Last week, my guest Anthony Effinger and I talked about why Portland’s population is shrinking, and the podcast got quite a bit of mail about it—the most we’d ever gotten, in fact. And first of all, thank you, love it—love the engagement. Second of all, whoa. Whoa. Whoa, we are passionate about this city.
So It feels very correct that this week’s cover package is “26 Reasons to Love Portland Right Now,” and my guest this week is not a commentator, but a lifelong Portlander on a quest to make sure we all have the tools to look out for each other.
I contributed a couple of items to this week’s cover package, as did a good dozen other writers, but I must confess, when the pitch call came in for this issue and I was asked what I loved about Portland and what I’d like to contribute, my first reaction was, “Uhhh, nothing. Me and Portland are fighting. I’m not writing love letters to her right now, she’s too much drama.” Churlish and reactionary, I know.
I always have something to say about Portland. But my love for it kind of excludes cultural trends. The city is always going to grow and change, fail and flourish. That shit’s like water, it’s moving, it’s changing.
There’s something else to this place. It’s in sparkling mist against my skin when I’m walking on the waterfront, it’s in the sweet, mossy way Forest Park smells during mud season, it’s double rainbows and sun showers and ice storms and daffodils. It’s individuals like my guest today, Ellen Wirshup, whose Project Red exists to not only to help us save lives, but also destigmatize addiction and support community.