Portland: home of the dream of the 90s

"The Dream of the 90s is Alive in Portland" -- a hymn to one of America's greatest towns, where zines, slacking, good coffee, social consciousness, public transit and all the other sweet fantasies of the 90s are still alive.

(Thanks, Fipi Lele!)


  1. Wow, I don’t remember the 90’s being anything like that.

    Considering the age of these guys, wouldn’t it be fair to say it’s their childhood rather than the 90’s? I mean only having to work for a few hours a week, getting a job as a clown, thats the kind of stuff I wanted when I was eight.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been to Portland and I love it, but I’m pretty sure it’s pretty far removed from the 90’s.

  2. <3 my city. Its always nice to see something like this. Not sure of the 90s thing or anything but much of what is talked about is why I chose to live here..that and the school right in the middle of it all.

    1. LOL OMG it’s great.It is totally Oregon. It’s okay to laugh at ourselves. Where’s Don Rickles, and the Celebrity Roast when you need them. It’s all across the board OREGON!!!!!! WE LOVE IT!

  3. Should I dredge up memories of the flood, the murders and recessions? Nah. Let’s talk about the happy crap.

  4. Epic… I’m in my mid 30’s, and yes… the 90’s was all about being in a band, finding cool places to hang, and discovering great eats.

  5. The style of this video is very similar to Flight of the Conchords musical interluds. Anyone know if it was directed by the same guy or something?

    If you haven’t seen FotC your missing out:

  6. Portland would be great were it not for the fact that every time I go down there some PDX hipster has to drone on and on and/or berate me about how “much better” Portland is than Seattle. It’s so cheesy and provincial. At the drop of a hat, as soon as you say you’re down from Seattle, someone has to pipe up and think it’s important that you know how bad the city you have come from and live in sucks.

    Portland is nuts. You wouldn’t think it would be, but it’s like going to a foreign country compared to just about anywhere else. Everywhere you look is the Oregon Lottery logo of a creepy no-sales-tax hand with fingers crossed. State run gambling machines everywhere. You can’t pump your own gas. I mean, WTF? I’m not saying Seattle is all that, but the sheer invariability of the hotshot Portlanders always having to needlessly annoy you because of this is the deal killer for me about the city. I’m just there to hang out. People in Seattle would never give a fuck if you struck up a conversation with someone and found out they were up from PDX. Serious and unfounded inferiority complex manifesting itself as needless superiority goin’ on down there.

    And I am not saying EVERYBODY is like that. My mom lives down there. Just the hipsters or whatever the fuck they’re called these days.

    1. I’m not originally from Seattle, Portland, or Chicago, but I’ve lived in each city. What you describe is prevalent in all of them. It’s simple pride in one’s own city. Seattle certainly has it’s own share of Seattle > Portland mind-set.

    2. That’s all of Oregon, not just Portland. In some of the small towns it’s even creepier.

      But the history of segregation goes all the way back before the Civil War, when the state was founded in 1859. Some parts of Portland, historically NE and N, have very close to minority majority. My own little neighborhood is only 51% white.

      1. I did say that “Seattle ain’t all that”. But yes, Portland is quite provincial, if you take that as a slur then you must be from Portland. I can’t help that I am now living in Seattle. I am from Denver originally. Portland takes its lack of seriousness seriously — which on paper, I am down with. However it gets super crazy old to get the argument about how much better Portland is than Seattle when you don’t even have a horse in the race. It’s fucking stupid and it rubs you the wrong way. Ideally, I would like “certain aspects” of Portland to be found in Seattle and vice versa — such as for instance, Ground Zero, Powell’s and the Bagdad Theater. Yet, this isn’t the case. I like Portland just fine, but I don’t dig the hipsters there any more than I dig the hipsters here on the hill. Because it’s not as though it’s just interesting people doing interesting things, it’s a bunch of people doing the exact same thing only differently.

        And no (to whoever said it), Portland drivers and Oregon drivers in general are “not better drivers” than those from Washington. I have never seen more idiots trying to find their way around Seattle than those with Oregon plates and when I am driving through Portland, I have never encountered more assholes, which I assume is because I have Washington plates. I-5 south of downtown is a death trap, the font on your speed limit signs is wrong and way too slow, you can’t again, pump your own gas etc etc.

        I have nothing against Oregon or Portland whatsoever. What I am saying is is that I don’t give a shit. You guys do. I would love to have felt welcome down there over the years. Seattle doesn’t need to prove itself and neither does Portland. It’s a “quirky” city. Sweet, we get that and that was always one of the reasons I once liked to go there. But take a Chicago, a NYC, a LA, a SF, a Denver, a Seattle and there is no other city in this country that is populated by transplants who takes itself waaaay too seriously. It really, really is obnoxious. I just wanna visit somewhere sometimes and not have to compare. It’s not my fault I happen to live in the nearest big city. I guess I could never live there because I would have to hate a city in which I also happen love, because to be part of the “scene” would necessitate that both places are irreconcilable. Which is bullshit. Thus “no scene” for me.

