Dear NY Times, Don’t Encourage Them. Thank You.

February 4th, 2009  |  Published in this mortal coil

The NYT on my neighborhood, which has, apparently, been “saved” by “indie fashion boutiques” and Portland’s most overpriced office supply store:

“One of the best times to stroll Northeast Alberta Street is on a lazy Sunday, when 20-somethings walk their dogs, cyclists converge on cafes, and a woman sells tamales from a cooler.

“Sunday is also a good day to hit the street’s indie fashion boutiques. Shop owners are usually around and happy to chat, giving Northeast Alberta Street the air of a working artists’ colony.”

The “colony” part is not, I don’t believe, meant ironically.

My enthusiasm over this neighborhood has diminished considerably since we moved here, partly because of a certain chirpy disregard for the people who used to live here and an evident relief that they’re gone to wherever it is people like that go that this article captures and repeats.

We’ve lived in three neighborhoods in Portland since we moved here from Virginia, and this one is the most like Charlottesville, right down to its eye-contact-averse dog walkers and snotty coffee shop laptop zombies.

What really kills me about this piece in particular is that the NYT was here in May and wrote a much more sensitive piece that, among other things, embarrassed a local business person so badly she was moved to have the neighborhood newsletter qualify its endorsement of the article.

Here’s a moment the neighborhood’s middle class “saviors” have helped make sure won’t happen again:

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