How to determine if you have truly lived in a place:
-you've met the neighbors
-gone grocery shopping multiple times
-you've taken the trash out
-you're sleeping in a real bed
-you've had a garage sale
So, having met all the criteria I can officially say that I have lived in both Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington.
I feel this gives me the authority to attempt to describe the Northwest:
There is something fundamentally different about the Northwest. A different energy, a different mindset, a slower pace. Everyone owns a camping trailer. There's always a big, wild outdoor world to explore. It's always green, photoshop green. I've never seen so many different shades of green. Everyone has a garden. There are flowers blooming everywhere and always pear and apple and peach and fig and cherry trees in the backyard. And berry bushes and tomatoes! (The BEST tomatoes I have EVER had.) That's just the way it is.
Things get done in due time and stuff gets fixed. Not discarded. People know how stuff runs out here and will spend the time making it run faster, better, longer, smoother. A lot of people own trucks. This helps get stuff done.
You can get real good Mexican food out here. Dishes I've never heard of before: corn cake (sweet corn mash), tortas and sopapillas. And good guacamole. Reliable good guacamole. No sour cream added. And no restaurant worth its stars serves anything that's not in season. Hats off to Bunk's Sandwiches for not serving tomatoes in January.
There are great old cars everywhere and architecture from the 50's, 60's and 70's that simply doesnt' exist on the East Coast. And incredible neon signs.
Honesty and history are well respected. But people aren't bogged down by generations of history. People get by with less money. There are real cowboys out here and real lumberjacks and moutainmen. I mean, the real descendents of Paul Bunyan.
As a sculptor, I am inspired most by the raw material out here. Patrick David Melroy Hawkins, my most generous host, has systematically taken me to all of his favorite supply haunts. From the incredible Oregon Leather Supply, to the countless lumber yards and hardware stores. Including the infamous Wink's. I purchased everything that I thought I could get on the plane with. I even contemplated checking a big huge slab of cedar... People travel with surfboards afterall.
The only problem I can find with the Northwest is that it is easy to fall in love with it. And, unfortunately for me, it's on the other side of the huge continental United States of America.