“WHAT!?!” you’ll think, as this headline catches your eye on your break from writing your dissertation on how saving disabled baby panda bears is completely dependent upon a gluten-free nation. “She’s so misinformed!!” HAHA! “San Francisco is the best city of anywhere, ever!” HAHA! “That’s why it’s totally OK that I pay rent equal to the cost of a mansion-mortgage in the Midwest! Because it’s so perfect! Here! In the Bay Area!” You’ll continue on with your inner-monologue, while sipping your $12 Blue Bottle latte and clattering statistics onto your MacBook Air.
Well hold your horses, Golden Gater. I’m actually not saying San Francisco sucks – it’s pretty, there’s good food, and when it comes down to it, Portland and San Francisco have a bunch in common. All I’m saying is that it’s like infinity times better in Portland – and as a born and raised Bay Area resident, I feel like I’m qualified to make this judgment. I moved to Portland last summer, a little over a year ago, to escape from a few things – for example, a scene that was closing in on me (the city is 7x7, y’all), an extremely political family, paying a ridiculous amount of money just to hang out, and then also, just to like … change my surroundings. You know? So anyway, if my opinion makes you all, “GRRRRRR!” then don’t read this story, because honestly, Portland people think there are way too many Northern Californians up here already, and they want to keep the rent down, so it’s probably better you stay put or whatever. Anyway, I digress. And now it’s time to back up my bold statements with some (completely, unabashedly, opinion-based) evidence.
Portland is totally better than SF and here are my top five reasons:
So you’re still paying like $900 for a room in a house with a bunch of other miscreants, on the outskirts of Alamo Square. (Lucky for you, it’s still the bargain price of $900 due to rent control.) Sorry to ruin your day, but my one-bedroom in gorgeous Southeast Portland, with a front yard, backyard, parking space, and in-complex laundry room, is $650/month. I pay way less than you would pay for a closet in the Tenderloin, and every morning I walk outside and smell fresh air, as opposed to the bum who took a shit on my steps – again. It rules. And everything else here is priced equally as not-horrible. You can get a fantastic, filling lunch at the food carts for $5 while supporting small businesses, being vegan or whatever it is you care about, and consuming organic, locally sourced, totally delicious food. Yup.
Do you have a car? I’m sorry that you felt like it would be rad to have a vehicle in San Francisco. And you probably, totally innocently thought, “This will be great for those weekend trips to Napa. Just to get out – escape city life for the weekend, you know?” And now you’re suffering from the pain inflicted by $700 per month in parking tickets. You’ve probably begged your therapist to double your Xanax prescription so that you’ll refrain from attempting murder on the meter maids who are entirely indifferent to your misery after you arrive at the scene in your underwear, panting, because you woke up late and realized you were parked in a street-cleaning zone. The San Francisco meter maids are so goddamned aggressive that you might start to think that the entire department is secretly run by your ex who you cheated on or something. I’ve been there, and I understand. And then I moved up here, and there’s ALWAYS parking, and I haven’t gotten a ticket ONCE, and now everything is AMAZING. (OK, I might be exaggerating a little bit, but the parking situation is fantastic.)
San Franciscans have this weird habit of thinking everything culturally relevant happens either there or in New York City. They scoff at Los Angeles for being shallow, and occasionally they move to Brooklyn for a couple of years until they overdose or their parents cut them off for overdosing one too many times, and they’ll then bitch about how the whole experience was “just ex-HAUSTING.” I mean, Portland’s music scene is amazing, and once again – everything is CHEAP. Free street fairs, things like First and Last Thursdays (in which the community actually participates, as opposed to just walks around naked – not that there is anything wrong with you, Folsom Street Fair!). There’s the yearly free concert series, PDX Pop Now! as well as Musicfest NW. And because everything is so inexpensive in comparison to where I once lived, I find myself actually buying stuff from local artists and bands. The money goes directly to them, so that they can pay their rent and keep on living here. Artists don’t get scared out of Portland, man. They flourish here. You can pay for your life through an Etsy shop.
I remember when I first started talking about moving to Portland. “OMG what about the weather? It rains so much! It’s going to be freezing!”, San Franciscans would say to me, on a foggy, 60-degree July day. I mean, let’s be clear – it’s not like it’s sunny here in Portland all year-round. PDX is a city of rain, and I personally, totally dig the rain, so it doesn’t bother me. And it doesn’t technically rain in San Francisco as much as it does in Portland, but in San Francisco, there is this CONSTANT fucking DRIZZLE that will ruin your hair and your nights out with friends. And it’s always FREEZING. There’s a week of good weather in SF. Here, there’s a good 2.5 months (at least, that’s been the case this year) and it stays warm at night. The fog doesn’t “roll in with little cat’s feet” or whatever, which makes this place way more conducive to frolicking around while wearing scandalous clothing and doing dumb shit with your friends. All night. All summer. It’s amazing.
What the shit is wrong with that place, San Francisco? Where every chick thinks rom-coms are realistic portrayals of the way things should be/are, and Saturday nights are spent talking about which one in the crew is the Samantha. It’s almost like war doesn’t exist, the way they compare pedicure places. There’s nothing like that in or around Portland. For as much shit as the media gives us for that infamous “Put a Bird on It” thing, at least we admit we’re struggling and bitter. People deal with harsh realities here. Yes, occasionally it’s dealt with via drug addiction and alcohol abuse, but it’s also dealt with via creating stuff and, more to the point, it’s dealt with. Period. I sound harsh, and there are some long-standing gems in the Marina, for sure, but the majority is such a wash.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Do you live in San Francisco and hate Portland? Do you live in Portland and hate San Francisco? Do you love them both, madly? Do you hate my guts and wanna talk it out? Leave it in the comments below. Let’s party.