Friday, April 27, 2012

Seattle vs. Portland: Debate Club Edition

Seattle. Photo: Author
Seattle and Portland are in many ways two organic peas in a pod. Kindred spirits. We dwell in the upper left corner of the map, in mossy green landscapes surrounded by snowy mountains and tidal estuaries. We deal with nine months of rain and gray skies by drinking bottomless mugs of coffee and beer, then rejoice with hiking and biking when the sun comes out. We value freedom and individuality, but you can count on both of us to vote in the blue column and compost in the green bin.

But that’s where the similarities end. In addition to the most obvious difference – Seattle is bigger – there are nearly endless comparisons to be made. I think about them every time I make the 170-mile journey up I-5 (or on Amtrak Cascades) to the Emerald City. There are moments of jealousy, but also moments of “whew, glad I didn’t move here.” Each city excels at different things.

On that note, the following are my observations from 17 years visiting and 6 years living in the great Pacific Northwest. Let's do this debate club style, with 15 topics. (Deal with it - we like to read here in the Northwest). Representing my dual opinions will be Chief Seattle and the Portlandia statue. We'll be "Portland polite" and let Chief Seattle state his arguments first (respect your elders), followed by a nice passive-aggressive rebuttal from our lady in copper, Portlandia. We used to settle our scores with NBA games, but now the only sport we have in common is Major League Soccer. And that can end in a 0-0 draw.