11 Questions People Ask You When They Find Out You’re From Portland

Portland. Image: https://flic.kr/p/hffkpq

Portland. Image: https://flic.kr/p/hffkpq

Yes, it’s exactly like Portlandia.

Over the years, Portland, Oregon has developed quite a reputation. It’s a rainy city full of hippies and bicycles and organic food. It’s a city that prides itself on being as weird as possible, a quality both captured and enhanced by the popularity of the show Portlandia.

I grew up in the Portland area and moved away a few years ago. When I meet new people in my current city, or wherever I happen to be traveling, and they find out I’m from Portland, they always have questions. Some of these questions are expected, some are very strange, and some are deeply, deeply awkward. Here’s a roundup of the most common questions people have for Portlanders, along with the answers they so desperately seek.

1. Is it really like Portlandia?

Yes, it’s exactly like Portlandia.

2. Do you watch Portlandia?

No, because it hits too close to home. For me, it’s more like watching a very serious documentary rather than a comedy.

3. Are you vegan?

No, but all my friends are.

4. Have you ever, like, chained yourself to a tree or dangled from a bridge to protest fossil fuels?

Oh totally. In fact, at any given moment 43% of Portland residents are chained to something in protest. The other 57% are already in jail for chaining themselves to other things.

5. Will you be offended if I throw this recyclable can in the trash?


6. Is the food in Portland really as amazing as everyone says is it?

No, it’s even better. I moved away two and a half years ago and I still have intense sexual dreams about the pork meatball banh mi at Lardo.

7. Did you live in a tiny house?

Does a $2,000, 200-square foot studio apartment count as a tiny house? Because that’s the most common form of tiny house in Portland these days.

8. Does everyone really ride their bikes everywhere?

It is a bike-friendly city and a ton of people ride their bikes there, but it’s far from the cycling utopia people make it out to be. Remember the Battle of Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back? That’s a fairly accurate representation of the motorist-versus-cyclist clash in Portland.

9. Are you freaking out that all your family members are going to die in that big earthquake that’s going to destroy the Pacific Northwest?

Yes. I mean, no. Well, I try not to think about. I mean . . . GOD THAT IS A HORRIBLE QUESTION TO ASK SOMEONE.

10. Does it really rain all the time?

Kinda. It actually rains less there than a lot of other places, but it is cloudy a lot of the time, and there are more strip clubs per capita than any other US city, so I suppose there’s a lot of “make it rain”-type rain happening all the time.

11. [Asked anytime it is raining] Did you bring the rain with you?

Yes, I bring the rain with me everywhere I go. All Portlanders do. We are not actually humans but vengeful rain-summoning demigods who will unleash a violent monsoon at the mere mention of mandatory vaccines or GMO soy milk. Beware!

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