A Reluctant Meta-Critique of the Reception Areas from Portland's Three Largest Non-Daily Newspapers

I was informed this week that my editors were being replaced by two dudes from the Portland Mercury Users' Group Yahoo! Group (PMUGYG), who decided I needed a little direction in life. "Chas," they told me. "We're doing a sort of meta-critique of the Mercury and local media, and we have an idea for you. We'd like you to visit the non-daily newspapers in town, and critique their lobby dcor and architecture, drawing connections to the content of the papers themselves." I protested: "You guys don't understand, I never read those other papers. I hardly read the Mercury. And I can't imagine I'll find anything to write about in their lobbies." "Glad you like the idea," they responded.

Willamette Week--"I hope these PMUGYG guys are paying me back for Smart Park," was all I was thinking as I climbed the completely nondescript, uninspiring staircase to the Willamette Week offices. I got to the top of the stairs and looked around, avoiding eye contact with the receptionist, who actually said, "I was like, 'huh?'" while I was there. What a dull fucking office, I thought to myself.

Portland Tribune--Their office is in an anonymous building that betrays no signs of its biweekly tenant. The funny thing is, when the elevator reaches the fourth floor, it opens into the middle of the reception area. There's no glass door or anything to enter the office. You could conceivably sign the guest book while still standing in the elevator. Also, they have one of those green Rubbermaid Tribune stands sitting in the middle of the office.

Portland Mercury--If I were 19 years old, the Mercury office would look like the single coolest place in the world to work. First of all, nobody ever appears to be actually working there. Secondly, behind the desk there are dozens of funny cat posters--three-eyed cats, obese cats, plain-old-cute cats. I'm about a decade past 19 now, though, and the office doesn't move me beyond that immature, pot-smoking, too-cool-for-you part of my psyche. Hey--just like the Mercury itself!