Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bye Bye East Portland

I think I have mentioned before that I have lived all over Portland. Downtown, Alberta, Mississippi, Southeast, Northeast, North, Southwest and Northwest. Every part. Where I didn't live, I worked. I am a good person to ask about things in Portland.

Little did husband know when he married me that I was a woman of goals. I determined that one year after marraige, we would buy a home. And that was just how it was to be. We would also somehow manage to afford an operation that would cost alot of money.

Seredipitously, I scored a teaching deal in China that kept me from spending money all summer, kept me travelling without spending a dime in China and then shipped me home 1600 richer. China shouldn't be missed.

When we came home I decided it was time to buy a home. We looked in August and September and then because we didn't have much money and Jeff was self employed at the time and I was up to my eyelashes in student debt, I thought the possibility of us getting a home was slim to none. That's when East Portland came in.

Despite the fact that it wasn't very savory part of town, we found a decent nook on a quiet street a biggish home with a private back yard surrounded by trees. It was our first home and even though it wasn't an opulent palace of hip, it was our first home and a small miracle that we got to buy it.

We set ourselves to creating the palace of good taste and well appointed colors and finishing touches. In the end, these are probably what ultimately sold this otherwise nothing special home with kids stickers stuck on the doors, doggy scratches on the wood work and old drafty windows. We swapped out nearly every door, painted inside and out with good colors, replaced all moulding and put builtin maple fireplace and cabinet work in the living room. I loved doing it.

We had 15 years of trees to trim before we could ever even think about making the yard look decent.

We had a baby. Jeff got an awesome job. We turned 5 years of marraige. We made goals for the future. Our life here has been so very very good.

And almost every day I got to drive past the businesses, graffiti, tweakers and playgrounds overrun by thuggy kids that made me wonder how Portland could abandon this part of town to building codes that crammed in as many people as possible and made low price housing and a haven for those at the lower end of things. I forced myself to focus on the good parts of this place. But in my heart, it was not the Portland I knew, the one I fell in love with. The Portland of my college years, my motorcycle years and my 20s where my life was spent in class, serving coffee and figuring out how next to get overseas.

Now almost 20 years after moving to Portland, I am leaving. I know it isn't good bye forever, I will be in a smaller community called Newberg. Whenever I tell people I am moving there they always comment on what a nice place it is.

For awhile it was looking like we might not be able to get a better home than the one we were currently in, even though the area would be nicer, so I am grateful that not only are we moving to a nicer area, the home we are moving to, while not an opulent palace but a rather unassuming little place in a nice neighborhood, is a bit nicer, about the same size.

I won't say bye to Portland, home of my youthful folly, but bye to East Portland. I will remember the struggling families here and hope they are blessed to raise their families wisely.

2 comments:

Glen Woods said...

Congratulations! I grew up in that town. I know it well. I remember the first stop light and the yearly parades and the fishing and hunting trips up in the mountain to the Northeast. Enjoy!

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Well, hey, it's not like you're moving to Eugene or Bend or something. A log of Newbergers commute into Portland for work, and the TriMet's line #12 ends at Sherwood, a mere 5 miles from the east end of Newberg.

So if you have a Portland social scene or like Portland cultural amenities, you won't have to abandon it utterly–it'll just be a bit longer of a drive, is all.

And those people are right–Newberg is a nice place.