An outsider’s guide to insider Portland: Dispatch from a dryland alien in the rainy Northwest.

This story appeared in the April 13, 2015 issue of High Country News:

IMG_9835Ever since pilot Kenneth Arnold reported saucer-shaped objects flying near Mount Rainier in 1947, spawning the term “flying saucer,” the Northwest has drawn extraterrestrial tourists. Last year, Oregon led the nation in per capita UFO sightings, many of them in Portland. But the typical alien sojourn appears to be a mere flyby, sans a single visit to a vegan strip club. Perhaps, like tattoo-less Midwestern tourists in ill-fitting pants, they feel out of place here.

As a recent transplant from rural Colorado, I can relate. What we aliens need, I figure, is an outsiders’ guide to insider Portland. So, on a rainy Saturday, I don a silver onesie and homemade alien mask, and set out by bike to concoct one. More…