Is Salem actually So-Lame? The Difference between "Keep Portland Weird" and "Keep Salem Lame"
[With contributions from Mia Lindsey]
Everyone has seen the bumper stickers around, or heard the phrase, “Keep Portland weird.” Lately, a complimenting slogan has been appearing around town: “Keep Salem lame.” Calling Salem “lame” is as common remark by students among South as calling Portland “weird” is among students up there. This begs the question: how accurate is it in both regards?
“Portland is hella weird, it’s great. So yes, I do agree with the phrase,” Sabrina Takahashi ‘17, a student at Tualatin high school, said.
The website ‘Keep Portland Weird’ claims that it has been “weird in PDX since 1969” and “We want to support local business because they make Portland stand out from other cities and make it a more unique place to live.”
“I do think Portland is weird,” Katie Rice ‘17, a student at Tigard high, said. “I even think I’m weird.”
A parody website entitled ‘Keep Earthquakes Weird’ has also been created in order to keep the Portland spirit alive after the great earthquake comes and “Portland is reduced to ‘toast.’ “
Meanwhile, the Keep Salem Lame bumper stickers have been seen as far back as 2013, and was featured on Katu news after a reporter, Melica Johnson, saw the sticker on a car parked in the Capitol building’s underground lot.
The sentiment itself has been expressed for much longer. An article ran on Willamette Live in 2009 titled “So-lame? Are we willing to settle for that?” inspired by Salem’s nickname, So-Lame, Oregon. Written by Emily Grosvenor, it details the story of moving to the town and all the ‘warnings’ given to the author, and in turn, her defense of the city.
“Salem is beautiful because of all the nature around it, like it’s less industrial than Portland is, so there’s more parks and stuff like that,” Shania Brons ’17 said.