When readers contact the Mercury offices, they usually want to know one of two things: 1) Are you, or are you not going to respond to my lawsuit? And 2) When is this year's PDX Adult Soapbox Derby? Happily, we now have a definitive answer to the second of these two questions, and the hands-down most fun event of the summer will be happening on Sunday, August 24, on Mt. Tabor!

Picture it: Hand-made gravity driven automobiles racing down a mile-long curvy stretch of dangerous road! White knuckles tightly clasping a steering wheel and a PBR! Hurtling around the final hairpin turn at speeds up to 20 mph to cross the finish line in victory--or hopelessly tumble in a storm of splinters and car parts, begging for a merciful end to the agony of hot pavement burning the skin off of delicate body parts. That is the passion and the glory of the PDX Adult Soapbox Derby.

And yet, according to Derby organizer "Big" Jimmy Langen, this year's event was close to being a wipeout.

"The city water department claims that last year spectators threw garbage into the reservoir--they weren't happy," Jimmy says. "That's why this year we're tightening up security, and confining the beer drinking to one area. Now everything's settled and we're good to go."

And since the Derby traditionally draws a huge cheering crowd of onlookers, Jimmy wants to remind race fans "it's not the best day for dogs and bicycles to be on the mountain. For the safety of everyone, please keep them off the track!"

Though off to a late start, this year's competition promises to be just as fun. 29 competitors have entered the race, and many past favorites will be returning, including Load Handler, Alcohaulin', and last year's winner, Designated Driver. Who will emerge victorious? Who will be lying face down in a puddle of their own fluids? These are questions that can only be answered this Sunday, SUNDAY, SUNDAY at the PDX Adult Soapbox Derby! BE THERE!! WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY

Racing goes from 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday, August 24, top of Mt. Tabor, free.