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City Smackdown: Portland Versus Boston Rematch

Posted April 15, 2008

A year ago, All Day Coffee closed up its West Coast operation and moved to Boston. The journey was perilous, involving bad truck stop coffee and an iPod with only one day of music. Not to mention the terrible weather in Kentucky that forced me to drive slowly and miss out on the bourbon tastings. And if youíre wondering, why I drove through Kentucky if I was trying to get from Oregon to Massachusetts, then youíll understand exactly how perilous the undertaking was.

But now All Day Coffee is fully moved into its new digs, and it is time to reassess the decision to come East. At first I was quite resentful of the Commonwealth, but then I realized it had some things that Portland could never offer, namely sunny days in winter and people over 35. Which one is better? It all comes down to whether you prefer volcanoes or redheads.

Sporting Teams
Portland: Has a fine, newly reformed NBA squad, and no other professional teams, unless you consider the torturous drive up I-5 to see the Mariners.

Boston: The Sox won the World Series, the Pats one eight million games (except, apparently, the one that mattered), and the Celtics record is .800. I havenít checked in on the Revolution lately but last year they also made the playoffs. Sadly, such a winning spirit makes it easier for me to fly to Portland and drive to Seattle to see the Mariners than it is to get tickets at Fenway.
Advantage: Boston

Boston: According to volcanologist Scott Rowland, there are no volcanoes in the state of Massachusetts. Or Rhode Island. This guy works at the University of Hawaii so he should know what heís talking about.

Portland: Oregon is home to dozens of volcanoes in the Cascade range, as well as one in Mount Tabor, within the city limits. Does your home town have a volcano? Iíll bet it doesnít.
Advantage: Portland

Ability to make a sandwich
Boston: In Boston they want you to leave and leave quickly, so they can feed the next busy diner. There will be no attention to your dietary restrictions, they will bring you the wrong meal, but at least youíre no longer hungry.

Portland: The person making the sandwich is sporting dreadlocks (ew!) and will take at least 45 minutes to make a sandwich, as he or she will attempt to balance the sprouts you didnít order over the hummus. Iíve often had to drop into the Fred Meyer for some chips while waiting for a bagel (toasted, with lox) at Noahís Bagels to prevent glucose withdrawal.
Advantage: Boston

Boston: snow snow snow cold rain heat humidity cold rain leaves change snow snow snow snow snow.

Portland: Itís weird, and I probably shouldnít tell you this, but Portlandís weather isnít all that bad. Sure it rains 75% of the year, but itís not a hard rain. Itís more that itís misty. And you donít have to shovel it.
Advantage: Portland

Boston: There are many reports, both anecdotal and trivial, that suggest that the gene for redheadedness is disappearing from the collective pool (dyed Goths do not apply here, as they cannot pass their gothy horror to their offspring, should they ever bother to breed). Given Bostonís Irish heritage, the city is virtually swimming in redheads. The only place you'll see more redheads is the Weasley family reunion.

Portland: Most of the redheads residing are of the Gothic persuasion, and have been disqualified from official surveys.
Advantage: Boston

Boston: a long time ago there were cow paths. These were things that people like John Adams used to drive cattle back and forth on Beacon Hill (if Adams were a rancher rather than a lawyer). Well, all the cows moved somewhere else (most likely Portland, where there are more vegetarians) so they no longer had use for cowpaths. The leaders of Boston decided to pave the cowpaths, and call them streets. Rumor has it that the only cartographer who has successfully mapped the streets of Boston went insane, and is living comfortably in a nice padded cell in Arkham Asylum.

Portland: itís a grid. There are four quadrants. The city is bisected by a river. Little known fact: it only took Lewis and Clark 2 years to get to Portland, whereas they were both lost in the South End for at least a decade.
Advantage: Portland

Overall score: since I feel like it is my duty as a scientist to appreciate dying species, Iím going with redheads. Boston wins! By a hair.



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