There is no more terrifying bogeyman in all of Portland.
The beast steals our jobs and our self-respect. It keeps us from buying homes.
It is The Californian.
Fear of Golden State transplants goes back decades in Oregon, even sparking a tongue-in-cheek — and yet quite serious — 1970s zero-population-growth movement called the James G. Blaine Society, one of whose mottos was “Don’t Californicate Oregon.”
Now, with real-estate prices surging like never before and traffic and pollution seemingly worse by the day, anger at Californians has reached a new boiling point in Oregon’s largest city. And it reached a flashpoint early Sunday morning on Northeast 59th Avenue, just south of Sandy Boulevard.
Preston Page and Jessica Faraday, who moved to Portland from Southern California in February, woke up to find hateful messages such as “Go back to California” spray-painted across their front door, the front of their house and their car. The vehicle also had deep scratches gouged into it.
The vandalism apparently happened at about 2:15 a.m. — a neighbor heard “a really loud metal-on-metal sound,” Faraday said. The neighbor looked out the window and saw a man striding into the night.
Page and Faraday believe they know what sparked the property destruction. On Saturday, Page, who works for Adidas, pulled up in front of the house to drop Faraday off. Northeast 59th Avenue is a narrow street, and the vehicle coming along behind them couldn’t get past. The driver wasn’t willing to wait 30 seconds, Page said. He barked at Page, and Page responded. The man, working his car around Page and Faraday’s Prius, ended the exchange with these parting words: “Go back to f—ing California!” He had spotted the Golden State license plate on the vehicle.
Needless to say, the newcomers aren’t happy about the vandalism; they have filled out a police report and hope there might be some justice, legal or karmic, brought down on the vandal. But they’re not letting one awful Portlander get them down on their new hometown.
Page has the long blond locks and easygoing manner of the stereotypical Californian, but he’s no bogeyman. He laments that Portland is losing its “eclectic feel” and understands that “rising prices cause tension that, unfortunately, is natural.” He and Faraday love Portland — its past, its present and, they hope, its future. “Other than this,” Page said, “people have been fantastic here.”
The vandalism, he added, “shouldn’t be a reflection on Portland as a whole. It’s one person who was too scared to have a conversation” and childishly acted out.
— Douglas Perry