        If it makes you feel any better, all of the gentrification and development of the aughts has taken it’s toll on Seattle and it’s now a decimated shell of what it was even 10 years ago. It will take its toll on you too — such is capitalism.

        1. @82_28 The only people I have ever met in Portland that have some sort of bizarre “rivalry” with Seattle aren’t even from PDX. Portland is an older city, but ships got too big to make navigating the Columbia economically viable. So Seattle, with its bluewater port, blew up. And as result of that rapid expansion is laid out a little like an Escher-esque habitrail. Similar story with San Francisco, but slower expansion, and thus a slightly more organized layout.

  7. Seems rather pretentious to me. So, according to this video-thingy, Portland is where 20-something slackers can go to . . . . continue to be slackers? Good. More reason for me to stay away. And, at the end, when he chastised his friend for having too many “piercings,” as being “too San Francisco?” Eeewwwwww.

  8. Well, *I* thought it was cute and funny. Though I feel the sequin beret is a little too hipster and not enough 90’s. I went to an artschool from 1995-1999 so this brought back happy, bemused memories.

    1. Yep.

      The thing about that for me is, since this is a more or less completely white set of ideas about “Portland,” why not just SAY so?

      Enough with the false consciousness of “American” = White American.

      1. I’m still trying to figure out where it is, exactly in this comedy video that they claim to speak for America in general. When I watched the video, I thought it pretty much went without saying that the subject matter was not only specific to white people, but to the specific “hipster-alternative-geek” subspecies of white person. Would you have felt better about the video it they made some references to the eastcoast / westcoast hip hop wars of the 90’s? I’ve never been to Portland. While I have to believe there’s more than a kernel of truth in the video about Portland’s hipster population, I’m not sitting here in Florida under the impression that… nevermind… who am I kidding? I bet The mayor of Portland wakes up at 11 every day, puts on his flannel, waxes his ironic mustache, and ventures out to greet his public of 100% white people.

      2. What exactly is this “I see white people” crap? Why don’t you just say, “This corresponds to a racial stereotype of mine! And it’s totally cool because that’s my race, and I love the irony of Stuff White People Like!” Would you have liked the video better if it featured a metallic purple 1998 Impala with gold rims with spinners bouncing down the road, or perhaps the “vibrant” sounds of tejano music playing over a scene of dishwashers?

        Since when do only white people care about the environment and mass transit? Or is a white person being an environmentalist just another one of the on going indignities of whites stealing the culture of “indigenous people?”

        All racial stereotypes are bullshit.

  9. I don’t see what this has to do with the 90s (I guess I experienced something different!) but it is fun for sure.

  10. Mr Seattle.. someone sounds a lil jealous :P

    The video is a joke… it’s a dig at a small, unrepresentative, but highly visible segment of the population. The hipsters and tall bikers are probably the most boring part of the counterculture, they just tend to get more attention cause they fly the flag so hard and travel in herds.

  11. As much as I liked a lot of the things about and within Portland, there are maybe only three black people in the whole city. And you’re allowed to be as artsy and quirky and Bohemian as you want as long as you adhere to one of the three or four official Portland types. It’s more like the Disneyland version of enlightened Bohemianism….only that would be much cleaner. A dream, yes, but an eerie one.

    1. Only 3 black people?? You must have lived and never left Southeast Portland, like every other hipster know it all.

      1. Portland is about 6% black and 75% white, compared to about 23%/56% for Boston, a comparable East Coast city. (Both have populations of ~580,000, and are at about the same northern latitude.) “Only three black people” is an exaggeration, but it is a pretty white city — even though it’s home to 2/3 of all the black people in Oregon.

        (I don’t have a dog in this fight, but it’s worth having numbers.)

  12. I agree with previous commenters that the movie is describing the lifestyle of young people in every city, and perhaps the creators are equating the 90s to their youth lifestyles. Everything they said about Portland also would describe my city of Richmond, Virginia.

  13. noahd: come back, dubstep dj just got accepted by the high council as the fifth accepted archetype of portland bohemianism! you can exist with us now!! come back and be freeeeeeeeee

  14. Boing Boing commenters blow my mind sometimes. I swear, it’s like you have no sense of humor at all. I don’t even get it, like, I just don’t get it.

    The writers at this site must be red in the face from all the palming. They create such wonderful content and then… yeah…

    Ohhhhh the internet.

    1. You say that as if that was a BAD thing. As much as the coasters think everything in flyover land is crap, Minneapolis is actually an awesome city with really crappy weather. It’s like Montreal in that way, except without separatists.

