Yesterday on our way to lunch, the partners and I spotted a man high up on a scaffold whitewashing the iconic Portland Storage Company sign that lords over southeast Portland. At first glance we chuckled and made some smart ass jokes about the sloppy paint job. But moments later, when I finally realized the enormity of what was happening, my heart sank and I spent the next ten minutes stabbing at my Buffalo Chicken Salad.
To a naïve outsider like you, this whole scenario might seem trite and irrelevant. But really it’s not. This sign, this bold beacon of prosperity was our siren. Our lighthouse in dark and troubled times. I remember, upon first moving to the neighborhood, getting lost while out and about in SE Portland. It was late and I had no idea where I was. Yes, I had consumed a few beers and bourbons…but that’s beside the point. As I anxiously gazed westward, I remember finally spotting that cocky sign in all its lighted glory. And smiled as it whispered to me, “Scott, I am the Portland Storage Company. And now you know where you are. You are safe.” It is also told me to go back inside the bar and continue drinking, which I thought was pretty cool too.
So today, as I passed that horrid sellout of a painter, I couldn’t help but remember this special night and contemplate a future without this audacious icon in our lives. Oh Portland Storage Company sign, I weep for thee.