Summer is passing me by, Doc, and I still haven't thrown a barbecue. One problem: I live in a studio apartment. There is a park by my house, though. Can I drag my buns (along with my burgers and grill) over there, invite all my friends, and declare the park my personal yard for the day? —Chachi Hibachi

Today we're going to talk about whether it's OK to write your column stoned. Oops, sorry; actually, we're going to talk about picnics, which is what you'll want to call your pork-steak rager when you apply for a permit.

Mmm, pork steaks. Where were we? Man, I don't know how Pat Buchanan does this every day.

Oh, right; permits. Strictly speaking, you don't need one. If your entire barbecue consists of two math teachers sitting on the hard ground (or better yet, in a puddle), thinking pious thoughts and nibbling on unsalted rice cakes, congratulations; you're legal. However, if you want to bring beer or a grill—or, God forbid, that devil's playground known as a folding table—you'll need to pay off the Man in advance.

Most of Portland's parks have designated picnic areas that you can reserve for between $20 and $200, depending on size. (The Parks Bureau has a brochure about this that I'm sure it would be delighted to send you.)

The good news is that once you do have a permit, pretty much anything goes—gas grills, cocktails, beating the shit out of that pretentious guy doing tai chi....

Ha-ha, just kidding! You can't really have cocktails; it's beer and wine only. Other than that, the sky's the limit. When contacted by WW, the Bureau of Parks & Rec's Shawn Rogers said yes-in-principle to croquet, wading pools, music at a reasonable volume, volleyball and a Slip 'N-Slide. Now all you need is some friends.