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I found this all very interesting because I lived in Boston for quite a few years. Since moving to Portland last year, I've come to think, like Randy, that the two cities have a lot of similarities -- though to be fair, he should mention one big minus about Boston: It costs about twice as much to live there than in Portland. When I was there, almost everyone I knew either lived right in the heart of the city (and spent virtually every penny they earned on housing) or lived an hour and a half outside the city (and spent 3 to 4 hours each day commuting to and from work).

Although this is a tangential point, I'd like to quibble a bit with Randy about the music. From what I hear he's right about the Boston Symphony these days, but that's due entirely to the recent arrival of James Levine as its new music director; when I was there it was pretty stodgy. As for Portland, probably the thing that gave me my single most pleasant surprise upon moving here was how good the Oregon Symphony sounded and how innovative its programming is. He should give them another try when he gets back.

Bottom line: Boston is unquestionably one of America's great cities -- but Portland stacks up pretty well in comparison.


I love his point about not having a major university in Portland. I've never thought about the effects that has on the environment, but he's right. It's funny this hasn't come up more, since there have been so many discussions about attracting the "creative class" to Portland.


A minor note- The "Berkeley" that Gragg refers to is likely the renowned "Berklee" College of Music in Boston, not the city adjoining Oakland across the bay from San Francisco.

Ray Whitford

The point about Portlands lack of a university (compared UofW up North, UofC at Berkeley down South, or Harvard in Boston) is a point that Portland and Oregon didn't and won't solve without one of two things happening.

OSU or OofU will need to consider Portland a co-equal campus (they won't and in my opinion shouldn't) or PSU and OHSU have to look at a slow process of creating a framework that supports their unique capacities but places them under one entity.

The second way will also be tough but is more doable then the first option. The State Rep. or Senator who mentioned this idea last year was on the right track.


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