Because I am a tireless researcher and work put-er-off-er, I’ve been reading a bunch of message boards and the like in preparation for my trip to Portland and Seattle next week. Biggest takeways compared to, say Philly Speaks or Philly Reddit and the local blogs -
1. They love the way their cities look. They love taking pictures of how beautiful it is. We have natural beauty in our city too (Fairmount Park and the like) and some great architecture (seriously, look at City Hall sometime), but pictures of Philly’s urban decay seem to be more common. And they like photographing their local weirdos. Philly is more into taking pictures of the fucked up shit that occurs and saying “Look at this fucked up shit that occurred!” And I don’t mean like “There was a guy downtown in a wizard’s robe. It was nuts!” In Philly it’s more like “There was a guy downtown showing everyone his nuts. Then he said he was a wizard and bit a dog.” Or “Look, everyone’s been shot.”
2. They do not like tourists. Despite our reputation as surly, Philly seems to be pretty okay with out-of-town visitors, probably because tourists mainly stick to certain areas of the city with limited residential area impact like the Liberty Bell, the Franklin Institute, and drug buying trips to Kensington. Portland and Seattle residents treat their cities as precious, delicate ecosystems that can’t possibly sustain another season of people hunting for food carts. And even worse to them than tourists is people moving there permanently. As someone from a crumbling Northeastern city that is improving but ultimately doomed, let me say lighten the fuck up, Pacific NW. Take these new residents and embrace their tax dollars. Our schools are one step away from selling heroin instead of candy for funding. Don’t let that happen, even though you have a lot of heroin addicts and could make good money from school heroin drives.
3. They do not like each other. There’s a rivalry there, with Seattle being Portland’s older, more successful but stuffier brother. Seattle is a married psychologist with two kids; Portland is covered in tattoos and moved to an urban farm to grow kale and peyote. It’s different from the NYC/Philly rivalry, in which one is the trashy brother and the other is the smaller, trashier brother that made up a rivalry.
4. Seattle really wants an NBA team. Well so does Philly.