Portland, of late, has cultivated a reputation for being ground zero for quirk-obsessed, pickling, knitting, handlebar-mustaching hipsters of the world over. And sure, seeing a guy cruise down a bike lane riding a 12-foot-high unicycle is weird. But there’s weird and then there’s weird.
And Portland’s weirdness is so much more than its facial-hair-obsessed-coffee-snob-Portlandia persona.
Don’t believe me? Just take a look at some of the more colorful people Portland has produced in the last few decades.
Hey sugah! You probably know my girl Sally from her role as husky-voiced, overenthusiastic, gossiping whirlwind Babette on Gilmore Girls.
Struthers is an actress extraordinaire. Her career spans decades—from cheesy ’70s soap operas to an episodic re-make of Nine to Five. Not to mention she’s also known for those creepy Christian Children’s Fund “Save the Children” infomercials from the ’80s and the subsequent Jabba the Hut-inspired South Park parody of said commercials. Needless to say, Struthers’ raspy, in-your-face persona has Portland written all over it.
A badass who is frequently seen out and about in the Portland art scene. Tattooed. Loves France. A shock of white mad scientist hair. Hexagonal glasses and an attitude to match the aggressively cool frames. She is older, wiser, cooler and way more interesting than any of the straw man trust fund Californians floating through town with their imagined beanies and perceived shitty attitudes.
The ’90s ice princess. Originally from the Clack, Harding is an Olympic figure skater perhaps best known for hiring someone to break Nancy Kerrigan’s knees with a pipe. She is the best of Portland weird. She is what Fred Armisen was talking about when he said that the dream of the ’90s is alive in Portland–if the dream of the 90s were the mullet-rocking, acid wash jean-wearing variety.
I can’t even begin to describe her. She has a private hat museum in Ladd’s Addition—the largest in the United States—and she’s supposedly a consultant. She helps clients overcome their crippling procrastination. I would go into more detail, but I waited until the last minute to write this, so I don’t really have time.
Jed from Portlandia a.k.a. Jedediah Aaker
He’s a citizen of Portlandia. I had to throw in his big-bearded Portlandia-loving self because duh.
The violin-playing chicken
This speaks for itself. A man regularly puts on a chicken costume and plays the violin—badly—around the city.
It keeps getting weirder
In addition to this list of, uh, gems, at some point in time Portland has hosted the likes of Miranda July, Courtney Love, Matt Groening, Sam Elliot and a laundry list of other lovably strange characters. If you embrace the Keep Portland Weird mantra—and you don’t ride a unicycle down Burnside—maybe you’ll show up on a future list of Portland’s favorite peculiar folk.