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Poway

Poway - Image by Joe Klein
Poway

Poway: “The City in the Country.” I was born and raised in Poway, and I can tell you that the slogan has never been accurate. At the time of Poway’s incorporation in 1980, any passer-by could spend all day searching for a city. By now, the country is the elusive part.

Due to its split personality of both city and country, Poway exhibits interesting contradictions. Rusty pickup trucks share the road with BMWs and the resident Ferrari. Hicks and yuppies pick through fresh produce together. In addition to a Target and a Wal-Mart, there is a feed store, a stable, and random chickens. Housing ranges from mansions to mobile homes to the token homeless man.

The best way to describe Poway is in moments — both Kodak and daguerreotype. Five Christian churches share a short stretch of road, their signs declaring the righteousness of each over the others. The nostalgic apparition of the old Applebee farmhouse stands alone in a barren field, a fading memory of Poway as it once was. I remember wading through Rattlesnake Creek in red rubber boots, collecting rocks and planks to build rickety bridges, enjoying the squelching mud, forests of reeds, and darting tadpoles.

Near the creek is the Poway Valley Riders Association arena and stables. Poway horseback riders create demand for a snaking network of horse trails, and their horses supply the perpetual peppering of droppings that adorn so many east Poway sidewalks. Due to rural residential zoning, people can keep horses in their back yards while leading an otherwise suburban lifestyle within stuccoed walls. East Poway is dominated by such people.

On the flip side, a nearly unchecked onslaught of tract houses provides the support necessary to maintain Poway’s three Starbucks. These houses would be pleasant enough, were it not for their chillingly identical design. My friend Courtney remembers a man who stayed three minutes in her house before realizing that he actually lived two doors down.

Overlooking everyone is the land of the very rich, consisting of million-dollar dream houses, tennis courts, and automated gates. The gates are successful in keeping out alien vehicles, non-fence-climbers, and the mentally impaired.

Perhaps the best illustration of the contradictory nature of Poway is its treatment of the city mascot, the Poway Oak. Once a venerable living landmark, it was suffocated and killed by nearby road expansion, a most ironic demise. Other strange occurrences take place as well — a strangled duck made it into the crime log, a skateboarder jumped a flight of stairs and hit a horse.

Throughout the contradictions is a basic understanding that Poway will always have trees, numerous parks, and bare ridgelines. Of course, the parks range from simple baseball diamonds to campgrounds, and some hilltops have begun sprouting tracts.

Eventually, the “country” part of the Poway slogan will seem like a joke. You can no longer scoff, “It’s Poway” and leave your car unlocked, and many of the creeks are now paved over. Perhaps the slogan will become “the City in the Suburb,” with a hardier mascot — a Starbucks or an SUV.

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Poway - Image by Joe Klein
Poway

Poway: “The City in the Country.” I was born and raised in Poway, and I can tell you that the slogan has never been accurate. At the time of Poway’s incorporation in 1980, any passer-by could spend all day searching for a city. By now, the country is the elusive part.

Due to its split personality of both city and country, Poway exhibits interesting contradictions. Rusty pickup trucks share the road with BMWs and the resident Ferrari. Hicks and yuppies pick through fresh produce together. In addition to a Target and a Wal-Mart, there is a feed store, a stable, and random chickens. Housing ranges from mansions to mobile homes to the token homeless man.

The best way to describe Poway is in moments — both Kodak and daguerreotype. Five Christian churches share a short stretch of road, their signs declaring the righteousness of each over the others. The nostalgic apparition of the old Applebee farmhouse stands alone in a barren field, a fading memory of Poway as it once was. I remember wading through Rattlesnake Creek in red rubber boots, collecting rocks and planks to build rickety bridges, enjoying the squelching mud, forests of reeds, and darting tadpoles.

Near the creek is the Poway Valley Riders Association arena and stables. Poway horseback riders create demand for a snaking network of horse trails, and their horses supply the perpetual peppering of droppings that adorn so many east Poway sidewalks. Due to rural residential zoning, people can keep horses in their back yards while leading an otherwise suburban lifestyle within stuccoed walls. East Poway is dominated by such people.

On the flip side, a nearly unchecked onslaught of tract houses provides the support necessary to maintain Poway’s three Starbucks. These houses would be pleasant enough, were it not for their chillingly identical design. My friend Courtney remembers a man who stayed three minutes in her house before realizing that he actually lived two doors down.

Overlooking everyone is the land of the very rich, consisting of million-dollar dream houses, tennis courts, and automated gates. The gates are successful in keeping out alien vehicles, non-fence-climbers, and the mentally impaired.

Perhaps the best illustration of the contradictory nature of Poway is its treatment of the city mascot, the Poway Oak. Once a venerable living landmark, it was suffocated and killed by nearby road expansion, a most ironic demise. Other strange occurrences take place as well — a strangled duck made it into the crime log, a skateboarder jumped a flight of stairs and hit a horse.

Throughout the contradictions is a basic understanding that Poway will always have trees, numerous parks, and bare ridgelines. Of course, the parks range from simple baseball diamonds to campgrounds, and some hilltops have begun sprouting tracts.

Eventually, the “country” part of the Poway slogan will seem like a joke. You can no longer scoff, “It’s Poway” and leave your car unlocked, and many of the creeks are now paved over. Perhaps the slogan will become “the City in the Suburb,” with a hardier mascot — a Starbucks or an SUV.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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