If there's one thing we learned from YouTube and the Oregonian letters page, it's that Ursula K. Le Guin was almost always right. When she died in January at age 88, she was Portland's greatest novelist, a titan of science fiction and an increasingly public figure speaking out on publishing rights and politics.

One of her most lasting works—the only one to transfer to the screen as an object of obsession—was a 1971 dystopia called The Lathe of Heaven. It was set in 2002, in a broken-down, totalitarian Portland where the book's protagonist discovers he can control reality with his dreams. North Portland DIY concert space Anarres Infoshop (named after Le Guin's fictional anarcho -syndicalist planet from her novel The Dispossessed) will pay tribute to the author with a screening of the 1980 cult TV movie based on the book. We decided to put our hypothesis to the test by stacking up Le Guin's predicted future Portland against the genuine article.

Credit: Flickr user admiral.ironbombs
Credit: Flickr user admiral.ironbombs

Prediction: The national government becomes a vague, menacing and totalitarian presence—distorted by the New Federal Constitution of 1984.

Reality: The national government is a vague, menacing and totalitarian presence—distorted by the Reagan landslide of 1984.

Verdict: URSULA WAS RIGHT!

Prediction: After years of carbon emissions and unchecked industry, the temperature in Portland climbs to a lurid, unseasonable 70 degrees in March, raining "ceaselessly, steadily, tepidly. It was like living in a downpour of warm soup, forever."

Reality: We did that two years ago. And last year, our rainy season had more wet days than any on record. If we remember correctly, it was ceaseless and tepid.

Verdict: URSULA WAS RIGHT!

Prediction: At 209 W Burnside St. is a lawyer's office in a converted former automatic parking garage where all the floors have "a curious slant, a skewness, which meant that one was never entirely convinced that one was standing quite upright."

Reality: For 36 years, the Alexis Greek restaurant felt the exact same way—but that was mostly due to grappa. Meanwhile, Holden Steel announced plans in 2017 to build a series of 15 "robo-garages," stacking cars one atop the other.

Verdict: URSULA WAS WRONG!

Prediction: The South Waterfront is filled with condo towers dense and gleaming with life.

Reality: The South Waterfront is filled with condo towers gleaming in eerie, discomfiting silence.

Portland’s southwest waterfront near RiverPlace. (Abby Gordon)
Portland’s southwest waterfront near RiverPlace. (Abby Gordon)

Verdict: URSULA WAS RIGHT!

Prediction: Pittock Mansion becomes a government office complex.

Reality: Pittock Mansion becomes an event space available only to Gold-Level Corporate Members.

Verdict: URSULA WAS WRONG!

Prediction: Mount Hood blows its top, filling the air with gray ash and devouring the people who remain on its slopes with creeping lava.

Reality: She picked the wrong mountain.

Verdict: URSULA WAS HALF-RIGHT!

Prediction: Portlanders will be sent off to fight in a war in Afghanistan that expands to entangle much of the Middle East.

Reality: Mostly rural Oregonians were sent off to fight in a war in Afghanistan that has expanded to entangle much of the Middle East.

Verdict: URSULA WAS RIGHT!

Prediction: Portland builds dramatically across its rivers, with 16 bridges crisscrossing the Willamette and nine tunnels underneath. The Marquam is a destroyed, moldering husk of ramp.

Reality: Instead of building lots of new bridges, we just rebuild the same bridges over and over—including the Marquam.

Marquam Bridge and Tilikum Crossing (Tony Webster/Flickr)
Marquam Bridge and Tilikum Crossing (Tony Webster/Flickr)

Verdict: URSULA WAS WRONG!

Prediction: An optimistic technocrat clumsily seeks to remake the entire city of Portland into a utopia modeled after the reality-altering dreams of a drug-positive parks employee.

Reality: This seems pretty accurate.

Verdict: URSULA WAS RIGHT!

Go: Honoring Ursula: A Sci-Fi Event to Honor Ursula K. Le Guin is at Anarres Infoshop and Community Space, 7101 N Lombard St., facebook.com/anarresinfoshop, on Sunday, March 4. Open mic 3 pm, The Lathe of Heaven screening 5 pm. $5 suggested donation. All ages.