Monday, July 15, 2019

The Squad responds to Trump

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Leaving Portland

...Then came the TV show Portlandia, which popularized the phrase “Portland is where young people go to retire.” People loved this show! Which could be very funny, if not increasingly to Portland’s chattering classes, who’d wearied of the outside attention and wanted it understood that while parody was all well and good, Portland was in fact very serious in its commitment to tolerance and diversity and doing things in eco-friendly ways, like installing bike lanes, lots and lots of bike lanes, which would help Portland evolve into a uniquely new kind of American city, patterned not after Seattle, serial fellator of big tech, or God forbid anyplace in California, but more in the mold of a European city. I recall hearing Amsterdam mentioned a lot.

“We knew they would create confusion, but we wanted to do something different,” a Portland city planner told my husband and me in 2014, when we complained that the bicycle lanes the city had spent a year installing not on the intuitive right but the left, were creating confusion and traffic and, oh yeah, the vehicular deaths of more than a cyclist or pedestrian a week. 

The planner, who had a face like a golden ferret, informed us the lanes were what local businesses wanted. We reminded the planner that my husband owned the local coffee shop on whose patio we were at that moment sitting. The planner said he’d meant to say local homeowners wanted the new lanes; that he’d held public meetings. 

Din explained he’d been among the homeowners who loudly rejected the left-lane plan, whereupon the golden ferret made for a municipal vehicle with “The City That Works” on its side, a slogan Portland appropriated from Chicago, a reminder that it’s important to pick good role models...

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