I Live Here: Maren Murphy

Name & Age: Maren Murphy, 26

Hometown: Spokane, Washington

Current Neighborhood: Northwest District

How do you pay the rent and what is your slash? Intern at a conservation non-profit/ depaving advocate/ wanna-be fashionista/ mac & cheese lover/ temporary wedding planner (I’m tying the knot in 2012)

What do you create? At my day job, I create reports and maps to help acquire lands along rivers for conservation goals, and occasionally I get paid to raft them. In my free time, I create havoc on underutilized parking lots.

How did you land in Portland? I moved here in­ 2008 to get my degree in Master of Urban and Regional Planning at PSU. I wanted to use the city as my textbook, so picking the right city was just as important as picking the right program. I’ve worked hard to find opportunities in this over-qualified, under-employed city to build my resume and develop my career as a conservation planner. I’m not married to Portland yet, but for the time being, I love the lifestyle I get to live here.

What is the last book you read? This House of Sky, by Ivan Doig. I’m currently reading Wallace Stegner’s essay collection, Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs. I’m really inspired by western American literature and have an affinity for writers that this vast and varied landscape breeds.

Name your favorite tattoo. My parents’ tattoos, symbolizing myself and my brothers: my mom has hummingbirds, and my dad has spawning salmon.

What was the last thing you ate at a food cart? Penne alla Vodka from Built To Grill…yum. Out of a GoBox too (you get twice as much food!).

Oregonian, Willamette Week, or Mercury? I have a daily subscription to the Oregonian to keep me from eating breakfast at my computer. I get enough of that during the day.

What is your favorite bridge and why? I like riding the MAX over the Steel Bridge. It has great views south towards downtown and north towards the industrial area and Forest Park. It looks pretty cool, too. One of these days, I would love to experience the High Line in New York.

Stumptown Coffee or _________? I don’t drink coffee, but Coffeehouse Northwest has the best hot chocolate. Ever.

Coast or Mountains? Desert! I am obsessed with eastern Oregon and the high desert sage-and-juniper landscape. It’s worth the extra drive eastward.

Only in Portland moment? Depaving. Where else in the country, or even the world, are people coming together to electively rip-up asphalt and reclaim soil for better uses, like community gardens, naturescaping, and stormwater infrastructure? Every time I volunteer at one of our depaving events, it is magical and inspirational, and it makes me excited to be a part of it and to be doing this in Portland.

A favorite local business? Bushwhacker Cider, because I love cider and they have it all!

Are you a car person or a bike person? I’m car-free and I’m only a sunny-day cyclist. Mostly I walk and take the bus.

If you could change one thing about Portland, what would it be? There are a lot of great ideas in Portland, but I feel that many people lack the commitment to get involved, get dirty, and create change. This city can’t just be a bunch of thinkers, but there also needs to be a bunch of doers. And maybe we need to spread beyond the Portland bubble.

And finally, where can we find you on the web? My work: www.westernrivers.org, my volunteer work: www.depave.org, and me: www.bureaucrachic.blogspot.com.

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