Hey from Portland! | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Hey from Portland!

I'm sitting here in my Portland, Ore., hotel room kinda bummed that I have to leave so soon. I've been here since Friday for AAN's national board meeting. We're having our next national convention here next June, so we met here to try it out. What a great city. I'd been here once before with Todd, but experienced a little more of the city this time with the guidance of the Williamette Week editor (the Pulitzer Prize-winning Williamette Week, I might add). Several things strike you about this city right away: (a) It is brimming with pride and self-confidence. (b) People believe in LOCAL. (c) The city has incorporated respect for the environment into about everything it does—and makes their "green" attitude" a tourist attraction. We all took th the MAX (light rail) to dinner Saturday, and there were lots of teenagers on their in Halloween costume with their bikes, which you can hang on the train. I loved watching a little fairy girl hop on her bike when she got her to speed to her party with her friends. (d) The people are very friendly—almost more friendly than in the South, it seems, if that can be possible.

Seriously, on the last point. One of the things that has really struck me is how good service is just about everywhere I go. It's as if there has been a city memo that gone out to every single person who lives here explaining how their quality of life will be better if they exude politeness, caring and kindness. I've never experienced quite the chain of good-service experiences I've had here anywhere else. In fact, it's the opposite of what I encountered when I lived in Colorado. And back home in Mississippi, it's a mixed bag. There are a lot of friendly people working in local businesses, but you too often encounter job resentment from people offering you services in businesses, like they have better things to do. Here, even my hotel cleaning woman left me an effusive note thanking me for the tip I left her! And you get the feeling that's just the way they operate here.

Oh, and don't think it's because I'm here as part of a group about to bring a bunch of money and people to the city. I encountered this everywhere I went alone yesterday when I had the day to myself and no one knew who I was.

Speaking of bringing money to a city, I've told the board I want to bring the convention to Jackson in a few years when we're ready to really handle it (right as more stuff comes online downtown would be great). We're talking about 400 to 500 of the most influential editors/publishers in the country for the under-40 audience; we want to show Jackson's renaissance off at the right time. So when do y'all think would be a good year to lobby for?

The good news is that our work with the JFP has gotten AAN members really curious about what's going on in Jacktown. So I think we can make this happen. But I'll want the JFP blogosphere to help me figure out how to shape the pitch, plan authentic entertainment, etc., so be ready to serve, peeps!

See y'all back in Jacktown. This is a great city, but it's always good to come on home.

P.S. I had dinner with Lynette and Edna Earl last night. They send their love. When Lynette picked me up, it was the first time I'd seen a "I get it once a week" sticker" on a car with an Oregon plate! More on those cool chicks soon.

Previous Comments

ID
108023
Comment

sounds exciting, Donna! Can't wait to hear more about the future plans... I miss Lynette - that's great she still has her bumper sticker. Be safe & hurry home...

Author
Izzy
Date
2006-10-30T13:26:58-06:00
ID
108024
Comment

I think you outside agitators who are always stirrin up stuff should stay on up there where you people are happy.

Author
Kingfish
Date
2006-10-30T14:34:33-06:00
ID
108025
Comment

Glad you're having a good time! :o) Portland rocks, by all accounts... As for the convention, I'm half inclined to say 2008 but a lot of folks are going to busy with the elections that year--maybe 2009? Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-10-30T15:33:59-06:00
ID
108026
Comment

No, wait, when's the AAN convention for '08...? That's September rather than October, right? Might be doable... Hmmm... Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-10-30T15:34:42-06:00
ID
108027
Comment

What does she get once a week? Meat loaf? Chicken? A trip to the store? I'm an old, married woman. Is there anything else? :) ;)

Author
Lady Havoc
Date
2006-10-30T17:18:26-06:00
ID
108028
Comment

Lynette is getting dinner at least once a week at that great restaurant where her sons cook—Three Doors Down, I think it's called. I had a lovely doggy bag from there for dinner on the plane today, complete with crusty Italian bread and a little container of the bean spread they give you for your bread. Yummy! ;-) AAN Convention is in June, Tom. But 2009 still might be the best year to lobby for—especially if Mississippi goes blue in 2008. They'll all want to come on down here and see what all the commotion is about. Of course, they will regardless by then. They're already looking at Mississippi with new eyes, it seems. Kingfish—it's such a joy to be back in the same state with you. :-P You should admit it, though: I'm your favorite INside agitator. Admit it. You just wish I was from somewhere else, kiddo. Ha! Good to be home, y'all.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-10-30T22:41:01-06:00
ID
108029
Comment

(I feel like I just got the restaurant name wrong. Long day. Lynette is very likely to chime in and correct me, though.)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-10-30T22:41:57-06:00
ID
108030
Comment

It has a nice write up on Fodor's. http://www.fodors.com/miniguides/[email protected]&cur_section=din&property_id=379450

Author
Lady Havoc
Date
2006-10-30T23:00:25-06:00

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