THE BIGGEST STORIES in 2010 are the kind that burn into your brain. They're the stuff of musty, fusty history tomes, or at least heavily edited Wikipedia pages.
We won't forget, at least for a while, seeing the Gulf Coast caked in a diarrhea-like layer of oil. Or all that Tea Party idiocy. Closer to home, we'll be living with John Kitzhaber's tight jeans (for the third time) and, with a second and final recall attempt having gone necrotic, we've still got Mayor Sam Adams to kick around!
And then there's everything else that happened—the news stories no one will remember. Until now! We combed the past 12 months and came up with a list of important events, people, and stories you've already forgotten about.
Kyron's Still Missing, Right?
For a few weeks this summer, there was no better line of work than owning a motel on the Westside. That's where all the national reporters camped out while trying to chase down the mystery of Kyron Horman's disappearance. Billboards went up. Even the Oregonian, in a summertime news drought, devoted a whole team to the chase. But what happened when months passed and the missing boy never turned up? Like all the other thousands of children who go missing every year, suddenly you couldn't find Kyron in the newspapers or on TV anymore, either.
The Anarchist Lemonade Revolt
A county health inspector shut down a little girl's lemonade stand at Last Thursday, creating a sour storm of outrage that squeezed out its final furious fruit in the form of the Anarchist Lemonade Revolt. A Facebook group with hundreds formed to plan a "lemonade bloc" at the August Last Thursday. About five groups actually turned up to serve lemonade. It was tasty on a hot summer day, but slightly shy of "revolution."
Al Gore's "Crazed Sex Poodle" Incident
WTF was that all about? A masseuse accuses Al Gore of assaulting her like a horny poodle in a Portland hotel room and then a Taiwanese TV station makes a creepy digital reenactment of their sexytime that goes viral. Oh, right, that makes sense.
The former flack for Portland's transportation bureau managed to place second in her long-shot bid to unseat Dan Saltzman this year (besting public-financing candidate Jesse Cornett in the process), and that was her high-water mark. In August, she was arrested on suspicion of DUII and reckless driving when, police say, a water bureau security officer saw her fall off her Vespa and then try to pick fights with passersby. Then, in September, she made the cover of Busted!
Keaton Otis and Jackie Collins
In 2010, Portland police officers killed four men who were dealing with mental illness. Portlanders know one of those names better than the others, Aaron Campbell, thanks to a steady drip of revelations after his January shooting that culminated in a lawsuit by his family and the firing of the police officer who shot him. But some Portlanders may have forgotten two of the other men, Keaton Otis and Jackie Collins, and they deserve to be remembered, too. Otis was shot 23 times during a traffic stop in May, after police say he fired at and hit an officer. Collins was shot four times upon emerging from a park restroom, after having cut himself with a small knife that he refused to drop when ordered to do so. The officer who shot him was carrying a Taser.
That Weapon-Wielding Mentally Ill Woman Who Wasn't Shot by Cops
But wait! What didn't get nearly enough headlines this year was the totally batshit situation in which, somehow, nobody shot anybody. At 1 am on Sunday, October 10, Officers Michael Filbert and Brent Maxey were called out for a welfare check on a 61-year-old woman in a Southeast Portland apartment. The woman burst through her open door, topless, wielding a meat cleaver, and shouting "Die *expletive*!" (as the police report politely states). The woman slashed at the officers with the cleaver, but with the Power of Words they talked her into dropping the cleaver and lying on the ground. Good work, officers!
We thought we'd miss that giant purple octopus more than we do. The downtown restaurant of the irascible Ted Papas finally shut its doors—and auctioned off its iconic purple octopus—after near-constant safety inspections by the city left Papas with $232,000 in fire code violation fees. Papas left a parting shot in his war with fire bureau chief Commissioner Randy Leonard painted right on his restaurant door, scrawling "Leonard's Retirement Fund" across the ex-Cusina. Octo-gone!
Marcus Griffith Calls it First: The Acid Attack Was a Hoax!
It caught him a lot of shit, but Vancouver Voice writer Marcus Griffith did the homework no other local reporter bothered to do after whatsherface Bethany Storro splashed herself with acid and blamed it on a made-up black woman. While everyone else was too busy trying to cram cameras into Storro's hospital room, Griffith actually talked to the homeless people who would have seen an attack. If there had been one. A few days later, Storro was canceling on Oprah and her Facebook page was down. And Griffith had a lot of his haters eating crow. Eat that crow, haters!
