The Californian Crisis

The cost of living in Portland is skyrocketing. Everyone seems to blame this on the Californians who are moving here. California is so expensive that the middle class can't afford to live there. Many are moving to Portland, and now the working class can't afford to live here. Who can blame anyone for moving here, though? Portland is a cool town. California is over-crowded, expensive, in a drought, and on fire. On OPB yesterday, they were talking with a TriMet official about how the demographics of the metro area have changed. Downtown used to be full of working class people who took TriMet everywhere. Now, downtown is full of rich people with cars who think mass transit is gross. There is so little available parking downtown nowadays that the rich people filling in the close-in neighborhoods can't park downtown, and since they don't ride buses, it has opened up a market for ride-sharing companies. A listener wrote in to the program to say they would rather pay for a ride-share than potentially sit next to a mentally disturbed person on the bus. If you don't like sitting next to a mentally disturbed person on the bus, then push for Universal Health Care, don't denigrate the bus service. That's not a problem for mass transit. TriMet has expressed a commitment to help every member of the community, even if the Federal Government has not.

Yesterday, I had four riders. Two were native Portlanders, two were recent transplants from California. The day before that, I had one native Portlander and three ex-Californians. Most of my riders -- like a good three out of four -- are California transplants. Several of these have told me that they have been accosted by "locals" who yell shit like, "OMG! Another Californian?!"

One rider tells people they're from Nevada. Even though they're from California, they went to school in Nevada. When they told a lady at the dog park that they were from Nevada recently, that lady exclaimed, "Thank God! I thought you were going to tell me you were from California!"
I wanted to know where that lady in the dog park was from, because I have a hypothesis. Most of the true native Portlanders I meet are pretty chill, a little passive-aggressive, maybe, but totally chill. Maybe that's part of being chill. I don't really know.

My hypothesis is that since most Portlanders are cool and accept that people have to move somewhere, then the outspoken haters are actually transplants from somewhere else, too. There's just something clique-y about their behavior. It's like they moved here from Philly and found this perfect, affordable, little gem, and now these Californians are messing it up with their condos and their cars and by paying twice what an apartment is worth because "it's still cheaper than California."

--I told a passenger recently that I'm from Denver, and they were like, "Yeah, you seem like you're from Denver. I can see that. You've got that  ...  [je ne sais quoi?], ... [Rocky Mountain High?], ... that vibe."