Journalism

Postscript: July

A portion of the Portland skyline at dusk, taken from an elevated portion of Portland's Goose Hollow neighborhood.

A portion of the Portland skyline at dusk, taken from an elevated portion of Portland’s Goose Hollow neighborhood.

I have a tendency to fall in love with every city I visit.

My first impression of Denver was fantastic; I could see myself living in Boston; liked my quick glance at Kansas City; and found San Francisco to be desirable, except for the rising rents.

But Portland has provided a thrill that goes beyond a superficial swoon over a new city. I’m not quite settled but I’m not quite new. Caught somewhere in the middle, I suppose.

I’m still ticking off my list of tourist attractions, and I haven’t found a favorite local bar; but I did buy a Portland Timbers shirt, and Google Maps isn’t a downtown navigation necessity like it was at first.

Craigslist provided an adequate replacement for my downtown dorm. I researched the price of season ski passes and am planning a long weekend in Vancouver. It’s now ordinary to see the abundant VW vans and bike lanes along highways.

My July was spent embracing the fluidity — I’m not new, nor a Portlander of extended tenure — that was ushered in during my third month here. I like it, both the feeling and the place.

***

My July travels took me to central Oregon, the Puget Sound and Oregon Coast.

In my first trip, to Bend, I met up with family and spent three nights at my aunt and uncle’s home there. My trip happened to coincide with a summer festival taking place downtown, which gave us good reason to enjoy the fares that the growing city has to offer.

I traveled to Indianola, Washington over the next weekend to visit a friend who was vacationing there. We walked his dogs along the water at low tide, had a wonderful dinner on the deck and toured Seattle before I headed home on Sunday.

And on short notice, my friends and I sprung for a cheap hotel in Astoria, where we checked out the historic downtown district and toured three local breweries.

***

“The Hollister story is one of ‘passion, youth and love of the sea,’ evoking ‘the harmony of romance, beauty, adventure.’ None of this is true. Most of Abercrombie & Fitch’s brands—including the now defunct Gilly Hicks and Ruehl No. 925—have had fictional backstories, conceived by Mike Jeffries, the company’s former C.E.O.”
The New Yorker, on the real Hollister

“Yet amid all of the furor over the gold and where it might lie hidden, one question — which could well be the key to it all — has been mostly pushed aside: Why on earth did Forrest Fenn do it?”
— California Sunday, on a 42-pound treasure chest left somewhere in New Mexico

“What haunts Lila’s parents are the moments that make a life, the moments their daughter will never experience: A boyfriend. High heels. Learning how to drive. The list does not end.”
The Oregonian/OregonLive, on a 4-year-old girl’s final birthday party

“They’re teenagers, but some girls are already married, while some boys are the only wage earners in their families. Until recently, some had never known life outside a refugee camp. For some, this month marks their first day of school – not just this year, but ever.”
Phoenix Magazine, on the ‘School of Babel’

“Maharaj sinks the rake’s tines into an ankle-deep thicket of dirty diapers, hypodermic needles, crusted food, hot sauce packets, broken Tupperware and cockroaches, living and dead. A South African immigrant of Indian descent, he never expected that his piece of America would look like this.”
The Los Angeles Times, on San Bernardino, a ‘broken city’

“Throw your Fitbit in the garbage, leave your treadmill under the bed in the guest room, and go. Don’t tell anybody. No Facebook updates. Hell, leave your phone at home. Just go take a long walk. It’s that simple. Put one foot in front of the other until you find what you’ve been missing.”
The Inlander, on walking

“On Earth, Justin Coleman never cared for fishing, one of his father’s passions. But someday, years from now, Dean Coleman believes, the father and son will meet at the pearly gates and find a good lake.”
The Tampa Bay Times, on families of U.S. veterans who died serving their country

“He told me he’d just met her. A few days had been enough to know. He had given up thinking he could find the one. But there she was. They were going to travel together, see the world and be nomads, as he wanted. And she wanted. And I never did.”
Narrative.ly, on a woman whose wedding was called off when her fiancé fell in love with another woman. (Read this story, too, by the other woman.)

“Ohio Statehouse reporters learned long ago not to miss a Kasich public event because they never knew what might come out of his mouth, such as in the first year of his governorship when he called a Columbus police officer who had given him a ticket ‘an idiot.’ ”
The Columbus Dispatch, on John Kasich

“A deer darted into the street. She braked until it passed, a fawn lit by her headlights, running toward the bushes across the road. ‘Oh, it’s a baby,’ she said, and there were 406 miles left to go.”
The Washington Post, on a woman’s 407-mile drive to get an abortion

***

I read The Boys in The Boat, by Daniel James Brown, this month. It has my highest recommendation; reporters (and all readers, for that matter) will likely appreciate the level of detail laced into Brown’s account of the University of Washington rowing team’s quest for 1936 Olympic gold.

You should listen to this Longform Podcast interview with Margaret Sullivan, the New York Times’ public editor.

I recently reported about a fire that destroyed a historic wooden baseball stadium and a 97-year-old artist who stopped painting only weeks before her death.

***

As always, thanks for reading.

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  1. Pingback: Postscript: August | Jim Ryan - September 2, 2015

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My name is Jim Ryan, and I'm a breaking news reporter for The Oregonian and OregonLive in Portland. I'm an Ohio University graduate from Gaylord, Michigan.

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