Why should I move to Portland

City on the US west coast : Portland: progressive and self-deprecating

Welcome to America! America? On the edge of the airport goats nibble at the weeds, touchingly concerned the gentlemen at passport control - feared elsewhere for their roughness - instruct the arriving people that they don't have to wait too long in the queue. With the modern S-Bahn one glides into the city, in the center of which the public transport is free and whose inhabitants dutifully collect their organic waste. This is what their gay mayor ordered them to do, the same one who also took away the plastic bags. Even at night, people walk through the center, where in some US cities you are already happy to meet a rat. After all, a living being. Here you also make a pilgrimage to the farmers market on Saturday mornings to buy colorful primeval carrots, and on Sunday afternoons the whole family strolls through the bookstore, which claims to be the largest independent bookshop in the world. "Powell’s, City of Books" takes up an entire block of streets and is strongly reminiscent of the 1970s in which it was founded.

Welcome to Portland, Oregon - the city that is different. Hipster capital, foodie stronghold, eco-paradise, creative metropolis. Seat of the only regional government in the country that was directly elected, the first major US city to choose an openly gay mayor - in 2008 -: Sam Adams, an advocate for the arts and public transport, avid cyclist and environmentalist. "Monocle" magazine named Portland its "No. 1 most livable city in the U.S. ”, the magazine“ Money ”came to the same conclusion six months later. "Men’s Health" declared it the fittest city in America, even though it was also named the best beer city in the world by CNN. All superlatives without guarantee.

Montana, California, New York: If you ask people in Portland where they're from, they're almost always from elsewhere. Above all young people, well educated, close to nature, creative, move here, in the meantime we have reached 600,000 inhabitants. An hour away from the sea, just as far into the mountains, where can you live so well and affordable? Not in San Francisco for a long time. The kids from Silicon Valley made the birthplace of the hippies priceless.

Willy Vlautin moved to Oregon from Nevada. Portland was his salvation. Here he met like-minded people with whom he formed a band, and was initially able to earn a living as a house painter. And nobody, like his mother and the rednecks in Reno, declared him a failure for writing stories.

A huge city would have frightened him, admits the shy writer with the big heart, who cannot bypass a street musician without giving him something. He also has something for the pianist in the bar of Portland's oldest restaurant, founded in 1879 when the West was still pretty wild and rough. The small city is not much older either. The human dimension: This is what attracted not only Vlautin, whose deeply human novels are published in German by Berlin Verlag. Even the street blocks are no more than half the size of New York or LA, which makes walking so enjoyable. You always have the feeling that you are making progress.

As almost everywhere, artists played an important role in the reanimation of the city, as everywhere they had to move on from time to time. The center for contemporary art Disjecta, for example, has now moved to its third location, in a former car repair shop in the north of the city, which, just outlawed, is now on the rise. The S-Bahn stops in front of the door.

And yet the process went differently, gentrification still has a good ring to it, even for someone like Disjecta director Bryan Suereth, who still remembers what it looked like on the East Side, east of the river: All the buildings with boards The streets where only drug dealers, their customers, skinheads and petty criminals dared to go. The East Side is now a sought-after residential area, with cozy wooden houses, sprawling front gardens instead of smoothly ironed suburban lawns and streets in which a café is lined up next to the next small shop.

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