Top 9 Signs I’m a Conservative in Liberal Portland

Portland, Oregon is a notoriously liberal city, in culture, policy, attitude, pretty much you name it.  It’s also my hometown.  I’ve lived here most of my life and I’ve owned and operated a small business here for the last 13 years.  I’ve also been raised as a conservative, by a traditional, nuclear family.  I was taught to know the history of the United States of America, to recognize all of it’s unmatched successes in providing freedom and opportunity, and to truthfully admit that making any fundamental changes to any of it would be grossly counter-productive.  I mean, in baseball you don’t break up a team that wins 100 games each and every year do you?  However, all of this makes me a square peg trying to live in the round hole that is Portland.  In my normal, day-to-day activity, there is no one else around me who shares my views on culture and politics.  All of my liberal friends are typical in that they’re very good at telling me what they don’t have and who’s fault it is.  So, I smile (at best) when I hear such things and remember that I’m a loner and a novelty to those who have learned what I’m about.  But being in this minority is something I wouldn’t change.  It’s provided great perspective and enhanced my convictions.

So, below are the top 9 reasons I’m the square peg in Portland.  9 is a weird number for a list, but then Portland is a weird city.

#9:  I volunteer one hour a week at a local grade school.  So many around me lament, every year, how our public schools are starving for funds.  No one seems to do anything about it other than say that I should be paying more taxes.  They can’t be bothered themselves, but they’re certainly capable of wanting to be generous with other people’s money.

#8:  I don’t participate in political protests.  However, I did attend two different anti-war rallies several years ago.  I wanted first hand experience.  I saw President Bush burned in effigy.  The lesbian couple directly in front of me knelt down to tell who I assumed was their little girl that her President was a murderer and that she should be frightened of him.  But then I also saw a clever young man walking around without a shirt, holding an unmarked bucket asking for cash donations to help end the war.  Pockets and purses were reached for and I had to laugh.  It is indeed true what they say about fools and their money.

#7:  I understand the fundamentals of business and economics.  There is money that comes in, and there is money that goes out.  I know which one of those figures needs to be greater.  The city of Portland, many of its residents, and our current federal government for that matter, needs to figure that out.

#6:  I work too much to always be hanging out in coffee shops.  It’s no secret that 40% of America pays no income tax.  I’m part of the unlucky 60%.  And the same Portlanders that I see every day sitting in the same shops reading their books seem uneasy when they realize that they’ve become familiar to me.  They remember that I saw them in the same spot yesterday, and likely the day before.  That’s when eye contact becomes less and less frequent.

Portland, as seen from the Rose Garden.

Beautiful and liberal, Portland, Oregon

#5:  I’m news savvy and skeptical of the media that delivers it to me.  Finding in-depth conversation on current events is difficult, and I even work in a very social atmosphere.  When I search, most folks tell me about something they heard from a friend or saw on Jon Stewart.  But regardless, I can count on hearing things like it’s Bush’s fault, Texas sucks, and rich people are screwing up the works.  (Note:  In this context, “rich” is a term used to describe anyone who makes more money than the person using that term.)

#4:  I’m not an artist.  This is not by choice, however.  I was just born without artistic talent.  But everyone else in Portland seems to be and none of them can seem to understand why the photo they took or the sculpture they made or the painting they painted isn’t selling for the $200 they’re asking.  The concepts of disposable income during a recession, and prioritizing when funds are not unlimited, seems to be lost on them.

#3:  I did not vote for Barack Obama.  When I walked into my establishment that November night of 2008, I was quite literally the only person who couldn’t muster a high five or celebratory hug.  I was a buzz kill.

#2:  I did vote for George Bush.  One day after the 2004 election I saw a group of three that I’d never seen before enter the front door of my business.  They found someone they knew, who knew me, and that person pointed directly at me.  When they made their way over, one of them asked me, “are you that guy who voted for Bush?!”.  As if an entire voting block consisted of just me.  Which I guess is possible in this town.

#1:  I was born into a loving family and my parents are still together.  It’s flat out flabbergasting how everyone around me either never knew their dad, or have parents who hate each other, or have siblings in prison, or who were horribly abused by their fathers, or just plain don’t want to have anything to do with their families.  But all of those people have street cred, that’s for sure!

Maybe all of this is just complaining.  After all, Portland is a beautiful city.  I don’t envision me ever leaving it.  But how a stereotypically normal, everyday, traditional American kid like me can be so alien in his home city will forever perplex me.  But hell, it sure keeps me on my toes.


About Carl Incognito

Conservatives in liberal places are often in the shadows. Conservatives seeking jobs in liberal places depend on them.

