They're Kidding, Right?

Chris Bouneff

In the spirit of Caught on the Fly from the Sporting News....

From a promotional insert with the new crappy inPortland "city weekly" from the state's fishwrapper, The Oregonian: "We may hail from different sides of the river. But, in this town, what's the difference?"

Here's a better question: Do the people at The O actually live in Portland?

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    I have to second Chris' opinion here. As a lifelong resident of Portland's East Side (now living in the "Kremlin" known as 97214), I am still lost completely if you give me an address with "SW" in it. NW Portland I can figure out, as long as the place I'm trying to find is within the alphabetized grid system that runs from Ankeny to Savier streets. I could live out my entire life on the East Side if I had to.

    Sad, but true.

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    Seriously. West siders think the city has two equal halves. Sorry, folks, but there's like 30 or so blocks on the West side - but East goes way out into the two hundreds...

    All I gotta say is this: CTFR. (Cross The @&%#! River.)

  • Eric Berg (unverified)

    Other than for three years in Bend (which has its own growing Westside-Eastside divide), I've had a SE or NE Portland Zip Code since 1988. Most of that time was in the Kremiln. About three and half years ago, my wife and I bought a house on NE 79th, just north of Sandy. Since then, the farthest west I regularly find myself is in Section 107 in Piggy Park for Timbers matches or at First United Methodist Church for Metropolitan Alliance for the Common Good meetings. I rarely find myself downtown unless it's activism-related or I go to the Powell's City of Books.The only reason I think about going to Northwest is Cinema 21. I usually catch a slice at Escape from New York while I'm there.

    The only time many Westsiders cross the river is to go to the Rose Garden, PDX, or Mt. Hood and Central Oregon. Similarly, West Portaland and the Washinton County burbs are a places for me to drive through on my way to the coast.

    East of the river, there's also a divide. It doesn't matter if you're officially within the City of Portland, many residents east of 82nd don't even consider themselves Portlanders. Most areas east of 82nd aren't even in the Portland School District. I recently met a man in his early 60s from the Parkrose area who hasn't been downtown in some 25 years.

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    I'm sorry, but why are the past 2 or 3 days the first time I'm ever even hearing this "Kremlin" tag?

  • Eric Berg (unverified)

    Q: I'm sorry, but why are the past 2 or 3 days the first time I'm ever even hearing this "Kremlin" tag?


  • Eric Berg (unverified)

    I tried linking to this in my earlier post:

    It's the April 1 "Sten to propose remaning city" post.

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    Look, b!X, we don't need your CIA-KGB double-agent wormtongueing around here. We've known all along who really butters your bread. The latest "dead wrong" intel is right here on BlueOregon - read it and weep. By the way, nice job in Kyrgyzstan. :)

    As for the East-West divide, I'd just like to add the views of a suburbanite. I grew up in the West Linn-Wilsonville-Canby triangle and went to Lewis & Clark College and I have to say that, to me, the East-West divide isn't so important. I think of Portland as one place with different cool things. When I want to see a movie, I'm just as excited to go to the Clinton as to the Avalon or Cinema 21. For drinks, I'll hit up the New Old Lompoc as soon as the Horse Brass. When out-of-staters come to visit, I take them to the Hawthorne as well as NW 23rd, as well as Powell's and downtown. For tea and dessert, it's all about Rimsky-Korsakoffee. For movie rentals, give me Mike Clark's Movie Madness. I've got friends in the Mississippi, North Portland, Parkrose, East of Tabor, Kremlin, NW, Barbur, and Sellwood areas. A friend of mine used to live at City Bible Church up by 82nd. To me, 20 miles is 20 miles - I don't care where in Portland I am, so long as the times and people are fun.

  • David Wright (unverified)

    "We may hail from different sides of the river. But, in this town, what's the difference?"

    Hey, in our office that's sort of a running joke about how you're either an "East-Sider" or a "West-Sider", and never the two shall meet... all in good fun, of course, but there are very real differences in attitudes and experiences depending on which side of the river you've grown up on.

    Each side gets confused driving on the other side, doesn't understand why anyone would ever want to live on "that" side of the river, thinks their side has the best shops, restaurants, etc.

