10 Things About Portland That Are Actually, Genuinely, Non-Ironically Weird

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If you’ve seen “Portlandia,” you know that Portland is a weird city. If you live here, you know that people spend a lot of time, money, and energy to maintain that weirdness. The guy wearing a Santa suit and riding a unicycle around the farmer’s market, for example, he’s trying really hard. I’ve lived in Portland my whole life, and I’ve always found the forced weirdness kind of annoying, because really, there are quite a few things about Portland that are just legitimately, truly, genuinely, non-ironically weird. Here are 10 examples…

1. We don’t honk. Seriously–it’s possible to go days and even weeks here without hearing a car horn. I told Jessica about this when I was in New York and she said, “But what if someone cuts you off?” Well, in that case you stew quietly in your car. There’s no need to use your horn. That would be rude.

2. It is not uncommon to see zip-off cargo pants in our fine dining establishments. For a really classy night out we might add a fleece jacket.

3. Recycling is the rule, not the exception.

4. Also? The recycling is complicated. Most establishments are equipped with at least 3 or 4 recycling and compost bins. As my friend Mike put it, “You need a freaking sustainability degree to know how to best dispose of your bendy straw at Whole Foods.”

5. We take brunch very seriously. Sunday brunch is like church but way more important, and with more house-made organic marionberry jam.

6. We freak out about the sun. When it’s sunny, no matter what time or day of the week it is, no matter the actual temperature, every single person in Portland will flock outside and post the following status update on their Facebook page: “SUN!!!!”

7. The bicycle lobby is a political force to be reckoned with. It’s like Big Oil without the oil.

8. Despite living in one of the rainiest states in the union, we take pride in not using umbrellas. We’d rather get smugly soaked, thank you very much.

9. Every menu at every restaurant in the entire city includes this sentence: “Gluten-free bread available upon request.”

10. We glamorize city service careers. Waste water treatment employees, for example, are regarded as environmental crusaders, saving the world one septic tank leak at a time.

Any Portland readers want to add to this list? And as for non-Portland readers–when are you coming to visit?

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