Being back I turn corners and drive down streets with vague visual recollections of what these places used to look like. Many times I find myself excited about the changes that have come, a few times I miss something that is gone or changed, but most often I’m touched with a bit of melancholy because I can’t quite remember how all the pieces of a particular place fit together.
That is definitely true for Quality Pie, a 50s style diner where I spent many late nights during high school drinking coffee with cream and eating french fries with ranch dressing. It sounds disgusting now, but the diner was a little slice of heaven. I can’t describe why QP was so special, except that as a teenager when we’re all trying to find our place in the world, this was a place where people from every corner of the city came together.
QP was the lone hold out from the 50s on NW 23rd, a street being chi-chi-fied even a decade ago when I was still living here. So when property values went up places like QP came down. I honestly can’t remember exactly which cross street QP straddled, but I’ll never forget what the pale yellow sign looked like – lightly lit and hovering above the corner diner.
All of these memories came flooding back a week ago when I was walking through the Wieden & Kennedy building, turned the corner and saw the old QP sign serving as a wall in their offices. I stammered to try to explain why I was so excited to my friends who just looked at me with bewilderment. But it was great to see a bit of old Portland in midst of the new.