"I have an idea," our publisher said, charging headlong into my cubicle, "for Best of Portland. This is the 26th year. Why don't we revisit the best Best from every issue we've done?"

“Sure,” I said. “It’ll be fun.” 

Six weeks later I finally got around to hauling the dusty bound back issues out of the morgue—our combined library/bike parking/distribution box storage room—and realized we'd miscounted. It has indeed been 26 years since we first devoted an issue to the people, places and assorted flotsam that make this city such a strange and wonderful place to live, but that makes this the 27th Best of Portland package. Whoops.

Still, a good idea is a good idea even when it's a year late. We've decided to ignore the numeric discrepancy and update our favorite stories from 1985 through 2009 and assume that those people we profiled in 2010 are still doing OK. I wish we had the room to reprint a dozen stories from each issue; the archives are full of personalities so wonderful and endorsements so laughable (1991: dreadlocks on white guys), that they deserve to be revisited. 

But space is finite, and besides, there's loads of great new stuff we've been aching to write about all year. So let's begin with the best Elvis impersonators, drag queens and soccer fans of 2011 with their past counterparts. 

There's infinite space online, however, and we are working to digitize our back issues. Soon you will be able to browse every Best of Portland since 1985 at wweek.com/bop. The 2000 through 2010 packages are already there, and we should have the rest online by the end of the summer.

—Ben Waterhouse

People Places Reads Bites Sights Then&Now

EDITOR: Ben Waterhouse

CONTRIBUTORS: Natalie Baker, Craig Beebe, Ruth Brown, Stacy Brownhill, Ashley Collman, Liz Crain, Jonathan Frochtzwajg, Natasha Geiling, Shae Healey, Reed Jackson, Casey Jarman, Matthew Korfhage, AP Kryza, Evan Sernoffsky, Matthew Singer, Ethan Smith, Ben Waterhouse, Heather Wisner.

COPY EDITORS: Kat Merck, Sarah Smith


PRODUCTION STAFF: Melissa Casillas, Soma Honkanen, Adam Krueger, Brittany Moody 

PHOTOGRAPHERS: Robert Delahanty, Jacob Garcia,
Tim Gunther, James Rexroad