As you know, every "alternative" newspaper in the country does a yearly "Best of... " issue dedicated to milking money out of their advertisers. However, the Mercury is the only one who consistently shoots themselves in the foot by profiling some weird, off the beaten track area that wouldn't advertise with us in a million years. God... we're so STUPID!!

Regardless of our inherent fiscal idiocy, we've picked a winner of a "Best of... " issue this year, profiling one of America's most visually exciting stretches of roadways, HIGHWAY 30. Though this highway runs clear to the Jersey coast, the Mercury has chosen to focus on the "prime rib" section of 30, from the bottom of the Fremont Bridge traveling northward to the Trojan Nuclear Plant. On this 42-mile stretch of road, we discovered what we think is the true best of America: lush, verdant forests; good, honest people; gigantic Kentucky Fried Chicken buckets; strippers who love the Oakland Raiders; bowling alley owners suffering from heart attacks; dildos in the shape of Bill Clinton--and delicious ice cream cones, as well.

From Portland to Linnton to Scappoose to St. Helens and beyond, the Mercury scoured every inch of this historical strip of asphalt to bring you the absolute BEST of the best. Join us now, won't you? Join us on a magical journey of the mind, to a land where your every beautiful dream can finally come true. (Just be careful crossing the highway--people drive like fucking maniacs out there.)


Free 50' Trailer

It's no secret that among other West Coast cities, Portland remains one of the most affordable in which to live. Hell, once you get outside the city limits, livin' gets to be just about free! Take this free 50' trailer for example, wait... don't take it for example, just take it--it's free!! Jesus! What are you waiting for? All you'd have to spring for is the haulin' and a slot at the trailer park up the road a piece! C'mon! A little meth residue never hurt anyone... much. LC

Just past Linnton on Hwy 30


Bottoms Up

Touted as "the only Oakland Raiders Bar in Portland," the polyonymous Bottoms Up, a.k.a "Dirty 30," comes complete with a full bar, stripper stage, and a Jessica Alba look-alike to bring you chilled shots of Jegermeister. Unlike unappreciative city strippers, who don't realize you can still see their sad faces in the mirror after they bend over for your dollar, Dirty 30's Natalie goes the extra mile to make sure it's worth the extra drive. For instance, she uses the Golden Tee arcade box for leverage during her lap dances, which she performs on a beach towel in the darkest corner of the bar. Meanwhile, you will be entertained with stories of OLCC crackdowns and nostalgic Alice in Chains tracks. But beware: when the bar's #1 striper fan interrupts your lap dance to try and feed you spaghetti--don't eat it! JR

Bottoms Up, 16300 NW Hwy 30


Price Busters

I know you were worried about how to give your front porch an eclectic, yet sophisticated distinction. Well they've got the answer at Price Busters: A life sized, buffed, and striped-shirted mannequin pirate! At only $800, I dare you to find a cheaper full-sized pirate--especially one like this! Its crown jewel is a rich, curly head of real hair (not ceramic!)! Plus, his arms are handily crooked for photo ops--or just chummin' around! MS

Price Busters, 11030 NW Hwy 30


Katie Shimer at the Linnton Family Café

I consider myself a spreader of good cheer. Need some cheer? Come see me, I'm your gal. For example, the day I stumbled into the Linnton Family Café, craving a delicious ice cream treat, I spread a bunch of good cheer right onto the face of the formerly grumpy owner. While the Chinese woman working the counter initially scowled when I ordered a cone, then scowled again when my friend Lance ordered a caramel milkshake, and then scowled a third time when Lance boldly asked where the bathroom was, by the time I left she was grinning from ear to ear. Why? Because in a valiant effort to turn her frown upside down, I gave her a two-dollar tip. Want your ice cream with a smile? Make sure your enter the Linnton Family Café with your hand outstretched, and two bucks in your palm. Remember, you can't put a price on making someone happy. Or actually, you can. It's two bucks. KS

Linnton Family Café, 11330 NW Hwy 30, Linnton


Love Potions

People who live out in the sticks deserve sexual pleasure just like the rest of us! Happily there's a store designed to cater to the sexually charged residents of Highway 30, called Love Potions. Though specializing in sexy body jewelry, you can also purchase porny DVDs, heee-LARIOUS gag gifts for your next bachelorette party, and (ahem) battery operated genital diddling devices. One such device is shaped like former president Bill Clinton--though we think Hillary has been through enough, don't you? You can also find "nipple extenders" at Love Potions, for those who want to look like they're freezing even on the hottest days. WSH

Love Potions, 50425 Highway 30, just south of Scappoose.