Posted on August 9, 2011, in economy, family, politics, portland, small business, Top 10 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.

  1. Portland is my home as well. I completely identify and agree with your post. It was a refreshing and honest look into our city. Although, I’m sure the liberals who read this would consider it hate speech. They’re as loving and accepting as they are close minded and xenophobic. Anyways, keep up the good work. 😉

  2. Just read this for the second time and still can relate to it. Having just moved here this summer I can completely relate to you. What business do you own so I can support you? Thanks for being out there.

    • Hi Sharon. Thanks so much for reading that post, again. I haven’t tended to this little blog in way too long but it’s nice to know folks like you stumble upon it sometimes. Welcome to Portland!

      As for my business, I’m happy to say that after over 18 years, I sold it as of Feb 1st. I’m in decompressing mode now. But if you like a privately owned little spot, 21st Ave Bar & Grill in NW Portland would appreciate your visit. My old staff is still all there and the new owners are fantastic, and making positive changes all the time. In the summer time, there is a beautiful outdoor patio that you’ll love. Great food to, if I may brag.

      I’ll point everyone I can in that direction. My (old) staff is just like family and I want them to thrive under the new ownership. The deserve it. They carried me for 18 years.


      • Matt, thanks for the reply. I’ll check out the bar. Don’t stop writing and blogging, good luck to you in the future.

      • Funny how encouragement from a total stranger is still so effective. Thank you Sharon. I appreciate your time and thoughtfulness. My best to you and yours.

    • Deborah Beebedeb

      Yes we conservatives are out here and we are lonely! Anyone up for a coffee meet?

  3. 🙌🏻 oh my goodness this article is a breath of fresh air! I’m also Portlandia conservative and it’s nice to read there are more of us out there!!

    • Thanks for reading Jessica. I haven’t tended to this in a very long time and you’re adding to my inspiration to start up again.

      I’m here, too! You’re not alone. Keep your dignity. And the faith.


  4. I would love to patronize your business if you would give the information. I have also felt alone in Multnomah County and would love to meet other conservatives living in Portland. It’s lonely out here for us.

    • Thanks Deb. That’s nice of you to offer and we are alone in Mult Co. But that makes us unique and worthy of the pride I hope you feel along with me.

      As for my business, I’m happy and sad to announce that I sold in this month after over 18 years. But my staff is still there and the new ownership is fantastic. 21st Ave Bar & Grill in NW Portland was my spot, and still is. Summertime reveals a beautiful patio and the food is fantastic. I love my old employees like family and want them to continue to thrive. Check it out.

      And keep the faith.


    • I think there’s probably more of us than we realize, we just tend to keep our thoughts to ourselves in public places. I started looking around for meetups for like minded people. They’re few and far between but like Matt said, keep the faith 🙂

      I work about six blocks from the 21st Ave grill Matt, I’ll have to swing down and have lunch there sometimes.

      • Thanks for checking in, AJ. I hope you’re right about that.

        And as of Feb 1st I no longer own 21st Ave Bar & Grill. An 18 year tenure is now over. But I’m still in weekly at least and the new owners are just fantastic. Give them a try. I couldn’t be prouder of them.

  5. Love from Nebraska! You’re great.

  6. Michael D Hallas

    I wonder if you’re still here and still think the way you do. I stumbled across this looking for ways my conservative mother can make some new friends who won’t make her feel bad about her views. But I had some other observations:

    1. My parents did divorce when I was young but I have a great relationship with both my socialist feminist carpenter Dad, who pays taxes, and my conservative mom who also pays her taxes.

    2. I’m not an artist, but boy life would be pretty boring without good art or folks who’d appreciate it.

    3. My wife and I paid over 30k in state and federal taxes last year, and I don’t think it’s unwise to question where that money goes and demand that people as lucky as we are and those who have way more pay to help those less fortunate than us. In my view because I get more from the economy I should bear more of the burden. It helps me when other citizens can afford to live here, use the roads when delivering my stuff, can do math and critical analysis when I deal with them in public, and so that people working FT have hope and a way to a better future so my daughter doesn’t only have upper middle-class kids.

    Seriously, most of the money generated in the State of Oregon is generated in the tri-county area, presumably by liberal business owners or under the leadership of liberal executives. How does knowing about business differentiate conservatives from liberals. In America the idea of liberal comes from those who believe that society through the welfare state–actually a wildly efficient provider of help–needs to help ameliorate the social problems that the losers in a capitalist economy suffer. That really doesn’t seem so bad to me.

