It seems there is a kindness and gentle politeness in inner Portland that I have not encountered elsewhere in any city. Here a sign on a dry cleaning shop right between where many homeless live and the reasonably affluent Pearl District.


One more of many examples is that when we as pedestrians come to a curb, drivers will stop to let us cross. Sometimes the gesture is almost absurd. One time when Emma was crossing a 4 lane major thoroughfare and half way across a driver braked hard to let her pass but found himself a little too far and so stood right in Emma’s way. So he reversed!! to let her pass. A little crazy, and arguably dangerous, but coming from Sydney where even merging lanes is an opportunity for drivers to practically bear arms it makes me wonder. Has Portland done something particular and special to foster it’s startling civility? What does it take to create a culture of kindness? Or any virtue for that matter. Has Portland achieved something that school councils, church leaders and corporate bosses have failed to do?
I am at a loss as to how to ruminate any further.

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4 Responses to Kindness

  1. Michael says:

    Wonderful! I know that a number of churches in Portland have been very engaged in community transformation. Imago Dei’s ‘Love Portland’ campaign/project is one example. Perhaps this has been one positive influence on the city’s culture and ethos?
    (Nice to hear from you, by the way!)

  2. Whits says:

    I love the way you see the absolute good in things! It will interesting to see how different the various places are you visit on a “kindness barometer”.

  3. pmawarner says:

    Love acts of kindness with no agenda or want for return…maybe the only return required is to pay it forward…

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