I was born in Portland, Oregon, a city I hardly recognize now. It hums to the engine of movement: cars, planes, bikes, pedestrians. Paul and I walked much of the downtown, enjoying the corner gardens, renewed brick buildings, curbside sculpture, and wide sidewalks. It’s a city of detail–utility hole covers worthy of art shows, lovingly detailed signs, windows filled with ‘zines we’d need weeks to read. Pallet gardens decorated the breakfast room at the Ace Hotel. Early morning grilling had commenced outside the Whole Foods.
The word port takes many meanings: the larboard side of a vessel, a city’s opening, a very sweet, strong wine. Portland is the opening to a great land, the northwest corner of my country, the end of the outbound journey for Lewis and Clark, the mouth of a massive river that churns at bridge piers and dams. It was also the portal for me to enter this life in a downtown hospital, barely waiting for my mother to step off the elevator and into the birthing room. Four a.m.