Photo: Joshua Rainey Photography/Shutterstock

20 Signs You Were Born and Raised in the Pacific Northwest

Oregon Washington
by Ailsa Ross Mar 31, 2015

1. You’re a coffee snob.

You believe there are only two types of people: corporation-fueling dimbos to whom coffee’s no more than a daily necessity, and the enlightened java bean connoisseur who appreciates presentation, atmosphere, and well-fostered relationships between barista and consumer found within fair trade, independent coffee shops. You’re in the latter camp, obviously.

2. 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…

3. Your cycling habit has given you thighs of steel.

4. 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 the Pacific Northwest does (let alone Portland), nor does it mean that everyone is a raw food-munching, non-prescription glasses toting, homemade clothes-wearing cliché.

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.

5. Your summer swimming options don’t include chlorine.

Just ‘cause our water isn’t toasty and aquamarine doesn’t mean we’re not going to pretend to enjoy it every once in a while. Rivers, lakes, creeks, and stories of the “best swimming hole ever!” are the backdrop to your urban summer living. And when a friend invites you over for drinks on her houseboat, you know you’ll be jumping off the boat before your second beer is finished.

6. “You go,” “No you go” wars at 4-way stops have always been the most predictable part of your morning commute.

Remember the Portlandia episode with the four-way intersection where two drivers are insisting that the other one go ahead?

“No, you go…”
“No, YOU go…”

Yep, we exchange smiles and waves with fellow neighbors of the road with more fervor than Manhattan drivers exchange obscenities.

7. You take having a sweet music scene for granted.

You’ll see your favorite artist play in a tiny coffeeshop, and probably get to hang out with them after the show. And yet you don’t seem to realize that the rest of the country would kill for your life.

8. You’re all about local and seasonal.

So many travel stories revolve around meals sourced from a weathered-faced farmer in a magical land (usually Italy), with meals kissed by the Tuscan sun. But that’s just your regular life…minus the Tuscan sun.

9. You take craft beer for granted.

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.

10. 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.

11. And your wardrobe is styled to a point where you always look like you’re about to go hiking.

Thanks a bunch, rain.

12. You recycle.


13. You’re friendly. Maybe too friendly.

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. We’re 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.

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

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.

15. You know the Pacific Northwest has the best festivals.

From the Seattle Street Food Festival to Oregon Country Fair — basically a community vaudeville act set amongst hundreds of treehouses in the forest and served with gourmet food — to Pickathon, the eclectic, independent music festival in the woods that will make you wonder why you ever attended music festivals bigger than 3,500 people — summers at home leave your dance-happy self well-fed and damn impressed.

16. You’ve made a hobby out of tasting farmers’ market samples.

Offers of fresh cheese, homemade Greek yogurt, butter-toffee pieces, Rainier cherries and other stone fruit, and mini-donuts fried to order make backpacking memories of European markets a distant thought.

Paired with a free sample of locally roasted coffee, a trip to the market on the weekend is like a mini-breakfast before your actual breakfast.

17. You know you’re lucky to live in a place with so much natural beauty.

The Pacific Northwest is home to active volcanoes, a temperate rainforest, islands, high desert, and natural hot springs. And when you’re really feeling the urge to dust off my passport, Canada is just a few hours north.

18. Your four seasons growing up were fall, winter, spring, and blackberry picking.

You were one of those kids who, in the process of trying to fetch a bowl of blackberries, managed to cut up every inch of exposed arm / leg — all for a damn pie. What happened to outdoor pools and lemonade stands in the summertime, and why are blackberry bushes so aggressive?

19, You love Portland’s Voodoo Doughnuts and Seattle’s Top Pot Doughnuts.

Doughnuts are one of those rare foods that are just kind of hard to mess up; fact is, both Voodoo and Top Pot kick ass with their colorful, creative pastries.

20. You’re tired of people comparing Portland and Seattle.

Honestly, they’re both great cities with their own great features. Seattle’s Capitol Hill has the uber-hipster Unicorn Bar with its unicorn taxidermy, Rainier tall boys, jello shots, and artisan corn dogs. Whereas Portland has bands that Natalie Portman likes. So let’s call it even.

This article references the following sources from Matador:

12 signs you were born and raised in Oregon, by Stephanie Hosmar
12 signs you were born and raised in Washington State, by Matt Staff
How to piss off someone from Seattle, by Matt Staff
7 things people say when they hear you’re from the Pacific Northwest, by Matt Staff
21 reasons Portland is the ultimate college town, by Alex Scola
7 lies you’ll tell yourself when you move to Portland, by Britany Robinson
Why spending summer in the Pacific Northwest is the next best thing to traveling abroad, by Nicolle Merrill

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