This year’s List has spoken, and writers Dan Zak and Monica Hesse have laid their anointed hands upon my hometown for 2012. Pittsburgh, Pa., is cool now. Sorry, Portland hipsters! Portland, Ore., is the land of microbreweries, indie bands, bicyclists and rose gardens. Pittsburgh is often reviled by outsiders for its abrasive-sounding accent and rabid football fans. Portland has Portlandia, the hit comedy sketch show, while Pittsburgh just subs in as other cities in movies…. “Portland has overextended its welcome as the destination for hipsters who want to find themselves, while frolicking in beautiful scenery and reasonable rents,” says Hesse. “Pittsburgh is reasonable-rents, nice scenery, nice downtown, and the people are, in general, just far less insufferable.”
People think that becoming famous and “hip” is all kittens and glitter. The rest of the country may think that Portland is a place where never is heard a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day (If you’ve ever been here in January, you’ll understand). The reality, though, is a fair bit different. Sure, Puddletown may have a well-earned reputation for ennui and hyper-caffeination, but the end of our 15 minutes might not be a bad thing.
What’s being hip got us? How about ridiculously high housing costs? Good luck being able to afford to rent an apartment in Portland…that’s if you can even find one to rent, that is. If you’re looking to buy a house, depending on the neighborhood something equivalent to a gardening shed will run you a quarter-mil.
The City Council just approved a plan to allow car camping in certain parts of Portland. Yeah, you can live here. You just can’t LIVE here.
Sure, we have Whole Foods, New Seasons, Trader Joe’s, and Stumptown Coffee. Foodies may love Portland for it’s accessible fine dining and devotion to the craft of cooking. You can get a pretty decent meal for two in this town for well under $100. TV shows like Grimm, Portlandia and Leverage are filmed here. Willem Dafoe and Madonna once filmed one of the worst movies of all time in Portland. How bad was it? How ‘bout so bad that I’ve wiped the title from my memory.
Don’t get me wrong; I love Portland. It’s where the ’90s never died and where young people come to retire. It’s hard to see myself living anywhere else (and I’ve done plenty of that). If the worst thing that happens to the Rose City is that it’s no longer considered “hip”…well, so be it. Our hipster quota was filled some time ago, anyway. I’m not sure Portland is equipped to handle any more ennui. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to drink my coffee and wait for the Timbers’ season to start.