An Essay Containing Many Lies About Portland


Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Ordinary Times. Relapsed Lawyer, admitted to practice law (under his real name) in California and Oregon. On Twitter, to his frequent regret, at @burtlikko. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

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31 Responses

  1. Avatar atomickristin says:

    But have you mixed ketchup and tartar for those tots yet, Burt? Because you will. YOU WILL.Report

  2. Avatar Chris says:

    Have you been to Crystal Lake to touch 3,000 year old underwater tree stumps, yet? Because if not, you should. Also, have you started an indy rock band yet? Because if not, you should.

    Feel free to come back to Austin when the weather does get awful there (it’s comin’, and it’s 6 months of clouds). We have like 5 cloudy days per year.Report

  3. No mention of Powell’s? Obvious reverse propaganda!Report

    • Powell’s is expensive and super packed; more of a tourist destination than a bookstore. Two hours down I5 in Eugene, Smith’s Family Bookstore is infinitely better (one of the best bookstores I’ve ever been to). Like, I would make the 2 hour drive to go there, if I lived in Portland.

      Not that anyone asked, but as someone who goes to a bookstore pretty much everywhere he visits (and always manages to come home with books: 2 recent days in CT, for example, yielded a 40s edition of Freud’s Introductory Lectures, and 1890s editions of a Michelangelo biography and Thackery, from Whitlock’s Book Barn) my two favorite bookstores to visit are McKay’s in Nashville (I once walked out of there with 15 books for $20) and Dickson Street Books in Fayetville, Arkansas, which is a little treasure trove that I could live in if they’d let me (I asked; they won’t).Report

      • I have only been to Powell’s once, about fifteen or so years ago. It didn’t have a tourist vibe at that time, but of course things can change. As for being expensive, in my old age I am more sensitive to time constraints than to money constraints, at least on this level. In other words, I am happy to pay extra for the right book, while paying little for the wrong book is overpaying. I occasionally find a smaller bookstore where the owner’s tastes mesh with mine, but as a first approximation, size matters.

        If you find yourself in southeast Pennsylvania with an afternoon to kill, check out Baldwin’s Book Barn just outside of West Chester, which in turn is about twenty miles from Philadelphia. It is in an actual barn, of the old stone built-to-last-centuries variety.Report

      • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Chris says:

        Smiths is good but the best in Oregon is Browsers, with locations in Corvallis and Albany. But I am going to put a caveat on this. I have been a bookman for my entire adult life in one form or another, going from buyer to manager to online retailer to scout (a term of substance in the industry.) Browsers and Smiths are what we call live stores. As opposed to dead stores. Live meaning that the owners are more interested in books than business. Which isn’t to say that they don’t know the business, but that they generally have books coming in so fast that they can’t shelve then fast enough, and the books pile up everywhere in the shop and one has to dig for treasure. They will also understand blind spots, foxing, points and deckled edges. And will price accordingly.

        McKays is good in a “you have no idea what will be there, and nor will they” but there used to be a store over by Vanderbilt I believe that was awesome. Can’t remember the name though.

        (I will try to stop being a snob, but it is hard as this is the one thing I am snobby about.)Report

        • Avatar Chris in reply to Aaron David says:

          I am, admittedly, a browser, which makes Smith’s perfect for me.

          McKay’s is definitely like playing the book lottery, but the books are so inexpensive, and there are so many of them, that you can almost guarantee finding a book you want to read for less than $2.

          I’ll have to check out Browsers next time I’m in Oregon.Report

      • Avatar Michelle in reply to Chris says:

        Chris, I liked Powell’s but, then again, put me in any bookstore and I’ll be happy, happy, happy. I’ll have to put McKay’s on my “go to” list if we make it to Nashville.Report

      • Avatar Maribou in reply to Chris says:

        @chris Powell’s, though, has better (and weirder) books about Canada than any other non-Canadian bookstore I’ve ever been to. And the Canada section (and other weirdo non-fiction sections in that area) are never ever crowded or particularly touristy…. At least not in the 1/2 dozen times I’ve visited.Report

        • Avatar Chris in reply to Maribou says:

          I can believe that. My issue is not with Powell’s selection, which is very good, if not great. It’s with the prices. We have a similar bookstore chain here, Half Price Books, which also often has a good selection (though less so lately, and not as good as Powell’s in Portland), but again, the prices are crazy for used books. You can occasionally even find books new for the same price on Amazon.Report

  4. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Winter will be a challenge. If it starts to get hard, head South for a long weekend, it’ll recharge the batteries.Report

  5. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    Burt – I have never been to Portland but this is certainly a review that the visitor’s bureau there should endorse. I’m also thrilled to hear you are settling in, enjoying yourself and continuing your journey. God forbid I ever have to go through what you have in the last couple of years, but your posts have been extremely inspirational for your determination to move forward. Wishing you continued good good vibes brother.Report

  6. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Excellent piece, Burt. I look forward to an update after your first experience with Portland’s notorious freezing rain.Report

  7. Avatar Aaron David says:

    I am glad to hear it is going well for you Burt. Next time I am up that way I will look you up.Report

  8. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    The sign with Gluten Free Lap Dances is almost as a good as the company in SF that was called TMI Colonospics.* Glad you are having a good time in Portland. I really like the city every time I visit and wonder if I could live there but part of it does feel too small for me. Yes I just called a city of nearly 600K people too small. I’m also still too used to the embarrassment of riches that is the New York museum and theatre scene.

    *Tag line: We know our shit.Report

  9. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    Very good to hear you are doing well. I think the difference in dating probably is due to differences in gender ratio.

    Portland is the place Seattlites (like I once was) make fun of for having too much rain, though. You’ll see.Report

  10. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Man, I’ve up-and-moved 4 or 5 times since being a kid. Michigan to New York, New York to Colorado, Colorado to College (a couple of times).

    Every time was terrifying and exhilarating and I couldn’t believe what I took for granted in the old place and what I had to get used to taking for granted in the new.

    I hope the transition is regenerative and you look back at this post in a year and say “Oh, yeah… I remember thinking that that was new…”Report

  11. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    We should do another Portland Leaguefest this Spring.Report

  12. Avatar greginak says:

    Glad to here your move worked out. Not surprised, Portland always seemed like a nice place when i’ve passed through. The high desert to the east is scenic also whenever you get tired of the coast and mountains.

    Fred’s are like a super walmart done really well.Report

  13. Avatar Michelle says:

    Glad to hear you’re doing well, Burt, and enjoying your new home in Portland. I enjoyed the two-and-a-half years we lived in your neighbor to the north. We used to visit a friend of ours who lived in Tigard every few months and spent some good times in the local wineries drinking Pinot. Unfortunately, we lost him to bad politics and bitterness. He unfriended both my husband and me sometime during the run-up to the 2016 election after some FB altercation.

    At any rate, it’s an amazing part of the country, breathtakingly beautiful even when the sun isn’t out.Report

  14. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    I always wondered what the food cart markets were called when I went to Portland for work twice. They were a neat concept that other cities should imitate as an innovative solution on what to do with empty lots. New York City has two empty lots in mid-town that were turned into little markets for non-food vendors.Report

  15. Avatar North says:

    Portland reminds me of Halifax Nova Scotia but with great big gobs of money. So bloody expensive!Report