    And, in our downtown office at least, none of the "West Siders" actually live in Portland, we're all out in the 'burbs. So about the only thing both sides agree on is that we aren't especially fond of downtown... which most of us in the West Side Crew consider a separate area anyhow. For the first 32 years of my life I'd average only about one or two visits a year to the downtown area. Mostly it too was just a place to drive through on the freeway to get to PDX.

    Kari may be right about how the City of Portland extends much farther East of the river than West of it (though north of the Sunset Highway, the city actually extends pretty far out, and I'm out in the "two hundreds" in Aloha) -- but I think most people in Beaverton, Tigard, and such places regard ourselves as "West Siders" even so. When you throw that into the mix, I wonder where the population center of the metro area would be?

    BTW Kari, I've been "C-ing TFR" <nobr>;-)</nobr> for several years now, as I have a good friend who lives out East 207th way. It has been a tremendous learning experience for me, so I would encourage everybody to get out a little and see what's on the other side of the city.

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    Yeah but that 4/1 post as referenced says this: "Given that the vibrant cultural heart of the city - zip code 97214 - is already known in political circles as 'The Kremlin' it just makes sense to rename the entire city."

    And it was unclear to me whether that was something pulled out of thin air for no apparent reason, or was picking up on an existing tag that I have never heard anyone use.

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    Well, I do see one hit via Google, but that's not quite the precedent I was looking for, heh.

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    Kremlin: I've heard it used for quite a few years in political hack circles. Sometimes defined as 97214; sometimes defined as Rep. Diane Rosenbaum's legislative district. I first heard it used in the late 1990's by Marshall Runkel (of Erik Sten's staff) though I have no idea who coined it.

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    FYI, I"m only pressing the issue because 97214 is where I'm in the process of moving to. Heh.

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    It's actually not that weird that lingo by political hacks stays trapped within that community. We don't interbreed much and don't generally play well with others.

    Another example... Those little postage-paid envelopes that you get with fundraising letters that you're supposed to stick your check in? Democrats call 'em "remits", but Republicans call 'em "berms" (that's lingo for 'BRM' or 'business reply mail'.)

  • Ruth Adkins (unverified)

    I've lived in NW (in a crappy apt), SE (11 years), and now SW so here's my comments seeing it from both sides. I agree with Leslie that SW is incredibly hard to find one's way around (I'm still getting the hang of it after 4 years).

    Given the wonderful neighborhoods, schools, shops, restaurants, etc on both sides of the river, it's easy to see why many people get in their comfort zone and don't CTFR all that often. But hey, come check out Hillsdale, we're blue as can be (okay maybe not quite as blue as 97214, but close!) and we have great shops like Paloma and restaurants like 3 square grill.

    Due to our familiarity with both sides, my husband and I are as likely to hop on the freeway and go to a movie at the Laurelhurst (which we did last night) as we are to go downtown or on the west side. We are all so lucky to have so many options in this great town.

    The east of 82nd phenomenon is a whole different issue... personally I feel like close-in Portland, on both sides of the river, has much more in common than not--with a commitment to our city and a shared common good (public schools, parks, etc) being at the top of the list.

  • William Gillis (unverified)

    I'd say it's more like 92nd than 82nd.

    Though that whole section could be considered a DMZ between the quasi-Gresham wastelands and the actual goddamn city.

    I used to live in Parkrose and inner SW, both of which I feel to be closer to Portland in spirit than the West Hills or the god-awful Pearl.

    I don't get this Westside-Eastside split. I mean everyone agrees that the Westhills and Pearl are the worst parts of Portland, but a lot of what defines Portland can be found west of the river.

    Still my litmus test for Portlanders is anyone who:

    Spends time downtown (the bus mall) at least once a month. AND Spends time down either Sandy or Hawthorne at least once a month.

    I'm being lenient as both should really be once a week.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    I think westsiders feel about the east side the way close-in eastsiders feel about what lies beyond 82nd Avenue. We're all too cool for something or other.

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    I'm surprised no one's brought up "the fifth quadrant," North Portland. (Well, Cody brought it up in passing). Until a few years ago, this was the area that both west-side and east-side folks viewed with equal fear and loathing. Most Kremlin residents have discovered the Mississippi district by now, or the hip strip between the White Eagle and the Widmer brew pub. They make an occassional pilgrimage up Insterstate Ave. to worship the tiki gods at the Alibi. Some have even ventured to the newly-hip St. Johns area. But most folks, either side of the river, don't know much about NoPo and haven't experienced its many day to day charms.

