By Bob Riemann
My wife and I had visited Portland many times before we moved to the city three years ago. Living here and seeing the city as a summer visitor are two different things.
A week or so after we moved into our high rise Cumberland Ave. apartment building, the city’s character came into sharper focus. It was a fine October day and I was walking around Bayside looking all around and not where I was walking when I stubbed my toe on the curb and took a hard fall.
“Are you all right?” someone called to me. When I looked up two cars had stopped and a woman was half way out of one car offering to help me get up.
Well, I am in my late seventies so I could understand their concern. I got to my feet, thanked them and walked on, stepping a bit more carefully.
In many ways that incident captured the spirit of Portland — friendly, willing to help out.
When I walked my dog Sheba, people would stop their cars, roll down the windows, sometimes even step out to tell me what a wonderful dog I had, how they used to have one like it, how great dogs were, etc., while they petted my dog. Sheba, who was 16, died last fall, and now I am the one stopping others and asking if I can pet their dog.
As I ventured more into the community my first impressions were reinforced over and over again. These adventures were mine alone. My lovely wife has great difficulty walking. But I shared my experiences with her when I returned home.
All the art galleries got me interested in art. And I found the gallery owners and other artists very welcoming. The same went for the writing groups I joined.
As senior citizens my wife and I are delighted to have so many young families and college students in the area. That is so much nicer than living in some Sun Belt senior community.
I could go on about the attractions of Portland, the wealth of music from classical to rock, pop and jazz, fine restaurants, etc.
But while that is all wonderful, it is the accepting nature of its citizens that truly makes Portland a haven for retirees.