Last week, WW cast a critical eye on Peacock Lane, the row of modestly decorated houses that bills itself as "Portland's Christmas Street." Our reviewer was not impressed, describing the light display as "pathetic." The critique drew a blizzard of letters. Here is a sampling:
Thank you for pointing out that Peacock Lane is SO overrated. So past its expiration date. A reputation is easy to get and hard to get rid of. Going to Peacock Lane is like going to a burger joint that was awarded Best Burger in Town in 1983!
Your dismissal of Peacock Lane glaringly reveals your status as a recent arrival to Portland and a young adult with no sense of local history. Your declaration that Portland is "short on tradition" shows ignorance, not insight. Wink-wink cheeky satire aside, there is simply no reason to deride a beloved local custom as "pathetic" and a "fossil," or to belittle the hard work of the people who make it happen.
I just happened to grab Willamette Week, haven't seen one in a while, was a little excited until I saw your article. This makes me feel sad and sorry. It would be nice if I had the experience you have to compare Christmas streets; all I have is Peacock Lane. The years we went it may not have been the latest or greatest. But it is our tradition, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Have a Merry Christmas. I hope you find what you are looking for.
We don't have a lot of tradition here, so I embrace what is still available from an earlier era. The denizens of this stretch between [Southeast] Belmont and Stark [streets] are not obligated by any neighborhood covenant to produce decorations. Some homes do it up more than others. For my home in the Hollywood neighborhood, I'm being ambitious to get a wreath up on the door! I believe in strong neighborhoods, and I therefore like what I see along Peacock Lane during the holidays.
Congratulations to you for calling out Peacock Lane. I am a lifelong Portlander and have watched it decline over the years. If you are out and about, there is a street of almost every house decorated, Southeast 111th [Avenue] north of Stark, development is called Starkwood, has been decorated for about 50 years. Yes, some are dated, however there are no traffic jams. Another old eastside neighborhood is Lorene Park, Northeast 108th [Avenue] and Glisan [Street], about half the houses are decorated. Many houses in Laurelhurst have gone all out. I hope you are not criticized too much for your accurate article. Note: The new house on Peacock Lane fits in well and has one of the best decorations, go figure.
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