THERE'S A GUY in Mayor Charlie Hales' office who has to sit through every last syllable of bile that you, the polite people of Portland, leave on the mayor's voicemail.
To you, he's an anonymous office functionary. To us at the Mercury, he's something of a folk hero. Without his good work, we wouldn't be able to pore over 350-plus pages of transcripts like we just did—bringing you the choicest bon mots and most searing rants from the past year.
Here you go, Portland, you rage-filled mess. We love you.
January 8, Holly: I'm vehemently opposed to the propane terminal because we don't want anything flammable coming through Portland and degrading us and making us a terrorist target. Portland is about clean energy, not energy that blows up. No, no, no.
January 8, Joseph: I'm calling to demand that the city drop its appeal to the Department of Justice in regard to the misuse of power by the Portland Police Department. The city has proven time and time again that it cannot properly contain its police force because it does a terrible job. You're awful at your jobs. Goodbye.
January 9, Gavin: I'm calling about the soon-to-be imposed street fee tax. I thought this was a free country. It's free for you to screw us over and spend our money however the hell you want to do it. GO POUND SAND is all I can say!
January 12, Deb: My complaint is: crows downtown at the TriMet stops covering up the sidewalks with their waste. This is a health hazard. Thank you.
January 21, Steve: Hello. I am completely opposed to you using the police to force homeless people to move around. Do you really want Portland to be known as the place that harasses homeless people? This cannot happen. You guys are ruining the reputation of our city and ruining the lives of the people that most need help.
January 21, Mary: Hello, I do not, repeat, do not want Portland to join the terrorist task force. We don't need that.
February 1, Laura: Downtown Portland on a Sunday is a deeply creepy place, especially Sunday morning without the workers, the weird people rule.
February 6, Gary: I need to know what kind of channels I need to go through to finally get our society to outlaw wind chimes. Everyone always looks at me like, "What's wrong with you? Don't you like to listen to rattling metal?" NO, I don't! I want to sleep. BLANG, BLANG, BLANG. This country is a moron.
March 23, unidentified female: I am a citizen of Portland and I am trying to convey the message that Portland is not weird. Wherever this all started I don't think it was probably from a Portlander. Thank you.
April 8, unidentified male: You know, this is pretty ridiculous for a city the size of Portland not to have anybody that answers the phone. WOW!
April 13, Joseph: Hi, this has to do with people bringing their so-called service dogs into stores—and the dogs don't behave like service dogs. They don't look like service dogs. I just witnessed one, and he stuck his nose on every loaf of bread he could reach.
April 27, Mary: I'm looking at this editorial about mountain bikers needing Hales' help. You know what? I'm tired of it. I've personally been involved with the off-leash dog parks system in Portland, and we've asked for years for off-leash trails where we can hike with our dogs. We certainly don't get consideration from any of the bike riders who are tearing hell-bent-for-leather down these trails.
May 6, unidentified male: We're standing down at the MAX train—Yellow Line-Green Line on 6th between Couch and Davis. The city people came by, drove up on the sidewalk where we were all standing and power-sprayed the MAX station cover that everyone's standing under—like nobody's there. They didn't give a crap that people were there waiting for the train that was coming in a few minutes. I think maybe the city's a big joke. Thank you.
May 6, unidentified male: You people don't know what you're doing and the only reason you're in government is because the public sector wouldn't hire you. You're incompetent and you're thieves. Thank you. God bless.
May 7, unidentified male: You're going to have to do something about this voicemail. This thing rang seven times! That is absurd. My voicemail at home goes into message mode on the third ring. Now, fix this thing!
May 13, Nancy: I do not want our Washington Park reservoirs to be demolished. The people have been totally cut out of these decisions. Soon, we're not even going to be drinking the good Bull Run water that we've been enjoying all this time. What? Is that going to be sold to Nestlé, too—along with water in the Gorge?
May 15, Kimberly: Hi, I wanted to talk to Mayor Hales about the Pembina propane gas terminal. I think it's wonderful that he has withdrawn his support and I hope that it is voted down by the rest of the city council.
May 26, Jess: Hello, I was calling to leave a message for Mayor Hales regarding a planned crackdown on the tented homeless beginning next week through early June. I read an article in the Portland Mercury that this will be happening because of complaints. I would call to complain about a crackdown against the homeless. Homeless people can be supported by the city and need relief.
June 4, Matt: Hi, I've been wondering why day after day for the last five weeks I've witnessed driver after driver for Uber not knowing where they're going, and I'm sitting in my cab with no business. You've cut into my livelihood, and this is pathetic and disgusting!
June 4, unidentified female: Hi, I want you to raise the minimum wage. That's what needs to happen, as soon as possible. Thank you. Bye.
