Transmissions from The Portland RV Scene


This summer proved to be less about an explosion of recreational vehicles showing up and parking all over town, not in the way it felt the summer before. Perhaps RV hysteria has died down. Around the Portland Orbit office, we always wondered where people were getting these vehicles. Sadly the one person who could have provided insight into the RV scene, Darlene from the barbershop 7 Bucks a Whack passed away. From what I recall from a detail that jumped out at me while reading one of the weekly newspapers, she was an expert in RV parking regulations. Whatever I might have learned from her, had I found the time to ask, makes me also realize what a potentially amazing rant has now been lost to the ages. While noticing the recreational vehicles I’ve seen around I discovered communiques emanating, mostly from notes on the windows. The messaging is sometimes personal—related to life on the streets, other times cheery or vague and other times strictly business.

Messages of Mystery and Amicability

Spotted at an Indian Pow Wow at Delta Park, this RV may not belong to a local but the messages it carries are an example of what RV transmissions should strive for. References to love and being nice, with cheery colors mixed in, add joy to the world.

These signs are unclear but seem to communicate that the occupants of this recreational vehicle are off working to pay for upkeep in an effort to keep any particular street parking authorities and other wolves at bay. The notes indicate that working people need a break. I’m clueless as to why exactly Rush should talk to Mark though.

In the Woodstock neighborhood this message related potentially cozy nights spent in the musty sleeping loft of a camper. Perhaps the rest of the slogan needed to read: LAY ME DOWN AND LEAVE ME ALONE.

The Business Of RV

I expected to find a for sale sign and I did in the Kenton Neighborhood. No doubt sales transactions are a big part of the Portland RV scene. The other sign I noticed on an RV parked next to the Interstate Fred Meyers is the result of what happens when the wrong ad runs on Craigslist.

I suppose the other side of the business of RV is the act of calling in an RV or camper that’s parked, possibly illegally, in the Arbor Lodge neighborhood. I’m not sure who called or the specifics of the why, but I do know when they called and that seems good enough at this point.

Don’t Come a Knockin’

Just to be clear, people do want and probably deserve their privacy when they’ve parked their RV on a public street.

The street that leads to the back parking lot of the Interstate Fred Meyers across from the fire station proved to be a popular spot for recreational vehicles. These transmissions tell a story directed at some specific people. I can imagine why the RV owner wouldn’t want to be hassled by either tweekers or someone with the authority to tow their vehicle. Somewhere there is footage of me doing my journalistic due diligence to get the photos needed to create this post. I’m going to be famous!

Special thanks to Will Simmons from the Pittsburgh Orbit for the opening Barn Tavern RV photograph.

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