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Few artists could paint a picture of Seattle that looks like Portland, but the comparisons never end.

Get on the whine line and listen.

Seattle traffic, Seattle housing, Seattle expansion.

Look down the road and hear the same thing about Portland traffic, Portland housing, Portland expansion.

Although more cites across America lay claim as the ‘Portland’ of their region, why isn’t Seattle mentioned in the same conversation?

The Seattle of the South? The Seattle of the Midwest? Sorry, Asheville, North Carolina and Minneapolis have it covered.

Why not Seattle, the Portland of Puget Sound?

Because Seattle isn’t looking for a new identity lifestyle.

Portland carried an inside joke about the place where rich hippies came to retire, get high, and paint their house purple.

Or they came to live under the radar and contribute to worthwhile causes.

Does that make Portland any different than other cities?

Seattle is the most ‘east coast’ city out west.

Take a look under the hood, behind the flash and glass, and you’ll see the the grit and grime of a rust belt, not a vacation destination.

If Seattle is as ‘eastie’ as advertised, it’s because of the grab and go mentality, the ‘see it, get it, got it,’ attitude.

Where is the Portlandia vibe there? Where is Seattleville?

If you need to contemplate an egg before you poach it, scramble it, boil it, or fry it, don’t do it in Seattle.

Wait to long on an egg and it’ll hatch, turn into a Vulcan, and start buying property near the Space Needle for Paul Allen to lease to Amazon.

Yes, that Paul Allen, the owner of the Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle Seahawks, and loads more.

Not a man to sit on his bag of gold, Allen and Seattle fit together like a Nordstroms ensemble of color, texture, and style.

And he’s got company.

Amazon defied trends when it stayed in the city rather than moving out to the suburbs. That’s partially because Amazon is willing to take risks, even if they don’t always pay off — it’s one of the core leadership philosophies that the company follows to this day.

When big money companies stake their future to a particular urban core, things in the core change.

Until Portland gets the sort of local commitment from people who could move their operations to a more convenient locality, like Seattle with a seaport instead of a river port, the scales will remain tipped.

Until Portland convinces people and companies with name recognition to fly their flags high over River City, it will remain ‘that place,’ where things get done elsewhere without upsetting the special local status.

Call me sentimental, but I’d love seeing a Nike Swoosh flag flying off the highest flagpole and dominating downtown Portland.

Could it happen in Seattle first?

About David Gillaspie


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