June 23, Gail: I live on SE Carlton Street, and I just got word tonight that you're allowing the 100-year-old sequoia trees to be cut down tomorrow on Martins Street in the Eastmoreland neighborhood. I just wanted to tell you that I'm absolutely sick to my heart that you have no regard for the environment or the habitat and that you would allow [a developer] to be able to come in and cut those trees down without any regard to the impact it has.
July 16, Debbie: Hi, I live at the North Park Blocks and the problem in the park right in front of me is escalating to such a point that I'm scared to go outside and walk. I encountered yesterday a man masturbating, urinating. I know there's drug activity going on. I've called the police non-emergency numbers and nothing seems to be done. Something's happening here that I've never seen—and it's scary.
July 23, unidentified male: I see that Charlie Hales is out gallivanting around and kissing the pope's ass at the Vatican. It would behoove him to stay in town to do his job once in a while. It's the taxpayers that are footing the bill for his adventures all over the world.
July 27, Susan: I'm calling to protest the appalling presence of Shell and its Arctic drill rig in the Portland harbor. I believe Mayor Hales should be opposing all drilling in the Arctic and should be opposing the presence of that disgusting symbol of gas fracking, and gas export, and gas everything, and ruination of the environment in the Arctic.
July 30, Dianna: I'm calling to try to understand why the Cathedral Park parking lot is closed now. It's being closed to assist a multi-national company—and I don't understand that. I just wanted to say how disappointed I am that the city would do this.
July 30, unidentified male: Shell, no!
July 30, Michael: I'd like to know why Mayor Charlie Hales has allowed these protesters to stay on that bridge for more than an hour. They could be TERRORISTS.
August 3, unidentified male: The people of Portland have had enough of these idiot protesters. They're nothing but malcontents and oddballs—and they belong in a mental ward. Running around in 103-degree heat and making asses of themselves is totally outrageous.
August 3, Brian: I just heard on the local news you're going to go and personally make a trip to see Barack and carry the message to Barack OBAMA about Shell No! What are you going to do, ride your BIKE, Charlie? You dumbass! Yeah, we don't need oil, Charlie. Why don't you ride your bike to see Barry?
August 4, unidentified male: Hey, I heard that Portland provides free electricity for people [with] those electric cars. What's up with that, man?! But we can't get any electricity to the homeless?
August 5, Mark: It's been brought to my attention that one of my tenants is illegally listing her apartment on Airbnb. I called Airbnb about it, and they in essence told me to pound sand—and hung up on me several times.
August 7, Ken: I'm calling from Alberta, Canada. Hope you have great day. Thank you.
August 13, unidentified male: I just wanted to say I had a really great night tonight, and I've realized that what's really worthwhile in life is connecting with people.
August 24, unidentified female: I cannot believe that on the smokiest day of the year that you allowed fireworks to be going off in celebration of the TriMet line! How dare you!
August 31, Deanna: [Deanna is commending and complimenting all the police and civil servants throughout the metropolitan area and throughout the state—as well as all the churches around the world. She thinks the mayor looked great on TV.]
September 3, unidentified male: Well, hello, Charlie: You know, I thought this Uber thing had a particular smell to it, and you and your buddy, Stevie, and your lobbyist pal, caught again with your hand in the wrong cookie jar.
September 14, unidentified male: Just tell Charlie that if he thinks he has a prayer of being re-elected, he'd better get down to SE Martins and tie himself to those sequoias down there. This issue is just going to blow him out of office—gare-own-teed!
September 17, Michelle: I was calling to comment on the backlog of untested rape kits up there in Portland. What if all that backlog of untested rape kits had been for men who had been anally raped? I'm just wondering if they would have sat there for as long as they did. I'm going to guess, no.
September 24, unidentified male: I've been reading with interest about the $1.5 million rent-a-bike program. Hey, how about a subsidy for the people who pay for all these things, like the car people? That's what's paying for all this stuff with these bicyclists and what not. They're just a danger for everybody on the road anyway. I don't even feel sorry for them when they get hurt on their bike; they're asking for it usually.
September 24, Norman: [Norman said hello to the mayor and then played a country-western song from the radio.]
September 29, unidentified male: Yes, I have a problem with these people that stand outside of a bar next to a car in the dark, and they get ran over; and the driver ends up having to suffer and ends up having to pay for it. It just doesn't seem fair.
September 30, Norman: [Norman has read an article written by Steve Duin in Wednesday's Oregonian. He thinks Steve Duin is a jackass.]
September 30, Jim: We have coyotes in the neighborhood, and we have one cat that's already been killed by one. I have a suggestion: Ship them to the Deep South.
