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»  October 8, 2008

Politics  

Insular

The Oregonian published a self-centered article by writer (and -- of all things -- journalism student) Becky Ohlsen on Sunday, another installment in their long-running series of opinion pieces hewing to the conservative line that Portland is a homogeneous bastion of elitist liberals.

A few letters in response appeared in today's paper, including one by me, although it was somewhat truncated (material they cut appears in bold below, editorial additions appear in italics).

Every couple of years, the Oregonian runs a column like Becky Ohlsen's on Sunday, making the claim that "With few exceptions, Portlanders inhabit perfect liberal values."

Perhaps that was the case for Ohlsen when she lived in Portland. I guess it's taken a trip to beyond her bubble here to realize that there are people of different stripes in the world. But really, she could have managed the same feat at home if she'd been paying attention.

Becky Ohlsen's opinion piece reiterates a stereotypical view of Portland that every large city -- including her current vantage point of New York City -- receives from self-appointed moralists promoting The Big City as a cesspool of sex, drugs, and liberalism. The problem is, in NYC or Portland, [But] you don't have to go any further than, say, the letters and opinion page of The Oregonian to find people espousing views diametrically opposed to the Prius-driving, arugula-eating, hipsters Ohlsen seems to have surrounded herself with here.

Ohlsen says "This is not a call for Portlanders to start roaring down their bike-laned city streets in SUVs." Is that a serious claim? Has she somehow missed SUVs and trucks on the streets of Portland in her time here? Is she truly unaware that not everyone working in the center of the city, riding MAX from Gresham or driving in from Lake Oswego might not fit her pigeonholes on politics, religion, or other topics? Does she know that The Oregonian publishes Dave Reinhard? She seriously thinks Portlanders don't argue?

Apart from fixing the question mark after "topics," I'm not sure that the edits improved the text here.
Wed Oct 08, 2008 10:00 -0700