    3. If you think our foreign policy sucks and the policies put forth by the executive are causing unwarranted suffering in the world, why not criticize the executive, or legislature that made policy, or the judiciary’s views that seem to support injustice. The most patriotic thing I can imagine is showing kids that the right to protest and criticize government should be exercised in a free and democratic society. Not all liberals burn Presidents in effigy, no more than all conservatives promote racist birther conspiracies or stress “Hussain” in speaking the President’s name.

    Glad you like it here and prevent it from being an echo chamber. If America is to survive we need to hear from each other and listen to each other.

    • Hello Michael. I just stumbled upon your note to me and realized I didn’t respond to you. I’m sorry, but I appreciate you reading this long neglected blog of mine.

      Your thoughtful response is more than I can thoroughly address right now, but perhaps I can summarize a main point, family and art appreciation aside. I reject the notion of the welfare state being a wildly efficient provider of help. See Europe. I view it more of a bureaucratic behemoth that, in lieu of producing anything, exists to support the growing government class that are it’s employees while becoming a final enabler of those who feel entitled for being born. It is not the government’s job to employ, and it certainly isn’t their job to redistribute wealth in America. Yet, such action goes forward under the guise of “sympathy” and “compassion” because most folks fear being viewed as standing contrary to those basic human cornerstones. All around my business I see everyday people who voluntarily abandon personal responsibility and subsist on the welfare system because it’s easy to do so. Those folks may not share your work ethic but I assure you they share your political attitude. So the ship takes on more water and fewer and fewer are doing the bailing.

      The American liberal believes that America is fundamentally flawed because some are more successful than others and we have enemies abroad. That’s why they say the want change. Liberalism fools the general public by hijacking words like the ones above, as well as “tolerance” and “equality”, and weaponizing “racist”. But in the end, it’s a small group of social elites who are pulling these strings because they believe their degrees and social status make them qualified to make decisions for the masses, and often allow them to live by separate rules than the ones they impose. The wolf probably resents having to dress in the sheep’s clothing but has gotten pretty damned good at putting it on.

      If every liberal paid $30k in taxes every year, my attitude would be different. But they don’t. So the balance is made up by people who would prefer their money stays within their families and charities of their choosing rather than the beggar on the corner with a cell phone and the Oregon Trail card who could go home but won’t.

      Thank you for reading and for your response. I’m sorry I didn’t give you the attention you deserved sooner. Life can get busy as you know.


  7. This is a great list – I could have written it myself!

  8. We have much in common, just not #1.

  9. The difference between you and an american is you don’t see the mistakes of BOTH SIDES OF POLITICS. I wouldn’t vote for Obama if it was a choice between him and a Columbian drug lord. But Bush wasn’t much better. He attacked SADAM because he was bragging that he had MISSILES that could reach ISRAEL. And look at the outcome–WHEN HE DID NOT even have the missiles. WE ARE STILL PAYING FOR IT.

  10. oregon atty general
    oregon dept. of justice
    1162 court st. ne
    salem or 97301-4096

    the oregon state police are using dentists to implant harmful electronic neural microchips into citizens without their knowledge or consent.
    you have removed my privacy rights within my residence without due process of law. you have denied me the ability to pursue a confidential legal counsel because the neural implant transmits to the oregan state police any signals my optical and audio nerves generate.
    the oregon state police has been engaged in a gradual process of damaging my health to the point of death.
    i will not stop telling others about this until the oregon state police have killed me.
    {i sent this letter on 4/23/14 certified return receipt #70121640000029590059.}
    the dentist that injected the implant throught my mouth wthout my knowledge or consent: dr. merzenich, gental dental, 4392 liberty rd. s, salem, or 97302. the dentist that injected implant into mouth of my wife: dr. fattah, 1296 commercial st. se, salem, oregon 97302. i saw an eye doc within days after my visit to dr merzenich to diagnose and treat an eye injury that resulted from the implant being connected to the optical nerve for that eye: marcus east, medical ctr. eye clinic, 655 medical ctr. dr. ne, salem or 97301.
    the oregon state police will use equipment to defeat your motion detecting lights and security cameras so they can approach your house undetected to upload new programming to the implant. i have an mp4 that shows an example of this in broad daylight. oregon state police installed a parabolic dish on neighbors property they use to torture me day and night: stephen and susan allen, 4432 s. immonen rd., lincoln city, or 97367. my brother tells me you may be able to see the dish from google earth. email me a request to see it and i ll foward access to the cloud server.
    my email is
    i also have a hardcopy pcket that includes the atty gen letter plus letters sent to oregon state police superintendent richard evans jr., oregon dental board and the fbi. provide an address and i ll mail it.
    The above organizations appear to sanction the practice of invading a person’s body by implanting in the head neural microchips that will be used to terrorize, injure health and worse. It is interesting Oregon statutes address microchips in pets but no law regulating brain implants in humans. Oregon govt can torture citizens without impunity. IF YOU DON’T RESPOND, THEN YOU SANCTION IT AND IT MAY BECOME YOUR FATE SOON.
    charles adams
    4506 s. immonen rd.
    lincoln city or 97367