October 1, Glen: Thirty million dollars to the homeless, huh!? Our tax money really goes to some dumb places! How about the citizens that work to pay these taxes? This is just absolutely ridiculous!
October 5, unidentified male: You need to leave my mom alone in the hospital with your brain lab at the Coliseum Rose Quarter. Do you hear me, you thick piece of shit!?
October 5, Teresa: I was just calling to commend the mayor's office for working with the folks at the North Greeley tramp camp.
October 7, Peter: I'm a resident here at Multnomah Village for the last 10 years. I'm a renter—ideal tenant—no complaints. My rent has now gone up, according to the notice I received, over 33 percent—from $940 to $1,240. I can't do it!
October 8, Ann: I would like to make a comment about this rent that's gone up so high. I've just received a 60-day notice. I'm 76 years old. I have no place to go. The rent is outrageous!
October 14, Michael: I was noticing how beautiful today was and all the sudden how a bunch of planes started spraying us... they look like they're just having fun up there now—doing circles and stuff.
October 26, unidentified male: You people are ridiculous! Borrowing money against taxes that hasn't even come in yet? I know you do it all the time, but for BUMS? You're CREATING bums. Personally, I think you're all bums yourself. Have a nice day, PARASITES!
October 27, unidentified: I just want to leave a message saying, "YIPPEE! I am so glad he is resigning." Please don't wait. Please leave tomorrow. Thank you.
October 29, unidentified female: I am really getting tired of seeing landmark businesses being torn down for new yuppie-duppie places. Do not tear down the Lotus Room! Do not DO it!
October 30, Farrah: Thank you to Mayor Hales for supporting the resolution against fossil fuels. That's really exciting.
November 2, unidentified male: I know they're county; but the Morrison Bridge—the firm that got the contract screwed it up before. Why would you hire the same people? Say you hired a babysitter who molested your child. Would you hire them again?! NO!
November 5, Elizabeth: I'm calling regarding being the last African American on my street—17th and Killingsworth—and I have just been priced out of my apartment. My rent has been increased twice this year and I currently pay $1,050 a month for a rat-infested, mold-infested, non-insulated old apartment.
November 11, Genny: I just drove down Greeley and it seems that the people who are sleeping on the side of the road has increased, and I'm not understanding, as a citizen of our city, why I have to pay to have a roof over my head and pay property taxes, and yet people can live on the side of the street for free. I think it's just disgusting.
November 16, A.J.: I've been trying to get information about people planting trees in our neighborhood, particularly across the street. And I want to know how they're able to do that and if they need a permit. We are inundated with leaves from those trees!!
November 17, unidentified male: What about these fuckin' rats, mayor?! What about these fuckin' rats?!
November 18, Ron: I would like to request your support in preventing the approval for letting in the Syrian people into the City of Portland, into the county, and the whole state of Oregon. We don't need them here.
November 18, unidentified female: I am a Portland resident and have been calling all my elected officials to urge them to take in as many Syrian refugees as possible.
November 19, Veronica: I'm over there at Friendly House and I've talked to just about everyone I can think of about my lost wallet. Okay—it's a light tan wallet.
November 25, Saundra: I'm a parent of a freshman at Lewis and Clark College and I just heard word from my son about the racial assault that went on. I am just beyond concerned—deeply, deeply, deeply upset and concerned.
November 30, unidentified male: This traffic in Portland SUCKS!
December 16, Ken: I'm actually a city retiree and I have a comment, though, about the proposal to censure Donald Trump. First off, I don't want Donald Trump to be my president—not at all; and he won't be. But, I think the city wanting to censure ANY political person in the presidential race is just out of line. I think you ought to mind your own business and leave him alone.
December 16, unidentified female: I'm calling in reference to the city wanting to ban Mr. Trump for wanting to keep Americans safe and put a pause on this refugee invasion. Obviously, with the San Bernardino deaths, may those people rest in peace, we don't have a secure HOMELAND SECURITY vetting process! What is it that you people don't get about that?! Furthermore, with the Muslim invasion, you have—let me just put it this way: With Obama importing Muslims into America in record numbers, we're going to be seeing and facing huge problems of epic proportions.
December 16, unidentified female: Who is the mayor to think that he can dictate who runs for the presidency and what they say? That's Mr. Trump's First Amendment right. It's my First Amendment right. The mayor has no right to stop any presidential candidate because they are not saying what he wants to hear them say. How despicable—very despicable!
December 16, Charles: I'm a concerned Oregon citizen. We're not going to let these Muslims hang out. They all need to go and be tossed out to sea and let the great white sharks eat 'em—exactly right!