We did it, Portland! We made it to the end of yet another year in this particular multiverse, and have a lot to show for it. From a monumental vote to overhaul our city’s form of government, to Patriot Prayer rioters getting their day in court, to a controversial energy company pledging to stop transporting crude oil through Portland, 2022 really had it all.
The years’ headlines centered on the city’s work to drag itself out of the crater left by the COVID-19 pandemic—whether that was attending to the thousands of people made homeless by the economic meltdown, rushing to support businesses impacted by the pandemic, cutting transit lines to accommodate for a bus driver shortage, and investigating a questionable COVID testing company. The past year also brought closure for some Portlanders who had been victimized by police brutality during the racial justice protests of 2020, coming in the form of financial settlements or court judgments. The year ended with an election that set Portland’s compass for the future, guided by new leadership at all levels of government and a game plan to seriously retool the city’s government and voting systems.
As the Mercury’s newsroom looked back at the past year, we were drawn to the numbers that defined it. To best illustrate those data points, we turned to the evil wizards at Spotify and their terrifyingly accurate ability to annually calculate listeners' top interests—and pinpoint their entire identities—in their Spotify Wrapped presentations.
It’s an easy comparison. While my personal Spotify Wrapped awkwardly bundled up my lasting commitment to Weezer’s Blue Album with both Beyonce’s RENAISSANCE and Townes Van Zandt’s 1969 self-titled album, 2022 Portland twinned its allegiance to erasing homeless people (an retro idea championed by 2010s Portland mayor-turned-mayoral-aide Sam Adams) with a modern plan to distribute millions of dollars to green energy projects that reduce the city’s carbon emissions. I spent 14,000 minutes of 2022 listening to music, while Portlanders have spent over 15 months waiting for the city to release an internal investigation about a right-wing meme used in a police bureau presentation.
And, lastly, while Spotify defined my daytime music listening tastes as “Ecstatic Confident Soothing,” Portland embodied what we define as “Reactionary Chaotic Amusement” in 2022. Before we leave this year in the dust, take a moment to explore your city’s year in news, wrapped.