I would love to say nice things about Portland. I would like to say, isn’t it grand that we abolished rent and poverty, and no one freezes or starves anymore. I would like to say, I am proud of how we have made values like inclusivity and accessibility into foundational practices, a stalwart pretext. I would like to say Portland lives up to the dream of itself, a pluralist beacon beyond privation.

But this is a city of pale heirs and company towns. Foul princelings govern ambivalently, divorced from any serious civic expertise so that only corruption guides their hand. Roads decay and bridgework in Bridgetown splays into boondoggle after boondoggle. Try as it might, the city’s civic backbone struggles under captured leadership and insufficient resources. The city that works, hardly does. Of course our governance cannot imagine enduring solutions to our crises, both because they are ignorant blue-bloods, and because our presence in this region descends from logging enclaves. Just as the great forests swallowed their traces, we lay temporary foundations because permanence has never been a part of settler culture. Any alternative is considered too expensive.

I would love to say nice things about Portland. We will have to live up to our values, first.


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