A grin at the end: Difficult to define. Weird and wonderful Oregonian things

November 2016 Posted in Columnists & Opinion, Community

carl-sampsonI’ve only lived in Oregon 17 years and I’m yet to put my finger on what, exactly, makes this state tick.

I’ve read Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey. I’ve stood in line at Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland. I’ve gone to Powell Books — about a hundred times — and I’ve tromped along the beach at the Oregon Coast and through the woods in the Cascades. I’ve attended brew fests, wine fests, world fests and Oktoberfests.

I still don’t get it.

Oregon is a whole different breed of cat. Or should I say dog, given Oregonians seem to take their dogs everywhere.

To me, Oregon doesn’t march to the beat of a different drummer; it threw him and the drum out the window of the Subaru on the way to the Oregon Country Fair.

I keep looking for the one thing, a Rosetta Stone, if you will, that will help me unlock the Oregon psyche.

I may have found it, on Facebook of all places. That’s where I ran across Stayton Community Connections. It is by turns interesting, funny, touching and, well, Oregonian. It is a cross between a community bulletin board and the classified ads that used to populate newspapers.

For example, a family new to the area might post a message looking for a place to rent. Or if someone is having a garage sale, she will post a bunch of photos of the sundry items that will be available. Or if a family is looking for daycare or a daycare has an opening they will make connections— hence the “community connections” name.

You can also buy eggs, cakes, cupcakes, hire a photographer, get a job, find a local creative writing group, find a math tutor,  find a lost dog, or a lost computer, get tickets to a local play, take a class for a conceal carry gun permit — all very Oregon things to do.

For example, I ran across this post the other day: “Selling my husband’s old snowboard! Comes with bindings.” But then there was this comment: “Does he know you’re selling it?”

Some posts defy classification. They seek information about important events, though. For example:

“Does anyone know why a barrel of guts got spilled on 22 at the intersection of 5?” Indeed, a question for the ages.

Or how about: “Old wood that could be used to make shabby signs. Free. You pick up.”

This one popped up a while ago: “Anyone else notice the weird flying object in the sky just a few mins ago? There was several bright headlights on the front and then several flashing bright strobe lights on the back…. Not sure what the hell we just saw.”

A comment posted after it: “It’s a UFO coming to take you home! Haha luv u.”

But one of my all time favorites showed up last summer. I would post it under “Card of Thanks.”

“I … wish to really thank the person who allowed their dog to take a big dump in the middle of my driveway last night.”

When it comes to great Facebook posts, it’s an Oregon thing.

Carl Sampson is an editor and freelance writer.

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