The Office of Civic Suggestions is pleased to offer the following guide to Portland, Oregon:
Welcome to Portland.
The Office of Civic Suggestions is dedicated to creating a Young-Creatives-Positive environment for the Young Creatives that are assumed to be our largest up-and-coming demographic, so that they will feel comfortable doing whatever it is they do, which is expected to become clearer over time. The city strives to foster the attitude that nothing is required of anybody, and that no one really has to do anything if they don’t feel like it. As an example, it is not compulsory to be in a band, as long as you can hear a band from inside your house.
Whereas every homeowner is encouraged to build either a Poetry Post or a chicken house, it is not mandatory. A mini-library may be substituted. The Office of Civic Suggestions is pleased to report that, citywide, we achieve nearly 100% compliance in this endeavor, due to our collective will. This uniformity of purpose is a point of pride in an otherwise diverse population, wherein people between barista jobs rub elbows with people looking for graphic design work.
Conformity will not be monitored, but you really should have a dog, and your dog really should have an outfit, spangly antlers (in season), or, at minimum, a bandana. Also, he or she should go to day care. A spot under a sidewalk cafe table may be substituted as long as it puts the canine citizen in a position to net a belly-rub from a complete stranger. It is felt that dog ownership knits society together in important ways, but those unwilling to contribute should feel free to go out in the back yard and bark just for the hell of it, and if seen unaccompanied at a dog park, should signal their good intentions by accessorizing with a poop bag.
Visitors are advised that it is possible to pass as native by going to the symphony with one pant-leg rolled up on the gear side. There is no citizenship test to take, per se, but newcomers, if they would like to be comfortable, should familiarize themselves with the bitterness scale of beer and be able to use “bioswale” in a sentence. Political involvement is encouraged at every level. Remember to begin your letter to the editor with “so, let me get this straight.”
It is not true that it is against the law to situate a Walmart in Portland. Walmart is merely subject to the same zoning regulations as any other commercial entity, including the requirements that all new development be anchored by an independent book store, provide adequate skateboard lockers, and not be a Walmart.
Yes, those are real ferns growing all the way up the trees. Yes, the solar panels are supposed to go on the side of the roof without the moss on it. Yes, we have a state fungus. No, there is no place to buy an umbrella.
The City of Portland is proud of its support for the arts, and encourages visits to our many galleries, street fairs, and the traveling tagged-railcar exhibit. In addition, all of our children have been subjected to thick praise since infancy, and their scribblings and beadwork are available most weekends at a sidewalk blanket near you, next to a dog. No money need be exchanged, but you are expected to pause thoughtfully and smile. A pocketful of kibble should see you through several blocks.
Finally, the idea that you can create art by merely “putting a bird on it” is a gross oversimplification. It should really be a crow.
Thank you. Please share this flyer with at least five people before placing it, ink-side-down, over a noxious weed.