Saturday, March 29, 2008

Flint, Oregon

I'm just back from a road trip to the Pacific Northwest, where the Michigan reminders are everywhere, even in Portland, where I ran across this Buick Electra 225, complete with whitewalls, the day I arrived.

I also met up with Kara Tambellini, another Flint Expatriate, and got a chance to gossip about Flint in general, and our old friend Mark Sanford in particular. Then I started spotting Michigan plates all over town and encountered somebody from Ann Arbor in the grocery store.

Is everyone in Michigan moving to Oregon? Well, a lot of people are leaving the Wolverine state and a lot of people are showing up in the Beaver state, so there must be some overlap.

According to United Van Line’s 30th annual 'migration' study, which tracks where its customers are moving, "a strong mobility pattern continued in 2006 as many Americans packed up their belongings and headed to the West and Southeast parts of the country, while the Central Northeast region of the country experienced an increase in residents departing.

"Supporting the idea that Americans still believe there is fortune to be found in the West, the Western portion of the country emerged as a top migration spot. Capturing the No. 2-inbound ranking, Oregon (62.5%) sustained its 19-year, high-inbound trend.

"States in the Central Northeast generally showed an outbound trend, according to United’s records. Ranked No. 2 on the high-outbound list last year, Michigan (66.0%) moved up a spot to tie for the top outbound state on this year’s list. Michigan saw a 2.1% increase over its 2005 numbers."

Even the weather in Oregon seemed like Michigan on the way back to San Francisco.

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Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at