Growing up in Portland, Oregon, I actually didn’t experience the stuff that Portland is famous for. I lived at the edge of the city very close to other towns like Damascus or Gresham. I didn’t go to downtown very much and didn’t know about the “hipster” vibe, and when I finally got around to visiting I found myself not caring for it. South East is very different in comparison to the colorful, micro-brewing, art loving aura that resides in deep Portland. I don’t like to call it Portland even. It’s an entirely different entity all together. I heard people from Clackamas call it “the boondocks,” and in comparison to regular Portland I would have to agree.
Yes, there are a lot of negative aspects about South East, but regardless there is a community here that makes this place more than “the boondocks”. With every few drug addicts, there is a rehab group. With every block of strip clubs, there is a group of volunteers for the community garden. With every registered pedophile there is an immigrant family with parents teaching their children right from wrong. With every broken street without a sidewalk, there is someone who is filing a petition to fill the gap for safety. This place has its downs, but the people that came to live here are strong and are making this place better than how it was yesterday.
I enjoyed where I live and I still do. It’s beautiful. South East is covered with trees providing shade during the summer. Specks of light from the trees cover the gray road with yellow warmth. The cracked streets and sidewalks actually give a rural beautiful but broken feel. Walking through these neighborhoods makes you understand what’s important to this place. It’s like understanding a person that’s been through a lot, but the person is not curled up in the fetal position, the person is walking with you and slowly but surely removing their regretful past. It’s admirable. It’s admirable because walking through these neighborhoods I also see a group of hard-working families making South East a better place to live for the next generation. I feel like a lot of the people in South East really understand what it means to have a home and to take care of it.