In Oregon, there lies a place just outside the city of Portland where people go to escape being awesome. Every major city throughout our country has this. Los Angeles has Bakersfield. New York City has the entire state of New Jersey. Detroit has 8 Mile Road.
Located east of Portland in Multnomah County, Gresham is the fourth largest city in Oregon. The per capita income for this city was $19,588 for the last census taken in 2,000*. As the armpit of Multnomah County, Gresham spans a large section of agriculture area. Due to the low income housing environment, Gresham is plagued by gang violence and drugs. Activity related to shootings and meth house explosions can be viewed by Portlanders on KGW. Since we would never dare step foot in Gresham city limits, this is the only way we can experience the insanity… or unless your stereo was stolen from your car in Northwest.
Even though Tri-Met and City Police have been working together the past three years to increase passenger safety at the Max Blue Line stops, these still are hot spots for gang related activity. Basically, all those people unfortunate to be stuck in Gresham have to put up with this mess. The thing about Gresham that sucks the most: Gresham people hate Gresham as much as Portlanders.
On the positive note, there are some pretty decent people in Gresham. They happily drive their minivans on Powell and Division to downtown Portland once a month. With their Graco baby seats they purchased at Wal-Mart, Greshamites are those happy pedestrians you see at Waterfront Park. I love watching at how happy they are to escape the depression of suburbia.
You won’t meet someone who throws around Gresham pride. Kids aren’t sporting their Centennial Eagles or Sam Barlow Bruins sweatshirts in Portland. Why? Because they live in the most unhappy city in the metro area. As the Portland Development Commission has successfully been cleaning up Portland, low-income families are being pushed into Gresham. Gresham Development Commission… I have one word for you: Sandy.
*This is important to know, because of all the fancy resturants that exist in Gresham, Sizzlers is #1 in my book. Wait… you have a Red Lobster too?!?!