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Friday, October 26, 2012

Weird isn't working

In Austin, where it started, weird is gradually disappearing. But at least they're adding jobs, unlike you-know-where.

Comments (8)

You are aware the Portland has also been added to another top ten list right?

The Top 10 Most Expensive Cities In America: Report

Pfft. The jobs situation is precisely WHY Austin is becoming progressively less weird. Back in the Sixties and Seventies, Austin was a ridiculously cheap place to live, which is why the hippie contingent moved there in the first place. (Gilbert Shelton, the creator of the "Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers" comic, was an Austinite, and the Freak Brothers were based on three guys he knew down there.) That whole world was already dying when the oil bust of 1986 hit, and it's been going down since then. The people who made Austin interesting have either died within the last decade, or they're moving because they simply can't afford to live there any more.

Now, I call shenanigans on that article for a lot of reasons (for instance, the people with "Life's Too Short To Live In Dallas" are almost always trustafarians with rich parents in Plano or Highland Park, and they get incredibly butthurt when you call them on it), but it implied something very important. As Austin continues to grow, it can do what Portland has been doing, and that's pretend that it can party all night and still go to work at the book shop in the morning. Increasingly, though, it's a city that's waking up, realizing that it might need to wash its face and lose some weight, and growing up. It's not happening quickly (the success of the SXSW show means that the city is as overrun with gormless hipsters all crying "Look at MEEEEEEE!" as Portland), but it's ultimately going to be more like Pittsburg or Albuquerque. Not that this is a bad thing.

Though, TTR, if the media hype machine has its way, Pittsburgh will become the next Portland or Austin. Though, the ***** weather and entrenched culture (something more applicable to Austin than Portland, for whatever that's worth) may make it a hard sell.

Sometimes when East Coast friends ask me to describe Portland, I tell 'em to imagine uprooting all the yuppies and hipsters that have moved to North Brooklyn in the last 10-15 years, as well as all the businesses that cater to them, and plunking it down in the middle of Hartford.

Not that Portland (and Hartford to a way lesser extent) are bad places in any way---just ones that have/had no iconic culture on a national level, though we now have "Portlandia"---as if that encapsulates the entire city.

Sorry! Replace that with "bad" weather!!

I was never all that impressed or caught up in the 'Keep Portland weird' thing. One thing about Texas, we got JOBS. Lots of folks say, 'Yeah, but you have to live down there' - duh, however, living here (I'm in Houston) and making money, living better that I EVER was able to live in the Portland area, is a heck of a lot better than living in a nice area to live, BUT have no money for food, shelter and transportation. Money beats no money anytime, anywhere. Plus, I DON'T miss the rain one bit.

I lived in Austin 20 years ago and really enjoyed its small city charm, though not its hot and humid summers. With Austin's growth, the charm is gone and it's much more sterile. But today Austin definitely has nothing on Portland in the weirdness department. It also doesn't have panhandlers on every downtown street corner or loads of addicts and mentally I'll people walking its streets.

Jack, the weird ones are coming right here to Portland. You'll like this story:


Emily Pakarinen and Bryren Sexton moved to Portland two months ago to escape Austin, Texas' sweltering summer heat.

The pair of professional tattoo artists had almost no possessions when they arrived, but soon used word-of-mouth connections on the street to find a home -- an old, but mostly seaworthy 21-foot-long boat they have been living in on the Willamette River ever since.

"I haven't stopped smiling since we got here," said Sexton, 36, standing by his boat on a public dock near Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland. "It's a great feeling knowing we don't have to throw all of our money into rent."

Oh, that's choice. That's concentrated fun. Hey kids, it's your city now, enjoy it to death, then enjoy whatever Waterworld replaces local government as we knew it.

I forgot to add: Because what Portland is lacking, I mean what Portland *really* needs, is more professional tattoo artists.

Funny how I don't see them tying up in more law-abiding municipalities, despite the fact that their fate is currently governed by State law...

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