It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since I first moved to Portland, Oregon. This city has been my home for over two decades, and it’s hard to imagine saying goodbye. Portland has changed so much in those 20 years, but it still feels like home. As I prepare to leave, I can’t help but reflect on all the experiences I’ve had here.
One of the biggest changes I’ve seen in Portland is the food scene. When I first moved here, the city was known for its coffee shops and microbreweries. But over the years, Portland has become a foodie paradise. There are so many amazing restaurants here, from high-end eateries to food carts. The food carts in particular have exploded in popularity in recent years, and it’s not hard to see why. You can find everything from Vietnamese banh mi to Southern-style barbecue to vegan sushi.
One of my favorite food experiences in Portland was a meal I had at Le Pigeon, a French-inspired restaurant in the city’s East Burnside neighborhood. The chef, Gabriel Rucker, is a James Beard Award winner, and the food was truly exceptional. I had a dish of foie gras with huckleberries that I still dream about. Another memorable meal was at Pok Pok, a Thai restaurant that’s become a Portland institution. The wait was long, but it was worth it for the incredibly flavorful food.
Of course, food is just one aspect of Portland’s vibrant arts and culture scene. Portland is known for its indie music, and I’ve been fortunate enough to see some amazing concerts here over the years. One of the most memorable was when I saw The Decemberists play at the Crystal Ballroom. The energy in the room was electric, and the band put on an incredible show. I also saw Modest Mouse play at the Roseland Theater, and I remember being blown away by their energy and musicianship.
Another aspect of Portland’s cultural scene that I’ve always loved is the street art. There are so many amazing murals and installations throughout the city, and they add so much character and color to the streets. One of my favorite pieces is the “Dream” mural by Eduardo Kobra, which is located in the Pearl District. The mural is a colorful depiction of a woman’s face, and it’s impossible to walk by without stopping to admire it.
As I prepare to leave Portland, I’m also struck by how much the city has changed over the years. When I first moved here, Portland was still a bit of a hidden gem. It was a city that was off the radar for most people, and it had a kind of gritty, DIY charm to it. But over the years, as Portland has become more popular, it’s also become more expensive and more crowded.
One of the biggest changes I’ve noticed is the explosion of development in the city. New high-rise buildings seem to be popping up everywhere, and it’s hard not to feel like the city is losing some of its character in the process. The skyline looks different now than it did when I first moved here, and I’m not sure I like the new additions.
Another change I’ve seen in Portland is the way the city has become more politically polarized. When I first moved here, Portland was known for its liberal, progressive values. But in recent years, the city has become more divided. There have been violent clashes between protesters on opposite sides of the political spectrum, and it’s hard not to feel like the city is losing some of its sense of community as a result.
Despite these changes, Portland will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s a city that’s full of character and charm, and it’s a place where I’ve made many memories over the years.