Nah…Don’t Believe the Hype About Oregon!

Let me clarify, I was born in Portland and can proudly call myself a genuine Oregonian, a unicorn perhaps, but I am a now a minority in my own state. Last it was check, only 46% of the Beaver state’s residents were born here. For the past 20 years, my sleepy ugly duckling imgresstate has been transformed into a beauty queen.  Oregon was the geeky kid that you ignored in high school but today has the fame, fortune, and social status that makes the girls swoon and the guys jealous.

I left the state in 1991 for college at the precipice of the Grunge movement before everyone could smell Teen Spirit or know that Pearl Jam was something you should spread on toast. When I told them that I was from Portland they would say, “isn’t that on the East Coast?”  When I would tell them, “No, that would be Portland, Maine and there was in fact a sizable city in Oregon called Portland,” the shock and awe ensued.  After correcting their pronunciation of my beloved state (numerous times) and dispelling the myths that we were a wet, backwards state, I would go into a sales pitch, defending my beloved state against all else. I would focus on the picturesque beauty, ability to ski and surf on the same day and how imgres-1honest and friendly the people were.

I had no idea that my (and every other Oregonians’) sales pitch would be so damn effective because after 24 years away I came home for good to over 1.37M more residents clogging up our archaic transportation network and buying houses that are 194% more expensive than they were in 1990.

Yes, I get that my sleepy city and by extension, my podunk state is now the hot commodity. Thanks to marketing we have attracted television shows which display our gorgeous scenery for everyone to lust for, we are home to some of the world’s most iconic brands, and despite the influx of outsiders, we are still genuinely nice folks. imgres-2

But this is the classic problem of social exuberance. If one person rides a Harley-Davidson or has a tattoo, then society thinks that the behavior is unique and “weird”  but when you pass the tipping point where Grandma is sporting a tat and driving a Harley does it differentiate you from the rest of society?

By the same token if it is hip and cool to move to Oregon and this mass exodus has resulted in a 53% increase in population in the past 24 years. At what point must we acknowledge that the Oregon brand has been diluted, and we are now a homogenized shadow of what made this state so desirable.

Don’t get me wrong I have plenty of good friends that moved here and now identify as Oregonians and I would be genuinely heartbroken if they left.  However, my point is when is enough enough?  When can Oregon go back to being a nice place to live and raise a family? When can we turn our attention to cleaning up the mess that double-digit growth rates have had on our infrastructure?

In fact, there are at least 99 documented reasons why Portland sucks which is sure to dissuade someone from moving here.

My personal pet peeves are that traffic sucks, we have taken politically correct to the extreme for fear of telling people the truth and the amount of people living on the streets is a disappointment.  Oh and one more thing … when will the sun come out?   It is July 28th can I please wake up to the sunshine?  FYI, to a native Oregonian, the day after July 4th is when summer weather officially begins.

Case in point, it used to take me 15 minutes to get from SW Portland to anywhere in the metro area now I can’t even get from the west hills to downtown Portland in 15 minutes thanks to the constant traffic on HWY 26.  Think about this, in the past 25 years, Oregon’s only major strategic transportation project other than the light rail has been the Tilikum Crossing, albeit pretty but doesn’t exactly alleviate the transportation issues. Stereotypes aside, pretty or bridge or not, not enough people are going to trade their car for a bike to truly make a difference on the roads.  It is my belief that the Metro planners failed to plan for the tremendous success that we have witnessed in the past 2.5 decades.

Portland was an urban planning mecca but lost sight of the famous quote from the movie Field of Dreams “It reminds us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.”  The quote articulates Portland and by extension, Oregon’s problem, when you create something good people will want to be a part of it.  IE “Success begets success” so you have to plan accordingly for success or in this case more people coming to Oregon.

A quick check on the 2016 Portland’s population growth rate shows that we are settling down to a sustainable metro growth rate of 1.8%.  If this trend continues then maybe, the Metro planners can focus on infrastructure projects that improve the quality of life for Portlanders such as expanding HWY 26, developing a west side freeway past Hillsboro that takes interstate traffic off of I-5 in the metro area corridor with a third bridge crossing over the Columbia River.