S'all Good Food Cart

As you might imagine, Linnton is a ways off from becoming a bustling metropolis. But, hey, they're inching closer, especially now that the food cart S'all Good has opened for business. Offering watermelon chunks, pickles, sandwiches, salads, and the ever-popular monkey bread, S'all Good is luring locals and big city Portlanders alike. Taking a trip out to the nuclear reactor? Stop by S'all Good for a tuna sandwich. Stocking up on mulch at the Feed and Seed? Grab a chunk of watermelon from S'all Good for the ride home. After your stomach's smiling from a S'all Good munchy, you'll be saying, "S'all Awesome!" or "S'all Great" or "S'all Full" or "Not a bad sandwich." KS

S'all Good, 10920 Hwy 30, in front of the Feed and Seed, Linnton


Bat-Infested Haunted Whorehouse

Boasting at least five stories and a tower, this bat-infested haunted (possible) whorehouse is the best! According to locals, it's been "under renovation" for over 10 years, with no apparent progress. Inside, you'll find things like an axe propped casually on the stairs, and a headless mannequin. Sure, the fact that there was once a mannequin factory across the street offers some explanation, but is that any less scary? Hell, no! Also notice the astonishingly large piles of what looks like black gravel in every corner--but nope! It's actually decomposing bats, wasting away in their own feces, while the living (dead) ones scold you from the rafters. Awesome! The centerpiece is a beautiful but dusty antique bar, its saloon mirrors still intact. The only logical conclusion is that it was once a speakeasy, and its many bedrooms suggest something even more depraved. MS

131 NW Highway 30, behind a deserted junk store. (BTW: It's actually probably illegal to go inside, so explore at your own risk.)


Anywhere on Highway 30

Videogames are so easy. If you die in a game, you just hit "continue" and keep on going. So why not try real Frogger, pansy-ass? Anywhere on Highway 30 is pretty dangerous--I'd say it's a "normal" difficulty setting--but if you're hardcore, select "hard" and attempt to nimbly dash betwixt the roaring semis, screaming sports cars, and the SUV behemoths that tear between Love Potions and Scappoose Miniature Golf. EH

Prepare a will beforehand and wear running shoes. Begin at Love Potions, 50425 Highway 30


Linnton Feed & Seed

Scenario: On one of our Mercury employee "Best of Highway 30" field trips, we were browsing the Linnton Feed & Seed for live goats or clandestine pot seeds or whatever--when we noticed that several employees there were wet with some kind of liquid. A female employee claimed to have been in a "water fight." Finding nothing of particular interest, we left, observing no vehicles departing simultaneously. After immediately driving back into Portland, we were on Northwest 21st, when we saw her--the VERY SAME helpful female employee, sauntering carelessly down the street with no visible trace of the plasma (or "water," as they fake-playfully claimed) in sight! Coincidence? I think not! So if you're looking for feed, seed, or to be instantaneously transported to any dimension you choose, we heartily recommend the Linnton Feed & Seed. LC

Linnton Feed & Seed, 10920 NW Saint Helens Road


Big Pile of Gravel

You might think you have a nice pile of gravel, or perhaps you entertain the notion that you once saw a really amazing pile of gravel. But dare to witness this pile of gravel, and you'll soon realize that you don't, you haven't, and that you're a naíve fool for even thinking so. EH

Head northwest on Highway 30 and keep an eye on the right side of the road. You can't miss it. It's a big pile of gravel.


Large KFC Bucket

Outside of Fitness Center

By my estimate, this abnormally large KFC bucket was approximately nine feet tall. With a quick call to a local KFC, I discovered that their most popular bucket size is the Eight Piece Bucket, which measures approximately eight inches tall and six inches in diameter. Hmm... that'd make the abnormally large KFC bucket in Scappoose an amazing 6.7 feet in diameter, and therefore capable of holding a whopping... well, I don't know. I tried to do the math for an hour and a half before giving up and deciding that the abnormally large bucket could simply hold A SHIT-TON OF DELICIOUS KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN. EH

From Highway 30, turn right on Second Street, right on Santosh, then right just after the Scappoose Fitness Center, Scappoose


