My city isn’t burning. My state is.

I have been amused and offended by mischaracterizations of my hometown, Portland Oregon. In particular, the canard that Portland is “burning.” Portland is not burning. While it’s true that some rioters have set fires, and not only in dumpsters, the state of Portland in general is “pandemic normal.” I am aware of one building in the entire city that was seriously damaged by arson. That’s one too many; but it is not a city in chaos. If you stay clear of downtown or the NE precinct or union headquarters between the hours of 9 pm and 2:30 am, you will not see much of anything out of the ordinary. 

Unless you look up at the sky. It is orange, or was before the sun went down. Wide swaths of the Santiam drainage and the Mackenzie drainage have gone up in flames. The normally cool, damp Oregon Coast is battling multiple fires. The towns of Detroit, Blue River, Vida, Phoenix and Talent are ‘substantially destroyed’ according to our Governor. I am lucky enough to have two houses–one in urban Portland and one in rural Oregon. I am worried about one of them burning down, and it’s not the one in Portland.

I want to talk to you about real dangers and ginned up dangers. Burning cities is a ginned up danger. Wildfires are a real danger. They are caused in part by the long drought and high temperatures. Those are caused in part by global warming. 

I beg you to help our country deal with real dangers and to resist the siren song of ginned up dangers. 

Thank you.

Photo: The Oregon State Capitol building in Salem. Photo by Oregon Department of Transportation

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