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How a hipster reputation masked my hometown’s white hate for decades

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23.06.2017

I was born and raised in Portland’s Hollywood District, a relatively unremarkable neighborhood nestled into the city’s northeast quadrant. It’s where I wandered to the library, watched local parades, ordered comics and coffees and, when I got old enough, craft brews. Aside from the sparkling marquee of the Hollywood Theatre, there’s little to separate the area from the other parts of residential Portland—and there’s little of the Portlandia­-style quirk that has inundated other parts of the city over the past few years.

With its McDonald’s and Baskin Robbins, with its bank branches and bike shops, the neighborhood was a home base, an oasis of safety for my family and I as we weathered hardships and celebrated accomplishments. And then, last month, that peace cracked. A man, screaming profanities at a pair of teenagers who, to him, didn’t fit his definition of an “American,” shattered the image of the progressiveness that has come to define my hometown in the popular imagination.

The murders have upended the narrative that Portland is a bastion of tolerance, and drawn much-needed attention to an insidious........

© Quartz