A Colorful Time

By Polina Olsen

The History Press 19.99 157 pages

The 1960s brought a wave of dramatic social fragmentation across the United States as the increasingly decaying standards of old created a growing need and desire for new, and Portland was no exception. Polina Olsen takes snapshots of this scene and displays them in her collection, Portland in the 1960s: Stories from the Counterculture. The strengths of Olsen’s mosaic can be found in the many personal reflection-tiles from representative figures of Portland’s ‘counterculture’: Caffe Espresso, Days and Nights Bookstore, Portland Zoo, the Psychedelic Supermarket, amongst others. Appropriate to the subject matter and subtitle, these narrative sound bytes provide an interesting look at a colorful time, but when the kaleidoscopic page is turned, the scene changes, the characters change, and the result can be disorienting. For those Portlanders who took part in this vibrant time, this book will surely read as an intimate walk down memory lane with familiar friends, but for those on the outside looking in, additional analysis, connections, and historical context would have offered a much-appreciated layer of depth and significance to the scene.

Reviewed By Kaylan Isenberg

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