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Living In Portland

What I love about Portland: Two Degrees of Separation, not Six

Editor's note: the following is a guest post from Jennifer Hutchins, the executive director of the Creative Portland Corporation.

If the number of Facebook “likes” on my recent post are sufficient proof, I’d venture to guess that I’m not the only Portlander who has had a similar post-cappuccino experience—one that exemplifies why this city is just so damn great.

On Friday morning, in a soft August drizzle, I walked down from my office across from SPACE Gallery to one of Portland’s many fine coffeehouses, Arabica, to meet a very recent transplant from Queens, New York (just moved in July 1). He’s heard through the grapevine that I might have some suggestions for how he, as a land trust director, and his wife, a graphic designer, might meet people in Portland (shameless plug: check out 2 Degrees Portland).

We talk energetically for 90 minutes about the pros and cons of living here and about our mutual passions for the environment, creativity, design, science, art, education, croissants... I learn that he’s a Stanford graduate who was living in New York City when he and his wife realized they wanted their first child to enter kindergarten in a more relaxed, supportive community. Having summered here in his youth, Portland seemed ideal. He started looking for a job in January, and here he is, employed and ready to contribute his energy and ideas.

So, back to the “what-makes-Portland-great” part: Finishing my coffee and offering to make a few connections for him, we step outside and, lo and behold, there's one of them walking down the street straight at us. Perfect. “And, here’s precisely someone you should meet.” They immediately exchange cards and promising composting tips, then discover that the established Portlander is getting married this weekend on the same island where the newcomer spent the summers of his youth. Friends forever. I love this place.

Photo: from the February 2 Degrees event.

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