I Will Miss You, Portland, Oregon

Eric Mill


Basically all of thoughtbot went to Portland for RailsConf this year, and we had an awesome time. We also took a lot of photos, and put them on Flickr (see Eric Mill’s, Mike Burns\‘, and Tammer Saleh’s). Portland is an awesome city, thoughtbot is full of awesome people, and the Rails community has some gems of people in it too.

I guess RailsConf was a technical conference, but I don’t remember any of that stuff. The trip turned out to be filled with moments of zen for me. Here are just a few that I acquired in Portland this year:

  • At a nearly empty Dante’s on a quiet Thursday night, a DJ plays music that nobody appreciates but a lone undulating man figure in front of the stage.
  • A TV screen above the stage plays Escape From New York for a half an hour before silently switching over to Asian pornography.
  • Playing Robotron 2084 at Ground Kontrol while a DJ spins up Judas Priest’s Exciter.
  • At Powell’s Technical Books, in response to my question about which books he’s been reading here for fun, my art-history-graduate-turned-web-entrepreneur friend Greg calmly leads me to a book on Erlang.
  • At the famous 24-hour donut shop Voodoo Donut, I order a Triple Chocolate Penetration, but am told they’re out, so I settle for a Diablo Rex.
  • Wandering with Ben and Greg through the 3-floor parking garage under Whole Foods for over an hour in search of Greg’s 2-door blue Honda Civic.
  • Riding in a cycle rickshaw at midnight, past a forlorn Pete who utters to us I waited a long time. without elaboration as he fades into the distance.


  • Standing with Josh on the Steel Bridge at the river in the middle of the night, above at least 30 sleeping ducks on the riverbanks.
  • I listen to Jared tell me that he also attempted to visit Voodoo Donut, but was halted at the door by a sign reading Marriage in Progress.
  • Inside the Gravitron, I want to capture the bizarre gravity, so I take a photo of whoever is near me. It happens to be an n-teen-year old girl, whose nearby father is none too pleased when I show her the picture after the ride.
  • Sitting motionless with Tammer for half a minute at the top of The Skyscraper in an open chair, 165 feet above Portland, staring at the nearby buildings and mountains, before beginning a second 75-mph journey through the sky.