Wildwood Golf Course

Nestled in a picturesque valley, the Wildwood Golf Course is a sight to behold: undulating fairways framed by beatific hills, with lush shadows of forested slopes cradling the richly verdant greens. Elevated shots and gurgling creeks spice up the 18 holes, and be they navigating the alluringly treacherous dogleg of Hole Seven or spying the epic expanse of Hole Four, golfers shall swear they have reached an oft-sought nirvana. Ah, sweet golfing bliss--thou hast found a home. EH

21881 St. Helens Road. Open year round, prices from $12-30. Tee times recommended, (503) 621-3402


The Wigwam Tavern

While the city of Scappoose may only sport a couple of drinking bars, each establishment must still remain competitive. The Wigwam Tavern wins our vote for a damnably clever gimmick: a live, plugged in power tool on the tables. And not just drills either! The day we visited the Wigwam, there was a skill saw, as well as a circular saw ready to be played with by a willing drunk. We were there early in the day, so no one had lost any appendages, but on a Friday night after the local football team has won a big game? Wooooo-WHEE! We bet the walls run red with blood and beer! WSH

The Wigwam Tavern, 52499 Highway 30, Scappoose.




For the cops, putting the town skatepark right next to the police station must be a pretty great deal. A great way to keep an eye on the little bastards, right? But for any kids who might want to skate in peace without getting sneered or glared at by small town cops on one of their many donut/coffee breaks? Well, if you're going to look at it that way, this skatepark sucks. EH

From Highway 30, take a right on First Street and another right on Columbia, Scappoose

BEST PLACE TO save your crappy marriage

Old Oregon Smokehouse

Quandary: Let's say you catch and bring home a prize-winning 80 lb. trout--and your wife refuses to smoke it for you! Don't draw up those divorce papers just yet... because the Old Oregon Smokehouse will custom smoke your fish! Simply bring it in and in no time you will be enjoying delectable trout smoked to your exact specifications. Thanks, Old Oregon Smokehouse--for saving my loveless marriage! WSH

Old Oregon Smokehouse, 50178 Highway 30, south of Scappoose.


Scappoose Library

Libraries get a lot of flack for being "boring," "quiet," and "that place where old people and the homeless go to use the internet and act creepy." Not in Scappoose, where the library rocks! Yeah, Scappoose Library--the only library with an entire magazine rack devoted only to Seventeen and Thrasher! EH

Scappoose Library, 52469 SE Second Street, Scappoose


"e;No Thai Food"e; at Carolyne's

Shocking as it may sound, international fare is not a common sight along Highway 30. That's why we were intrigued and delighted to find Carolyne's, which features a half American/half Thai food menu. Unfortunately, the Thai cook has been "sick for a few days" and so the special board at Carolyne's currently reads: "THAI FOOD SPECIAL-- No Thai food." Though forced to select from the American side of the menu, we made the best of things by ordering a "Pud Thai grilled cheese." The waitress was unamused and angry. WSH

Carolyne's, Highway 30, Scappoose.


500 yards off Logie Trail Road

Okay. Let's say, just for example, you have a bloody, rolled-up rug you want to dispose of. This isn't the old days, when you could still dump your bloody, rolled-up rug underneath the Marquam Bridge (Cirque Du Soleil ruined that for everybody). Nowadays you have to take your bloody, rolled-up rug outside the city limits--so why not dump it in the pristine beauty of Highway 30? Try this spot for your next dump run: Logie Trail Road. Located just 20 minutes outside of town, Logie Trail Road winds deep into the hills and is sparsely populated. Simply park in one of the many old abandoned logging roads, drag your bloody, rolled-up rug 500 yards into the verdant forest and--after making sure no one is looking--disrobe, make an upside down cross on your chest using blood, and worship our cloven-hoofed master until dawn. It's fast, convenient, and those little voices inside your head commanding you to "KILL! KILL! KILL!" will thank you for it. WSH

Logie Trail Road, head 20 miles north on Highway 30, take a left.


Sandy, the Russian


Nothing is more horrifying than the loss of a family turtle. And when Sandy the turtle disappeared from her playpen last Sunday afternoon, owner Syrina Revis leapt into action. She posted signs all over Scappoose which read: "LOST TURTLE. Sunday afternoon our Russian tortoise got out of her playpen. She is quite adventures [sic]." Syrina went on to describe the turtle/tortoise and issue a chilling warning: "She may be in your yard." The owner also inferred that this particular tortoise/turtle is incredibly smart, as it answers to the name of "Sandy." If you see this brilliant, potentially deadly turtle--please, do not attempt to capture her or sell her to the circus. Sandy belongs with Syrina... in the playpen she calls home. WSH

Call Syrina at (503) 543-5568, in Scappoose, with any information you may have.


