adidas court shoes ‘Go back to California’ painted on Prius in Portland
In the latest round of the anti California resentment that’s been a cottage industry for decades in the Pacific Northwest, a Southern California couple over the weekend got a nasty surprise when they awoke Sunday morning in their Portland home. Preston Page and Jessica Faraday found messages including “Go back to California” spray painted across their house and car.
It didn’t take long for the Californians to get an un welcoming welcome the couple had moved up in February because Page got a job in Portland with Adidas.
The graffiti may have stemmed from an earlier incident on Saturday when an impatient driver exchanged words with Page about his California plated Prius blocking the street in front of his house. And, to be sure, the vandalism went far beyond the more subtle forms of resentment experienced by Golden State refugees in the Pacific Northwest and especially The City of Roses under the breath muttering and sideways glances by old timers being priced out of their leafy city by yoga bending, cold brew swigging, hybrid driving elitist Millennials.
Still, the weekend assault was another reminder that as more newcomers arrive in Oregon and Washington not everyone’s thrilled. Animus toward its neighbor to the south has a long and rich legacy in Portland. Just ask Daniel Bullington. Last year, just 18 months after moving up from Southern California, the car salesman decided he had had enough of the bad vibes from longtime locals.
So Bullington did what any self respecting, car selling new father would do: He createda GoFundMe page, vowing to move back to the Golden State if and when he raised $3,500.
Oregon is “a beautiful state,” Bullington wrote at the time, but “Oregonians are not keen on Californians. It’s clearly apparent.”
The photo on the GoFundMe page, which was apparently taken down after Bullington’s wife complained to him about it, resembled the anti California stickers that appeared on For Sale signs around Portland in the summer of 2015. Census Bureau found, 30,500 newcomers were from California a far greater number than the 18,500 who came from Washington, the second largest group. Many native Oregonians see that, and then see the rising cost of living and lack of affordable housing in places like Portland, and the resentment is off and running.
It’s not new. As John Findlay, a history professor at the University of Washington, wrote 20 years ago in a course treatise, “I would argue that the recent anti Californian sentiments perpetuate an ugly form of bigotry that has long characterized Pacific Northwest history.” Former Californians,
he wrote, unfairly get a bad rap when they arrive in the region and that antipathy has been simmering for nearly 100 years.
“Perceptions of Californians as the ‘other’ during the 1920s embodied the same kind of bigotry as was expressed by whites against people of color throughout the region’s history,” Findlay wrote. “I would argue that perceptions of Californians during the 1980s and 1990s have continued the trend. Stereotypes of people assumed to be different have consistently offered a way to help define the Pacific Northwest as a region and to provide it with a sense of identity, but they have done so at considerable expense.
“Like any stereotype,” Findlay wrote, “they have grossly misunderstood and dehumanized the people they have been meant to portray.”
People, perhaps, like Preston Page and Jessica Faraday.
But the Pages and Faradays aren’t going away. In fact, some say the recent California drought and other troubling weather patterns could end up fueling a massive northern migration that will make past movements seem relatively tame.
Clifford Mass, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington, writes a weather blog and has concluded that climate change, whether its rising seas, water shortages, hurricanes or superstorms, could soon start driving huge masses of Americans from their homes and into Washington, Oregon and Idaho.
“The Northwest,” Mass wrote, “may well become a climate refuge during the upcoming century.”
And that could be just the beginning. Vancouver residents, Slade suggested, might want to think now about heading even further north to the Yukon to escape the approaching marauders from San Francisco and LA.
Forty years ago, then Oregon Gov. Tom McCall famously told refugees from the Golden State: “Visit, but don’t stay.”
This past weekend, someone with a can of spray paint delivered that same message to Page and Faraday.
It didn’t work back then for McCall, who saw the state’s population grow 25 percent during his eight years in office, and it probably won’t work now,