  15. Portland public transit isn’t that great. Only 12.64% of Portland commuters take public transportation.

    Compare that to New York-54.24%, D.C.-38.97%, Boston-31.6%, San Francisco-30.29%, Philadelphia-26.43%, Chicago-25.38%, Pittsburgh-21.14%, Baltimore- 19.55%, Seattle-17.79%, Buffalo-15.62%, Atlanta-14.85%, or Minneapolis-13.19%

    I do appreciate the secularism, leftism, and appreciation for wilderness and sustainability in the Pacific Northwest. I’d like to visit one day.

  16. I saw this for the first time just yesterday:

    Christmas Time in Portland

    Example of why Portland is Cool:

    Tonight, the Clinton Street theater is running the horrifying 1959 Mexican Santa Claus movie. The one where Santa’s workshop hovers over the South Pole and has terrifying biotronic spy gear and the toy work shops are staffed by children from around the world. But instead of the original music and voices they’re having musicians and live actors in house to dub it on the fly.

  17. Portland is great place for two reasons that every other city I live in cannot attest to. One, people want to be here, and, two, they an interest in their quality of life. If I had to add a third, I would say it has something to do with the fact that republican/conservative governance tends to make things crummier (think: socialism serves the public good), but I don’t have the time or inclination to go into all the obvious reasons why.

  18. I was visiting Portland a while back, and in hipster bar the Doug Fir I saw two different women, who were not in the same group of people, wearing T-shirts that read “FUCK L.A.” What the hell? What did L.A. ever do to these people? How about not blaming your problems on other people and sticking to your own business?

  19. Seemingly unlike everyone else on this thread I am from Portland. For reference I was born in 1975 in a Portland hospital that no longer exists (the real estate was too valuable). I used to buy BB as a zine from Reading Frenzy.

    I want to Grant High School, and was one of the few white kids. But the flood of immigrants from California have pushed out the African American urban communities of N. and N.E. into the suburban hell of the Gresham area. Then by way of some bizarro-world apology, renamed one of the oldest streets in Portland, Portland Blvd. to Rosa Parks Way. The streets of the Californian-developed Tualatin suburbs are named for displaced Native tribes (Pawnee Path et al). Most of the arable land near the urban center has been paved over to plant vast crops of McMansions, with the urban growth boundary constantly being pushed farther and farther out toward the coast. We are no longer a state that can legitimately claim that it can feed itself effectively. Even after the real-estate bubble popped, most native workers cannot afford to buy a house. People from LA now outnumber people from Portland in Portland. They vote and they are voting to make Portland a little more like the place they fled everyday. Unfortunately Oregon isn’t even close to the 8th largest economy in the world, and won’t weather the storm of bankruptcy when the bill comes due.

    Every time I hear “that is soooo Portland!” I throw-up a little.

    Every time I get cut-off of by some vapid ass-hat with EXPIRED California plates and a !@#$ing “Heart Oregon” sticker I want to go get tourist tags from the ODF&W.

    It seems that Portland has become California’s escape from reason or accountability (apologies to Updike).

    1. Are there stats available on Californians in Portland? Otherwise this looks a lot like the complaints that certain segments of California have about Mexicans.

    2. Overlook Kaiser, I’d presume? I was born there!

      I agree with many of your points. When I first moved back into town from Clackamas County as a 19-year-old, I felt rarer than a unicorn in a haystack in a culture of college graduates from somewhere else.

      The unicycling bagpiper is kindof a jerk, or perhaps just shy. He seems to need the bagpipe to go out in public and refuses to associate with other unicyclists.

    3. I don’t know enough about the Cali demographic but the rest of ‘uberman’s’ assessment sounds about right. I visit Portland a couple times a year, family lives in (suburban hell) Gresham (it is) and down in the also mentioned “Keizer” (equally bad), and lots of very old friends in the city proper.

      Anyway big lols at all the commenters taking this silly video as SRS BSNS!

      Oh and in my experience and humble opinion Portland IS better than Seattle and L.A.

    4. Oregon = California’s Canada (can be found on a tshirt at the Crafty Wonderland Pop Up store.

      I work in the Mayor’s office in Portland and saw the pilot. Our Mayor Adams has a cameo where he plays the assistant to the Mayor played by Kyle McLaughlin. The whole show was so amazingly funny. I think it’s so important that we Portlanders don’t take our selves too seriously. I don’t see this running for too many seasons, unless they start to look at other municipalities that need a parody (I’m looking at you Austin).

      Anyway, the haters will hate. So what.

      By the way, as of today, over 40% of the students in public school are students of color (well over 80% of students attend public school in the region). The demographics are changing, but equity and quality of life for these students is not. This is a top priority for the work I do and for our city’s future.

