Wednesday, May 21, 2008

New Day #146

Eighteen years I've lived in Portland. Eighteen years. And still I don't know the order of the streets downtown. There's simply no order to them. For instance, we have Jefferson and Madison right next to each other with Washington seven blocks away. Meanwhile, Columbia is nowhere near the Columbia River and Main isn't the main street at all.

Of course, I shouldn't be surprised. This is a city where the numerical streets going the other way are 1st through 6th, followed by Broadway (7th), then Park, then Park AGAIN, followed by 10th and up. That's right, we have two streets going opposite directions with the same friggin' name.

Welcome to Portland.

So I finally decided once and for all to come up with a mnemonic device to remember the streets with names.

First, the streets: Market, Clay, Columbia, Jefferson, Madison, Main, Salmon, Taylor, Yamhill, Morrison, Alder, Washington.

Now, the mnemonic device:

The market for clay columns of Jefferson and Madison are maintained by Sammy the tailor, who yammers for more aldermans' washing.

I'll let you know if it works. In the meantime, here's Petula Clark singing "Downtown."

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jamie said...

I used to live on Park between Clay and Columbia. My motto on nights when I might have been a little tipsy and somewhat stumbling home: "Look for trees and C's".

Anonymous said...

I've lived here most of life and I still can't keep 'em straight. Things get a little better in the Northwest section (up- & over-town) with more alphabetical consistency, so I keep my focus there.

That video is causing me to reevaluate my thoughts on Petula! Nice voice, nice delivery. Where have all the classy singers gone?

Bonus: Keep looking at the YouTube options and you'll come across a nice German version as well. Sweeet!

Shephard said...

How funny. I use mnemonics all the time. When we moved to LA, I used HSSM to remember the order of major streets in Hollywood (Hollywood, Sunset, Santa Monica, Melrose).

I love Down Town. :)

patsypalooza said...

wow. i mean, just wow. and that's entirely for the 4 guy backup dancers rocking that video. thanks for that marc!

therese said...

I love downtown even if I get a bit lost without a guide or map. And I used to sing like Petula in my mind.

Darn, once again I'm reminded that I always planned my life would be in a DownTown. How'd I end up in the wilds of Beavercreek?

Mead said...

I never hear "Downtown" without being filled with joy. Even the B-52s version works, but of course nobody can outshine the fab Petula.

Love your mnemonic. I'm now at work on a mnemonic to help me remember it.

Marc Acito said...

I feel the same way about "Downtown." It was one of my three favorite songs as a child--the other two being "Over the Rainbow" and "Up, Up and Away," all songs about getting out and finding something better elsewhere.

Some things never change.

Andy said...

I grew up here and have no idea the order of the non-numbered streets in downtown Portland. At least beginning with Ankeny and going north they are in alphabetical order, but below that...I give up.

Charlotte said...

Ah, but can you name all the Alphabet blocks? I can go as far as Pettygrove, after that the shops get less trendy. The hardest one to remember is always Ash, so overshadowed by Burnside.