Carl Geers

Contributors: Mykle "Eat at McDonalds!" Hansen, Katie "I Wear Nikes!" Shimer, Julianne "Les Schwab" Shepherd, Phil "Why Buy a Mattress Anywhere Else?" Busse, Katia "Domino's Pizza is Delicious!" Dunn, Tamara "Wal-Mart: Rolling Back Prices" Larson, and Wm. Steven "You've Got a Friend in the Diamond Business" Humphrey; Photographs by Carl "Kodak is #1" Geers

Note to Readers:
Welcome to 82nd Avenue, Portland's Asteroid Belt--a tumbling band of debris that separates the low-gravity, earth-like neighborhoods of Eastmoreland and Mt. Tabor from the crushing gas-giants of Gresham, Clackamas, and the greater United States. Like a comet falling to earth, it cuts a 15-mile swath through outer Southeast's calm, residential zones, scattering a tangled mess of auto repair shops, sex arcades, big-box megastores, and fast food franchises in its wake. It's the quintessence of urban blight--strip mall after strip mall, interrupted by dive motels and used car lots, accessible only by automobile--and it thrives.

In fact, for many Portlanders, 82nd Avenue is the nexus of an alternative, blight-based lifestyle. We at PM spent a week cruising up and down 82nd Avenue, from PDX Airport to the Clackamas Town Center and beyond, hunting for this street's redeeming qualities. It sucked. Infernal heat roiled us, Burger King grease and carbon monoxide raped our nostrils, traffic madness ate tiny holes in our skull, and people kept trying to break into our car. Nevertheless, parking was ample, bargains were many, and new advertising accounts rained down upon us like manna from heaven.

PM discovered what the Invisible Hand already knew: You can get whatever you need on the Avenue. We've developed genuine sympathy and respect for the people who have made 82nd their way of life. Shopkeepers, prostitutes, sweating sandwich-board guys riding giant stuffed chickens, the weird man who drives around in his Camry with the seat all the way back so you can't see him--for these people 82nd is not just a place to visit on Sundays when all the other shops are closed. For them, 82nd is home. And sometimes when we make fun of someone's home, they pull their advertisements from our paper, so...

82nd Avenue, we salute you, in all your sprawling glory. Though we wouldn't want to live on you, you are still a nice place to visit. True, you are ugly, but you've got loads of personality. Best of all, you're easy--we can have you whenever we want, and ignore you otherwise. You don't care. You're just a street. --Eds

Note to Advertisers: For those businesses selected by our sales staff to be in the "Best of 82nd Avenue" issue, congratulations! In exchange for your advertising support, you will receive a laminated copy of your positive review to hang up in your establishment, as well as a Mercury sticker for your door that reads "I'm one of the best things about 82nd Avenue, and you ain't shit."Also included in your prize package is an invoice (all balances must be paid within thirty days of publication date). If by chance your business was overlooked in this year's edition of the "Best of 82nd Avenue" try to remember the following adage: Money can't buy happiness, but it goes a long way when buying a good review.--Eds