What can Portland teach New Orleans? And what might the Big Easy pass on to the Rose City? According to a guest article in the Oregonian, plenty.
Chris Beck, a former Realtor and Oregon state representative, now a post-Katrina urban-rebuilding consultant, has spent much of the past year in New Orleans as the rebuilding process inches ahead. It's not surprising that Portland's strengths – healthy development, involved citizenry – would be traits Beck would like to see exported to New Orleans.
More provocative is his notion that New Orleans has some juice Portland sorely needs: Its colorful spirit, played out in music, festivals and parades, for starters. Could Portland's Rose Festival stand to tune up the brass? Oh yeah. Would Portland's public schools benefit from a shot of the indignation voiced by New Orleans residents, fed up with dirt-poor classrooms for their kids? Absolutely.
Beck offers some specific suggestions for bettering things on both ends, but his over-arching question is the real grabber. Might we find a way to extend the post-Katrina revitalization across the country?