Portlandia Lives Up to Parody

Having just made a visit to Portland, Oregon, I got a fresh reminder that lots of people there think “Portlandia” is a true-to-life documentary rather than a “mockumentary.” Take for example a recent news report about a study on substance abuse commissioned by the Portland City Club. The study found that substance abuse is—wait for it—a serious problem. An epidemic even!

Oregon is facing an epidemic of alcohol and drug abuse, according to a new report released by the Oregon Substance Abuse Disorder Research Committee.

The report found that one out of every 10 Oregonians struggles with drugs or alcohol and that addiction costs the state about $6 billion a year in everything from policing to health care.

It also found that two of every three Oregonians either struggle with a substance abuse disorder or have a family member or friend who does. “Substance abuse disorder is everywhere,” said lead author and retired anesthesiologist, Dr. Samuel Metz.

This story wouldn’t be noteworthy except for this note at the end:

The Portland City Club commissioned the report. But the club decided against releasing it because of the all-white composition of the committee.

Seriously, Portland City Club? Portland is the whitest major city in America. It’s Stockholm. Last time I checked the Census figures for the Portland metropolitan area (admittedly quite a while ago now), Portland was nearly 95 percent white. Partly this is the result of highly discriminatory policies against especially blacks almost a century ago, when the Klan was surprisingly strong in Oregon. Yet I am sure most Oregonians today regard the South as the region that ought to be lashing itself daily for its historic sins.


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