The View From Vista Bridge
Portland is known as the city of bridges—but it’s also a capital of suicides. After losing a close friend who jumped, I needed to find out why.
Photos by Dina Avila
I had slept in, but it was still early when I rolled over in bed and found an email from my housemate, Gordon, on my phone. He’d sent it after midnight – out of character for him – and the subject line read, “Important: rent and other things.” It seemed important. It was long enough that my phone froze while loading it. I ran downstairs to check my laptop. Late-night emails were not his style.
Gordon, whose name has been changed to protect his and his family’s privacy, and I had lived together for eight years, in two different houses, always with other housemates, but he was the constant. We were never a couple – and both identified as straight – but I had, early in our first living arrangement, referred to him only half-jokingly as my wife. He did most of the cooking and mixed all of the drinks. He handled party logistics but often put me in charge of inviting people. In the throes of a major anxiety attack, he took me to Urgent Care and held me while I sobbed in t…