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December 18th, 2013 MARTY SMITH | Dr. Know
 

Dr. Know: Viva Vancouverites!

Why do Portlanders abhor Vancouver residents who work in Oregon?

drknowILLUSTRATION: Hawk Krall

Can you educate the masses regarding people from the ’Couv working in Portland? We pay Oregon income tax but receive no benefit from doing so. You Portlanders may abhor us, but at least appreciate what we “give” for the sheer bliss of working there.

—HAL (not 9000)

I actually regard Vancouverites with some fondness. They’re like the slightly racist uncle at your family gathering—he’s kind of a handful, but it is pretty funny when he torments your vegan cousin with raw liver. (Also, he usually has liquor in his car.)

The question above refers to last week’s column, where a reader called Vancouverites property-tax dodgers. Locally employed Washingtonians do pay Oregon income tax, so the slam seems unfair. Still, HAL, I can’t agree that you receive no benefit from our tax base.

For starters, the fact that you have a job to go to depends on your co-workers’ and vendors’ ability to read. Without Oregon’s education system and the post-Stone Age economy it supports, available jobs in Portland would look less like “Senior Network Engineer” and more like “Hunter-Gatherer II.”

You also benefit from the fact that, in general, roving murder gangs don’t try to disembowel you every time you go out for a smoke break (unless you work in Tigard). Thank our public-safety budget for that.

It is true you don’t directly qualify for the human services that your taxes subsidize. Then again, you strike me as the sort to buy your gas in the ’Couv, where it’s cheaper, meaning you use our gas-tax-funded roads for free. Call it a wash.

The truth is, we all benefit from the public services that keep our multi-jurisdictional economy humming. So take off your three-cornered hat, put away your “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, and come down off the cross—we need the wood for a Wiccan bonfire.


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