Tale of Two Cities

As much as I love NYC and New Yorkers and the ultimate big-city stimulation and delight and inspiration, I get an almost punch in the stomach when I come over the mountain and see the Pacific Ocean. Home! I just barely got back into California mode when I took off for Oregon. Coming down yesterday, everything looked so green, especially compared to parched California.

Portland is as sweet as ever. It’s so mellow for a city. In fact, Oregon and Oregonians are mellow. The Feng Shui of the whole state is right. (When I first came here in the late ’60s a long-haired guy came up to me when I was getting gas and handed me a freshly-rolled joint.) After coffee at Stumptown Roastery yesterday, I headed out to the coast, where it was windy and wild. Miles of sandy beaches, off-shore rocks, and a medium-sized swell.

I decided to head back to McMinnville, followed a curvy rural road west, checked into McMenamin’s Oregon Hotel, a venerable 4-story brick structure built in 1905, then headed out to the Golden Valley Brewery, where they make all 10 or so types of tap beer they serve. The bar (shown here) was salvaged from a hotel that burned down in Portland. The owner, Peter Kircher, has a nearby ranch where he raises vegetables and beef for the brewery; they feed spent barley from brewing to the cattle—nice cycle.

The playoffs were on. Those guys are so beautiful. LeBron exudes power (and seems to be a fine man to boot) and the Warrior’s wizard, the guy who chews on his mouthpiece like a cigar, is a fox, a coyote, a trickster. Not too shabby an evening, with a couple of glasses of chocolately* porter and local beef and incredible basketball.

Oh yeah, the bar was playing Otis Redding songs and “A Change Is Gonna Come” came on. I’ve heard it dozens of times, but somehow never like this. Maybe because I was alone in the bar, or the beer, or whatever, but it was a bit like being on acid, Otis and the horns…lordy! Speaking of beautiful men…

McMinnville is a special town. It’s just got it. It’s Friday morning and I’m at the Cornerstone Roastery, getting ready to head out for today’s adventures. Tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday I’m doing appearances at the Mother Earth News Fair in Albany.

*On a BBC program recently, an English actress referred to a dog as “bitey.”

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

3 Responses to Tale of Two Cities

  1. Welcome back to Oregon, Lloyd. I was born here (centuries ago, it seems) and have lived all over the western part of the state, including Yamhill County, of which McMinnville is the seat. I've tried to leave Oregon a number of times, but was never able to stay away for very long; the place is in my soul….

  2. As an Oregon expat I remember Mac back in the 1940's as the go to place for beer drinkin', because it's right down the road from Newberg, which had a rep for 25 churches, and NO BARS.

  3. We live in Vancouver Washington and never go to Oregon, we prefer the Washington coast and to wine country and various cities in Eastern Washington..No longer can one buy or even rent in Oregon, it is expensive and the people are just the pits..I say having to had lived there and took out of Portland the day after my high school graduation, lived and went to college in San Diego and worked in Ventura, Santa Barbara and the bay area, no longer can a person buy a home in California either and no water and tons of prisons the most of any state and jobs are deplorable nope I will take Washington with it's no income tax and retail tax and fine schools and nice people, only thing of it is no jobs either and lots of hunger and homelessness from people coming from California and Oregon and Idaho they don't go to the Seattle are where there are jobs no they just hunker down here and starve, I serve many each week at a food place, I cook, bake, roast, and clean and pack lunches for people to survive, lived here this father's day 37 years and own a tiny home with the hubs, the town has gone down but still the people are warm and helpful, we know we are the helpers..Portland not so much anymore, any state that elected that governor who let his fiancé steal and did nothing is not any state I want to go and or live in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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