All of this may be crazy talk, and I might be a little jaded that people have discovered the secret of Portland but to keep on “Keeping Portland Weird” we should try harder at making Portland habitable for everyone even the Californian transplants.  And yes, I do remember the famous Tom Mcall signs welcoming Californians to Oregon for a vacation then promptly reminding them to go back to California.

What the H*ll is a Fairy Penguin?

An Adorable Bundle of Fluff – That’s What!

Back in May [yes, The Bronx Zoo has been keeping this level of cuteness from us for imgres-3months!] a Fairy Penguin was born in for the first time in the Zoo’s 120-year history.

imgres-2So, what does it mean [aside fro bringing a smile to you face]? Well, these little guys are the smallest of the 18 penguin species. Apparently our friendly tuxedo’d friends have many more cousins than I knew about. These tiny balls of fluff grow barely a foot tall in their six years of life but at least they get to live it in Australia.

The birth of this chick a huge success for both the Bronx Zoo and their sister breeding program at the Taronga Zoo is Australia and The Wildlife Conservation Society is also quite elated. Not only does this birth further conservation efforts but the birth in the US adds genetic diversity to the breeding program.

The Cowboy or The Sales Rep?

Who will it be ladies?

search-1imgresLuke Pell

OR

Chase McNary

If you’re emotionally stable or an open-book these men could be yours!

With season 21 of The Bachelor in the our near future, not only is it exciting to get to know the shafted Bachelorette participants in a new light as they contend for Bachelor Stardom but just as exciting to consider how this series is so unbelievably successful. What is it that keeps us coming back for more?

https://youtu.be/Za1Ub4bRNNk

Get the inside scoop!

Delicious men and sexy females aside, looking for love is a universal experience – The Bachelor [stereotype perpetuation aside] provides a relatable experience for anyone, anywhere. Throw in the story of each contestant – we’re all suckers for someone else’s reality coupled with dreamy experiences and unfathomable vacations – The Bachelor gives us everything we want, an alternate reality but an emotion we can relate too. Perhaps it even makes you feel better about yourself, whether or not you’ve found the one, it feeds our desire of hope and who doesn’t want that feeling?

Essentially, The Bachelor is the perfect concoction that fulfills Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs for each viewer. Ok, well, it may not meet our psychological needs such as provision of water or shelter or our need for safety and security BUT it certainly fulfills our needs for belongingness and love – viewers feel a belonging to a community of other viewers. I mean, I certainly gossip about it to co-workers every Tuesday morning but it also fulfills a need for love, indirectly yes, but the emotional fulfillment is all the same as we relate to each contestants journey toward finding the ultimate prize.

Following my watching of the show, I certainly experience a self-esteem boost, I feel accomplished, prestigious even, in that I have stayed current in a important pop culture community.

Last but certainly not least, The Bachelor provides a level of self-actualization, it’s every woman’s or man’s fantasy to not only find love but to find it while experiencing amazing adventures in posh or far away places. Albeit, this level of self-actualization may an individuals own demise, setting to high of expectations for current or future relationships but hey, we all gotta dream right?

Read more on why The Bachelor is so successful! 

Sports, Sponsorships and Scandals

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With the prevalence of corruption arising from the FIFA to the IAFF and now within the upcoming Olympic Games, we have to wonder, what should sponsors do? 

Marketing Week recently published an article telling sponsors exactly what they should do, but regardless of sponsors calling for change and large events still have an ever popular appeal, we have to wonder, what are our so called role models teaching us?

As kids, one moment we’re told that cheaters never prosper but then a parent mutters that if you aren’t cheating you aren’t trying.

So which is it?  Should I tell my eight-year-old son to try his best against an opposing basketball team with kids twice his size? Or do I tell my daughter to trip the opposing soccer player to steal the ball?

