IN A RARE MOMENT of cross-weekly RESPEK KNUCKLES I'd like to encourage you to read Willamette Week's cover story from last week. Not only does it mark a departure from WW's primary purpose—pointing out that I grew up in Beaverton—but it's also a wonderful, immersive history of Portland, which recounts 40 moments (from the 40 years they've been in business) that made this city. It's especially important in a moment when this current artisan hipster iteration of Portland is being fetishized around the globe. But as much as I enjoyed WW's piece, it left some important moments out.
OCTOBER 11, 1976—Cynthia Chiang, a successful clothing merchant, attempts to order 30 pairs of fun socks for her SE Hawthorne store. Accidentally ordering 3,000 pairs, Chiang unknowingly becomes the first merchant on Hawthorne to somehow stay open—even though she only seems to sell fun socks, which is now the only kind of store on Hawthorne.
JANUARY 19, 1983—The date Connor Seyfried FREAKIN' SWEARS he saw Modest Mouse for the first time "opening at that one place that closed because of, like, I think a plumbing issue? Anyway it was by that restaurant where that dude got stabbed"—despite the fact the band wouldn't form for 10 more years, and Connor was only three years old. This claim, the earliest by three months, won Connor some indie cred in the fall of 2002.
DECEMBER 25, 1987—The first "charitable donation in lieu of a gift" in the history of humankind is given. In a fucked-up "The Gift of the Magi" scenario, Darvin Benson, having spent all of his gift money on cocaine, then uses his drug-fueled delirium to conceive of the ironclad notion of lying to someone about making a donation in their name. Unassailable and self-serving, this practice would come to dominate the holidays in Portland. It reached its peak when Seth Bernstein made 179 fake donations during a particularly busy Chanukah.
APRIL 17, 1995—Just a month before the release of Everclear's first major label album, Sparkle and Fade, frontman Art Alexakis is visited in the throes of a fever dream by the time-traveling ghost of Guy Fieri. The TV host/necromancer whispered to Alexakis in a language that's been dead for 10,000 years, and though scholars still debate WHAT was whispered, the result was Alexakis' hair and goatee—ensuring the singer's ubiquity in shopping malls and airports.
JUNE 7, 1999—The first Naked Bike Ride! Consisting of Steven Lyle Andersen and only Steven Lyle Andersen, the whimsical event is immediately deemed a sex crime.
JUNE 7, 2000—The second Naked Bike Ride! Steven Lyle Andersen breaks the terms of his probation and is immediately arrested.
JUNE 7, 2004—Naked Bike Ride is now okay for some reason.
Happy Birthday, Willamette Week; fire Martin Cizmar.