How to Hibernate Like a True Portlander

From oddball home deliveries to streaming videos and board games, we've got plenty of reasons to pray for a snow day.

By Aaron Scott, Allison Jones, Win Goodbody, and Sarah Ostaszewski Edited by Kelly Clarke December 1, 2014 Published in the December 2014 issue of Portland Monthly

Image: Nomad

Demand That Strangers Deliver Unexpected Things to Your House

If YouTube videos of PDX’s winter drivers have you homebound, you’re in luck. These companies will deliver (almost) anything.

Library Books: Snuggle up with a steamy romance, binge on a stack of young-adult serials, or browse through classic cookbooks for a perfect chicken soup recipe—without putting on pants! Our beloved local library will deliver by mail for $3 per book.

GROCERIES (AND MORE): So you found that chicken soup recipe of your dreams and want to make it tonight? Instacart will deliver ingredients from Whole Foods, Costco, and Uwajimaya in just two hours. Pro tip: you can order firewood, too. Instawarm!

FANCY ARTISAN FOODS: Just because you’ve declared a personal boycott of the territory beyond your front door doesn’t mean you have to eat like a survivalist. Stock your larder with boxes of craft concoctions from Tiquebox or Mantry, full of Goldfinch Caramels, Happyrock Coffee, Steven Smith teas, and buffalo jerky.

SALAMI BOUQUET: If cabin fever has sparked some less-than-dulcet exchanges between you and your sweetie, show you still care with a 3-, 6-, or 13-“stem” bouquet of Olympia Provisions salami. Nothing says “I love you and I’m sorry everything smells like radiator steam” like cured meats.

LATE-NIGHT MUNCHIES: If driving on slick roads in daylight is frightful, venturing out past midnight in December is only for true thrill-seekers and sandwich delivery vehicles. Devil’s Dill will bring you sloppy, smoky, five-spice pulled pork sandos and BLTs gussied up with kale and avocado until 2 a.m. No added delivery fee! Genius.

Fall in Love With (Words and Sounds by) Your Fellow Portlanders

Image: Nomad

Wampire’s Bazaar (Poly-vinyl Records, $8–16)
Need a burst of energy to combat the winter dark? Crank up Wampire’s sophomore record; its fuzzy, rollicking, saxed-up psych punk equals sheer fun.

Miranda July’s The First Bad Man (Simon and Schuster, $19)
The first novel from this indie filmmaker, oddball performance artist, and former PDXer tells the story of a lonely woman whose worldview is so tender, bonkers, and heartbreaking that it could only come from July. 

Cappella Romana’s Arctic Light: Finnish Orthodox Music ($17)
Sure, you could put on The Tony Bennett Christmas one more time—or you could bask in the majesty of winter with this world-renowned local ensemble’s crystal-clear choral sleigh ride through the last century of Finland’s orthodox music. 

Chuck Palahniuk’s Beautiful You (Doubleday, $26)
Palahniuk takes his pillorying of consumerism to new heights with the tale of a billionaire who plans to take over the world by controlling women (and, therefore, men) with a line of mind-blowing sex toys.

Phillip Margolin’s Woman With a Gun (Harper Collins, $27)
A novelist’s quest to solve the mystery behind a photo of a bride holding a six-shooter behind her back takes her to—where else—Oregon.

Hone Your Board-Gaming Skills

Do you really need to swipe through another lonely round of Fruit Ninja on your phone? Face-to-face playtime is so much better. “The term ‘eat, drink, and be merry’ takes on a whole new meaning when folks are sipping their IPA and engaging via a card or board game,” say Kirsten Brady, co-owner of Sellwood’s table-game mecca Cloud Cap Games. She challenges locals to a round of Coup (ages 10+), a card game of bluffing, deception, and secret identities set in a dystopian near future, and Dixit (ages 8+), a lushly illustrated board game that sparks imagination by demanding players become on-the-spot storytellers. Even better, Cloud Cap rents board games—so you can play before you buy.

Binge-Watch Streaming Oregon Flicks

  • The Battered Bastards of Baseball (Netflix): Portland had its own Bad News Bears–worthy indie baseball team in the ’70s, founded by actor Kurt Russell’s dad. A must-watch doc.
  • C.O.G. (Netflix): One of David Sedaris’s first jobs was working on an Oregon apple farm—back before retro-farming was cool.
  • Body of Evidence (Amazon Prime): Madonna seemingly boinks everyone between the Fremont and Sellwood Bridges except, possibly, Portlandia herself.
  • Free Willy (Netflix, Hulu): The other Oregon Coast flick about earnest kids searching for treasure—in this one, the treasure is a whale.
  • Paranorman (Netflix, Amazon Prime): When zombies attack your city, who you gonna call? A scrawny boy who can talk with the dead, obviously, in this dark animated feature from the Hillsboro animation studio Laika. →
  • How to Die in Oregon (Netflix): This affecting doc about Oregon’s unique Death with Dignity Act won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.
  • Meek’s Cutoff (Hulu): Just like in The Oregon Trail video game, three families try to cross Oregon, but supplies are running low, water is scarce, and someone took a wrong turn.
  • The Road (Amazon Instant): Post apocalypse, a father and son try to cross Oregon, but supplies are running low, water is scarce, and someone might get eaten by a cannibal.

Pray for Snowpocalypse!

Image: Matty Newton

“It doesn’t snow in Portland.” That’s what someone told me when I moved here in 1997. After arriving, I discovered an important word was missing from this proclamation: “usually.” As the years went by, I learned that it does snow in Portland. And when the meteorologically unlikely happens, our fair city transforms into Nordic utopia ... or anarchy, depending on your point of view.

While these wintry Armageddons have gotten less paralyzing (the city invested in snowplows after the weeklong ice storm of January 2004), weather reports of snow in Stumptown still send citizens into a kind of end-times rapture state where all bets are off—and a Scandinavian Brigadoon is on.

Normal rules don’t apply in Snowlandia. Portlanders walk only in the middle of the street—never on the sidewalk. Kids ski and board down SW Greenway from Council Crest until it looks like a mogul field on Bachelor. No one stands a chance of making it to work, but ingenious transport solutions are devised to reach neighborhood bars, which stay open late into the night like FEMA centers.

And only in Portland will an impromptu urban ski race from Powell’s Books to NW 23rd Avenue and back draw scores of willing adventurers clad in neon Lycra, Norwegian flags, and pajamas. When the city is snowed under, anything goes.

Win Goodbody is a local theater blogger and creator of the Stumptown Birkebeiner—a cross-country race that takes place downtown “any time there is enough snow to ski.” In the welcome event of another Portland Snowpocalypse, find race info at

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