I rode the train in and the bus back, visiting Portland from 10am on Tuesday to 10am Thursday. The weeks before had been busy too: I didn't even get a chance to join the local Tri-Cities co-working group, being heads down in client work and conference calls. Taking public transportation down the river to a very public town was a good reminder of how community matters — both the tech community and the wide world it should serve.
I was struck by how lovely life can be in a town like Portland — warm coffee shops everywhere, so much fine food and drink in every district, and such useful book and tech and music shops scattered all over, all bustling with interesting and amiable people. And how empty a city can still be — the streets are littered with people who have so blantantly lost or tossed every benefit of society except the worthlessness of its loose change.
So I'm grateful to the many people who helped Portland feel not-too-far from home during my time there:
- Rafa from Grafa Geographic Design, Tim and Ryan at Ecotrust, and Justin with Mapbox were all willing to share lunch and "geo" shop talk with a random stranger from out of town.
- The crew sent by Couchbase gave me a warm welcome to their conference tour, and even let me share some of the things I've been working on lately. It was great to meet some other new Couch and mapping enthusiasts, as well as catch up with what Chris and Tyler and Mikeal are doing these days.
- Big thanks to Ben who opened his home (and vintage electronics closet) and Liz whose promising upstart PDX vintage furniture rental company more-or-less sponsored my lodging (and whose husband I stole for not one but two late evenings of epic retro-nerdish conversation!)
Portland's a great place to get offline but stay connected. Though it's good to be back home, I was blessed to visit again.