Portland mayor's plea: Walk and shop!

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Here in Portland, Oregon, we're a wee bit snowed in by THE STORM OF THE CENTURY! ARCTIC BLAST 2008! and other titles concocted by local news crews to justify 'round the clock team coverage. City officials are telling Portlanders to stay at home and off the roads unless there's an emergency.

After seven days of such exhortations, it turns out that there is, indeed, an emergency: no one's shopping at local stores, creating a black hole in an already punishing economic climate. And yesterday in a short news conference, mayor-elect Sam Adams said that we should not only stop driving, but stop taking the famously-hard working public transit system.

But what about those stores awaiting their Christmas shoppers? He had an answer for that, too. Get out and walk to the stores, shopping away your cabin fever and their revenue distress. With a new snowstorm forecast for this afternoon and evening, and a huge one on Christmas day, this will be the last chance, so I'm headed out for an economic stimulus package of my own, or I will have to explain to my children why it is that Santa Claus asked me to knit them their gifts this year.

As a non-driver, I have to say that the seemingly novel advice -- walk and shop! -- is a sensible and long-overdue exhortation. Wouldn't we all be better off walking to the stores in our neighborhood and shopping? It's green, community-focused and (best of all) sensible for your finances; after all, if you have to tote it all home, you're less likely to get something you don't need.

Of course, the makers of those enormous inflatable lawn snowglobes might end up in dire straits. That's a fate I'm willing to live with.
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