Keep Portland Weird

Portland’s unofficial motto is “Keep Portland Weird,” and that’s a reputation the city proudly strives to live up to. Between the chicory-pilfering sous chefs and the battle between the machete-wielding stepdad and the kid who defended himself with a garden rake, there’s plenty of weird to go around. But even I was unprepared for this particular sight a few days ago.

RIP Bigfoot

We were driving through one of Portland’s nicer neighborhoods last Saturday on our way to lunch. This area of tree-lined streets and beautiful big houses is called Ladd’s Addition, and is just south of Hawthorne Boulevard, a favorite hangout. I would love to live there. I would also need to have quite a bit of money to live there, so for now it’s a distant dream. Anyway, when we came upon the above sight, we all did double takes. And then parked the car to take pictures.

Now, I’m sure there’s not really a body beneath that dirt piled next to the curb in front of somebody’s house. The owners probably had topsoil delivered for a gardening project, and thought it would be funny to stick a couple of crosses in the dirt.

I’m about 85% sure, anyway. If this were any other city, I’d be positive. But it’s Portland, so you never really know.

This got me thinking about all the weird sights I have seen around town. Fortunately, I have photographic evidence of many of them. So, without further ado, enjoy!

Is your city weird, too? Do you have photographic evidence? And what do you think of the first photo: topsoil for the garden, or a homeowner taking revenge on the guy who always steals his parking spot?

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Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

20 thoughts on “Keep Portland Weird

  1. You know, my BFF from high school moved to Portland with her husband, who had always wanted to live on the west coast. They have lived all over (Chicago, Orlando, Memphis, Cleveland, Denver). She absolutely hated it! She gave it five years and just couldn’t get used to the weirdness!

    The Eastern European stuff here is weird to me and I will never get used to the garage party, but other than that, I don’t find anything like you’ve pictured!


    1. Well, this type of weird isn’t for everybody. I guess you could call it an acquired taste. I’d probably like the Eastern European stuff, since that’s my heritage!


  2. Portland isn’t necessarily any weirder than any other good-sized town (trust me, Albuquerque & Santa Fe are ODD), but we keep our strangeness out in front, where everyone can see it. If PDX were a novel, our weirdness would be Boo Radley, hanging out on the front porch!


  3. Well, you know me Mark, I’m a weirdo so I honestly think I would love Portland because it seems to be a harmless, open, and fun weirdness.

    A lot of people think NYC is weird too, but personally I LOVE it!

    I enjoy any place that is out in front with their weirdness because it’s open and honest.


    1. It’s funny, there are frequent head-to-head comparisons between Austin and Portland. Both seem to have their share of weirdness!

      The weather is one of the best things about living here, though! 🙂


  4. Austin has the same motto only theirs is “official”. Cool places often have a weirdness that makes them so appealing to cool people. I just returned from visiting family in Alabama…signs everywhere said “Vote No – Keep Blount County Special” which means “Let’s keep our drunks driving across the county line to purchase alcohol. That’s weird.


    1. Oh, I know all about Austin. Never been there, but it’s supposed to be similar to Portland. In fact, there is an ongoing “feud” between the cities over which is weirder. I find that hilarious. We both want to lay claim to the title!

      Question: when you went to Alabama, did you have a banjo on your knee?


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