best unofficial holiday of the week. It’s a common theme for Portlanders to get together on Sundays to celebrate the week in style with a nice, boozy brunch. The options for brunch in this city are absolutely incredible: with offers like bottomless mimosas for a mere $9, legendary eateries like Tasty n Alder, Besaw’s and more, you’ll find yourself wanting to celebrate Sunday Funday every weekend from now on.

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