The Time Is Now

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30 Reasons To Love Portland Right Now

Portlandia is dead. Long live Portland.

  1. Because the real Portland is finally onscreen…

Portlandia is dead. Long live Portland.

It's probably sheer coincidence that the city's cultural back catalog is entering the zeitgeist as the show that spent eight years making fun of that culture goes off the air. Cosmically, though, it feels right.

For the past decade, the image of Portland was shaped by two people who weren't born here, and who haven't even lived here for several years. It was of a playground for liberal narcissists on the run from adulthood, an insular paradise too self-obsessed to relate to the world beyond its city limits. Whether you agreed with the portrayal or not, we argued about it for so long we forgot what we ever thought we were before.

That's all over now. Portlandia is in its final season, but Portland itself is suddenly everywhere, on even bigger screens. And the people who are defining how the world sees the city now are the same people who were doing it long before anyone else cared—the misfit cartoonists, the celebrity strippers, the feral children, the misunderstood rednecks.

It started with I, Tonya, which rehabbed the image of disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding as a hard-nosed survivor of abuse, classism and her butthead neighbors. In May, John Callahan, the late, iconoclastic doodler who drew comics for this paper for 30 years, will have his own wild life dramatized by another native son, Gus Van Sant. Animator Will Vinton is getting a documentary. Iconic writer-stripper Viva Las Vegas is getting a documentary. Leave No Trace, the true story of a family that lived off the grid for years in Forest Park, premiered at Sundance to raves.

The time is right for Portland to get back in touch with itself—and not just at the movies. The city outside the multiplex is worth getting reacquainted with, too.

Portland, it's nice to see you again.

2. TriMet Could Soon Stop Charging Life-Ruining Fines

3. You Can Now Smoke Weed While Listening to Live Classical Music

4. Oregon's Unemployment Rate is Incredibly Low

5. Your Favorite Sports Team is Only a Short Walk Away

6. The Blazers Star in Some Weird-Ass Commercials

7. We Now Have a Mountain Bike Park in the City

8. 24 hours after Chamber Music Northwest Burned Down, the Last Concert in the Series Went on as Planned

9. Portland is the Playground of Japanese Architect Kengo Kuma

10. You Can Soon Stream Local Music at the Library

11. Oregon Just Became the First State to Defelonize Hard Drugs

12. East Portland is Getting an Aerial Tree Walk

13. We're the World Capital of Canned Wine

14. Portland is a Hotbed of Small Bookstores

15. Unlike any Other City, We Have Multiple Niche Comedy Festivals

16. Our Developers Are Privatizing Socialism

17. The Nation's Best Airport Keeps Getting Even Better

18. We're Home to the World's First Sneaker Design School

19. Portland Scored the World's First Dog Tap Room

20Weed Prices are Falling From Cheap to Damn Near Free, and We Haven't Yet Found the Bottom

21. Our Local Mini-Mart Chain Makes Snickers Give You Free Candy Bars

22. The View From the MAX Orange Line is One of the Most Striking and Beautiful Paintings in the City 

23. We Are Still No. 1 in Semifactual Superlatives

24. We Make Biking So Accessible

25. You Can Crowdfund Anything Here

26. We Find So Many Ways to be Anti-Trump

27. Our Malls Are Becoming Cultural Embassies

28. Our Humane Society Rescues Pets From All Over the Country 

29. Winter This Year is a Pussycat

30. No One Mourns Closures Like We Do