Urban differences: Portland, Oregon has only one doorman

Here is an example of differences between cities: New York City is well known for its doormen but Portland, Oregon has only one.

[Richard] Littledyke, a tall, fair-skinned blonde of 28 years, has held doors open for Burlington residents for eight months. The previous doorman, Auggie Contreras, reluctantly vacated the position for a higher-paying bellhop gig at the Nines Hotel…

The Burlington Tower is Portland’s only residential building with a doorman. Other apartments have concierges and several hotels have bellhops at the front doors, but Littledyke is unique. Visitors to the area often use him as a landmark to find their parked car…

Both men said Portland’s lack of doormen probably comes down to the city’s size, age and housing stock.

In Portland, where far fewer people are cramped into limited space, people with extra money achieve status with a nice house and a well-groomed yard, Bearman says. New York’s cramped real estate requires doormen to serve the same purpose.

“They are tied into how to create elegance and luxury in apartment buildings, where space is limited,” Bearman says. “They also provide a bridge between the outside and the inside of a building that a yard serves to provide in a house.”

The explanation: when you have higher residential densities, more high-rise apartments or condos, and wealthier residents, doormen become more common as residents want to clearly signal their status and keep the outside world beyond the doors of their building. The suggestion here is that certain kinds of buildings lead to having doormen – I wonder if this is necessarily the case. Could there also be regional differences, places where it might be considered gauche to have a doorman? The article suggests several apartment buildings in Portland have concierges – how does this differ in the eyes of residents and others?

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