Friday, November 24, 2006

Can We Have Root Beer Flowing from the Fountains Too?

Wishful thinking is what it is. I know, I know, it's popular in California. However, THIS is not California...

People like fake trendy facades down there. Hell, the whole place IS a fake trendy facade. So, it should be no surprise that the latest trend in shopping is a "total immersion commercial experience."

See, the big malls and bigger box stores have killed the concept of local downtown mom-and-pop shopping. However, market research proves beyond doubt that the downtown village shopping experience is exactly what shoppers want.

So, now, retail developers have taken to building fake shopping towns, which, when viewed from a historical perspective, is exactly how real town were first formed. So, it's actually a cyclical circle of sorts, so to speak, but I digress.

These new pseudo towns have no mayor, no city counsel, no residents to speak of. They are simply malls. Malls with streets, street art, and artsy thematic facades. And so, we come to the illusive point...

The greater Portland tri-county metro region has, among other things, three big malls. Washington Square caters to the Yuppies on the westside (home of Nike and Intel). Clackamas Town Center caters to the eastside hillbillies. Lloyd Center, toward the northside, caters eclectically to street-thugs, gay men and Tonya Harding. (She used to ice skate there...)

Recently, however, some developer took note of a triangle field located near Interstate-5 at the very gateway of Lake Oswego. ( For you folks who don't know, "Lake No-Negro" is a private lake surrounded by wealthy white folks who shelter along its shore behind tall walls, and who venture out only in caravans of matching SUVs with darkly tinted windows.)

Needless to say, this little capital venture was aimed at the "upper end" shopper. So, it should be no surprise that a little pseudo-village shopping park, Bridgeport Village, should emerge, as if overnight. Streets were re-routed. Entire big-box book stores made the move literally across the street, but then things slowly started to go wrong...

First, there was the flaming fountain sculpture. It is nice, with stone and bronze, fire and water. It was temporarily loaned to the Village by the aging artist. It was, however, PERMANENTLY installed, and no one seemed to have planned to pay anyone for it. Oops.

And then there is the parking. And really, since I've started writing this blog last year, I have resisted a raging rant about the inexplicable absence of parking at this place. So, in the interest of moving on, let me just say this: Parking at Bridgeport Village is poor.

(By "poor," of course, I mean that the designers should be ass-raped in hell for all of eternity.)

And then, as if by surprise, once the first winter hit, it was discovered that there was no roof. Well, the individual shops have roofs, but not the side walks. Now, Oregonians are a hardy bunch when it comes to rain, but really, the upper-end shoppers from Lake-O, so coveted by the village, are just a bunch of pussies.

Bad planning. BAD GODDAMN PLANNING!! That's what I think every time I go. And I have to go. They have things there that I want! But having made my purchase, I feel guilty for having supported BAD FUCKING PLANNING!!

(Jesus, this one's getting long...)

OK, so, tonight, The Village hosted it's first annual lighting of the Christmas Tree. First attempt. Fair enough.

But Damnit, if you are going to invite a gazillion people to come stand OUTSIDE in the cold November air, have more than TWO heaters on site.

AND, if you are going to distribute hot cider to the throng, or even offer hot cider, have the cider ready. Have cider pump-pots that work, and have more than one poor schlepp on hand to help. And if you are not going to have the product available, do not make kind folks and potential shoppers stand in line.

AND, if you're going to have a gazillion children come stand outside to see Santa and the tree, and you are in Oregon, and you FORGOT TO BUILD A ROOF, a little temporary tarp or tent might be nice.

AND, when you've designed overly-narrow lanes, and crammed them with kiosks and a gazillion crying cold wet children, DO NOT try to force a team of angry elk, dressed as reindeer and pulling a sleigh, through the milling masses.

AND, this is the important part, when you have lured a gazillion crying cold bored hungry tired wet children to your Bataan-death-march-like holiday extravaganza, Santa Claus had better goddamn well better be sure that he is not 30 fucking minutes late!

Piss-poor planning in goddamn deed.

And before you ask, no, I do not want or need a tinsel hat...


  1. The second I started reading this, I thought: Bridgeport Villiage. Looong before you ever got to the actual point. Sorry it sucked. Once Rankin and I thought we'd stop in for a quick dinner and a movie......right. Plus, when they realized all the kids wanted to PLAY in the fountain, they shut it down. Really, the only reasons we took our kids there on the five hot days in Oregon.

    Oh, and dude, maybe you should consider avoiding crowds for awile...

  2. Salem is great.

  3. I imagine there were more crying cold bored hungry tired wet daddies than children especially if the cider was wanting

  4. Should have taken your flask with you. A necessary accessory for holiday events and any trip to the mall.

  5. amanda8:08 PM

    Salem blows. What smoke have you been cracking?

  6. lawstudent8:15 AM

    Salem is great! The 2 covered malls are great dsitractions while studying for finals!

  7. amanda10:00 AM

    I can think of far better distractions from finals than settling for two covered malls. I reaffirm my earlier assertion: Salem blows.

  8. Salem does have a great "stars"

    Your new mall sounds like the one they built down here in Rancho Cucamonga. Did I mention that it is sunny every day of the year here?

  9. Oh GOD... Well, I will never go there, that's for sure! That just sounds downright fucking awful!

    I've been to Washington Square and liked it, and I always enjoy the Lloyd Center. I particularly like their movie theater. :)

  10. Oh and I am LMAO at Lake No-Negro.


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