With the 2016 Olympics approaching we have seen blood doping scandals become a trend and fleeing sponsors a result of the aftermath. But when the International Olympic unnamedCommittee Chairman, Thomas Bach, stated that the decision to let individual (Russian) athletes compete if they can comply with the IOCs testing program “is about doing justice to clean athletes all over the world,”  I have to wonder, is this justice or futile attempt to enact change.

Society takes its cue from champions, in this instance, Olympic athletes.  Time and again we see top level coaches attempt to reduce the unpredictability of human performance.  But who can blame them when the pressure to win is so all-encompassing that they must push the boundaries, operate in the gray and some cases flat out cheat, risking the possibility of getting caught for the glory of winning the gold.

Anyone who has played Pop Warner football can recall their coaches stating that there isn’t an “I” in team, a worthy try to encourage teamwork. However,  as a parent, you become conflicted, obviously, you want your kid’s team to win but at what cost?  You don’t fill them full of steroids before peewee soccer, but parents have resorted to lying about Johny or Julie’s age to play on a specific team forcing leagues to verify birth certificates during registration.

Another prime of example of scandals and sponsors fleeing is ‘deflategate’ in 2015. So why did the NFL league did not renounce the Patriots 2015 Championship win and eventual SuperBowl 49 victory.  It would be logical to assume that the Indianapolis Colts and the Seattle Seahawks would vehemently fight to see injustice rectified yet the Patriots, not the Colts, played in SuperBowl 49.unnamed

So then we ask, why? For a scandal of such magnitude to occur with no direct repercussions, one has to wonder why?

The answer is simple; it would expose rampant team cheating in the NFL and most definitely tarnish the most respected brand in US professional sports.  I will save the conspiracy theory that Tom Brady was Bill Belichick’s scapegoat for another post. You would assume that society would punish Tom Brady for being a cheater, but you would be wrong.  Interestingly enough, after the NFL announced the four-game suspension, Tom Brady’s apparel sales spiked by 100%, which makes you wonder about the incongruence from our societal values.

Fleeing sponsors or sponsors enacting change aside, it seems that any publicity could be good publicity, maybe even for Russia?

 

Burritos, Stomach Aches and Customer Loyalty

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Life isn’t very ‘burritoful’ when you’re slumped over the toilet with food poisoning, which brings us to this article, and Chipotle’s summer special loyalty program. My initial thought is, ‘seriously, a focus on brand loyalty when you’re less than a year from making people deathly ill?’ Not exactly a brand strategy that would promise to be effective, rewarding those willing to risk their lives for that delectable burrito, then again, if they aren’t loyal than who is?
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I had no idea that before all of the health and safety scare, 55% of Chipotles customers only visited the restaurant once or twice a year. This blew me away. You would think that their campaign for sustainability, and that farm to table mentality would have created much more of a cult following, or in this case strong brand loyalty. As it might turn out, most people may not have even cared for that.
Right now Chipotle is trying to learn more about their regular customers with a loyalty rewards system. After everything that has happened, I would be curious who is still going to Chipotle, perhaps those wanting to live on the edge or lost way too many bets. All humor aside, this strategy is not where Chipotle should be focusing their efforts. Rather than gathering data on the few e. coli die hards, may I suggest a focus more toward food safety. Perhaps I’m being harsh, seeing as Chipotle has taken steps to remedy the previous plagues, but it doesn’t go away over night or even in a few months (tell me Jack in the Box or Odwalla don’t come to mind) which is all the most reason for Chipotle to orient their strategy towards customer-centricity, specifically in the realm of safety rather than loyalty rewards. Care for all rather than reward the few.
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At the end of the day, I should be able to walk in to any Chipotle and be confident that one of basic needs, safety, will be met. Not that I don’t like living on the edge but I’ll stick to cliff jumping rather than playing food poisoning roulette.
DISCLAIMER: All above information is solely the opinion of the contributors, one of which is a Chipotle Addict.