Photo: Syda Productions/Shutterstock

11 Differences Between a Normal Friend and a Portland Friend

Portland Culture
by Henry Miller Aug 18, 2017


A normal friend will pack a tent, food, sleeping bags, bug spray, a water purifier and a stove when they go camping.
A Portland friend will bring an extra pair of boots for hiking up waterfalls, a hammock and about a dozen KIND bars — and most likely, weed.


A normal friend will help you move in.
A Portland friend will take you on a whirlwind shopping spree to every Goodwill, thrift store, warehouse and junkyard in the metropolitan region to make sure your apartment has an authentic modern Bohemian vibe.


A normal friend will give you a call if a snowstorm shuts down the city.
A Portland friend will drive over immediately, knocking over mailboxes and nearly killing themselves in the process because they never learned how to drive in snow. “But my Outback is all-wheel drive,” they will yell as they careen into the median on Burnside.


A normal friend supports your artistic side.
A Portland friend will turn their living room into a pop-up art gallery to show off your vacation photos. And they will somehow find people who will buy them.


A normal friend will take you to the city aquarium.
A Portland friend will take you there, but only because they can’t get the orca out of its pool and into the Astoria harbor on their own. “Willy needs to be with his family!”


A normal friend will tell you that their hometown is the best in the state.
A Portland friend will tell you that the city they love is only as good as its setting, and that you have to check out the arts faire in Astoria, or the windsurfers in Hood River, or the skiing in Bend, or the Round Up in Pendleton.


A normal friend will bike to work if it’s convenient.
A Portland friend will bike rain or shine, or snow or hail — anything to avoid the traffic that is suddenly everywhere at all times now.


A normal friend will ask you to volunteer with them on the weekends.
A Portland friend will show up at your door with eight pieces of Oregon legislation you need to know about, four new Facebook groups you need to join, and five petitions you absolutely must sign. “IT’S BECAUSE WE CARE!”


A normal friend will take you to a new bar when you visit their hometown.
A Portland friend will take you to a dirty old dive to talk about old Portland or, better still, buy a sixer of tall-boy double IPAs from Market of Choice to drink atop the smoldering ruin that used to be their favorite bar.


A normal friend will go with you to vote in the midterms.
A Portland friend will go over their mail-in ballot with you and their entire family around the dinner table. Expect heated debates about whether we should finally get a sales tax, or salt the road when it gets icy, or whether we should cover up our water reservoirs so we can use them without fear of getting giardia (it’s been no to all of these things for decades).


A normal friend will define “nightlife” as a mixture of bars, restaurants and the occasional show.
A Portland friend will insist that their 45th birthday be spent playing glow-in-the-dark mini golf, checking out a new exhibit at OMSI, escaping an “escape room,” and taking in a burlesque show at a strip club.

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