    5. Also a seemingly-rare Portland native here, born at Overlook, and I gotta say that you hit the nail on the head. Oregon, and Portland in particular has been completely overrun by Californians, Midwesterners and others that didn’t have the stones to clean up their own houses and now are coming to wreck ours. Fantastic.

      Some of the best farmland in the world is being paved for more Californian style McMansions, traffic is worse than ever, and yet the new Portlanders can’t stop patting themselves on the back for being so green and progressive

      My wife (also a PNW native) and I got priced out of Portland a while ago and left for a small community in the PNW and couldn’t be happier. There are transplants from outside the region here, just as anywhere, but as you apparently have to actually produce something to survive in this neck of the woods, the attitude is a whole lot different.

      “Put a bird on something and call it art” DING!

  20. Its difficult to objectively wrap ones mind around what it is like to be in a city. Most people confuse what a city is like with what its like to be them in a city.

    I always considered the whole of the Pacific Northwest to be the same… from San Fran up to Vancouver B.C.

    Funny… I talk to people from Seattle and I talk about how great Seattle is and they talk about how great Portland is. Grass is greener I guess.

  21. This is a slice of the city’s culture I suppose, but there’s also the beautiful, walkable neighborhoods, the kind and progressive middle class populace who keeps the state blue, shows relentless deference to cyclists and pedestrians, who say ‘please’ and ‘excuse me’ to their dogs, wear jeans to the symphony, and smile rather than bleat when a neighbor decides to paint their 1923 craftsman in seven shared of orange, yellow, and purple.

    Like many transplants, I have an ongoing crush on the city and it’s people. There’s a lot of warmth and authenticity here.

  22. uberman @ 30: I’ve lived in Portland as long as you have, and there’s no question that the urban boundary has been pushed back and the traditionally black and lower income neighborhoods* are gentrifying and getting whiter.

    However, I’m completely baffled by your statement that people from LA outnumber people from Portland. Thinking about my coworkers and friends, far more of them are from Oregon than from elsewhere, and California isn’t that common for the people who have moved here. I’ve heard that “Californias are ruining Oregon” line off and one for years, and it’s nonsense.

    *North Portland was redlined back in the day — the only part of town where a realtor would show houses to African Americans, and bankers give mortgages.

    1. I agree, Wooster, uberman has California Paranoia I don’t see California people here, per se, but there is tons of migration to this city. Check out this map:
      If you click on Multnomah County, you can see heavy migration from L.A., San Diego, all around the bay area, but also the East Coast.

      It’s no wonder people who have a choice would pick Portland as their home, but that’s no excuse for turning the interior of the country into a cultural dead zone.

  23. Portland is great. Lobster, drive up to Bar Harbor, Sebago Lake, real winters, etc.

    I hear there is a similarly named city somewhere else.

  24. why all the Portland hate??? It’s a GREAT city!

    I’ve lived all over the US but I have been here for 10 years now and this is by far my favorite city.

    LGBT friendly (and LOTS of trans folk, yay!), big music and art scene, soooo many great food places to eat at, very environmental attitudes with quite the bike scene, mellow (but wet) winters and beautiful land nearby to camp-fish-hike-etc., police have better things to do than bust on folks for a plant, and overall I swear the people here are just happier and more friendly than most other locales.

    Haters gonna hate, I guess….

    1. “Haters gonna hate, I guess….”

      Precisely. And it’s Portlanders saying “FUCK L.A.,” not the other way around.

      I like Portland. It’s a nice city. But it’d be better if it wasn’t full of people who hated California.

      1. I hope this doesn’t hurt your feelings, but the “fuck LA” sentiment is expressed all along the west coast in places that aren’t LA. In the Bay Area you’ll probably come across it, too. Sometimes it will be in the less threatening “Beat LA” form. As was mentioned above, it’s usually a sports thing in reference to the Lakers, Dodgers, or USC.

  25. Why isn’t it raining in even one of the scenes? If they’d filmed it in a downpour maybe Californians would stop coming.

  26. But how the fuck did Fred Armisen become the designated spokesman for Portland? Wikipedia says he’s a New Yorker through and through. That’s like making a PSA for San Francisco with Matt Damon!

    1. Chicagoan more like. Both him and the woman were in punk/indie bands in the ’90s. Him in Chicago and her in Portland.


    Just listen up:

    The detractors are correct; there are nothing but d-bag hipsters and slackers stuck in the 90s, along with the city’s horrible transportation record, terrible lifestyle, and gambling addiction. There is no scenery here since it’s ALWAYS GLOOMY and RAINS OFTEN!

    So do yourself a favor, and don’t bother coming!

    Really, it’s TERRIBLE HERE!