The Basketball Hoop off Hwy 30,

Just South of Scappoose

"The Basketball Hoop off Hwy 30, Just South of Scappoose" can help take your game to a whole new level. It has a severely bent rim and rests atop an angled pole. Cracked, lumpy concrete and dead grass surrounds the Hoop, as well as several abandoned looking houses. Plus! Highway 30 lies just a stone's throw away, a scenic backdrop of whizzing cars that offers sure death should your jump shot go awry. Yes, "The Basketball Hoop off Hwy 30, Just South of Scappoose" is certainly the boot camp of basketball hoops. Do YOU have what it takes to play there...? Pussy. JWS

Basketball Hoop, off Hwy 30, Just South of Scappoose


Old Deserted Municipal Building

Nestled between rusty refineries and ooze-dripping industrial dumping grounds is a four story, turn of the last century abandoned municipal building. The building's beauty may have faded, but it is still romantic and glorious... and what a perfect place for a rave! With glowing green water nearby, who needs glow sticks? The unnaturally high levels of toxins in the area will give your rave an unearthly shine! Who knew pollution could be so rad?!? MLS

Abandoned building, Portland Harbor, just south of St. John's Bridge


The Huge-Ass

Abandoned Railroad Car

Nothing deserves your love more than the Huge-Ass Abandoned Railroad Car. Right now, it's full of dead wood, shards of glass, empty beer cans, and probably human excrement--but with a little tenderness it could become the place to be this summer. Simply lay down some cheap carpeting, hang some mood lights, and plop down a keg. Voila! Instant party pad! JWS

Abandoned Railroad Car, Right off Hwy 30, along Marina Drive


Michael Curry Design Studio

You could take a tour of the Michael Curry Design Studio in Scappoose, but you'd have to be blindfolded--and maybe killed--to protect the intellectual property of clients like Disney and Cirque du Soleil. Curry designs and creates enormous, live-oriented puppets and masks; many used in Broadway shows like The Lion King and Kiss of the Spider Woman. He's won Emmys and Tonys, and his vision is so secret and valued that you can't even view his online portfolio without a password.

I spent two blissful weeks at a temp job in the cavernous Michael Curry warehouse cutting, gluing, and sanding pieces of foam into penguin wings for the Broadway production of Clifford the Big Red Dog. I also signed a sheaf of papers saying I would not reveal what I just revealed, so I'm further risking litigation to proclaim it a magical place, full of artists and designers using razors and saws, paint and plastic, and toxic adhesives. Too bad you'll never get to see it. EE

Michael Curry Design Studio, Somewhere in Scappoose


Bulldozer for


You'll never be harassed by your neighbor again with this easy to use implement of destruction parked in your driveway. JWS

Grabhorn Equipment Rental, 53683 Hwy 30, Scappoose, (503) 543-6407


Hobo Lean-To off Marina Way

While Dignity Village may be the most famous homeless shelter in the city, their out of the way asphalt parking lot has nothing on this site, which has nature at its fingertips. Forest Park and its miles of hiking trails is just a quick stroll across Highway 30. The Willamette River is just a quick hop over a chain link fence. And the railroad tracks are a stone's throw away--perfect for heading to the coast or attending an upcoming hobo conference.

In the summer, when the foliage is thick, this upscale lean-to is barely visible. Look hard and you can see the clear tarp that covers a rough patio and a blue tarp that tastefully makes up the east wall. Unbothered, the lean-to has been there rent- and hassle-free for more than five years. Top that, Dignity Village! PB

Hobo Lean-To, Marina Way, north of Linnton


Bar Harbor Restaurant &


Enter Bar Harbor and you can easily dismiss this tavern as just another tiny waterfront bar with really good strawberry shortcake. (Coincidentally, Bar Harbor is also home to the Best Strawberry Shortcake--at $2, what a deal!) But enter an innocuous door at the back and it's a barfly's Narnia. Even during the middle of a workday, the smoky back room is filled with patrons, two pool tables, and a jukebox that holds about every small town anthem ever sung--Bruce Springsteen, Ted Nugent, the Scorpions, and Randy Travis. PB

