08 June 2007

[pdx, pdx_media] Some Call It Tradition?

830 So now it's something we've done for ever and ever.

According to the clock on the wall, at the time of this writing, the Mercury's Civic Clean-up Crew should be hard at work taking up the tape along the Grand Floral Parade route. This tape, apparently, is now something that has just been done for years and years and years. One person in the KGW report I was able to peep at their report exulted in how proud they were at adopting a "Portland Tradtion"; a person in KATU's report mentioned how some ladies had been reserving a certain spot on NE MLK Blvd that way for thirty or forty years.

I'll lay my card on the table here: I wasn't born in Portland. I've often said if there was one big thing in my life I'd change, it's that I was born elsewhere in Oregon. But I've lived in the Portland market (media-wise speaking) all my life, and have lived in Portland for what's going on the majority of my life.

I certainly don't remember a festooning of pavement with markings and tape up to a week before the event happening. The more I read about it, the more I find comments like the ones made over at the Merc, in response to someone telling Matt Davis to leave if you don't like it here (go to Blogtown's post here to drink in the goodness). Putting the "get out of my city" aside (which, no matter how politely put, is out of line: I live here, and I certainly don't hope that Davis leaves my city, in which I pay property taxes (paying property taxes in Oregon makes you God and gives you the ability to shut down any debate in your favor, remember)) for the moment, there seem to be many more comments about how, No, friend, this actually isn't a hallowed Portland tradition than there are about how it all of a sudden is.

People, get a grip. Taping up sidewalks to reserve spots for the Grand Floral Parade isn't a longstanding hallowed Portland tradition. Back in the day, what people did was go down early in the morning and stand there in person. I remember some adventurous souls putting up a tent.

Matt Davis put it very aptly indeed when he said that you wouldn't tape of a spot in line at the DMV. It's selfish, rude and arrogant. It's unfair to people who have no chance to come up and tape up thier own spots. It goes straight against another Portland tradition; being nice to people who come and visit.

If this narrative can stand one more anecdotal variation, (fair's fair: if someone can pretend that someone else has been doing this for thirty-forty years, I can do this) last night a cow-orker told me of when they tried to see the Parade one year recently. They came from Salem, so forget about them running up here some time during the week before to tape out a spot. What they found was that there was absolutely no decent place to watch the parade, so they went to the Zoo...which was quite good in as much as the whole town was out watching the parade.

Let's take this to the next level: so what if I have my recollections out of order–what if it was a long standing Portland tradition? It's not something we should be proud of. It's a bad tradition. It says "screw you, visitor". It's unfair on people (visitors and Portland residents alike) who don't have the time or the inclination to mess up the pavement with tape that someone else is just going to end up cleaning up (and spray paint...since when was that part of this misguided "tradition"?).

It's a tradition that I think needs to end. It certainly isn't the Portland I know.

All Matt's saying (and many commenters) is that if you want a spot on the parade route, show up early and stake it out in person.

Randy Leonard is saying the same thing (and has apologized for his Burb-hatin', which is the right thing to do).

I agree with 'em. This is my city, too. You're welcome to stay as long as you want, Matt.

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Anonymous said...

The concept is as retarded as it is selfish: spending 5 minutes days in advance trumps actually showing up hours early and waiting. A first grader has a better grasp of queue theory than that...no cuts!. Honestly, I am amazed that so many people here lack the manners and understanding of fairness that 6 year old has.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Well put, anon. Very well put, in fact.

Iron Fist said...

It was a great time, you should have come out! I'm hoping this tape clean-up becomes the new 'tradition', until it finally displaces the old one.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

I envy you who were able to. I'm regrettably committed to supporting this great consumption machine we're all supposed to support (I have a night shift weekends job).

Thanks for the inspiration, though. Some people whine and moan, but they aren't getting it.