Yesterday I read an article by a local writer acquaintance that focused on what he sees as the "Brooklynization" of Portland . . . the grittiness is washing away, the out-of-staters are washing in . . . the upscale construction, the locals priced out to the suburbs, the misery of the poor. His article centers on the neighborhood in which I now reside, and even as a bewildered and innocent newcomer I see what he must mean. My stately Edwardian building houses five condo apartments, two of which have been mostly vacant for the month in which we have lived here. The owners are away at other homes, or on long vacations, or something. And yet they purchased their condos for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Tom and I are only perched here by accident--a friend-of-a-friend-has-a-rental scenario. How is that we're behaving far more like regular neighborhood inhabitants? It's strange.
I am too new in this place to offer any real commentary on my acquaintance's article. I do know that I am overwhelmed by the dog walking, the stroller jogging, the wearing-of-identical-stylish-puffy-winter-coats. I am overwhelmed, if simultaneously enthralled, by having a corner market that carries real parmesan cheese and excellent local greens. Every morning Tom trudges down the stairs in his Carhartt pants and work coat, with actual sawdust stuck to them, to go renovate the houses of the people in the puffy coats. Clearly our kind ought to be living somewhere else. On the other hand, here we are.