I'm lucky enough to live in an affordable apartment at the edge of a very beautiful, established, residential neighborhood in NE Portland that was, I think, considered a near-rural suburb about a hundred years ago. Instead of suburban now, it's actually quite "close-in" to the river and downtown, and everything I need is within walking distance. Portland is a wonderful city for walkers, and I've managed to get along without owning a car fairly well for about eight years.
Today I took my morning walk down the welcoming, shady streets of Irvington with my one-eyed boyfriend, Canon Rebel XS, and together we captured over 40 intimate views within about 20 blocks. There is always something new to see here.
Despite the comfortable affluence of these old homes under the trees, it feels like a family-centered "village" of sorts, much friendlier and playful than the dramatic perfection of the NW hills across the river--where curtains remain drawn throughout the day, and a kind of chilly suspicion clouds the view.
I much prefer life on the eastside, where basic human warmth is generally expected and returned.
When I moved back to this neighborhood last summer after a two-year hiatus on the westside, I found that it IS possible come home again. And now that nearly a whole year has passed, it's more substantially my home than I may have ever known before.