25 years ago, this newspaper tried on a whim to break up the summer doldrums with an issue devoted to the best people and places our city has to offer. That first Best of Portland package gushed over timeless local institutions such as the Talking Drum Bookstore, the Avalon Theatre, Pastaworks, Bread and Ink Cafe and the Portlandia statue. It also included the “Best Place to Buy Betamax Movies,” but I suppose we can’t be right all the time.
Portland’s changed a lot in the past quarter of a century—downtown died, was revived, then died again—and, although we spend most of the year reporting on the city’s problems, we still reserve this one issue each year to celebrate the positive. I was still in diapers when Best of Portland premiered, but I think this package is every bit as fresh now as it was in the Reagan era—we really enjoyed meeting this year’s best Portlanders, and bet you will too.
This time around we’re adding a new element to the BOP formula: the first-ever Best of Portland Extravaganza, featuring performances by Best of Portland honorees (performers marked in these pages with an asterisk* will take the stage at Wonder Ballroom on Thursday, July 29). We hope you’ll join us—tickets are just $8.50 at wweek.com/store, and there will be both acrobats and Imperial Stormtroopers on stage.
EDITOR: Ben Waterhouse
CONTRIBUTORS: Natalie Baker, Ben Bateman, Ruth Brown, Denise Castañon, Kelly Clarke, Sarah Davidson, Hannah Feldman, Caitlin Giddings, Peter Griffin, Whitney Hawke, Nigel Jaquiss, Casey Jarman, Ron Knox, Matthew Korfhage, AP Kryza, Roxanne MacManus, Michael Mannheimer, Caitlin McCarthy, Richard Meeker, Aaron Mesh, Beth Slovic, Ben Waterhouse
COPY CHIEF: Kat Merck
COPY EDITORS: Matt Buckingham, Peggy Perdue, Sarah Smith
ART DIRECTOR: Ben Mollica
PRODUCTION STAFF: Soma Honkanen, Adam Krueger, Carolyn Richardson
PHOTOGRAPHERS: Cameron Browne, Rob Delahanty, Josh Elliott, Rachelle Hacmac, Darryl James