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Typical Customs and Lingo

Posted on: November 8, 2016 By: Dwayne Davis

 -Ever heard of sun breaks? It does rain here, and Portlanders love those moments when the clouds part and the sun beams down—our “sun breaks.” There’s beauty in contrast.

-And in related weather usage, around here it’s partly sunny—never partly cloudy. When it’s clear and you can see Mt. Hood, we say “the mountain is out.”

-We call neighborhoods near the city center “close-in” (see Laurelhurst and Mt. Tabor in previous blog). These neighborhoods, and their homes, are highly valued because of their proximity to downtown, and for the fact that they are less dense, with more room for gardens and outdoor living. The weather here makes it perfect to grow nearly anything—thank that rain!240_f_46417112_eqyttvdruf3hyxlmq6bebopk33szse2w

-Traffic is more laid back Portlanders hate to honk their horns, which is considered quite rude, and often people wait too long at four-way stops in order not be seen as the aggressor making the first move. It’s charmingly polite.

-Life is more informal than in many cities, without the kinds of class pressure often seen elsewhere. It’s okay to wear a t-shirt, jeans, and tattoos to the opera, where a sweet older woman in a mink stole will be happy to chat with you in the drinks line. Wear anything you want out to dinner. There’s a real lack of pretension.

-Summer is truly valued here for its sun and warmth. Many people choose “staycations” so that they can enjoy the beautiful weather, maybe taking day trips or overnighters to the coast, the Columbia Gorge, or the mountains. There’s more beauty to be found up and over Mt. Hood to central and eastern, Oregon, too, and it’s all only a few hours from home.
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