Bar Harbor Restaurant & Lounge, 295 Strand St., St. Helens, open 9 am-2 am


18th Street, St. Helens

Sorry, North Mississippi Avenue, you are so history. Alberta Street? Please. So two years ago. Just off Highway 30 in St. Helens is the up and coming neighborhood of North 18th Street. With its rustic roads constructed with a mix of organic dirt and gravel, you can immediately see why people are flocking to this area. Who needs New Seasons and their $4-a-pint berries when they grow wild as the wind on this curvy little "no outlet" road. No time for landscaping? No problem. Who needs Japanese maples and manicured rose bushes? Trampolines and broken-down trucks are the new chic. THIS is the place be and be seen. MLS

North 18th Street, St. Helens, contact John L. Scott Real Estate, (503) 543-3741


Nothing New

One of St. Helens' five vintage and trinket shops, Nothing New specializes in cute knickknacks, kitty cat figurines, and, yes, weaponry. Walk inside and a cloud of perfume surrounds you like a warm hug from a recently bathed grandma. The shelves are full of blue china animals chasing butterflies and adorable, kissing-boy-and-girl salt- and peppershakers.

But delve deeper into the store and find its true treasures: daggers, knives, hunting blades. It's an eclectic selection. There are the standard, jagged edge beauties that gleam seductively. Others have sneering, biting edges. One dagger, about the length of a calf's leg, is encrusted in jewels and beads. It rests comfortably in a small Egyptian tomb. Another--a switchblade--has a handle with airbrushed images of a cooing Marilyn Monroe. Scary? Of course not! Grandma would never stab you! PB

Nothing New, 291 S. 1st, St. Helens, 397-6143, open when they feel like it


Rocky Pointe Marina

Reachable by both water and land, Rocky Pointe Marina is a small, crowded waterfront store that sells single cans of beer as well as every imaginable type of ice cream sandwich. But the marina's real treat is the hot dog cart. Located outside on the floating deck off the Multnomah Canal, the cart holds a few trays filled with eight-inch hot dogs peacefully floating in murky, steaming water. But the smorgasbord of condiments is what puts this hot dog cart over the top: sauerkraut, a bubbling pan of chili, and a mountain of bright orange cheddar cheese shavings. Pile it all on or go bare... but don't miss this trip to dog heaven.

Rocky Pointe Marina, 23586 NW St Helens Hwy, Open Daily, 11 am - 3 pm, Large Dog, $3.50


St. Helens Café

A greasy spoon of the highest order, the St. Helens Café may not offer much light food fare (one vegetarian member of our party was reduced to ordering the ill-advised fried egg sandwich), but when it comes to dairy and butane--well, it goes without saying. Frozen confections of several varieties make a perfect compliment to St. Helens Café's true attraction--their expansive collection of antique lighters! ZP

St Helens Café, 298 S. 1st St, St. Helens


Eclectically Yours

Last February my now ex-boyfriend and I took a day trip to St. Helens. After eating our fill at the diner across the way we wandered into Eclectically Yours, a somewhat typical, New Age store with incense, jewelry, and "gifts." Will, my partner, asked if the storeowner had any cufflinks--the only type of jewelry we ever bought, even though I have yet to own a shirt requiring them.

After disappearing upstairs for several minutes, owner Karla Straw returned with a box full of vintage jewelry she apparently had inherited from a relative. We were thrilled.

But unfortunately, we had spent all our cash at the diner and plastic is not yet accepted by everyone in St. Helens. I attempted the only nearby ATM at a bar down the block, but was informed that it "didn't have any money in it." I was told that "the money comes in on Tuesdays."

Downtrodden, I went back to Eclectically Yours to give Karla and Will the bad news. Unflappable, Karla slipped the trinkets into a maroon velvet bag and scotch taped the bag to the mirror behind the counter. "It'll be here when you come back," she informed me.

"It may be quite a while before we make it back," I countered.

"That's okay... it'll be here" she assured me.

Ten minutes after leaving the shop, I forgot about the cufflinks.

Flash forward: One year later, I've returned to St. Helens. I pop into Eclectically Yours to see whether the little maroon sack of cufflinks was still taped to the mirror. Upon entering, I spied it and the owner spotted me. She pulled down the sack and slapped it on the counter.

"I remember you," she said. "Ten dollars."