    I grew up in the west side burbs and back then the only time I went to the east side was to go ice skating at Lloyd Center. (And yes, I remember going when it was an open air mall). When I moved back to P-town after college, I eventually lived in all five quadrants of Portland, enjoying aspects of them all. A couple of years ago, I bought a house in NoPo and I loved living there. As 1st time homebuyers who want to live in close-in Portland realised that NoPo was the last preserve of "affordability", more amenities arrived. Hell, in a few months there will be a New Seasons three blocks from my house. And the MAX yellow line traveling up Interstate Ave. has made a world of difference to the frequently-forgotten area.

    Even though I'm currently living in the OX14AW postcode, I'm looking forward to coming back to NoPo, and I'd recommend you explore it further. Go get breakfast at Beaterville on Killingsworth. Take a walk in the rose gardens at Peninsula Park, or kick around Kenton, which still has its turn of the century feel. Like Thai food? Thai Ginger on Portland Blvd at Denver is amazing...or if you want a fantastic chile relleno burrito, stop off at El Burrito Loco across the street. Have one for me, in fact...the British really don't do Mexican food.

  • Simp the Biodiesel Pimp (unverified)

    Everyone has to draw a line in their life, and for me that line is I-217.

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    Ayup. Living east of Sandy for the past 20+ years, my Thomas Guide has a big blank spot west of the tunnel with the words "Here there be monsters" overlaid.

    It ain't the people or the "culture". It's the traffic gridlock, and the random nature of the road system.......

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    <<< Kremlin: I've heard it used for (97214) quite a few years in political hack circles...<<<

    Hmmm....I've lived in 97214 for 16 years, serve on our neighborhood association board and --gosh-- am even active, sometimes, sorta, politically and I have NEVER EVER heard ANYONE in the neigborhood refer to our neighborhood as "the Kremlin."

    As if. "Kremlin" and proletarian revolution? And the nexus is? Man, "Kremlin" means bread lines for crappy bread. We've got Grand Central. Stumptown. Carpe Vinum and Pastaworks.

    We drink beer with our the BAGDAD. Bagdad, y'know? Man..."Kremlin" is so Frank Sinatra.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)

    Sitting in Central Oregon - this appears to be the most insipid discussion Blue Oregon has ever had.

    But, I spent my "growing up" years in North Portland, Portland's 5th Quadrant (The only city in the world with 5 quadrants.) So to weigh in. I agree with Pat Ryan's map - the end of the world is in SW Portland, and I know for a fact they have lions, tigers, and bears over there.

  • Sid Anderson (unverified)

    I've lived close-in on both sides and both times I've continued to eat on both sides, have friends on both sides, conduct bidness on both sides, drink beer on both sides, drive on both sides, use tri-met on both sides. I think I'm suffering from an identity crisis.

    Will someone help me?

  • 97214babe (unverified)

    Man, do I feel hip. I've heard the Kremlin reference scores of times.

  • Chris Bouneff (unverified)

    "Sitting in Central Oregon - this appears to be the most insipid discussion Blue Oregon has ever had.

    But, I spent my 'growing up' years in North Portland..."

    The old this conversation is stupid, but I'm going to comment. I love irony.

    As someone who grew up well outside the 82nd east side "boundary," we did consider ourselves in Portland but not a part of Portland -- at least not until Bud Clark was kind enough to annex us so we could help pay for westside sewer improvements.

    And there was nothing better than traveling for my high school hoops games to Lake O or other westside stops. They sure made us feel welcome with their white trash taunts.

    Now that I live in inner SE, I regularly venture back into my old territory. After all, gotta get my fix of Pizza Baron and hang with my old neighborhood friends so I don't adopt too much of the inner SE mindset.

  • Georgia (unverified)

    I love all of the close-in Portland neighborhoods and all of their funky delights. When I first moved to town (from Eugene), I thought I would want to live in SE. But I soon found that because I don't have a certain look, some fractions looked down on me. I hung out in a bar on Belmont straight after work sporting dress pants and a sweater and noticed many people staring at me with disdain, as if "The MAN" had entered their midst. So I moved to close in NW, near the beloved Cinema 21. It's not perfect, but at least I dont' feel judged for occassionally looking "normal."

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