Welcome to the Suburbs

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.

Here’s why…

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.


16 responses to “Welcome to the Suburbs

  1. I’m a confirmed suburbanite. Truth. Welcome to the, um, periwinkle blue side.

    (Does that work? The blue? I was trying to think of something very suburban. What color IS suburbia?)

    • Great question. I think periwinkle is perfect. Post-partum it might just be blue, but I’ll have to actively attack that with Muchas Gracias Mexican food from our local strip mall.

  2. When I moved to a suburb of Saint Paul in 97 (much against my will, might I add) I was amazed at the exact same thing – why was there no planning?! Did the city planners learn how to make cities in SimCity (2000 is my favorite)!?

    It really makes you appreciate Lake Oswego – only now do you realize what a gem of a place it is.

  3. I know two people who grew up in Beaverton… both are a little weird, it’s true. But in a good way! 🙂

    • LOL. I take that as a good sign K-Pants will turn out just fine. Especially if he continues to eat tons of goat cheese as is his current habit. That can only work in his favor.

  4. I think the people who live there are just known as Beavers.

  5. This is hallarious. Welcome to Beaverton. Did you know, when i was taking my drivers test, the DMV in LO wasn’t doing tests for some reason and they refered me to Beaverton or to Woodburn and i tried to go drive around Beaverton, with it’s one way streets and confusion and almost hyperventalted. i knew i’d never pass the test there. so i drove down to Woodburn, where they have one stop light and one main street and i felt like a pretty low achiever…but at least i passed the exam. To this day, i continue to associate beaverton with bad driving conditions. But if anyone can find the cool here, it’s you!

    • So funny!!! Did you know that you have to take a written driver’s test in Oregon in order to switch your license? I hate the DMV anyway, and that makes it even worse. Maybe Woodburn has a one-stoplight version of the written test, too. I’ll be scoping out the best foodie spots so next time you are out here I can take you, then I’ll spin you around and leave you to find your way out of Beaverton on your own. 😉

  6. gosh, you’re cool. i have a blog crush on you. in addition to my regular crush.

  7. marinandnikki.travellerspoint.com

    subscribe, woman!

    • Um, dude, I subscribed like 15 minutes after you launched it! I thought it would send me a note or something? Clearly not. I shall manually add you to my blog reader.

  8. love the last picture of you!

  9. Pingback: Song of the Suburbs: Oh, Beaverton! | momsicle

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