It’s a bitter pill sometimes to think of Marc being in another time and space. Yet some things hold good memories despite the pain.
Marc loved Portland, and it took me many years to come to my own conclusions about that city after having lived in So. California most of my life. My other son lives in AZ, which I love, so the rainy, damp weather in OR./WA, where Marc lived for some years was not on my ‘desirable’ list. I’m really glad he ended up in Portland rather than WA.
Marc’s last residence was a family friends condo downtown, so I got to know that part of PDX somewhat. He lived 30 stories high and when I first visited the lofty place I was so humbled. The view was breathtaking …. I couldn’t help but feel some compassion for all the tiny ‘specks’ down there going about their business. They were people like me, like Marc once lived …. traveling to work, raising kids, warding off colds, crying alone at night over some inner struggle.
Then came the murder incident and instead of becoming a fearful place to me like you’d normally expect, Portland surprisingly became a refuge. Dealing with court, Marc’s places of work and study, his memorabilia all held heavy memories but they gave me a sense of rootedness in that city.
Marc and I loved the outdoorsy feel, change of seasons in PDX. He helped me get acquainted with certain streets, stores, sections of town so I felt somewhat comfortable finding my way around when I went up for the case, his affairs. Instead of giving me pain, the familiar areas we went to gave me joy. Can’t explain it. I guess I just wanted to relish his memory, talk to the trees, anything he may have enjoyed daily or we shared.
Portland is so different from Los Angeles. L.A. is in many ways one big wasteland ….. a huge cement city without any real seasons and …. very self-centered. There’s more diversity in So Cal, but the sheer contact with nature in PDX, breaks up the monotony of the sometimes large, stony buildings from bygone years. And having these huge rivers intersect just adds to the beauty, interest of the city.
I still read some of Portland’s papers, TV coverage at home in L.A. One reason PDX appeals to me is it’s smaller population, and people are more interactive with each other compared to L.A. where everyone’s in their own world doing their own thing. I’ve cultivated some contacts there I don’t think would be possible in L.A. Obviously mostly due to Marc’s case or my blog and recovery but the quality of life in a smaller city is just better, more personal.
Another neat thing about Portland is that it has the best transportation system. Sure you can drive around town like in any city, but they encourage you to use the public system if you have to travel a distance …. and the light rail and streetcar services are so efficient and clean, and any day you’ll find grandparents taking the rail from the airport, college kids going to school or families going to a ballgame. I’ve traveled on other subways but the PDX MAX train is exceptional. Sadly, in L.A. ….. no such mass transit mind frame exists. It’s car, car, car … as communities are spread out and a bus transpo system is so beneath people, even gang members use cars. Everyone knows it’s not ‘cool’ to use the bus.
Portland leaders tend to be pretty liberal, but there’s still a conservative life style mentality to me. I’ve met a couple people from the City Council and visited Council sessions and there’s this transparency there you don’t find in L.A, and I find that so encouraging! In L.A we don’t really talk about our city government. We don’t know what the heck is going on most of the time with the City Council, Supervisors. In a city like Portland there’s immediate needs that have to be addressed all the time …. road or bridge conditions, problems with the school district or having enough decent housing for people … and you hear about it in the paper or TV news. And the Council, papers, TV share that news in a pretty proactive way, which is good to see.
The news up there in papers and TV is not as politicized like in L.A. or other major cities …. such a relief! They have enough immediate needs to deal with all their traffic, bridge, weather, lead in water, homeless and environmental issues and oh, protests ….. so they are not obsessed about what’s going on in D.C. I’m still in contact with a couple reporters from Marc’s case and they are normal people, not interested in writing, reporting a politically correct spin on Marc’s case or their other stories.
Finally, the city has these public art works around town that are so interesting, unexpected! It’s not like they are statues of old war vets, or business magnates …. but they reflect sometimes very charming or sometimes very unique images. In the local Star Bucks I visit I look out on a huge metal sculpture of I don’t what, but I’ve grown to appreciate the attempt to bring joy or beauty to the older city facade and rainy conditions of downtown Portland.
Some people or places you never believe will ever touch your heart but …. we have to be open to the unexpected all the time –