182 F Rhodes
Better Together: Restoring the American Community
Why is Portland socially more active?
How much does one person have to do, to make a difference?
A sense of community is
the key to any successful group of people. Now, I moved from Nebraska in 2002
to Portland, and between the two cities, there is a huge difference in sense of
community. In my neighborhood in Millard (the perfect suburb outside of Omaha)
we had an association and everyone knew everyone in our neighborhood and their dogs. But that really was the extent of it.
You didn’t wander outside your neighborhood and you sure didn’t protest in the streets. Nebraska
tends to be very quiet people that like to bitch about how they don’t like anything and how they don’t want to
do anything to change what they don’t like.
Then I moved to West
Linn (another perfect little suburb) outside of Portland and found
it similar in the sense of neighborhood associations but a complete one-eighty on the quiet and not doing anything about what
they don’t like. Since January of two-thousand and two Portland has had
so many protests I’ve lost count. Portland has had so many changes because of various protests. It’s pretty astonishing to me to see one person get
together with another and another and so on and so forth and change something for the better. I think it is fantastic.
Why is Portland
one of the most active cities in the United States? In my
opinion its several reasons. One of them being the fact that Portland and its surrounding environment is beautiful, and we
has humans want beautiful to stick around, so we keep it around by doing what it takes to maintain beauty. Secondly, I believe
people of like characteristics flock together, because like I’ve stated in past papers, people want to be comfortable
in their surroundings. Thirdly, could it be that the diversity of Portland has
to do with some of it. Portland as a whole is extremely diverse, no one is the
minority ( yes in some sections of town it may be heavily populated of one culture) so people don’t feel inferior so
they are willing to voice their opinion without the fear of rejection.
What does one individual
have to do to make a difference? I think progress is contagious. Pick up trash in the park, other people will see it and do
the same, and before long half the city’s population is recycling and taking efforts to save the environment. My economics
teacher was talking in class the other day and he said something very valid, he said if you are interested in something, get
a book on it and find out what it is really about and then peruse it. I think that is what Portlander’s are doing. They are interested in environmental issues, personal rights, and well anything else
you can think of. A little gesture goes a long way in a contagious city like Portland.
Smile at a stranger, watch them smile back, I bet they pass it on.