Portland’s Two Progressive Identities

In an Oregonian guest editorial, colleagues Abbott and Seltzer provide a different perspective on what attracts young people to Portland.  From their personal history they note that the migration of the young and educated has been ongoing for 40 years and that they were attracted to Portland for its civic rather than entrepreneurial identity.  As they see it,

Portland is a place with two progressive identities — a double brand. It has long been a place where Brand A centers on “a positive epidemic of civic engagement,” to borrow the observation of Harvard professor Robert Putnam. Today, Brand A is joined by a newer Brand B, highlighted by the very visible but more individually focused DIY and hipster scenes, the stuff of over-the-top parody offered up by “Portlandia.”

In Brew to Bikes: Portland’s Artisan Economy, I comment that many of the artisans understand that Portland’s “social wealth” ie good planning, parks, transport, engagement, openness, ” are valuable assets that make it possible for them to live the good life with limited income.

Read full editorial here

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