Because we’ve got more than one life to live.

Name By Day Moonlights As Secrecy Level Hidden Connection
Georgette Eck A social worker at Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization “Indigo Hurls,” cocaptain of the notoriously ruthless Breakneck Betties team in the Rose City Rollers roller-derby league “It’s hard to hide why you have a sprained ankle,” Eck explains. But with her clients, she keeps her skating under wraps: “It would be a surprise that their nice caseworker puts on roller skates and knocks people to the ground after work.” Roller derby serves as a refuge from refugee work—and that makes Eck a better social worker, she says. “We spend so much time giving to other people that we don’t fill our cup back up. I have a place where I can work that energy off.”
Rex Ritter Vice president and adviser at Umpqua Private Bank Guitarist for local jazz-fusion combo Fontanelle; member of noted drone-metal collective Sunn O))) (known for wearing black hooded robes during performances) Depends on your clearance. “The details are tailored to the audience,” Ritter says. “Most folks appreciate that I’m not just a boring banker.” Ritter caught flak for his day job while on tour with Sunn O)))—till he whipped up a spreadsheet projecting the total tour income.
Dana Haynes & Katy King Haynes is Mayor Charlie Hales’s communications director; King, his partner, runs her own government relations firm. Published mystery writers—both of them. King is the author of the lady-detective mystery City of Suspects, while Haynes has written four Clancyesque novels of international intrigue. “We’ll sit in coffee shops,” says King, “fingers poised over our keyboards while we have deep conversations about staging plots of mass destruction in fiction-land.” Haynes’s double life is on the down-low. “I don’t talk much about it at work,” he says. “I’m not the story; the mayor, or the city, or the policy is the story.” When her book came out, King was less clandestine—she even wrote some colleagues into future books at their request: “I made a particularly nice set of brothers into drug lords.” Characterization. Just like he’s had to “hear” his characters’ voices to write convincingly and distinctly as them, Haynes needs to “hear” the mayor’s voice to serve as his spokesman.
Robb Wolfson Citizen-involvement coordinator for Multnomah County A competitive eater. Since entering his first eating contest six years ago on a dare, Wolfson’s won about two-thirds of his approximately 20 competitions. Wolfson finds his hobby only helps at work. “One of the best ways to engage people is to make them laugh,” he points out, “and it’s an almost guaranteed laugh if you tell people you do competitive eating.” Thick skin. Getting yelled at by angry citizens and getting laughed at with your face planted in sauerkraut aren’t, after all, so different.
Aaron Woo Chef-owner of vegetarian eatery Natural Selection (and owner of its casual neighbor, Vita Café) A managing partner of indoor-soccer complex Rose City Futsal, where he oversees the on-site pub When you own two restaurants, co-own a sports facility (and play there), and are raising two kids in Northeast Portland, covert operations are near impossible. Futsal—a fast-paced, passing-heavy soccer variant—is marked by the same teamwork and all-consuming intensity as cooking on the line, Woo observes. “That’s the thing I feed off of: living in the moment.”

Because our roses date back to the Middle Ages.

Portland’s famed International Rose Test Garden cultivates 10,000 varieties, from the Betty Boop and the George Burns (yes, really) to the Moondance and the Golden Showers (yes, really). Among them blooms the world’s oldest known rose, soon to celebrate its 1,200th birthday: a “dog rose” known as Rosa canina (pictured), cut from a giant rose bush at a cathedral in Hildesheim, Germany. No one seems to know exactly how we got a piece of that huge mothership, planted in 815. (Some think it was a gift to Mayor Vera Katz.) But we do know that the mysterious German rose is in good company. Portland’s test garden was founded in 1917 to provide a home for European hybrids that rose aficionados worried would be destroyed in World War I. The original Hildesheim Rose burned during Allied Forces’ 1945 bombing. Eight weeks later, it sprouted 25 new shoots. 

Because our evangelicals believe in evolution. 

“Christianity can be what the Bible says it is, and evolution can be what the evidence says it is, without any horrible conflict,” says 26-year-old Newberg journalist Tyler Francke. Francke’s blog has gotten him called a heretic. But it also attracts thousands of readers per month. “Multimillion-dollar organizations claim Christians must reject a few, select scientific principles,” he says. “I’m just offering a modest alternative.” And Francke’s not finished: his first novel, out this month, may be the first for an evangelical audience to feature a gay protagonist. 

By 2015, Oregon weddings will be all the more amazing.

With a recent poll showing 61 percent of Republicans and 77 percent of Democrats under 30 in favor of same-sex marriage, it’s pretty clear that fighting gay marriage is a losing position. And as political leaders across the party lines of our great state show overwhelming support for the November 2014 ballot measure filed by Basic Rights Oregon (good on ya, Dorchester Conference!), it appears that marriage equality is inevitable. (In an after-party-related side note, legal cannabis may be on its way, too.) We hear lots of wedding bells in Oregon’s future...

Because this is the ultimate kids’ city.

Cosmic Monkey Comics and hot chocolate. MarchFourth Marching Band. Miyazaki film festival at the Northwest Film Center. The zoo. “Kindie rock.” The “grilled cheese bus.” Oaks Park six-dollar preschooler days. A zombie musical for kids. Trapeze class. Picking berries on Sauvie. The libraries.

I thought I loved Portland before my daughter was born. It seems to me now that was just a crush. This is what it feels like to love a city: to know that I can count on it to light Clementine’s mind on fire every day in some new way, to keep her vigorous and fascinated—and muddy. To keep me happy, along with my husband and countless other parents, as we figure out how to grow our small people into interesting big people.

Thirteen years ago Jim and I moved here straight out of art school and hunkered down to write and draw. Portland has been the perfect bubble in which to nurture our own creative lives and careers, and now it has taken on this tremendous new dimension as a kid’s city: playground, wilderness, book paradise, riverscape, art-land, and center of quirk. It’s a beautiful, inexhaustible puddle to stomp in. 

Laini Taylor is the author of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy; the final installment of the series, Dreams of Gods & Monsters, appeared this spring.