    1. ;-) I get it.
      It’s like Northern Italians used to say about Germans- “they should come to the border, stop, and just throw their money over.”

      Gotta agree, the excessive whiteness was about the only downside for me in a city I otherwise found fantastic err…terrible – stay away.
      There were some nicely balanced neighborhoods ethnically like Irvington, but most neighborhoods are mostly white, black or latino rather than mixed.

  28. In actuality, Portland’s leading export is extremely effective marketing on behalf of large international corporations — i.e. Wieden + Kennedy, ad agency for Nike, Coke, and Proctor & Gamble (they created the Old Spice ads for P&G.) That’s what happens when hipsters decide they’d like some health care and maybe a house if they can still wake up at 9am.

  29. As a native Oregonian and a former resident of Portland I should point out that hating Californians (especially for how they drive) is as Oregon as rain and fir trees. It’s as normal as Ducks passionately hating Beavers and vice-versa. It’s no more unusual than enjoying months of grey skies and endless light-but-steady rainfall.

    I don’t think that most Portlanders hate Washington or Seattle (although Vancouver is universally agreed-upon to be a dump) it’s just that Washingtonians don’t drive as well as Oregonians (but better than Californians) and Seattle is just a bit too big. Plus Microsoft is somewhere up there and that can’t be a good thing.

    Portland may have way too many asshat hipsters but it’s also full of people that try to make their corner of the country a better place to live, whether that be beach cleanups, making a point to recycle, using the MAX and busses even though they never run as frequent as they ought to or just getting outside and enjoying nature without messing it up too bad.

    It’s a good place to live as long as you don’t mind the continuous rain between mid-October to mid-May (and you shouldn’t; rain is lovely) and as long as you ignore the hipsters in Portland and the rednecks elsewhere.

    1. “Seattle is just a bit too big. Plus Microsoft is somewhere up there and that can’t be a good thing.”

      Yeah, because Nike is so MUCH better. Nothing like having one of the biggest purveyors of sweatshops headquartered in North Hippieland.

      1. actually, Nike is in Beavertron – a suburban hell hole. It doesn’t count as part of Portland as far as I’m concerned.

        funny, the disdain people have for Portland.

        things which make it amazing & rare:

        bad public transportation? Apparently none of you have been on the same Max system I’ve been on innumerable times. On all major routes, buses run every 10-15 minutes..until late night/early morning. The only need for a car in the city is if you commute or have kids.

        the impressive # of restaurants which utilize local and/or organic products

        the simple livability of the Portland (I’m not talking about the ‘burbs). I never had to leave my neighborhood (if I didn’t want to).

        the lovely, gardened neighborhoods..Mt Tabor..the Japanese Gardens..Forest Park…The ocean 40 minutes away.

        the large # of community-oriented projects/festivals & happenings

        the art which is to be found, literally, everywhere.

        the large # of organic farms which surround the city

        the large # of sustainable projects of all manner found throughout the city.

        the generally well-educated, informed and highly interested & interesting people I constantly ran into.

        and, yes, the hipsters. I love nothing more than seeing people who give a crap about their appearance who also could care less about their appearance. Also, while on the topic..there are a lot of sexy beings there. Per capita, definitely higher on average than most other places I’ve been.

        huge g/l/b/tran population. A city it’s actually safe to be gay in.

        it is true though that Portland is one hell of a racist town with a police department that shoots to kill if you have dark skin. However, this is not surprising given how (and by whom) Oregon/Portland was founded.

  30. I was born at Emanual and graduated from Wilson High in ’85.

    Then I left.

    And from a distance, I watched the Portland I grew up in melt away in the rain. Portland went upscale, went to graduate school and got very loud.

    And the people who stayed or moved there like it that way. So [shrug], more power to ’em.

  31. “the “fuck LA” sentiment is expressed all along the west coast in places that aren’t LA”

    I know. It’s called an inferiority complex.

  32. People need to relax; a clearly comedic song is not an indictment of a city. Portlandia is obviously no more a statement on Portland than Fargo was on the Midwest or Borat represented Kazakhstan.

    Lacking a sense of humor about such an obvious work of comedy just makes you come off as out-of-touch or pretentious.

  33. Funny thing is that during the late 70’s and early 80’s we often described Eugene, Oregon (100 miles to the south) as the place where the 60’s went to die.

  34. Another long-term (but not native) Portlandian chiming in.

    The effortless sea of slack referred to in Portlandia is but a vestige of what used to be the cheapest real estate of any west coast city. Portland was a severely depressed burg back in the 1980’s, and the collapse of the timber industry kicked its ass… hard. The result was ridiculously undervalued housing. Absolutely amazing places with 12 foot ceilings, made from flawless old growth timber were going for a song. $10K would get you into a livable house, and $40K would get you into a nice house. The rental market was much the same. Thus, you could get a few of your pals together and rent a place for a pittance compared to most any other big city. $50 to $75 a month per head was not at all unusual.

