I’m typing this from a borrowed laptop in a Cannon Beach coffee house. I’m on vacation again. Instead of driving through Longview, WA and into Oregon, I decided to get frisky and try a SW Washington route. We left I-5 at Olympia, went west, and then south across that big ‘ol bridge at Astoria, OR. A few notes:
1. Aberdeen is depressing. Now I know why Kurt Cobain got the hell out of there. But seriously, Aberdeen is in rough shape. I’m told its always been a rundown kind of place, but Jesus! Huge parts of its downtown are deserted and empty. Cheap furniture stores are aplenty. The electrical infrastructure looks about 50 years old. The people I met were very nice and down home, but Aberdeen needs some serious work. Which reminds me… Richard Florida, the author of Rise Of The Creative Class, once said that the people who made places like Seattle, Austin TX, Boston, and San Francisco so great are now leaving, moving to places like Pittsburgh (among others). I think some of the under-35 set who are flocking to the Seattle area could do well in Aberdeen. A lot of places in WA seem ready to pivot from resource-based economies to creative economies. It’s definitely a ways off.
2. Property rights are sometimes bad for business. Cannon Beach, a seaside town in OR, is great. But it couldn’t have been made without restricting the rights of who could build what and where. Resort towns have to protect their image. Cannon Beach is gorgeous while nearby Seaside, OR isn’t.
3. Train travel in America sucks, unless you live in the NE. Seriously, if we’re going to ween ourselves off foreign oil, America should build a passenger train service that’s good, if not great. When I travel, I always check Amtrak first, before I fly or drive, to see if I can get to my destination by train.
4. Every congressional district in Oregon west of the Cascade mountains is held by a Democrat. In Washington state, Dave Reichert is the last Republican left on the westside. If Democrats are locked out of eastern Washington for years to come, I’d at least like to do the same to the GOP in western Washington.
This thing is acting up, so it’s TTFN.