14 March 2017

#PDX_liff : Meditation On The Blanding-Out Of Old Portland

The closing of The Third Eye Shoppe has catalyzed a lot of observations into a clear picture of evolution and how things pass along during the years. Change is constant, and change is also bittersweet; you roll with the changes but the changes, sometimes, have no intention of rolling with you, indeed they are indifferent. And there is a little world-pain that comes with that. I suppose that it's something one much just acknowledge as best as they can and be as foxy and clever and find ways to be tenable in the evolved landscape.

I remember when me and Wife were new-again to Portland after spending a few years in Corvallis. We exploited every opportunity we could get to go downtown. Downtown was funky back then. They even had an Arctic Circle with a great view of Pioneer Courthouse Square (prole burgers and fries with a perch for the best people watching in town? Damn skippy!) There was a 'Dollar Chinese Food' place, a steam-table restaurant, in the first floor of the Portland Medical Center building at SW 10th and Washington. Django Records. Art Media for art supplies. Metro on Broadway at SW Broadway and Taylor, sort of a food-court-without-a-mall-attached.

Downtown has been sanitized and de-funked. When they wanted it as a live-in neighborhood, apparently they only wanted people earning north of $75K a year down there. Me and Wife fancy a trip downtown to see if there's anything interesting down there, but I think we know in the back of our minds there's nothing really worth going to any more.

Now, it's Hawthorne. Time was there wasn't a week where we didn't find some excuse to go down Hawthorne. Jambo World Crafts, Dollar Scholar, Muse Art + Design, those were our three regular stops, there was the big raggle taggle used bookstore at SE 33rd that morphed into a vintage shop, Murder By the Book, The Daily Grind, so much that was funky and welcoming. The only thing that would attract us anymore would maybe be Powell's on Hawthorne (actually eager to see how that's building out), and Zach's Shack and Pepinos (they always had the most fabulous steak and potato burritos). But Hawthorne is going the way of downtown, losing all move, groove, and attitude, and if the social push-out of the lower middle- and lower class out to Outer East wasn't real to any one yet, why, it should be now.

Old Portland can still be found, multicolored and funky, out 122nd way, out in what the kids call 'The Numbers' … for a while, anyhow. 

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