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Hello NoPoOssie Bladine
It was bound to happen eventually. As much as everyone loves to have things near and dear to his or her heart, those things that you can endearingly claim as “my” or “our” — in this instance, “our rag” — the fact of the matter is that change happens. The change often means growth. In this case, the change means that The Voice is moving its way into Portland.
For months upon months The Voice has been bleeding the shop local, buy local, listen local, live local, etc., out of its pours. Vancouver is this paper’s home and Clark County is its playground.
But, at last, I feel this rag of all rags has its editorial feet planted in Southwest Washington well enough to seek different pastures that we hope prove to be just as green. And so for the last month the paper has begun its march into North Portland — NoPo as we like to call it (or South Vancouver).
First impressions have proven that there is a lot of crossover between NoPo and Vancouver, in terms of business, culture, community and so on. While visiting the Kenton Neighborhood, I couldn’t help but feel the same small town warmth and neighborhood connections one gets from downtown Vancouver. The main difference is that its much smaller and thus without the sprawling gaps of our own downtown. The neighborhood is gearing up for its first block party. From the description, it seems like it will be a heck of a party (see hip joint on page 9 for a few more details). And the kenton folk have light rail only a block away. Lucky. I can only wonder how far ahead downtown Vancouver would be today if the voters were forward-thinking enough to bring the LR across the river in the ‘90s. But, I guess that’s another column.
I also found spots along Lombard St., Interstate Ave. and Mississippi (so many skinny jeans!) where businesses were happy to be added as a VanVoice distribution location. It was a refreshing venture. When seeking drop spots in Clark County, I have often been met with the “what’s in it for me,” or, “our manger will get back to you” (they never do) mentality. The NoPo state-of-mind, however, is open and welcoming to free reading material for customers. I’m sure there are some lessons in there to be learned by businesses north of the river.
But, I’m not here to convince you readers to explore NoPo — although you should when the mood to get out hits. I am hoping to open up the great and unique culture of Vancouver to the people of Portland. There is a river dividing Vancouver and NoPo, but the two have much in common.
On a final note: The reason I felt compelled to write on this topic is because The Voice has its first official angry call from a Portlander. It was a bar worker who lambasted me for printing the Volksfront emblem on the cover, and said to never bring the paper to said bar again.
In this business, that’s a job well done.
Ossie Bladine is Editor-in-Chief of The Voice and likes to make drawings.