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No One Mourns Closures Like We Do
Reason No. 30 to love Portland right now.
By Matthew Korfhage
Say what you want about trend-hopping Portland: We respect our dead.
We will publicly mourn bars we haven't even been to and exhume Santa displays from stores we no longer want to shop in.
When Greek diner the Overlook announced it would sell to developers, diners who hadn't visited in a decade flooded in to sit shiva at its lunch counter. When beloved but obscure dive bar Penguin Pub closed in Westmoreland, a former WW editor declared it the end of the city: "We are destroying everything that makes Portland so Portland," wrote Byron Beck on social media (#notmycity).
But this year, nothing struck us more than the arches.
News of the restaurant's impending demise became WW's most-read story online for two weeks. On a Save Powell McDonald's page, Portlanders called for a boycott of all McDonald's if this one went down.
"Few Golden Arches McDonald's still exist. Losing it will not only be a loss for Portland, but for the entire nation," wrote an Oregonian reader in a letter.
In a city changing so fast it can be difficult to recognize a street from one year to the next, almost anything can become hallowed ground. Our love for our own collective memory is outsized, perhaps even embarrassing. But it's also how our city maintains its character. For every Overlook there is a Sandy Hut or Clyde's Prime Rib, preserved in amber light.
The McDonald's on Powell still has a week left intact. Who knows what its afterlife will be?