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June 24, 2018

I am not quite sure what I expected when I knew that I was going to be spending most of my summer in Portland Oregon. I think some mix of the “Keep Portland Weird” sign and the Marionberry episode of Portlandia came into my head. The reality of it is more different than I thought it’d be. Already in my three short days here I can see that Portland is a city facing some very intense issues such as gentrification and a housing crisis. I can see that at a first glance the streetscape doesn’t look too different from another large city (albeit there is a lot more trees along the streets and in the city than I thought possible).


When my roommate and I went hiking in the Marquam Nature Park (which was only a 15 minute walk from the Portland State University dorms we are staying in) we happened upon a couple of people who were doing the same. After asking them to take our picture we briefly talked to them and they asked us what we were doing in Portland. I told them that I was going to be working at Friends of Trees and they immediately knew who they were and said that they loved the work they did.


This interaction left me excited and reinforced some of the reasons why I chose this program. This place is known for being environmentally conscious and I am excited to be working and learning around people who have similar interests to me. I am excited to be doing impactful work for people like those people I ran into on my hike. I am excited to have the amazing trails and nature surrounding me everyday. I am excited to explore the weird corners of Portland. I am excited to learn more about this place’s history and shortcomings from those who live here.


Even though it has only been three days I think that what makes this place super special is not necessary its beautiful Pacific Northwest location (which truly is gorgeous, and the weather so far has been fantastic), but rather the people here, and the passions and energy they bring with them. I think that this program will offer me an insight into a field I am very interested in from a new perspective and allow me to meet many inspirational people who can help guide me and my actions. And that is one of the things I am most excited about.