Multiple protests took to the streets this past spring when the city was bubbling over with anger about multiple police shootings. The rowdier black bloc protests made quite an impact—at least on the lives of those who had to pick up tossed newspaper boxes and clean up broken glass the next morning.
Loren Parks Broke up with Kevin Mannix
After years of funding Kevin Mannix's law-and-order ballot-box adventures, Nevada industrialist and online sexual hypnotist—(No joke! Look it up.) Loren Parks clapped his wallet shut, right when Mannix found himself facing legal scrutiny for some of his non-electoral enterprises. Not that Mannix needed the money this year, with his cynical plan to target drunken drivers and sex offenders—AKA Measure 73—passing handily. Sometimes an old lover, er, financier is just holding you back.
Paying City Fees on the Honor System
Way back in the spring, Mayor Sam Adams, looking to scare up a few more couch coins for Portland's budget, had a good idea: Make residents in pleasant, tree-lined neighborhoods kick down for the (formerly free) cost of scooping up the leaves in their gutters, just like they'd pay for any other city service or utility. But in November, once the leaves actually started falling, a crop of angry, blog-commenty homeowners got Adams' bureau of transportation to pull back. You're still supposed to pay the fee—now it's just on the honor system. Riiiiiiight.
The "New, Improved" Sit-Lie Ordinance
So homeless people (or protesters or tourists reeling from Voodoo) still can't sit on or lie across Portland's downtown sidewalks. The mayor's new "sidewalk management plan" replacing the controversial Sit-Lie Ordinance (which a judge declared unconstitutional last year) carves out an eight-foot "pedestrian zone" on sidewalks, kicking sitters and lie-ers to the curb. So far, no one's putting up much of a fuss.
The Death of Four Loko
The public policy approach to alcoholism is like Whac-a-Mole. "AAAH! ALL THE KIDS ARE GETTING CRUNK ON SOMETHING! KILL IT, KILL IT!" Two years ago, we whacked Sparks. In downtown Portland this year, the city whacked high-alcohol beers. And across our fair nation this winter, Four Loko got officially whacked. Ban one beverage and another pops up—a couple years from now, those crazy kids will have forgotten the sweet, nauseatingly "watermelon" taste of Four Loko because they'll be too busy drinking something new. Like their parents' brandy.
Didn't the Portland Beavers leave last year? Wait, that was this year? What channel is John Canzano's radio program on again?
"Gavel Him Down!"
In September, Vancouver Councilwoman Jeanne Harris shouts at one of the poor souls who show up to speak at Vancouver City Council meetings, demanding that the council, "Gavel him down!" How did this not become a catchphrase?
Our favorite Metro president hit Portland's ceiling of success, leaving him no choice but to move to New York. His new job directing green projects in NYC's mayor's office is technically a step up from his gig as Metro's chief, but the move means longtime Portland politico Bragdon is no longer around to be a voice of reason on big issues like the Columbia River Crossing and the Urban Growth Boundary. Also, he's no longer Lord of the Zoo Train.
Wade Nkrumah: The Man Who Sued a Politician for Lying
Imagine that! Sometimes, politicians fudge things in the heat of a scandal, and their spokesbots have to clean up the mess! Wade Nkrumah—the ex-reporter with the unenviable task of flacking for Mayor Sam Adams during the Beau Breedlove scandal—didn't see it that way. He quit Adams' office and actually sued the city, saying that he found lying so unbearable that he had no choice but to quit his job. A judge tossed out the suit this past September.
OregonianOpinion Editor Bob Caldwell: Druuuuuuunk!
On a weekday morning in May, Bob Caldwell—perhaps our state's most influential "thought leader"—found himself among strange company: addicts and inmates, some of the very people he's used his bully pulpit to inveigh against. He was pinched for driving drunk, and his smiling face (no kidding—it's the kindliest mug shot you'll ever see) would soon be splashed all over local news sites. Except, oddly enough, his own.
Road-Raging Police Officers
April was a bad month for cops in cars. First, the Portland Police Bureau announced it was investigating Sergeant Kyle Nice, one of the cops involved in the 2006 death of James Chasse Jr., for brandishing a gun at another motorist (while off duty) and daring him to call the police. Then, only days later, the Oregonian broke the news that Sergeant Scott Westerman, head of the police union, was being investigated for road raging at the same Smart-car-driving woman not once but TWICE in separate incidents. Westerman, a lion when defending officers accused of misconduct, went out like a lamb, resigning with a statement.
Who the hell was that guy, anyway?