    Naturally, this environment attracted a lot of artists, musicians and creative types (myself included). You could get a cheap space, work part-time to pay bills and have plenty of time left over to pursue your craft, or to just hang out.

    What happened? Word got out, that’s what. Portland was outed, and it was all too good to last. People used to paying insane rent in SF, LA and other cities came here and didn’t even blink at rent that had suddenly doubled, tripled, quadrupled overnight due to demand. Housing prices went similarly apeshit, but Portland’s reputation as an artist’s haven somehow went on. Whatever the market will bear, right? The result: the very people who made the culture what it was can no longer afford to live here. Many of the artists and writers I knew back in the day have been scattered to the wind.

    I’ve managed to stick it out and carve myself a reasonable toehold, but frankly, if I was starting over again, I would give Portland a pass… the professionals have moved in and expenses have caught up with the rest of the west coast. Sigh.

    That’s change for you. And I’m okay with it, to be honest. It’s nice to live in a city that other people want to be in, and there’s a bit of satisfaction in knowing that I picked a fine place to land. I love the environment and surroundings here, but the fact is, I couldn’t afford to make a down payment on my own damn house now, let alone buy it.

    Far and away the best assessment of the evolution of Portland can be found in a lecture and slide show by Sean Tejaratchi, the publisher of Craphound. The entire lecture is really worth a listen, but the very best part is at the very end, and I couldn’t possibly put it any better or more clearly than he has:


    Trustafarians are the only ones who can afford to indulge in the “home of the dream of the 90’s” now, along with Hollywood-backed carpetbaggers and rock stars. I am slightly bitter about that.

    1. @st vincent @uberman

      These two have it right. I can no longer find the graph from Information is Beautiful, but the data is out there. Yes, there are a crapton of Californians in Portland.

      I have lived in a lot of different places and always try to embrace the local culture and understand the point of view of local people.

      I see the problem here as being the same everywhere. The locals feel like their culture is being subsumed by large groups of immigrants. It doesn’t really matter where they’re from. I don’t think anybody likes to see their way of life eroded into nothingness, so the reaction is generally pretty similar.

      In France, it’s North Africans. In Switzerland, it was Italians and now it’s Africans and Eastern Europeans. In California, it’s Mexicans. In Oregon, it’s Californians. In Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, it’s New Yorkers and people from Massachusetts. In Florida, it’s people from Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

      Are we starting to see the pattern yet?

      At what point do we stop running to where the grass is greener and start planting and fertilizing our own yards? If NO ONE ever stops to plant and fertilize, what is going to happen to this planet?

      It’s not just Californians running from reason and accountability. It’s everyone. At some point people are going to have to stop and fight to make their own homes a better place, or soon there will be no better place left.

  35. Portland isn’t so much the “Dream of the 90s” as much as it’s stuck 20 years in the past. In other words, it’s Branson Missouri.

  36. If you don’t like a city don’t visit or live there, end of story.
    In the US I have lived in LA, SF, and Portland and they all have their own pluses and minuses.
    This whole F… LA thing is pretty small minded.
    I grew up in LA (Venice to be more specific) and it was a blast.
    LA has great art museums, live theater, beaches and sunny weather (if you are into 70 degrees year round)
    Seattle rocks-great scenery, cool vibe, fun neighborhoods, lots of excellent dining.
    San Francisco… well is it’s SF and it’s an amazing city.
    I’ve been in Portland 10 years and wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s exactly what I want at this point in time.

    This whole “Oregonians hating Californians” makes me laugh. Ha!
    My first month here a woman confronted me about being from California. So I asked her where her folks were from.
    “Uhhh Michigan,” she said. So I told her that my great grandfather, grand parents were Oregonian on my mom’s side and my dad’s side of the family were all from Seattle.
    Looking back most everyone’s family came from somewhere else.
    So the point is chill out, support your community and don’t just rag on a place because you can.

  37. I’m absolutely outraged by so many of the comments here. I mean, really, people. Come on. There’s no apostrophe between the ‘0’ and the ‘s’.

  38. Read more about Carrie Brownstein and Portlandia. Looks like fun. (Fred Armisen’s her partner in crime, huh? How does she rate?)

    And, actually, “zines, slacking, good coffee, social consciousness, [and] public transit” are very much alive here in “Little Beirut”.

  39. To all of you who “just don’t get” that some of us weren’t aware that this is satirical: get over it. The original post didn’t explain it, and I hardly wish to spend my time learning about every internet meme and/or TV show that comes out, just so I can sound hip and in-touch. All it would have taken is a comment about what this is in reference to in the original post.

