So, today is moving day, as my roommates and I are moving to Northeast Portland, in the area near Gresham. So, my address will no longer have a Happy Valley address, and I thought it fitting at least to give some tribute to the small suburban community where I landed after my dramatic exit from Thailand. My time here has been full of a great deal of irony, some of which started before I even arrived. Let me indulge myself in a few stories: before I had ever seen Happy Valley, I had a conversation about it with the US Customs agent in Vancouver on my flight to Portland. He made a comment about what makes Happy Valley happy, and I commented rather flippantly that there was a mall across the street and that shopping made people happy.
Little did I know, of course, at the time that the mall across the street would become briefly famous for one of the mass shootings of the year, but all the same the town itself could not be blamed for that. Happy Valley is, after all, a small suburban community of mostly middle class and upper middle class homes on the southern slopes of Mt. Scott (which barely qualifies as a mountain), a town that has grown rapidly as the greater Southeastern Portland area has become more developed with subdivisions, mostly swallowing up unincorporated Clackamas. All of this I have written about before  , but it’s not a bad reminder.
Having been able to get to know the area a little bit during my time here, I have enjoyed the suburb, even if aside from the wonderful views it is a fairly unremarkable suburb as far as they go. Many suburbs of a certain size have the same kind of malls, the same kinds of restaurants (especially casual dining), small time police departments looking for quick bucks off of DUI or traffic stops, and a general lack of civic identity among people who are pursuing their own personal concerns in areas whose growth is largely dependent on property taxes and a certain amount of physical infrastructure. None of these are particularly remarkable or surprising, but all the same they are not offensive either, and can bring about a certain smile and laugh that comes from recognition of common patterns.
One of the finds that I most enjoyed during my time in Happy Valley was a little pedestrian walkway that ran along Interstate 205 between the south side of the mall, where I was dropped off in my carpool and where I lived north of the mall, as it was a peaceful walkway that I often had to myself that was designed like an artificial canyon of sorts, which allowed me to walk and lose myself in my thoughts without having to worry about getting run over by cars. Being the person who tends to enjoy opportunities for the occasional musing or daydream, it was not a bad thing to have a safe way to do so. With that said, I move from Happy Valley without any sense of rancor, as I seek my own happiness and hope that the town does the same.