Minneapolis vs. Portland

I was in Portland earlier this month, and you can’t help but compare it to Minneapolis. It’s the other (and arguably more) progressive haven that’s really beautiful for a few months of the year and then not so nice for the rest of the time.

Wendy's at PDX

So let’s break it down. First thing first. One of our friends who came with who works at an Airport said that PDX is remarkably similar to MSP. Well I didn’t get a good look, but I did notice that it had carpeting and a Wendy’s… can’t beat that.

We arrived late on a thursday evening, and food was nowhere to be found near our hotel, so we stopped at [Shari’s]. OMG is that place awesome. No wait it’s not that awesome, but it was like Perkins… in every way, but better. They even had sea food that didn’t have to travel too far.

Another fun thing I noticed was the bike-ability of the place. People would bike down main roads without that “I’m so pissed off because everyone’s trying to kill me”-look that we have here.

I really love the Lake Harriet Rose Gardens, but I think Portland has us beat with their gardens Rose or otherwise. The city also features hills and is near a coastline… which is neat, but I’m fine with our lakes for now.

Portland also focusses heavy on UGB limiting the expansion of the city to the existing city developments. This produces denser, more expensive real estate, but the trade off is a huge city and a thinner suburban population as opposed to our fairly spread out populace.

So for this trip, the grass definitely seemed greener, but the irony is my cousin said that when they planned the city in its current form, they used Minneapolis as a model… street cars and all. Climate differences aside, I think we’ll be playing catch up soon enough.

7 Comments so far

  1. Erica (unregistered) on October 2nd, 2006 @ 8:23 am

    “when they planned the city in its current form, they used Minneapolis as a model”

    No kidding. I know there are mixed feelings on the UGB thing, but I think it’d be really interesting to try implementing that here.

    I’ve only visited Portland once. I really liked it. Although I distinctly remember getting lost a few times. I suppose getting across the Willamette River is about as tricky as getting across the Mississippi – you just need to know where the crossings are. I definitely got the whole “books, bikes, and beer” vibe.

  2. Dave Dash (unregistered) on October 2nd, 2006 @ 9:00 am

    The thing with UGB, is it drives up the price of land and rentals and thus gentrifies neighborhoods.

    The first thing I noticed that there were no black people in a lot of the places I were at. Looked at the demographics on wikipedia and saw that it’s almost 78% white. If you read the article:
    It doesn’t seem all too accidental.

    It is a tossup… police presense seems a lot less annoying in Portland though… so it is a tossup.

  3. Dan (unregistered) on October 2nd, 2006 @ 9:24 am


    Portland has mountains. Having grown up in Wisconsin, in the last few years I’ve visited places with mountains, and I like places with mountains. Looking at mountains somehow makes you happy. Don’t ask me why, it just does.

    I love Portland’s downtown, and think it’s better than Minneapolis’. Their rose gardens are definitely better than here, but that’s mostly climate. Overall the city has a very strong Twin Cities feel to it. I would totally live there.

  4. Andy (unregistered) on October 2nd, 2006 @ 10:31 am

    Actually we have a UGB. It’s called the MUSA (Metropolitan Urban Service Area) and the Met Council runs it. Basically it limits how much water and sewer hookups are allowed outside the line, thereby inhibiting growth.

  5. Erica (unregistered) on October 2nd, 2006 @ 11:38 am
  6. Louis (unregistered) on October 2nd, 2006 @ 3:16 pm

    Portland has us beat hands down…Spring springs to life in February and Winter is not as rainy as Seattle and is warmer. Natural beauty from mountains to oceans is less than an hour away. The city is easy and fun to get around. Gentrification has created a number of wonderful neighborhoods even for people of “average” income levels. For us, its refreshing gay community is vibrant, active, aware and not afraid to have fun.

    Why the f— do we still live in this cold Omaha???

  7. Erica (unregistered) on October 2nd, 2006 @ 5:53 pm

    Ooh. Cold Omaha. That’s harsh.

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