I wasn’t thrilled when I first read that CHI would be held in Portland. It seemed out of the way, and I was sorry to have missed out on Vienna last year. But after four days here I am thinking of writing the Chamber of Commerce and offering to work for them, and if ever I have a chance to suggest a conference city, Portland would be top of my list.
Why? It’s not the green aspects of city life that have turned my head, much as I appreciate in-hotel recycling and free public transport. I love the mix of old and new, traditional downtown building impeccably restored, all with names and brass plaques telling their history. There’s a cleanness and precision about the city, but it’s obviously a fun place, too: plenty of restaurants, enthusiastic beer drinking, and wacky conversations to listen to as one rides the Max. And there’s a sense of Portland style, what Common Ground in England calls “local distinctiveness.” I’ve been lucky, too, to arrive for an early springtime, lush blossom at every turn.