Yes, I am still alive, and so is the blog despite any errors you may have seen for a couple of days… (if you didn’t, just pretend nothing happened.) That said, I’ve been extremely busy this last – wow – month, as of tomorrow. Busy enough to forget it’s also my birthday tomorrow until this past Thursday.
But, I’m having a blast in my new home of Portland. I signed the least on my first-ever apartment on the 23rd of last month, and it’s slowly starting to look and feel like home. Having the internet finally on certainly helps with that, even if it is, unfortunately, via Comcast.
So, what have I been up to? Well, if you’ve been following along on Instagram or the Picture Posts (via Instagram), you’re probably aware of two things: I’ve moved to Portland, and I’ve yet to have a dull moment here. That’s Portland, OR by the way, where I’ve started my first job out of Drexel as the Website Administrator for Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Company. It’s kind of hard to describe what we do at Schoolhouse as, to be honest, I’m still learning a ton about the products we make and sell. I can tell you that I work in a wicked cool hundred year-old building. NBC apparently agrees with that, as Grimm is shot right next to our building. Can’t say I’ve ever watched the show, nor did I ever hear of it until starting at Schoolhouse though. We’re on the very far end of NW 23rd (we’re actually at 21st), but trust me, it’s worth the walk (and no, I don’t get paid to say that. That’s my own, honest opinion.) I also don’t get paid to say that we have very awesome perks, like a Ristretto Roasters on our first floor, paid holidays (including today, Labor Day), a generous employee discount, plenty of food, a $2,000 espresso machine in the kitchen, and on occasion, free stuff. If that sounds good to you, we are hiring.
As for the apartment, I did have to increase my original budget, but I’m pretty happy I did. I’m at the Cyan PDX with a great view of PSU, the MAX lines, and Portland Streetcar. The neighborhood is great for walking in, and it’s a pretty easy walk down to South Waterfront, which I love for two main reasons: the aerial tram and Tilikum Crossing (which now that I’ve had to spell out, I realize I’ve very likely been pronouncing it wrong. Oops.) Pro tip: if you move in to a residential complex and it has a welcome package, read it. I get a steeply discounted annual Portland Streetcar pass, which is not listed as an amenity except for in a small section of the welcome package here. To put it another way, I’m saving over a $1,000 on public transit thanks to taking some time to read.
Originally, I was looking at living out in the suburbs of Portland for cheaper rent, but the commute would’ve been much longer. Instead of a 1.5 hour commute to work, I now have a 15 to 30 minute one to work via Streetcar instead. As much as I love public transit, I was getting sick of the hour commute on MAX when I was staying at the Hampton PDX my first two weeks here in Portland. Coming home from work, Streetcar can take an hour or more as, unlike most of MAX, it shares the road with cars. However, I don’t mind a long ride on Streetcar as much; MAX trains are long, generally dirty, and don’t have the greatest crowd on board, probably because transit here runs primarily on the honor/proof-of-payment system. Very rarely are fares checked. The last bit is true for Streetcar too – in fact, I’ve never been carded on Streetcar. However, while the smaller cars can mean much more crowded trains, they are much cleaner, attract a better crowd in general (a good chunk are tourists), and are substantially safer than MAX. Unlike MAX, there are no cameras on Streetcar. There is only a driver, and the majority of them even leave the cab door open. It’s too early to tell, but Streetcar might have the friendliest staff I’ve ever encountered on public transit.
However, on the rare occasion you do need to contact customer service for public transit in Portland, good luck. I can’t say what talking to an agent is like, because for both TriMet and Portland Streetcar, customer service shuts down at 5pm, and doesn’t even operate on weekends. It also doesn’t open until 9am (8:30 for TriMet) either. So if you ever need it during rush hour or, god forbid, the weekend, you’re shit out of luck. For both TriMet and Portland Streetcar, the Twitter accounts also exist only for the sake of existing. Don’t expect to get customer service over Twitter either. To be honest, I miss SEPTA for their customer service. While service on TriMet and Portland Streetcar is a bit better than SEPTA, their customer service royally sucks by comparison. I think that’s unfortunate. SEPTA will also be beating Portland to the use of fare cards, permitting Key really does launch before Hop Fastpass in 2017. For the record, I like Key’s name far better than Hop (especially the full name of Hop Fastpass). Heck, I’d even take Myki over Hop.
Anyway, this isn’t a post about public transit in Portland. That’ll come later, but I will say now that no, I didn’t move to Portland just because it’s the streetcar capital of the US, nor the sexy new transit and bikes/peds-only bridge opening this Saturday right down the road from my apartment. I moved here without knowing anything about Portland other than what I had heard from my friends that live here. I do have to agree with them though: Portland does feel like a good fit for me so far. I don’t know about the weather yet, and I still can’t get the names of districts down, but I’m happy with the city, my apartment, the neighborhood its in, and especially my job at Schoolhouse. I’ll be breaking tradition this year, in that I will not be doing an additional post for my birthday tomorrow, nor will I be cheating by scheduling this for tomorrow either as I don’t think there’s much more to be said. I thought I’d be prepared for time flying by after my five years at Drexel, but I have to admit, I can’t believe I’ve been here a month already. I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, but I’d like to think it’s a good thing, in that it is a sign I’ve been enjoying it too much here to keep track of time.
Legal stuff that keeps the lawyers happy: I am the Website Administrator at Schoolhouse Electric and Supply Company. All views and opinions expressed in the post are entirely my own and do not reflect those of Schoolhouse Electric and Supply, nor its partners.