Politics & Media
Apr 19, 2023, 05:55AM

Portlandia No More

Chalk it up to that standard conservative talking point: the decline of Blue cities under Democratic “leadership."

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“Portland is not Portlandia anymore.” 

It's something we say around here, and it resonates, because the series starring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein was both popular and infamous depending on who you talked to and their opinion of the effect the show had on Portland. But the civic time and tenor depicted on the Independent Film Channel (IFC) series is definitely history now.

Chalk it up to that standard conservative talking point: the decline of Blue cities under Democratic “leadership.”

Stare wrongly at the wrong homeless person, cut off the wrong car in certain neighborhoods, or just be a bystander when the gangs start shooting, and you could end up dead. Was it always so? Not like this. Crime has skyrocketed since Brownstein’s character asked after the previous life and times of the chicken she was ordering for dinner.

Once a commenter on a story I’d written at a conservative website, after seeing that my bio included Portland, wrote: “Portland? You must feel surrounded.”

It’s true that Portland is blue. It gets a lot of conservative bad press. Urinals were omitted from blueprints for the new mega-million dollar city hall—something about gender neutrality? When Antifa besieged downtown in 2020, resulting in months of rioting and millions in property damage, President Trump offered to send in the National Guard. City hall refused the help, and vilified Trump instead. A Trump fan wearing an insignia was murdered by a rabble rouser who laid in wait at a parking garage. The killer was later gunned-down by federal agents in a Washington State apartment complex parking lot.

Downtown hasn’t recovered. Businesses are still fleeing. Slabs of plywood cover many street-level windows. Intractable homelessness besotting block after block and open-air shooting galleries have turned Portland into a no-go zone for thousands of locals and decimated the tourist and convention trade. The pandemic played a part in creating the current malaise, but that’s over, and there’s been little discernible bounce-back.

I know where to go, when to go, and when and where not to go. If you get out into the neighborhoods you’ll meet lots of nice people, most of them Democrats. They’re concerned too. But as sure as New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s sham indictment has made Donald Trump’s reelection more possible, they’ll vote again for the candidates and governance that got Portland here in the first place.

Portlandia’s mantra was genius: “The dream of the nineties is alive in Portland.”

There’s no dream that’s alive here now. The one-party decrepitude that has even liberals complaining, has no precedent. In one of the whitest big cities in America, it’s the result of the final triumph of white guilt over race, incarceration, gender orientation, and traditionalist patriarchy. It’s the progressive go-zone that increasing numbers of law-abiding citizens across the spectrum think twice about visiting. 

  • In Portland as well as several other U.S cities all of which are governed by the left, law and order, the rule of law and public safety have deteriorated to the point where civil society has completely broken down. Today parts of these metro areas resemble dysfunctional urban hellscapes. The productive and law abiding citizens of these cities are becoming increasingly fed up and are heading for the exits in ever greater numbers and they are taking their industriousness and their considerable contribution to the tax base with them. In a relatively short period of time these once thriving cities are becoming bankrupt crime ridden dystopias.

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  • This is true of many cities' downtowns post covid regardless of politics. It's called urban flight. It will take a lot longer for people to "bounce-back" from a 100 year event like the pandemic. Look at what happened to cities during the plague. In downtown Dallas, the majority on the street are poor or homeless; street crime is way up and occupancy is way down. I don't see Abbot doing any better than blue state governors. In my book, both parties have proven inept and impotent where governing is concerned.

