The three years I lived in San Francisco were, at best, complicated. Though I’d already lived in a number of cities, nothing prepared me for the experience of San Francisco’s disparate nature. Rampant inequality, an opaque progressive system of values, and a vulturous relationship to capital were pillars of the community downtown.

Yet, the people I knew and the organizations I engaged with were all incredible in their own right. It seemed like everybody was stuck; there was nowhere else to go, yet the city felt more oppressive by the day. Housing began to disappear, costs began to soar. A few select companies became increasingly valuable on the market and a resumé. Twitter was getting tax breaks for moving to a bad neighborhood. (Mine.)

After years of experiencing this strange juxtaposition day in and day out—like what I imagine being in a perpetual motion machine of neoliberal hell—I left to return to Portland … just in time to watch the same process of skyrocketing rent and gentrification by way of new tech happen there, too.