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31 Reasons To Love Portland Right Now

There’s no such thing as Old Portland or New Portland—there’s just the Portland of right now. And there’s a lot to love.

1. Because we're not afraid of public displays of affection…

Falling in love with Portland is easy. The hard part is keeping the passion alive.

It's a similar story in many cities. Everyone romanticizes the place they call home as it was when they first found it. But as the landscape grows more familiar—or unfamiliar, as the case may be—disenchantment sets in. Everything that was once fresh and exciting becomes routine, and everything new seems meant for someone else.

In Portland, however, our sense of civic pride runs particularly hot and cold. Maybe it's because we're still a small town at heart, and that causes us to take things a little more personally. But for as bright and intense as our love for this place can burn, it can flame out just as fast.

Sometimes, though, getting the thrill back is simply a matter of seeing the city through someone else's eyes.

Someone like Roman Sorenson. An artist and designer originally from Wisconsin, he settled in Portland a year and a half ago, after a long period of rootlessness. As a token of gratitude, he decided to give his new neighborhood a present. On a pier just off the St. Johns Bridge, near his studio, he erected a 25-foot sign bearing a simple, four-letter message: LOVE.

"I see it as a gift to the city," says Sorenson, 28. "No one asked me to make it, I wasn't paid to make it. It was just, 'Hey, the world needs this right now.'"

It wasn't built to last—Sorenson made the sign out of cheap plywood, and he's had to repair it multiple times. But with the world in continuing tumult, and Portland being no exception, he's looking to make it more permanent. In January, he launched a crowdfunding campaign to rebuild the sign using more durable materials.

Whether or not the fundraising is successful, the gesture serves as a reminder that new people are falling for Portland every day, and not always for the same reasons you did.

In our own valentine to the city, we've compiled 31 reasons we're grateful to be living here right at this moment, whether it's the hawks in the sky, the civil disobedience on the ground, or the beer at the airport.

If you've been here awhile, we hope this issue rekindles some old feelings. And if you've just arrived, we hope it confirms that you made the right move. Because really, there's no such thing as Old Portland or New Portland—there's just the Portland of right now. And there's a lot to love. You just need to know where to look.

—Matthew Singer, WW Arts & Culture Editor

1. Because we're not afraid of public displays of affection…

2. Because women are in charge…

3. Because our local theater scene tells true, inspiring Oregon stories…

4. Because Kevin Calabro and Lamar Hurd make even Blazer losses fun…

5. Because we're still No. 1 in semi-factual superlatives…

6. Because we have a sixth quadrant now…

7. Because the hottest rapper in the game is obsessed with us…

8. Because Oregon is gradually getting more diverse, and in unexpected ways…

9. Because we can work it out…

10. Because we helped jump-start the movement that's changing the tech 
industry…

11. Because if you want to, you can dance to…

12. Because we're so sex positive, you can take a class on…

13. Because we're working to become a bike haven again…

14. Because after walking across Antarctica, I can still come back 
to my favorite dive bar…

15. Because the Blazers' game-day posters are the coolest collectibles in sports…

16. Because our airport is Beervana…

17. Because our fake fast food beats the real thing…

18. Because the Big Pipe is keeping poop out of the river…

19. Because we're making an effort to diversify the cannabis industry…

20. Because we finally have a virtual reality playland…

21. Because we have nicer weather than Hawaii (no, really)…

22. Because Basic Rights Oregon is fighting for LGTBQ+ rights—and winning…

23. Because Portland State's gym just underwent an awesome makeover…

24. …and the courthouse is getting one, too.

25. Because our hotel bars are some of the best bars in the city…

26. Because you'll spend less time in jail here than the national average…

27. Because we make some of the best guitar pedals in the biz…

28. Because our Curry is better than that other Curry…

29. Because we're Raptorville USA…

30. Because ICE hates us…

31. Because everything that dies someday comes back…