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Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Is this Portland?
I'd like to think that the folks who live along, oh, say SE Powell might take issue with this smug representation of our fair city. Yes, world, everyone in Portland rides around on bicycles wistfully staring into space while dreaming of baguettes and crepes. Please also take note of the inclusion of the streetcar, which is soooooo totally just like the one in Amsterdam. Yup, the only thing Europe has up on Portland is that whole "2,000 years of rich cultural heritage and plenty of iconic architecture known throughout the world" thing.
Let's be honest with ourselves. As much as some of us might like to think that this is America's most European city, Portland doesn't have much of anything beyond bikes, the weather and a small assemblage of soccer fans in common with the old world.
The ad is part of a campaign organized by something called the Downtown Marketing Initiative. I'm all for civic pride but have a look at the ad titled "Snow." Is it obnoxious? Yes. Is it embarrassingly twee? Yes. Does it make the average Portland resident out to be some sort of Dr. Suess denizen? At least kinda.
I don't think we're going to see any ads coming out of the DMI devoted to the seemingly endless array of construction projects that clog downtown, the growing homeless population or random acts of senseless violence but wouldn't that be something? "Hey, potential tourists and shoppers! Come downtown for the interactive seasonal art displays, stay for the flying bullets and stinky, overpriced parking garages!"
Are Portland and its central core really that bad? No, but they're not Disneyland Paris either. I guess I'd just like to see a little more reality in our localized propaganda.