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Tuesday, March 15, 2005
No, the other Portland
The name of this city came down to a coin flip in 1845. Two settlers named Asa Lovejoy and Francis Pettygrove shared ownership of a 640 acre clearing along the Willamette River. Lovejoy had his heart set on naming the spot after his hometown of Boston but Lovejoy won the toss and named it after his old digs in Portland, Maine.
160 years later, this younger, fitter, happier, more productive Portland* gets all the attention while its east coast elder remains distant and quiet. Too quiet, if you ask me.
I've always wondered about the other Portland but never enough to run a Google search. Do the two cities have anything in common? Do its citizens love bicycles, coffee, recycled clothing and crappy weather as much as we do around here? What's going on over there? Shucks, I don't even know what Maine's Portland looks like.
Or at least I didn't until five minutes ago. Godspeed Update, a DC blog, has posted a hoard of photos from the author's November trip to Portland, ME. Based on these shots, the entire city is an amalgamation of the Pearl District (take note of the moose spa sign) and a theme park version of a provincial New England town. It's not quite what I expected to see but what I probably should have expected all along. While the two cities share a passion for anti-Bush graffiti, our namesake only has four Starbucks within its borders.
Only four Starbucks? We must have been adopted.
* A bold statement? Maybe but I'm not willing to look up each town's Chamber of Commerce stats to prove it.