I don't get out much, and most of the places I used to hang around have closed down. So when Willamette Week asked me to write a farewell to my favorite Portland places before I move to Los Angeles, I wasn't sure what to do. Sure, I have my everyday spots, coffee shops I frequent and liquor stores I drop by, and I wait in line at my local Safeway just like anybody else. But when it comes down to it, there are only a few places I have particularly strong memories of.
Lou's Parents' House
Northeast 35th Avenue and Knott Street
When I first moved to Portland, I stayed with my friend Lou's parents. They're a great family, but as generous as they were, they were all smaller people than me, and I was unreasonably embarrassed to eat in front of them. So when everyone had gone to sleep, I would sneak into the kitchen and make grilled cheese sandwiches. Lou has since moved across the country, and we don't really talk anymore. He's probably doing alright. All I know for sure is that he canceled our Netflix account, so he might as well be dead.
16 NW Broadway
The Brody Theater is the first place I ever performed standup in Portland, and the venue's greenish hue and cult-film decor will forever characterize the vibes by which I remember this city. I had to text-message a misanthropic Ukrainian gentleman early in the morning just to end up 30th on the list for the open mic. I showed up at 9 pm and waited until 1 am to perform in front of three other comics, the bartender and the aforementioned Ukrainian man. I wouldn't trade the memory of those frustrating nights for anything.
Northeast 7th Avenue and Broadway
There's probably already a name for this place, but the corner of Northeast 7th and Broadway has a Muchas Gracias, a Chipotle, a Taco Bell and a Qdoba. This is probably where I've spent most of my time in Portland. My gym is about three blocks away from Taco Corners, and every so often I'll buy a burrito and eat it across the street from my gym while wondering what my life would be like if I had abs.
Northeast 7th Avenue
I pulled an all-nighter with some friends once, and we wound up playing on the jungle gym at Irving Park at 6 am before getting tired by 6:30 am and finding a pancake spot to eat breakfast in by 7 am.
1969 NE 42nd Ave.
This is where I go to get my bike fixed. It is also where I go to do comedy. It is also occasionally where I go to get drunk.
Portland International Airport
7000 NE Airport Way
I love being in Portland's airport, because half the time I'm there it means I'm about to leave this city.
The Creepy Statue Outside the Vital Records Office
800 NE Oregon St., Room 205
Every Tuesday, I bike past a statue that looks like the Swamp Thing's ghost, and I just want to know what it's supposed to be a sculpture of.
My Living Room Before Phil Moved In
Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Fremont Street
There used to be a lot of parties in my living room. It was a cheap place to drink, there was no last call, anyone could show up. Some nights we'd expect to have a slew of friends stop by to sing impromptu karaoke until 4 am. But then I got a new roommate, and my new roommate hates to party. He only likes to read books about the Dust Bowl and cook fancy meals.