I’m one of Portland’s biggest <ahem> fans. Whether it’s straight up civic pride or city v city smack talk, I got Portland’s back.
Because despite its lumps, and the wrong Vancouver adjacency, I think it’s still the best big town you can live in.
Unless you’re a bigot or member of a certain book club where no one’s managed to either read the book or grasp its core concept…you’re probably gonna love Portland.
And I’ve lived in a lot of cities in a lot of different states in my life. Just to establish credibility. It’s not like I’m one of those people that have never left the country that insist America is the best country in the world.
My big town is a city that is ever-evolving – and usually in positive ways. That’s not to say we don’t struggle. Every 15 years or so, we need a correction period to kind of reflect on what we’ve gained versus what we’ve lost and what needs to move forward or be resurrected. Find what works and polish it and identify what doesn’t and tone it down or get rid of it altogether.
Sadly, that’s kind of where we are now, what with those lumps I mentioned earlier and all getting a lot too real and too much national attention and…too little effective local attention.
In situations like that, I find it advantageous to find small things to be proud of or grateful for.
For which to be grateful? Yeah, that would’ve been better English. But gimme a break, English is my first language and I’m just an American…
Anyway, one of those little things for which I am grateful – nailed it! – is our weather.
Always. Rain or shine. June-uary be damned. Having all four seasons in one day keeps me on my toes!
But todays weather?
It’s our first heatwave of 2022, this weekend. This week we had our first 80-degree plus days of the year. See above: June-uary.
But where we can be counted on for our covert beautiful summers most years, last year’s summer kind of ran amok. You might remember us having the hottest temperatures on the planet last June?
Well, it’s true if you knew it or not – and no Portlander was happy about it for any one of a very narrow set of options.
That was a year ago this very weekend, so having a high of 99 degrees over the course of the heatwave is toning things in the right direction. We should still be able to count the days we reach 90 in a year on one hand – and those should be a stretch to 90, not meteorologists apologizing that we might break 100 degrees.
Twenty degrees cooler year-over-year? Heatwave-over-heatwave? Yes, please.
And to have a city that learns from its past mistakes – not always, but always eventually – and changes things that don’t work so life is a little better the next time?
Grateful, I am.
In spite of last year’s cooling shelters, we learned from 59 fatalities during the heat dome last year – where only two of the deaths were unhoused people – that we need to not assume that someone inside is safe inside.
To that end, this year I was surprised to get a text during the heat wave warning me about the dangers and directing me to resources.
I was pretty ok with this, particularly with the effectiveness we seem to have gotten Obama Phones into the hands of our unhoused populace so that they have access to information. Imagine my surprise to get a follow-up voicemail less than ten minutes after.
We may not do everything right, but we aren’t likely to default to a “But that’s the way we’ve always done it” type of acceptance of things that break or just don’t work anymore. Nor are we likely to tolerate leaders who disappoint us. We vote. We will vote you out of office. Don’t forget, since we’re passive-aggressive, that’s really gonna sting…we will likely accidentally on purpose vote in someone who’s embarrassingly less qualified than the incumbent they replace and then let them do an awesome job.
Hey, I never promised that we tone everything down!