“What’s it like living in Portland?” This is Jared, a friend from college. He’s in town looking for a new job and a new place to live after being laid off from his job in New York. We are enjoying a beer downtown, watching the sunrise over the cloudless sky. Spring time is approaching. It’s  glorious time to be here.

    I smile and sip my beer. “It’s a lot like this,” I say.

    “A lot of sitting around drinking beer on a week day evening?”

    “Well, kind of.” I haven’t seen Jared since college. I don’t know what makes him tick anymore. I don’t know what he’s into. But, if he’s the guy I remember, he’ll love it here. “That’s kind of a fair microcosm. I mean, nowhere is perfect, but this place is pretty darn close.”

    Jared laughs a little. “I watch Portlandia a lot. Is that accurate?”

    It’s my turn to smile. “That show hits the nail on the head. We are quirky, we’re laid back. We love art and music and thinking for ourselves. It’s one of the friendlier cities, too.”

    “Damn sight friendlier than New York, I’ll tell you that much.”

    “I know that too.” At that, we clanked our bottles together. “And it’s diverse, man. I mean, look at this place? Were sitting here in a bar. The bartender has a lumberjack beard and enough tattoos to force the squid into existence. But, in that other corner, you have that preppy dude and some chick that could be a glamour model,” I stop and point out the ubiquitous windows. “And look at that. Mt. Hood. You can see it everywhere. It’s practically omniscient. Up the street, tons of art galleries, concert clubs, places to get your grub on.”

    “Yeah, but that’s all fun stuff. What about jobs, man? I have a family to feed.”

    I shrug. “What can I say? We enjoy our downtime. But don’t worry about jobs, man. We got ma and pa shops, we have corporate chains too. Fred Meyer, Intel, Nike. Man, jobs won’t be a problem for you. And the schools are great too… and did I mention that the beach is only like an hour away?”

    “This place sounds pretty great. Think I can talk Patty into it?”

    “What’s it doing in New York right now?”

    “You mean the weather?”


    “It’s about five degrees and dumping snow.”

    “Yeah, man. I don’t think you’ll have a problem. Portland is the place to be!”

    Jared gets up and I see him on the phone outside. Looks like I’ll be having a new neighbor soon.

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