  11. Thanks Matt, I have been doing some research into neighborhoods/ areas to find more conservative leaning ones.

    The severed ties were with far, far left progressives who until our current president came to be in office showed absolutely no indication of such leanings. People that could not even meet to have a single cocktail without flaring at us, using terrible language and unbelievable insults. There was never a chance to even get a word in edgewise so we usually just sat there waiting for the string of expletives, insults and rhetoric to end. The relationships could probably be described as abusive if one were to overhear them. We’re not too terribly sensitive until the name calling becomes abusive. We both lean more towards fiscally responsible Libertarian than anything else and they were aware of our positions as we have never presented ourselves as anything different. As you do, we typically choose our battles carefully and with confidence knowing that small government, fiscal responsibility and capitalism made America great. Tried and proven over and over again. I just don’t want to leave our life and enter one of hostility and nastiness. We’ve experienced that with our old “friends” on a less constant basis. But we could walk away from that and not have it adversely effect our lives. Surrounding ourselves with that hatred on a day in day out basis would be challenging to say the least. I don’t know that I would want to expose any of us to that. However, I glean from what you said that it would not be like that. Which is comforting.

    I appreciate your time. If you have any suggestions on areas that we may want to look into please let me know.

    • Hello Mam. I’ve long neglected this blog of mine but while looking for some inspiration I came across this exchange between the two of us a few years back.

      Did you make your move? Are you in Portland? If so, I hope you’re enjoying it and that your apprehensions from earlier are long faded.

      Best of luck to you and yours.


  12. Would like to hear your wisdom- I am a staunch conservative Catholic raising children in a nuclear family as a stay at home mom. Not 5 minutes ago was informed we may have the opportunity to move to Portland for a job- one that would increase career and salary for my husband. Could we as lifetime NRA members, whose children hunt, fish and believe in freedom survive there? I can’t even handle my lifelong friends who have become liberal. We have severed ties with many of the over the top left wing nuts. I am afraid it will be a constant struggle to make friends and continue to instill our values in our children. Thoughts??

    • Hello there. I appreciate you taking the time to read this blog of mine that I’ve neglected for way too long. And I don’t know how much wisdom I may offer, but I can offer experience about Portland.
      My first thought is: you will be just fine should you make the move. Despite the differences you and I have with the political atmosphere of Portland, it is a beautiful city, perfect size, and diverse enough for us to find our niche. If my parents and their friends do it, then you can too. Remember, Portland is different from the rest of the state. Outside the Willamette valley, the attitudes shift and NRA members who hunt and worship God and their own nuclear families are the norm.
      My second thought is: although I don’t know just how far left your friends that you severed ties with moved, I suggest that you perhaps dial down the sensitivity and carry more of a quiet confidence with you. We as conservatives simply carry on ideals that have worked with glorious success since our country’s founding. Those that oppose us cannot win in with their ideas, so they resort to arguing, high-jacking and perverting words like “fairness”, “equality”, and “tolerance”, and vilifying anyone who questions their thinking. It took me a very long time to learn that I must chose my arguments and battles carefully but to always carry myself with the confidence of knowing that I am secure in my beliefs because by beliefs have a proven track record.
      Remember, Portland is still America, even if it wants to be Europe. If you move here, you will have every chance in the world to raise your children the proper way, maintain your lifestyle, and be happy. You may even find yourselves becoming role models and sources of inspiration. The culture of liberalism here has left many without foundation and seeking a better way. I always try to accommodate those who want help or advice and do so without invoking that it was their politics of the politics of those around them that put them in their state of confusion. The human experience is encapsulated and nurtured by American conservatism, even better so when words like liberal or conservative aren’t employed.
      Good luck to you, ma’am. Thanks again for reaching out. If you do make the move, please let me know on this page. I’d be very interested.


  13. Fear not. You are sane, and not alone. We, red blooded Americans, who love America, will save it, with help from above. Have a wonderful day. Keep the faith.

  14. Wow…. I say this from a completely objective standpoint: I have NEVER read a rant with such a pretentious little shit undertone in my life…. But, that may be because I grew up in a single family and don’t know how to read.

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