It's amazing to think that 15 years ago, in June 2000, the Portland Mercury published its very first issue... and oh, boy, take it from me! Portland has changed a lot. For example, way back then, there wasn't a single store devoted to hand-stitched aprons or beard-grooming supplies. And Division Street sure wasn't the bustling mecca of condos and eateries it is now... I remember when it was a filthy dirt road littered with bloody syringes and the bloated, fly-covered carcasses of dead mules.
But man, we had some good times. Remember that time you said, "Hey, let's hop a refrigerated boxcar, go downtown, and play mumblety-peg with old 'Four-Toed' Fester Guntherson in the alley behind his leather tannery?" But when we arrived, Guntherson was being carried off on a stretcher, because he'd been stabbed in the goiter by a hulking madman named Benedictine Von Davenport—famous for skinning three coppers alive, running Portland's lucrative opium trade, and eventually opening Powell's Books. Oh, how we laughed and laughed.
OH! OH! And what about the time we invited the Mendelsohn twins to the moving picture show, but they stood us up because one had polio, while the other came down with a case of the blind rickets... ON THE SAME NIGHT! What are the odds? Life can be just plain crazy sometimes.
But for me, the highlight of our 15 years together was the time we purchased 23 angry rhinos from a traveling witch who conjured them from the ether. We let the rhinos loose at the annual "Suspenders and Grain Elevator Gala," and I'll be damned if Mayor Ebb McCready didn't grab a bottle of absinthe, hop on the lead rhino's back, and ride that glorious bastard all the way to Stockton, California.
9/11 really sucked though, didn't it?
Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that while 15 years is a long time in the publishing biz, your presence in this city and constant friendship has made it a goddamn pleasure. Thanks for reading the Portland Mercury, and rest assured, the next time you and I are doing doughnuts on the lawn of Pittock Mansion in a flaming horse-drawn cart full of Chinese explosives and turnips, we'll look over the expanse of this great city, and scream in unison, "We love you, Portland! (But we'd love you more if we had fluoride.)"
Wm. Steven Humphrey
Editor-in-Chief, Portland Mercury