It's not what you might think.
Despite Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen and the Portlandia spoofs, this is a conservative place.
That's not Jesse Helms and Michele Bachmann conservative (No!!). It's literal conservatism — Portlanders like what they have and they want to keep it.
We want to keep old neighborhoods viable for new generations rather than throwing them away. We want to keep a strong downtown that recalls the best of the 1950s. We don't have any dead zones of abandoned buildings (that's why it proved so hard to identify a good site for a new baseball park). We've struggled to preserve the surrounding farm and forest lands that add so much to the ambiance of the metropolitan area. Portlanders are trying to roll back the clock with streetcars and bicycles. The city government has protected older industrial districts through industrial sanctuary zoning (one of the best ideas Portland planners have ever come up with).
Portlanders have long had a tendency to define the city ...