good-bye, downtown: hello, small town

old brick apartment building aside new construction (April 2014)

Good-bye, downtown Portland and quaint old brick apartment building. I'll miss your original hardwood floors, public squares, walking conveniences, and ready public transport. I won't miss your construction noise, rising rents, or major earthquake hazards—or the Multnomah County Arts Tax, which should have just been tacked onto property taxes like everything else. (If you can afford to lease a house from a bank for 30 years, you can be the ones who hand over a little extra money for finger paint, clay, and a few more certified teachers. Some of those kids at the low-income school in NoPo I work at also need rain boots, winter coats, and parents who don't let them watch Walking Dead or Sharknado at age seven, but that may be asking too much from taxpayers.)

original hex-tile entrance with blown seed pods (downtown Portland, April 2014)

evening building shadows with birds (downtown Portland, July 2014)

Anyway, so I'm all moved. To celebrate, I took my first official suburban outing as a Gladstone resident the other evening when we walked to the post office and the grocery store. I now live in a small town swallowed up by an expanding metropolis, population 11,500. The police and fire departments, city hall, post office, and library are all more or less in the same block. I dare you to find a sidewalk in the residential areas. Night walks require flashlights. And the predominant profession in town seems to be barber/hair dresser. I've escaped Portland's gentrifiers, at least; Gladstone's too far away from the city center for hipsters.

varied downtown Portland architecture at sunset (September 2014)

hail on hotel luggage cart from downtown café window (April 2014)

downtown rainbow, March 2014 (iPhone photo)

downtown Portland construction (July 2014)

The new place itself, a low-ceilinged 1980s duplex with washer-and-dryer, dishwasher, and garbage disposal in unit as well as a water heater right next to the bathroom instead of three floors of old rusty pipes down—hot heaven, sweet bliss!—is a mess, stacked boxes piled everywhere like some kind of hillside Brazilian shantytown. I'm sleeping in an old military mummy bag, waiting for my night-owl friend and new housemate to refinish the mid-century bed and dresser we did a trade for and that he'd promised would be done by the time I moved in. On the plus side, he cooks all the meals and even packs my lunches, unasked—perks I didn't even have when I was married!

eastbound TriMet bus sign (June 2014)

Also a bonus, my newly-frisky cat currently lives in a Cat Wonderland of hidey-holes and towering tunnels. But I still haven't figured out where she naps, she doesn't come when called, and I'm terrified she's going to slip into the secondhand Miele dryer when I'm not looking. (I knew a family growing up in my hometown whose cat got roasted that way—in the dryer amid a load of warm towels.) She could also slink outside when our backs are turned and get decapitated by the family of raccoons that prowls the driveway in the wee hours. But other than the fear of murdered cat and my terribly long commute, things are going fine in our little alternative family. Any stray bits of mothering instinct fall on my tabby, who eats carpet fuzz. Pictures of the new town will follow eventually, when things at home start looking a little less cardboard shack.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Your house looked nice before my boxed-up stuff came to roost. That wasn't the point. It wasn't a criticism of your home, housemate, but of the current disarray. And I do appreciate your strong back. Looking forward to homemade pizza and movie night. . . .

  2. Trouble in paradise, I mean, Gladstone, already? This should be fun...

    1. Paradise? Hmm. Never been. Isn't that the snowiest place on earth? (http://www.nps.gov/mora/faqs.htm)


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