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The Though Kitchen - Dedicated to Stirring the Pot

Reasons To Love Portland, #72

Posted by admin | September 13th, 2006 | Filed under Who We Are

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You can look good, go fast and be eccentric (all at the same time). Given the experience I had this weekend at Portland Soap Box Derby, it’s clear there are a bunch of people in Portland who combine all three. An eclectic crowd, including some of our city’s finest creators, was out in flying colors and flying contraptions risking life and limb as they whizzed down and around the pavement bisecting Mt. Tabor Park, an extinct volcanic cinder cone. It was all about performance, artistic expression and sustainability. The latter ingredient was important, since you needed to survive your descent with your vehicle intact and, of course, the human powered approach to transit was required. Beyond that each team had to design within the democratic constraint of not being able to spend more than $300 on their contraption.

The results were sensational. Perhaps it has to do with what Richard Florida refers to as the “creative class.â€? In his book entitled The Rise of the Creative Class, Florida describes a society in which the creative ethos is increasingly dominant. His thinking is particularly relevant as it applies to contemporary urban settings that will likely be at the forefront of realizing a new, vibrant approach to the 21st century city.
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Maybe I’m taking Florida’s thinking too literally but The Portland Soap Box Derby was, in my mind, a clear manifestation of the creative spirit he’s describing. Not only that, I think it’s a microcosm of the creative spirit that Portland itself is infused with. Equal parts enthusiasm, wild-ass creativity and genuine joy.

One Response to “Reasons To Love Portland, #72”

  • September 25, 2006 at 1:40 pm | Julie says

    I just finished reading Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things and am inspired by the discussion of creative abundance. Architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart use the cherry tree as an example to model commerce and production. There is no waste; the tree’s abundance of blossoms, even those that fall to earth, delivers nutrients to earth. The tree’s waste equals food for earth.

    People naturally revel in abundance ” in creativity, in ideas, even consumerism. Our challenge is to produce goods that literally feed the ground we walk on. Sustainable products, nutritious products, “cradle to cradleâ€? life cycle products.

    Portland is a creative incubator for the future of products that nurture our land. Just as Portland’s Soap Box Derby, there is no need for restraint if what we do is good. Welcome to Portland. Exercise creative abundance.

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