Last night I performed a wedding at the Portland City Grill, which is on the 30th Floor of the US Bank Tower (aka, the Big Pink). The view from up there is astounding, and before the ceremony I had some time to look out over the city.
What’s the first thing everyone does when they are up really high looking down on their city? They look for the important places in their life. So I found myself first looking east, across the river, to find CubeSpace. I could sort of see it around a taller building, but not super clearly. Then I looked farther eastward, toward the 39th and Hawthorne area, trying to see if I could see my home. I couldn’t, but I could find the neighborhood.
I looked around downtown, and saw many of the buildings which we had looked at while searching for a home for CubeSpace. Some that didn’t meet our needs, some that didn’t meet our budget, some who decided we didn’t meet their budget. And 2 years after that search, I’m delighted that we wound up where we did.
I saw the building where I had my first real job, a research analyst for Griggs-Anderson Research, a market research company which has been sold 3 times since I left, and has a few of the same people, but basically no longer exists. I looked to the west, to try to find my apartment in Northwest Portland that I lived in during those early years after college. I reminisced about walking home from Griggs-Anderson to my apartment, sometimes stopping off at Powell’s on the way home (yes, there’s Powells, easily visible), or going straight home, and then coming back out to PGE park (which might have been called Civic Stadium at the time) for minor league baseball games (PGE park is all lit up, wonder if the Beavers are playing a home game tonight?).
I look far to the Southeast, and try to make out Reed College, my alma mater. A lovely place, a place that had a lot to do with who I am today. It’s Renn Faire there this weekend, the celebration of senior’s turning in their theses, and the break between classes and reading week. And I realize it’s been 15 years since I graduate.
I’m looking down on this city, and realizing how much Portland has changed since I arrived: nearly a third of the tallest buildings have been built since I arrived 19 years ago. This city has grown, and I have grown with it.
Looking down on Portland is like seeing a history of my adult life. I see places where I had successes and failures, places where I became who I am, and places where I discovered who I am. I am overwhelmed by the fondness I feel for this city, and the sense of belonging I feel for it. It is my home, and I can imagine no other.