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Exotic Magazine - Uncovering The Northwest Since 1993

Where Are They Now? Salem...

by Molly Bourke

Portland, OR: 2011.

When I first heard that the dude from SNL and the chick from Sleater-Kinney were doing a sketch show on IFC about my hometown, I felt kind of...special. My thought process was, as follows, "Whoa. Portland is finally in the spotlight. This is going to be great!"

Prior to this time, my beloved hometown of Portland had felt like a secret oasis in the midst of many worldly known cities of the west coast. Back then, folks only talked about the entertainment capitol, Los Angeles. Or, the tech nerds of Silicon Valley. Further north, there was Frasier’s Seattle—the grunge capitol.

But, Portland? Naw, not so much. Not much, at least, until the dubious Fred and Carrie hit the scene. The general consensus among my peers is that the transition from Old Portland to New Portland began around the same time Portlandia took to the airwaves. It was competent and comical, in my opinion, and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t watched some episodes (and, chuckled a few times).

Flash forward to New Portland in 2017. Now, I live on the wrong side of Beaverton and my rent is still the main source of my financial stress dreams. Over ten years experience in your trade? College degree? Forget about it, kid. Ain’t no jobs here in Portland—at least not in the service industry, which is my specialty.

What happened? Who are all these new people? Where did they come from and how did they find out about our secret Oregon oasis? Why do my homicidal/suicidal tendencies tend to swell more than a few years back, whenever I try and commute? Why is some turd with a man bun living in my old NW apartment that I can no longer afford?

Them! Fred and Carrie. Okay, okay...hear me out. Granted, Fred and Carrie are not solely responsible for the downfall of Old Portland and the utter annoyance that has crystallized the new reality in Portland culture. Living in Austin last summer, it was apparent that gentrification has spread its affluent claws over more of our favorite, untapped cities. But, that doesn’t take Fred and Carrie off the hook—they put a spotlight on our little city—and, by poking playful jabs at the weirdoes, hipsters, feminazis and various other Portland characters, they left us exposed. The quirkiness, the gorgeous natural locations surrounding the city, the clement weather...it was all out there for the rest of the world to stare at in awe.

And, what happened? A six-year growth spurt that we just weren’t prepared to handle. Ain’t it a blast to be the subject of constant no-cause evictions, with zero rights and support? Ain’t it awesome competing with 300 equally overqualified candidates for a subpar position at some restaurant that exploits your desperation and underpays you?

Frankly, I’m pissed. Forgive my boldness, but I get all wound up when the topic of New Portland is on the table. I’m usually that loudest curmudgeon at said table, bitterly sipping back cheap wine and rambling on about how my beloved Portland was stolen from me. I’ll be suggesting that a new state law should be signed, allowing locals and longstanding citizens priority for jobs and housing, over the recent yuppie-butt transplants. I’ll be muttering something about sending out a petition, demanding that Fred and Carrie contribute a chunk of the overwhelming profits they made off Portlandia to the various displaced locals, who aren’t equipped to navigate this new land properly. Maybe a class action lawsuit? Playing hardball or simply settling out of court quickly would at least help a little bit, right?

And, now that I mention good ol’ Fred and Carrie. Where are they? Portlandia is over. I’ve heard that since Portlandia as a series/concept is tapped out, they’ve both fucked off back to La La Land, to take dramatic Scrooge McDuck swan dives off of a diving board into a vault of money. Well, I may be exaggerating a bit. But, I’m still wracked with indignation. Can we start some support groups for this? Where can I confront and process my anger? Where can we go from here?

I guess you just don’t know how good you’ve got it until it’s gone. Fred and Carrie have come and gone, and Portland is an undeniably different world we are forced to exist within, because we don’t currently have the means to leave (or, we’re just stubborn bastards, who’ll never let our beloved city go—no matter how much yuppie scum slimes us with their kale chips and ludicrously named condos).

We are the soul of Portland and, though many of us have been swept into the shadows to lurk in wait for our moment again, we shall persevere somehow. This is our city; human kind’s general lust for overpriced boutiques, vegan taco joints and utter arrogance will never deter us! We laid the foundation and, though we might not get any credit, our general disdain will live on and fuel our drive to take our city back—or, at least find a way to make things better.

But, really though—anyone interested in getting in on this class action suit I’m cultivating? We could really clean up...just sayin’.