I thanked her, paid her, and walked away feeling satisfied--but also kind of really freaked out. MLS

Eclectically Yours, 253 S. 1st St., St. Helens



Dari-Delish employee Hannah doesn't have much free time to hang out. "I work all the time," she informs us. But if you have a spare afternoon, she also informs us, the best place to hang out in St. Helen's is 185th Ave in Portland--"at the malls." We're not quite sure which "malls" she's talking about, possibly Mall 205, but we'll take her word for it. MLS

Portland, 30 miles south of St. Helens



In terms of sophistication, St. Helens is nipping at the heels of Portland, New York, and Paris. First, it was lattes and mochas, with nearly every store--from Bob's Trading Cards to the John Deere rental shop--adding a mocha cart. And now, according to a sign outside the Odyssey beauty parlor, St. Helens will soon be adding the urbane appeal of Brazilian waxes. (Although unverifiable, apparently the ladies along Highway 30 have been walking around with untamed bushes.) Odyssey, the men of St. Helens salute you! PB

Odyssey, 287 S. 1st St., St. Helens



It's early July of 1968, and Senator Robert Kennedy is reeling from his apparent loss in Oregon's Democratic Presidential primary. Abandoning his hopes for our state, Kennedy makes his way to the last bastion of hope on the West Coast--the ever important California vote--but not before stopping into St. Helens' Dari-Delish drive-in for a conciliatory ice cream cone. Within the week, Kennedy had won the support of California--before being famously assassinated in Los Angeles. Though specific accounts differ, logic dictates that St. Helen's very own Dari-Delish was (probably) the place of Bobby Kennedy's very final ice cream cone! Maybe! Though second cone theories abound--I think it's safe to say that if you want to visit (one of) the final place(s) Kennedy consumed Rocky Road, just make your way to the historically important Dari-Delish. ZP

Dari-Delish, 1620 Columbia Blvd, St Helens


Oregon Trail Lanes

Intrigued by its remarkable blandness, we stopped to snap photos of the Oregon Trail Lanes' beige, blocky building. The bowling alley's owner emerged, a gentle looking middle-aged man.

"I'm always curious when people are snappin' pictures of my business," he said, smiling. "You the ones shootin' the movie?"

Baffled, we murmured no. We got back in our vehicle. Suddenly, the owner went down on his knees, groaning and grimacing in pain. His face flushed dark red.

"Are you all right?" we asked.

He shook his head.

"Oh yeah," he said. "Perfect." And he waddled away, still stooped over, limping. We shrugged and got back on Highway 30. JWS

Oregon Trail Lanes, 735 S. Columbia River Hwy, St. Helens


Trojan Nuclear Power Plant

Picnic Grounds

Just 12 miles north of St. Helens looms the now defunct Trojan nuclear plant--a Jetsons-like monument to the future of energy. Trojan produced power for only 17 years, from 1976-1993, and is still in the costly process of being decommissioned, or returning the site to an acceptable level of residual radiation, which should be sometime next year. In the meantime, you and your "nuclear" family can stroll by the murky lagoons on the delicate footpaths. Or linger and picnic on the grassy knolls in this fantastically odd and striking area. Just don't forget the lead blankets. MLS

Twelve miles north of St. Helens, Highway 30


The We Love It Here Weekly

With the exception of a few noise bands who sound like two monkeys fighting with electric eggbeaters in a garbage can, we like to think the Mercury is a true booster for the arts scene, and generally, life here in Portland. As it turns out, we ain't crap. The We Love It Here weekly, which documents the lives of people in Columbia County, makes us look like the Adolf Hitler of newspapers. Check out these headlines: "Columbia County is Not So Much the Beautiful Trees and Water but the Friendly People." This is opposed to a recent Mercury story about Vice President Cheney's visit to Portland, which was given the headline "Dick Pops In and Out." Disgusting. While the We Love It Here weekly tells uplifting stories of people with positive outlooks, like "Verda Van Tassell Likes her Freedom and Room in Columbia County," or "St. Helens' New Police Chief Likes the Small Town Atmosphere," we publish stories by Marjorie Skinner wherein she sexually gratifies herself on a mechanical dildo bull. Repulsive. On behalf of the Mercury, we'd like to apologize to everyone in Portland for our ridiculously horrible behavior over the past four years, and as of next week we're renaming our paper to reflect our new, more positive attitude: It will be called You're Wicked Smokin' Hot, Portland. WSH