We live in Beaverton, Oregon. There. I said it. I am owning it. But there’s an even dirtier secret. Right before getting to our house there’s a “Welcome to Hillsboro” sign.
We may actually live in Hillsboro.
If you grew up in Portland, or Lake Oswego (like me), or possibly West Linn, you are probably shuddering right now. Admit it.
Beaverton is the suburb just west of Portland. As Intel and the high-tech forest bloomed even further west in Hillsboro, Beaverton expanded in a totally haphazard, mushrooms-on-the-lawn sort of way. Now it includes over 100,000 people. I’m sure there’s an equivalent in your part of the country, wherever that may be.
Even Beavertonites (Beavertonians?) must admit that Beaverton is weird. For example, we live in a development of little houses bordered by two run-down farms, a hospital, a country manse, a Goodwill, a beaver pond, an apartment complex, and a PetSmart.
This is typical Beaverton. The city planners seem to do most of their work at happy hour with a dart board. One of the most well-developed walking trails is called Powerline Park (excellent views of the grid overhead).**This is not to say don’t come and visit. We can buy some dog food at PetSmart, feed it to the beavers, and then stop at Muchas Gracias Mexican Food on the way back.
When you tell some of your friends that you are moving to Beaverton, shock explodes out of their eyes if the sarcasm in their voice doesn’t hit you first. Beaverton? Really? There was nowhere else to live?
That’s because Beaverton is NOT Portlandia. There are no city-delivered compost bins or dive bars that aren’t in strip malls. Mini vans outnumber lip rings. Mini vans may even outnumber Subarus, which for Oregon is quite a feat.
Fresh off the 747 from the South Bronx, and having grown up in Lake Oswego, which is manicured like a movie set, it took me a few weeks to wrap my head around all this urban anti-planning. (I was the first to have sarcasm pop out of my eyes thinking our options over.)
But I am becoming a convert to Beaverton’s meandering ways.
So in my next post I will sing a little hymn to the suburb. It will take me until then to warm up my voice.