Love that dirty water

I spent a long weekend in Boston. It was only the second time in my life that I've visited there, and the first in almost 50 years.

I saw a million college students. I walked around Fenway Park. I saw Van Gogh's postman. The chowder was excellent. The Italian food was superb. The weather was divine.

There was some graffiti, but no garbage.

I was panhandled once, in a half-hearted, non-threatening way. Once.

I saw no tents. Zero.

People will say it's different from Portland because of the winter weather. Surely that has something to do with it. But I think the main difference is that Boston, unlike Portland, has way more smart people and doesn't put up with crap.

If I were a young person and had it to do all over again, I'd definitely give Boston more of a look than I did. The current version of Portland, Oregon would be a hard sell.


  1. A reader points out that Boston, unlike Portland, does not have to deal with the daffy Ninth Circuit decision in Martin v. Boise. That is true, but I don't think that is what is really holding Portland back from reclaiming its streets. It's the lack of political will, and the lack of competence.

  2. I was in Boston in September and thought about the city. It’s really nice and so clean compared to Portland. Not having drug addicts camping everywhere really makes a difference.

  3. And yet, there is a large segment of residents here that think that crime, vagrancy, drug abuse, and filth is being vastly over reported and not really that big of a deal. I believe that is called a self-imposed blind spot bigger than the Grand Canyon.

  4. I lived in Boston for a spell back in the late 80’s. Actually I lived in Arlington, but close enough. I enjoyed my time there and made some good friends at work. Contrary to public opinion, people there are very friendly once they get to know you. Portland has a veneer of friendliness, but it is a pretty thin veneer.

    Boston is kind of like Portland in that the city is smallish, and it is the opposite of NYC which is a 24/7 kind of place. I went back there with my wife about five years ago and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed our stay. I would move back in a heartbeat if I could afford it.

    And yes, their public spaces are kept up nice considering how old of a town it is. And I just love all of the different communities and smaller towns surrounding it. So much history, and lots of cool old homes and buildings.


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