It seems like a new small city is deemed "the next Portland" every week.
This week, it's Boise, Idaho, a place where I once bought an entire apple pie for $4, proving that it's nowhere near Portland yet.
On NPR's August 28 edition of Here & Now, host Jeremy Hobson explored whether Boise could be the new Portland. You can listen to the entire interview here.
Hobson interviewed Boise Weekly reporter Harrison Berry, who apparently hates the word hipster so much, it was banned from use at the newspaper. He also moved to Boise from Portland at age 13, so maybe there's some lingering family resentment there?
Hobson begins by calling Portland "a rapidly gentrifying hipster haven with a lot of hipster transplants," asking Berry if that definition holds true for Boise too. He was quick to dismiss the claims.
"Well, yeah, I have heard that. I've also heard Boise is the next Seattle, Boise is the next Austin. I think that Boise has a bit of its own identity," Berry tells Hobson.
Hobson then asked about the "hipster scene," which is "often a sign a city is coming into a different identity."
Berry replied, "there was a time when hipster was a very current term in Boise. We ended up banning it from use at Boise Weekly."
Berry continue to explain that new Boise residents "come from a professional class," and that "it's a little more buttoned up than what we might describe as hipster."
We get it; Boise really, really doesn't like hipsters.
Berry does agree that Portland and Boise both have the issue of raising rents, which "is in fact a real problem." And you can't ignore the fact that Boise and Portland are "overwhelmingly white" and in between "wanting to be a big city and as small town," as Hobson describes. Sound familiar?
Berry explained that the racial demographics of Boise are starting to change.
"Boise is also one of the largest per capita destinations for new refugees and new Americans. We're beginning to see more people of color and other kinds of diversity as well. The idea that Boise is a white city is something that is going to change in the near future I think," Berry says.
Who knows what will be the "next" Portland, or what that really means. But for now, it seems like they're at least a few years away. You can still get this decent two-bedroom apartment ten minutes from downtown Boise for $800/month. Here's what that'll get you in Portland…er…Kelso.