INSITEVIEW- - tom shugart's weblog

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Ode to Oregon

We’re back home after a gorgeous trip to Oregon, whose praises I shall sing. Too bad I don’t have any Oregon readers—at least none that I know of (maybe b!x, the outstanding Portland blogger, who used to drop by every once in a while. But that was way back in the first flush of the early blogdays--before he converted his blog from personal to a communique on civic affairs).

Anyway, Oregon is not only beautiful but mellow—the way Northern California used to be before the age of the Yuppies.

Up until around fifteen years ago, there was a whole crop of outlying towns around here that had been populated by former city-dwellers whose agenda was living the laid-back life and escaping consumerism. It was great fun to visit these places because one could relax and enjoy a sense of freedom from the acquisitive pressures and poseur-ism of the urban scene.

Nowadays, except for prettier surroundings, these places, in terms of life-style, are nearly indistinguishable from the city. Materialism and competitiveness rule. The same SUV’s, glitzy boutiques, celebrity chefs, ten-dollar martinis, unaffordable art, wine snobs, and show-offs sully the scene.

Some call it progress. Rural towns going cute-sy is not my idea of progress.

But, lo and behold, Oregon has retained its soul. The towns are wonderful, real, down-to earth, but with enough of a hip element to make them interesting. As in the old days in California, the primary driving force among the urban transplants is definitely non-materialistic. How refreshing!

This made for a great vacation. I’ll be back.

Of particular note, I might add, is the town of Ashland. A gem! The perfect combination of great scenery; culture mixed with down-home people; hip-ness with small-town mellowness; the way things used to be co-existing with the way they are now—minus the phoniness.

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