Taylor and I recently moved to a new neighborhood here in Portland. The old Craftsman house our old apartment was in was going up for sale, and we decided to be proactive and look for new digs before we got a thirty-day termination notice. Fortunately, half a duplex came up for rent, and friends of ours who live in the other half notified us. Long story short, we are now settling into the new place. I’ll admit I was sorry to leave Laurelhurst Park and the surrounding area, though it’s still easily accessible by bus. However, now that the move is over (as is Snowpocalypse 2008), I’m finally finding some time to go out and get to know my new neighborhood.
I’m still in the city, though there’s a lovely patch of greenspace that’s being replanted with native species and allowed to go feral, right across the street from where I live. I haven’t yet had a chance to get more than a cursory visit to it, due to the huge amount of snow we’ve had, and the fact that it gets dark before I have time to myself here. However, tonight I took two walks in the streets immediately surrounding my home and bordering the greenspace. This allowed me A) to get a good view of the physical characteristics, and B) to get a taste of the Land here.
It’s a nice, quiet neighborhood. It’s more blue-collar; the houses aren’t as big and ostentatious as the Victorians and Craftsman structures where I moved from. However, they’re all very well kept-up, and it’s obvious people take pride in their homes. I’m guessing the percentage of homeowners in the area is pretty decent. I didn’t notice any vacant buildings, and nothing that looked problematic. Some of the roads are under county jurisdiction and therefore are gravel rather than paved, but that’s about as “bad” as it gets. I haven’t run into too many people, though the ones I have met have been quick to smile and nod in a genuine manner.
The Land, however…that’s a different story. I think I got kind of spoiled by Laurelhurst and Multnomah/Wahkeena. Both of these places almost immediately opened up to me with a hearty welcome. This place, on the other hand, hasn’t been quite so eager. I haven’t gotten any sense of hostility or rejection; I still feel safe here. The approach, however, will have to be different. I think I got kind of used to being able to walk into a place and have it connect with me. Here, on the other hand, I’m going to have to put in more effort to show who I am, perhaps some formality.
I don’t think it’s a matter of the place having been abused–that’s not the feel I get from what little I’ve received. I think it more has to do with the personality of the place. It may just be a more reserved Land than others. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I do need to learn a new approach.
I’m looking forward to getting to know this new place.