By Robert Arrowsmith
There is always something that gets me about Portales. I spent part of the day on Friday in the News-Tribune office and around town, and it reminded of that feel I had when I was here a year ago.
After talking with Cindy Cole, the circulation director for the newspaper, I think I know better as to why.
First and foremost is the center square. It gives you the community feel you want from a comfortable, warm-feeling downtown.
Yes there is construction going on, but there are shops, and several restaurants on the square.
Portales has done a nice job with signage and lighting. It feels like a gathering place for community.
Second is the fact that you have to drive into town. I was telling the story about when I was driving to get from Plano, Texas, to Colorado we frequently drove through Clovis on our way.
Until I moved here in 2012, I never knew of the life that existed when you turn right off the business route. As someone that was going through, mine and my family’s perception of Clovis was just that road. You just do not get the feeling of what Clovis really is as a passerby.
It is not the same with Portales. The speed limit 25 on a four-lane divided will annoy me from time to time as a driver when you are coming into town, however, the simple fact that you have to drive through downtown makes a huge difference to me as a passerby/traveler/
You get the feel of what Portales can be about from Eastern New Mexico University at the west end all the way through to Walmart to the east, and you get the feel of what eastern New Mexico is about.
In a world where initial perception is reality to so many, you do what you can to create a positive initial perception. It can lead to so much more when there is initial buy in from the beginning.
Finally, I would have to say that much of my liking of Portales has frankly come from the smaller town life I have lived the past eight years. In my travels from Vermont to Montana to here, and everything in between, I have become a bit accustomed to a certain style of community.
A feeling of community comes from when people come from all directions with different approaches, and can find that sense of unity and ability to gather from its center.
And to me the key to a unified community feel of life is to be able to have a center. And Portales, from my perspective, you have it.
It may not always be warm, fuzzy positive speak from me in the weeks, months, and years to come, but from someone who has come back to this part of the country, kudos to you, Portales.
In this person’s eyes, you are truly creating a feeling of community. I salute you for that.
Robert Arrowsmith is publisher of Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at: