In response to "FriendSearch" [WW, April 12, 2006], I could not agree more. I, too, moved to Portland four months ago (maybe we should meet up?) from the East Coast (seriously, Carin, look me up!) and am finding it hard to meet new people in this lovey-dovey city of Portland. I'm on the younger side (23) but am done with school and starting my career, mostly working with people 40-plus, so my Portland comrade search is a bit complicated, too.
In addition to your very accurate description of the hardships of finding friends in a city that seems to make it easy, I would like to add some observations I have found while trying to find friends, West vs. East Coast:
1. Sarcasm really doesn't fly like it does in NYC...the harshness just isn't there for it to be appropriate or funny (man, I miss that sarcastic zinger early in the morning).
2. The environmental feel here is for real...not just part of the fad for you to commonly talk about with someone, only later to find they have no clue. (This is such a great positive accolade to the Rose City, yet if you yourself are only dabbling in the subject, it's a bit overwhelming...'cause who wants to sound like an ass, even if you're just learning!). And
3. Don't mention the weather...ever! This common conversation-starter gets to be depressing, especially to someone coming from four seasons and a well-rounded cycle of snow-sun-rain-sun-snow rather than "Yup, rain again this weekend." But I do give props to the tireless efforts of Portlanders to try and pretend it's not raining, even when they are drenched, standing in a 3-foot-deep puddle and being hit with biker-splash.
So I guess I feel your pain...but think of the other shoe: Once you and I get settled, we, too, could be easily lost in the "friendly cocoon" we will have created and have come to love. It's not a question of "how to make friends" ('cause everything you had mentioned, I have definitely tried...10 times over!!) but more likely "when to make friends" (after knowing the areas...excellent map by the way—it's now part of my wallet!), getting grounding on a different coast/attitude and being comfortable with throwing yourself out there knowing you may land on your face and back in your one-bedroom apartment with your cat on a Saturday night). So I guess hang in there...I'm holding onto that wire right alongside ya!