Hugh Newell
2015 WAS SUCH a memorable year. 365 days, back to back. All full of stuff and things. Goings-on. Shenanigans. Oh, and there was that one moment! Wow. What a moment.

And then everybody was like, "Whoa!" and then another thing happened and we were all like, "There's more?!?"

And Star Wars. Man, it was crazy.

Okay, fine. I'm not great at positivity. The negative stuff, on the other hand, I can really get behind that. Rather than one of those friendly year-end roundups, here's my definitive annual list of shit and garbage not invited back in the upcoming year. As with previous years, this list will result in the world instantly getting better 100 percent of the time.

Freaking Out About Weed Stuff

Weed's here to stay. Everybody who's not into weed needs to take a chill pill. Smoke some relaxy cracksy. Huff some restraint paint. Whatever you need to get over the fact that it's real and the world isn't ending.

I'm talking to you, the United States Postal Service, which warned newspaper publishers that it's illegal to mail newspapers containing weed ads. The USPS was like, "Hey, a new way we can seem behind the times? We're on it!"

You guys lose billions of dollars every year with your weird scheme to walk up to people's doors with printed-out emails in your satchel. You don't get to turn away perfectly good newspapers. If somebody shows up wanting to mail something that isn't a coupon book, there should be a balloon drop and a stripper in a cake.

I'm also talking to you, KATU, for pulling the plug on a marijuana ad earlier in the year. Somebody offered you money for an ad that everybody was going to DVR past. Take that money!

And most of all, I'm talking to you, Lake Oswego, for voting to continue your ban on dispensaries because "kids might see them." Seeing a dispensary isn't going to ruin your kids' lives—it's not like it's gluten or public schools.

Dumb Police Billboards

It's been a bad year for police. I get it. But a billboard just isn't a good place to defend yourself.

It started when the Portland Police Association ran a series of billboards that said, "Having Enough Police Matters," with images of a bike wheel locked to a tree minus the bike frame, or an empty swing at a playground. The message: Support us or your kid will get murdered. That's not scary enough? WHAT ABOUT YOUR PRECIOUS BICYCLE??

Even dumber was the campaign trying to get witnesses of crimes to come forward using the acronym "Somebody Needs Information That Can Help" or SNITCH. I don't think snitch is a word that needed to be reclaimed. Even if you're offering big rewards, people who snitch get Sent Thousands In Throwaway Cash to Help them Everyday. Super!

Dumping Our Sewage Into the River

It's weird that all those glowing New York Times profiles ignore this charming part of our city. There's great coffee, eccentric museums, and when it rains, the river fills with small-batch, artisanal excrement.

We just finished the badly named Big Pipe to literally take care of this shit, right? I'm not really mollified that "it happens less than it used to." We do not want to be known by the slogan "Portland: The City That Works... On Keeping the Amount of Crap in the River to a Dull Roar."

You'd think the system would be built to handle Portland's number one weather pattern—rain. Did you design this thing in the second week of July? "So wait... we're just going to have the shit flow into the river if it rains? That's a terrible idea." "Come on, it hasn't rained in like three weeks. We'll be fine!"

Winning the Wrong Prizes

Portland's won a bunch of #1s this year, but besides the Major League Soccer Cup, most of them are bad things.

Multnomah County led the US in illegal tobacco sales to minors last year. I guess it's part of our countywide enforcement policy, "Hey man, just be cool."

And it explains why you see signs at every gas station that say, "You must show ID to buy tobacco products unless, you know, they're for your dad or something."

We haven't won yet, but at the same time we've moved up to #5 in the nation for syphilis. That's terrible, and also, since I'm competitive, not terrible enough. Let's go cure everybody in Atlanta and move up in the rankings.

The International Olympic Committee's Tyrannical Bullshit

Back in February, Olympic Provisions changed their name because of a cease-and-desist notice from the International Olympic Committee. Obviously the committee has to protect its trademark because people would get hella confused between the 1,000-year-old global sporting event, and a shop that sells salami. I'm sure people walked in all the time and were like, "Oh, this is a meat store? I have tickets to gold-medal curling." Don't you guys have a bribe to take or something? Leave our meats alone.

That Group-Bike Brewery Tour Thing

The key to the microbrew revolution so far has been keeping all the drunk fucksticks inside the microbreweries eating tiny hamburgers and confusing alcoholism for connoisseurship. The last thing we need is to put them on cardio machines and parade them through the Pearl yelling at people. Dismissed.

Movies with Realistic Vomit

Maybe this doesn't seem like the most important thing to you, but it's gross and it took over last year. Whatever happened to cutting away and hearing a coughing sound? In 2015 alone, the disgusting effects office got a workout in Paper Towns, Spy, The Overnight, Trainwreck, The Visit, Sicario, Miss You Already, Creed, In the Heart of the Sea, and more.

