Portland’s beloved Portland building is in trouble! The postmodern structure (designed by renowned Target employee Michael Graves) needs $95 million in repairs according to the Oregonian. That’s a lot of money, guys! It’s very possible that the world’s first ever (FIRST EVER) postmodern office building is going to get wrecking ball’ed away sometime soon, and that’s a shame. But if it does, there’s an important part of it we really should save.
You probably already know this, but the Portland Building has a pretty cool statue on it.
Portlandia is made out of hammered copper (just like the Statue of Liberty!) she’s a lady statue (just like Liberty!) and is wearing a robe toga (remind you of any iconic American statuary? I think so). Also, just like Liberty is an iconic and instantly recognizable symbol of New York, freedom, and pretty good pizza, the mere sight of Portlandia reminds everyone of food carts and tasty coffee coffee. She is nationally known as a symbol of our town. She is our Space Needle, our Golden Gate, our Wall Drug. Everyone has taken the time to hang out on Fifth and go “ooh” at the big statue.
Everyone who moves to or visits Portland does that. Everyone.
We need to preserve this iconic, instantly-recognizable treasure even as the Portland building meets its end. Portlandia, my friends, needs a new home.
You know who goes to the Portland building on a regular basis? Water bureau employees! You know who goes to Powell’s on a regular basis? Water bureau employees and also everyone else. Right now only a few lucky civil servants get to look at Portlandia when they go to work, but if she was at Powell’s (like above the big sign on tenth and Burnside) everyone in town would see her when to go to pick up the new James Patterson novel.
On top of Big Pink
The U.S. Bancorp Tower (or “Big Pink”) is not the tallest building in Portland. The Wells Fargo Center is, by less than ten feet. That doesn’t seem right to me. Does it seem right to you? No. Okay then. But, a lot of people think it is and it’s a prettier building and it really should be taller. If we were to put Portlandia on top of Portland’s biggest, pinkest building, Big Pinkie would have a few extra feet of elevation and beat out the boring old Wells Fargo Center by a trident. One Portland icon would help out another! Everyone wins.
On stage at Mary’s Club
Mary’s Club is Portland’s oldest strip club. It’s an institution! Portlandia is a lady and she’s wearing a toga robe that is certainly not a complete set of clothes. She would fit right in with the other ladies who are also not wearing complete sets of clothes, and instead of a pole the dancers could use her trident. Everyone who dances at Mary’s would have a big, metallic dance partner! Don’t you want a big, metallic dance partner? I do.
In Front of The Original Hotcake House on Powell
So, this is a kind of private thing to admit here, but I’ve gone out with my friends and consumed alcohol one or two times. Sometimes when those evenings go really, really late we’ve ended up at the Original Hotcake House on Powell, because it’s open 24 hours and after you’ve had too many Old Crows a pancake or two can can totally hit the spot. Sometimes I get sort of moody on nights like that and wonder if going out and obliterating myself with Old Crow after Old Crow is really the best way to spend my life. I wonder if I could have just stayed in and read a book or knitted a cat sweater. Even though I’m with my friends on the nights when we end up at the Original Hotcake House on Powell, it’s lonely. Lonely on the inside. I’m having a really hard time with this idea, but I hope you sort of understand.
On nights like that nothing would comfort me more than a towering monument to civic pride. My friends and I would pull up to the Original Hotcake House on Powell, and Portlandia would be right there, a symbol of strength steadfastness. My life might be a mess, and I will always regret the books I didn’t read and the cat sweaters I didn’t knit, but Portlandia is there. She is strong. She is strong enough for all of us.
Above the main entrance of the SE Hawthorne New Season
This one time I was in the SE Hawthorne New Seasons and an employee talked to this lady who wasn’t wearing shoes. He was very polite and said that he was really sorry, but because New Seasons was a food place people had to wear shoes there. The lady said that was okay and no problem and she was just leaving anyway. Everything was totally cool a no one used bad words. That spirit of openness and communication is precisely the kind of thing represented by a giant statue reaching down and making a beckoning gesture, welcoming to Portland ships, travelers, and Californians who want to live here.
Kern Park is named after kerning, the practice spacing letters in fonts so they line up right when you turn them into words. Portland has a park named after kerning! Isn’t that quirky? Keep Portland Weird! I think we should put Portlandia here because Kern Park is near my house.
Those are my ideas! Where do you think we should put Portlandia?