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  • Texan. The rot in many U.S cities existed long before the covid pandemic although the pandemic definitely made the situation in many of these cities worse. What do Portland, Chicago, San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle, Minneapolis, New York, Los Angeles, D.C, Philadelphia [and the list goes on] have in common? They are all deteriorating cities overrun by crime, homelessness, drug addiction and disfunction and they are all governed by leftist Mayors, City Councils and District Attorneys who's priorities are securing their own power and control over the structures of municipal government while simultaneously advancing their own ideological agenda. It is beyond apparent that their priorities have nothing to do with law and order, public safety or looking after the welfare of their residents not to mention just being competent stewards of sound governance...Could you please list all the cities in the U.S governed by the right of center that even comes close to matching the level of chaos, incompetence and disfunction as the cities which I listed above? That's obviously a rhetorical question...Those responsible for the rapid decline of many U.S metro areas falls largely on the local leaders being the Mayors, City Councils and the District Attorneys not on the Governor, the State Assembly or the State Senate all of which plays a much smaller role in local governance. Former Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill was largely correct when he said "All politics is local". When casting blame look no farther than the leftwing Mayors, City Councils and DAs for the sorry state of many of our urban centers.

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  • Portland has a lower-than-average crime rate. Oklahoma City, with a Republican mayor and governor, has one of the highest in the country. https://realestate.usnews.com/places/oklahoma/oklahoma-city/crime https://www.kptv.com/2023/01/31/portland-nowhere-near-most-dangerous-cities-us-new-study-crime-data-reveals/ https://www.newsweek.com/these-republican-cities-have-higher-crime-rate-new-york-city-1794909

  • Well, here is the list of US cities by crime rate (2019), based on FBI data. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_cities_by_crime_rate It shows Portland at 15th in the country, with a rate of 6239 (per 100,000 people). Oklahoma City is 39th, with a rate of 4552. I traveled all over the world for much of my adult life and I don't think you can make meaningful comparisons between cities this way. It's not as if the crime is equally spread out in all cities. Some cities have a few ultra-dangerous neighborhoods that skew the statistics.

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  • It is fair to point out a place like Oklahoma City as a Republican governed city with a high crime rate and you can add Tulsa and Mobile AL to the list but these man bites dog examples are exceptions to the larger crime trends happening throughout the country. What should be concerning for those who value law and order and public safety is the response to criminal activity by the local authorities in many of the cities run by the left. The demonizing of law enforcement and efforts to defund them along with the decarceration of violent felons and the recategorization of crimes that were formally felonies down to misdemeanors sends the signal that these soft on crime cities are prime locations for criminals knowing that the chances of being caught while committing a crime are reduced and if they are caught the system will treat them more leniently than other tough on crime cities. This incentivizes criminal activity and the real victims are the law abiding and functioning people of the city who fall prey to the increased crime and chaos.

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  • That list is interesting, interpolating. Surprised to see Anchorage (also a Republican mayor) high on the list, and Oklahoma City lower than Portland. I guess there are various data sets and ways to slice them up. I've heard bad things about Memphis (Democratic mayor) and aim to avoid going there. I agree that the stats don't necessarily give a full picture. Also, mayors have only so much power, so who controls the state legislature can matter more.

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  • I've no particular interest in defending the Democrats, crestrider. Reading a quote from the mayor-elect of Chicago recently that "it is not constructive to demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities,” was disheartening, at least. But I think with many issues, including crime and also what areas are net beneficiaries of federal subsidies, many red voters have a model in their heads that needs correction or updating.

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  • Memphis is an interesting city that I'd go back to. Crime is just part of the urban experience.

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  • Portland, on the other hand, is not a place I'd revisit. That kind of crime I can't tolerate. I want real crime in my cities.

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  • Ken, My mother was raised in Chicago and while it always had its big city issues of crime and corruption it was still a functioning and in many ways impressive city. Today's Chicago is depressing with all the trend lines heading in the wrong direction.. While my commentary on this thread has been pretty harsh on leftist city authorities and deservedly so I would not want to lump all Democrat local leaders in with that. The current mayor of the city where I now live San Diego has a Democrat mayor who has been decent on fighting crime and upholding law and order and public safety. I would categorize him as a liberal pragmatist who has much more in common with right of center mayors than he does with the leftwing mayors of Chicago, Portland etc...

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  • I'd not heard of Todd Gloria, seems like someone with a future. I've only been to San Diego briefly but liked what I saw.

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