Local Companies Getting Purchased by Their Exact Opposites

I don't begrudge anybody cashing out their successful businesses, but does it always have to be the corporation that represents everything you hate? It happened in 2011 when Kettleman got snapped up by Einstein Noah, and everybody was sad. But this year ramped up with Little Big Burger going to the company that owns Hooters, Dave's Killer Bread joining the Wonder Bread family, and then the big one, Stumptown Coffee getting snapped up by JAB Holding Company.

Stumptown was the company that threw away a bunch of $10K Clover machines because Starbucks bought the manufacturer, and now Stumptown is owned by the group that owns Peet's Coffee and Tea—which sells a beverage made by squeezing a bag of recycling and collecting the brown water that drips out—and Keurig, maker of those tiny little garbage cans filled with coffee nightmares.

That's like if Santa sold Christmas to Jeffrey Dahmer.

Like if hot showers got bought by itchy sweaters.

One more? If you insist.

That's like if oral sex was now a subsidiary of Biting the Inside of Your Cheek Holdings.

The Didgeridoo Jam Band That Hangs Out by the Bike Statue on W Burnside

You have found a very annoying sound and for some reason, put it on a loop pedal. Please knock it off.

I tweeted at the police department and they said, "We can't make them sound better :)," which reminds me...

The Police Using Smiley Emoticons

You're the police. Have some goddamn dignity. Don't you have an offensive billboard to put up?

  • Steve Morgan

The Morrison Bridge Debacle

Multnomah County hired the engineering firm that horribly botched the repairs of the Morrison Bridge to... fix the Morrison Bridge. It's all part of our policy: "You break it, we buy it again."

What was the interview process like for that contract? "We see here that you've listed us as a reference. We checked with ourselves and it turns out you horribly fucked up the last job. Well, make yourself at home... because you're hired!"

Paying Attention When Magazines Award Portland Fake Prizes

Every couple of weeks, some shitty magazine tries to grab our attention by announcing the cities with the most cat ladies per capita, the least exercise equipment, or the sexiest street names. Don't let them win! Stop posting this shit on Facebook. We're first in teen cigarette sales and fifth in syphilis, and those are all the awards we need. Don't placate these web editors who get clicks by making up statistics.

The Downtown Crows

It was fun for a while to see the annual murder descending on Broadway—but it loses its charm after walking down a block entirely paved in liquid shit.

Obviously we can't do anything to them because of the Migratory Birds Act, but we can totally start a rumor that downtown Portland is played out and the coolest crows are moving to Eugene.

Hipster Santa

Everybody already pronounces our city's name as "Portland *sigh*"—don't let them win, for fuck's sake. Don't let them win just by putting an ugly sweater on an old guy and calling it Christmas.

And BTW, that sweater and cute little man bun doesn't actually make him a hipster Santa. A real hipster Santa would give kids the experience of sitting on the lap of a jobless dude who wants to bum a smoke.

Standing Desks

About a year ago, standing desks jumped from black site prison torture device to mainstream office furniture. Everybody got one for Christmas last year and they spent two weeks talking about how much they loved their desks. Notice anything? Nobody talks about them anymore because people slowly realized that standing is shitty (and probably not killing you after all. Thanks, science!). Now that everybody's reverted, let's start slowly donating your dumb tall desks to people in need—like the people running black site prisons.

Compostable Food Packaging

We found out last year that all the compostable food packaging we'd been paying extra for is actually garbage. It was obvious from watching that spoon melt into your soup that it was garbage packaging, but now we also know they're not compostable.

I know it's hard to believe, but we were tricked into doing something more expensive, and in the end it didn't help the environment at all. GET OUT OF TOWN.


Lightning Bonus Round!

There are many other tiny gripes that I don't have enough time to talk about at length. But please! If you get a second, throw away all the recumbent bikes, dog strollers, cards at Whole Foods that say "Merry Kombuchmas," flip-flops in the winter, and flip-flops in the summer.


  • Vinnie Dewayne

Actually Welcome Back

And now a couple of things that were admittedly pretty cool.

Mayor Charlie Hales made October 15 the official Hip-Hop Day in Portland, with a big concert and everything. I don't know if he's actually a fan of hip-hop per se, or it was just the police chief's birthday and he wanted to shut down something big. But either way, it's great to see the city supporting hip-hop.

The presidential visit was fun. All the motorcycle cops following his limo around like aggressive ducklings, and snipers perched on the roofs of downtown hotels. I don't want to shoot anybody, but that's a pretty cool job; flying around the country, looking at the city from its tallest point like you're Batman. I don't think I'll ever get tired of people hanging dildos on power lines. Do they mean a drug deal is going down, but like for Canadian Viagra? No idea. But they're a delight!