The yearlong round-the-world trip was an adventure of our lifetimes. A lot happened on the road. Meanwhile, back in Portland, Oregon, our adopted hometown, life continued without us: Babies were born (Welcome to Earth, Alder, Brady, Dylan, and Eliáš!), jobs were changed, houses were sold and bought… Aside from all the personal news and updates, in the first few days back I also noticed a few other changes in the City of Roses aka Portland, Oregon, one year later.
New in Portland #1: Murals
Creating a mural in Portland, Oregon, isn’t a simple process, so imagine my surprise discovering a slew of new murals around town. Some of these may not be new per se but they are new to me. Maybe, as a permanent traveler, I’m paying more attention to the world around me. Or maybe it’s because I used to live in Southeast Portland whereas I now live in the Northeast quadrant. One thing is for sure: there are plenty more murals to discover.
New in Portland #2: Citrusy ales
Portland is said to have the most microbreweries per capita of any medium- to large-sized American city. In 2013 Travel and Leisure magazine named Portland the Best Beer City. Earlier this year, no fewer than 8 new breweries were slated to open in Portland in 2014. Not all that surprising considering my adopted hometown’s nickname is Beervana.
It wasn’t as much the number of new breweries that opened while we were gone as the unprecedented number of citrusy ales on tap this summer season. As of this writing I’ve only been in town for 10 days but I’ve already sampled Citrus Mistress by Hop Valley (grapefruit), Superfuzz Blood Orange Pale Ale by Elysian (blood orange, duh), and Fresh Squeezed IPA by Deschutes (lemon from Citra and Mosaic hops). At Oregon Brewers Festival, I sampled Lorenzini Blood Orange Double IPA by Maui and Blood Orange IPA by Payett (I skipped the Blood Orange/Dragon Fruit Florida Weisse by Cigar Brewing and Orange Avenue Wit by Coronado chiefly because these aren’t my favorite styles, and Citrafonix by Oakshire because, well, you can’t drink everything).
Granted, none of these are from Portland-based breweries (they’re from Eugene, Seattle, Bend, while the OBF beers are from Maui, Garden City, Tampa, Coronado, and Eugene, respectively). But Portland sits in the middle of the Pacific Northwest region, which is awash in microbrews and should be called Pacific Beerwest.
New in Portland #3: Condos
Runaway construction of boxy condominium complexes, particularly those without off-street parking spaces, had been a topic of controversy long before we departed on our trip. Every day I drove or biked by condo construction sites. I should have expected to see them finished and new ones being started. But in these first few days back it feels like I’ve been seeing many more than I should be. Just around the corner from our new place, a new condo building sprouted while we were gone, and another one is going up one block over.
All these new condo buildings are changing the look and feel of the city, particularly on the East Side. Good thing beautiful murals and tasty microbrews keep things right.
What changes did you notice in your city after a long absence?