Friday, March 11, 2011

Portlans Stays Weird, JTTF Not Going to Happen

Despite a near disaster last year in Pioneer Square, the Portland City Council has voted to keep Portland Police out of the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). The Christmas tree lighting ceremony has become a must go to event every year. On the Friday evening after Thanksgiving 1000’s gather in Pioneer Square to watch a 100 foot tall tree get its lights turned on. Last year, a young terrorist was caught in a sting by the FBI trying to detonate a truck bomb near the crowd. 100’s would have been killed or wounded

The unofficial mantra of Portland is “Keep Portland Weird” (look here and here) and this most certainly qualifies. Portlanders have been known for decades to run against the flow, probably something to do with the fact that the state fish is the Salmon. I am from Portland (a suburb actually) and have witnessed first hand Portland’s weirdness. It is what makes the city unique and I firmly believe decisions like not being part of the JTTF is a conscious one.  Seattle will always be known as the crown jewel of the Pacific Northwest so Portland has to do something to separate itself from the shadow of its much larger cousin city to the north.

While I don’t agree with the decision of the City Council to keep Portland Police out of the JTTF, the decision is actually truly “liberal”. Not the progressive liberalism that is sweeping the nation, but true liberalism based on liberty. Portland and Oregon have always had “go it our own way” about them. Heck, way back in the early 1970’s then-Governor Tom McCall wanted to purchase a surplus warship to keep California fishing boats from Oregon’s waters. And we all have seen those welcome signs that are on the borders of states as we cross over the border. Oregon’s had an interesting twist on the one on I-5 coming from California. It said “Welcome to Oregon, Enjoy Your Visit” What made it unique was the word “visit” was underlined, saying everything about how Oregonians felt about California way back when. The decsion to not build the Mt. Hood Freeway from downtown to the east side was also a decsion based on liberty. Portland and the counties did not want to basically steal land from land and home owners that would have needed to be clear out of the way. Portland has paid for that choice as the Banfield Freeway (I-84) is clogged to nearly beyond use each AM and PM.

I think these decsions, while i don't always agree with them, are the reason why, despite Portland's emersion in the condition know as liberalism, there has always been a strong under current of freedom (liberty) in the dicsion making processes. Not always, but just often enough to keep me interested and defending Portland.

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