    But, I can say, this video doesn’t make me want to watch the show at all.

    1. It’s in reference to an entire decade and the slacker stereotypes of the time. I don’t think it needs to be up to the second with it. *eyeroll*

  40. I LOVED this! And reading the comments has definitely been humorous as well. So… for full disclosure I was born in Northern California (a 5th generation native), moved to Oregon with my family to the Southern Oregon coast when I was very small, and lived in this beautiful amazing state ever since (except for a brief stint in the Boston area).

    Portland is its own being- different from any other city and that’s why it is either loved or hated. I happen to love it and I’m a woman who wears glasses :-)

    My question is- is that the Next Time Around Marching Band and the Portland’s Mens Gay Chorus making cameos in this?

  41. Ha ha ha! I grew up and then came back to live in Portland after getting my masters degree and most everyone I know up here is hardworking and motivated, they just look super relaxed and casual all the time. I recognized quite a few people in the video and kinda know a couple of them – funny thing is, they are all highly motivated and productive people who are always doing something in different communities in the city. For example I work as a legal records manager, but have tri-colored hair and tattoos. I belly dance, craft, volunteer, am socially and politically active and that’s just in my spare time between playing video games and drinking coffee! Just because we look like slacker freaks up here doesn’t mean we are – well, at least we’re not slackers ;)

    Oh, and for a few of the other posters: I’m not white and neither are a lot of other people in Portland.

  42. That was amazing, thanks!! I spent my 90s pretty much how they described it, dreaming of moving to Portland several times during that time (occasionally I still regret this). I also love Carrie Brownstein!!

  43. From an east coaster (we do exist here on the ‘boing, despite what you might think from this thread): I think this video is hilarious, and I can’t wait for the show. The 90s slacker / hipster / bohemian / whatever lifestyle isn’t for me, but I don’t think any worse of Portland for them being portrayed that way. I’ve spent most of my life in Asheville and then Chapel Hill, NC. Being two little spots of blue in a sea of red means its inevitable that any place I’d want to live, they’d want to live too. And I’m totally okay with that. I wouldn’t judge either place as being better or worse based on the percentage of a certain population that lives there.

    It baffles me that the LA/SF/Seattle/Portland/Vancouver ‘debate’ here has come down to referencing population numbers. Shouldn’t what matters be the overall quality of life? As long as I can find ten or twenty people who I really like, I don’t care what the other millions of people are. And I try not to be so narrow minded to think that race or culture alone is going to preclude one in that million from being one of my ten or twenty.

  44. Spoken like true Oregonians uberman and iomatic! Oregon = California’s Canada? That’s a good way to put it Anon #94.

    Most of Portland is a very normal, American city. But if you know where to look, it’s just like the video says. Portland, Salem and Eugene voted all Democrat during the biggest defeat of Democrats since the 1930s with a 70some percent turnout. I don’t know about other cities but it seems like you can’t drive a mile on a major road without passing a tattoo parlor. Yes, we have goofy bicycles on our many bike paths/lanes and buses are everywhere.

    There’s a few things they missed. Currently becoming the new black are cargo bikes and “taco” trucks in outdoor food courts. Portland has always had a billion good micro-brews, quirky vegan restaurants and Powell’s Book. As far as Portland being White, no. People from outside the area are stuck in the mindset of “minority = African-American”. Portland isn’t White, it’s just not Black. Every public place you go you’ll hear someone speaking Spanish or Mandarin. Portland schools are 40% minority? I believe it.

    1. Thanks MadRat :) I would like to point out that Naito parkway is named for the late patriarch of the Naito family who is Japanese. And I believe the last REPORTED Shanghai in PDX was 1976.

    2. Portland, Salem and Eugene voted all Democrat during the biggest defeat of Democrats since the 1930s with a 70some percent turnout.

      Just because the majority of voters in the country went and shot themselves in the foot by electing a bunch of Republicans during the midterm elections doesn’t mean that Portland had to follow the trend.

      My wife, who says she’s never seen a town where people get college degrees and then go to work for a Starbucks as much as they do here, thinks the “Portland is a place where young people go to retire” line is spot-on.

      Unfortunately, this wasn’t the most flattering thread about Portland, or about Brownstein’s new comedy show. But on the bright side, maybe it’ll convince some people not to move here.

  45. It’s official: Slack is Back, with a vengeance! When the going gets tough, the tough get cheap…

    Top new trends, predicted for 2011: A “Grunge” revival…probably with Kurt Cobain’s kid, fronting her very own band…

  46. having one of the highest unempoyment rates doesnt help the minimally employed either. i wasted a good portion of my life in portland. but somehow, in portland, it didn’t seem like a waste. seems depressing now….but i miss not giving a fuck….for art….right?

