Portland, Oregon: Where “Hip” and “Unemployed” Collide

I’m fascinated by cities — how they work; why they work; why people prefer some over others. (My work in graduate school focused on the physical city.) A

nyway, one of my favorite cities is Portland, Oregon. It offers a delightful climate, an abundance of art, great food, Powells. Excellent grocery stores (my favorite tourist activity is prowling the aisles of grocery stores. Weird but true.)

No surprise, the city has long been a “magnet” for the young, the ambitious, the hip (YAH). One of my cousins hightailed it out of Iowa in 1970 for the greener pastures of Portland, along with, I realized later, thousands of other kids in search of the Ultimate Hip Home. (Back then, we were “hippies” rather than “hip.”

Anyway, Portland’s current generation of YAH is colliding with the city’s nearly 12% unemployment rate. Good article about all of this in today’s Wall Street Journal.

This brings to mind the work of Richard Florida and his colleagues. If you’ve not read any of his books, they’re worth a look. As near as I can tell, the website doesn’t have a specific link for “further reading” link, but there’s tons of information there from other sites/writers.

One thought on “Portland, Oregon: Where “Hip” and “Unemployed” Collide

  1. This is usual. We have long been a magnet for young hipsters (I was one back in the day). We also haven’t built a stable economic base in the aftermath of the collapse of extractive industries. (Used to be that Portland lived off the state’s logging, fishing, ranching, and mining; we never developed a large industrial base.) So we’re especially vulnerable to recessions. It’s not new. But so long as the hip keep coming, we’ll pull through.


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