  47. Portland is interesting, I’ve been here for about 2 years I’ve lived all over the US. When I say that I’m not just talking about the New York, LA, Chicago trifecta some people think incapsulates this massive chunk of land. I’ve spent time in plenty of out of the way backwoods places that account for much of the physical mass and culture in here. That being said, Portland is really odd.

    It has a Casablanca like quality to it, in that everyone is from somewhere else. Doe eyed midwestern refugees escaping their red state tyranny, grizzled east coast metropolitans seeking greenery over Gotham, and Californians fleeing like rats from a sinking ship. It’s a city where so many people have recently cut ties and donned new identies for themselves that we all just blend in. With the right attitude you may as well have been a native, no one will notice anyway, they’re too busy reinventing themselves and continuously checking for cracks in their own facade.

    and to anyone considering moving here, don’t. Just don’t.
    We don’t need or really even want you. Jobs are scarse and housing is getting harder and harder to find these days. Sorry you missed the boat, but this placed is going to be crushed to death by the weight of all the transplants and refugees if you keep pouring in. That or completely leveled by by a single earthquake.

    1. Hey, yeah! I forgot about fire dancers, Anon #113. As a matter of fact my wife’s best friend’s daughter is a fire dancer. Thanks for reminding me. “Keep Portland weird”

  48. Portland might be nice and all, but Vermont’s state pastime is cunnilingus.

    Jyne Sweet

    Vermont Tourism Board

  49. I’m flabbergasted at the number of commenters who’s quality of life is apparently influenced by their ability to pump their own gas. Does operating gas pump machinery really make you feel that much better about yourself? The only negative side effect of having somebody pump your gas for you is crossing the border and waiting for ten minutes before you realize you gotta get out and pump it yourself. But my ego can take that minor embarrassment.

  50. wait, don’t they mean San Francisco? (or maybe it’s Oakland these days) sounds a lot like the lives of my friends who Moved West…

  51. i miss the 90s or at least i miss the idea of the 90s and gen x. but i was 3-13 for the decade, i’m fairly sure my entire concept of alternative 90s youth culture has been derived from (in ascending order) Daria, Slackers, Kevin Smith films, 90s alt music and music videos, references to gen x in the simpsons and all other sources.

    I’m a gen-xer at heart, i was just born 15 years too late and in the wrong country for it.

  52. I got a good laugh at the video and a larger one with a sigh reading the comments. For the record, satire according to definition is trenchant wit, irony, or sarcasm used to expose and discredit vice or folly.
    As a mostly Texan I am glad to see I am not alone in frequently having to defend my current geographical location as some kind of statement of my opinions or character when it is mostly a product of circumstance. You can create a crappy reality in the nicest environment and vice versa.

  53. Thought the vid was funny and also think all the potshots against Portland are as well.. Geez, people, lighten up and chilllax. Every city has their own idiosyncrasies. It’s fun to parody them..

  54. Ah, the Pacific Northwest in the ’90s.
    The atmospherics of the X-Files (when it filmed in Vancouver, at least) made me want to move to that part of the country so bad (alas, I was a kid).
    Didn’t hurt that I only listened to grunge, but it died before even the X-Files (does that say something that ‘movement’?)

    When I got to visit Seattle finally in 1996, I was in heaven, for three days at least (even poked around in the mist with a flashlight like Mulder once).

    Anyway, I saw somebody’s facebook profile recently, who had her favorite tv shows listed as Twin Peaks and the X-Files..although she was from SoCal like me, she was attending…
    Portland State :)
    So, I’m not the only one :)

  55. :( This is my sad face. I’m using it because this video was clearly remastered since it was originally posted. Gone are a few milliseconds of awkward silences in the opening, the deep voice of the clown of short stature, and a few other bits that made this video what it was for me. The tall clown and the flannel shirt dude also gained new voices, and other milliseconds were clipped throughout.

    Man, that is Portland. Pretty cool still, but not nearly so cool as the version that still exists as a faint and passing portrait in my memory.

    1. I guess because we are not experiencing wildfires, getting 100 year floods (every 5 years), heat waves or setting some other unwanted weather record; we can brag that we are uneventful in a GRAND sense. We have food and sunshine (when its not raining) and the trees get big. I love the northwest as I don’t have to shovel it and if it gets cold and dreary I have a hot tub until the two weeks in Hawaii arrive.

  56. I’m a Seattle native and have visited Portland frequently for decades and I’ve never had anyone give me crap about being from Seattle. If they did, though, I’d have to agree with them – Portland is way cooler than Seattle. I’ve lived in Portland, Seattle, LA, San Francisco and Brooklyn and I’d choose Portland over any of them. If I could find a job (over 10% unemployment) I’d have moved back down there 20 years ago.

    By the way, people from LA are assholes. Fuck LA.

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