Unemployment, crime and suicide rates, the number of cloudy days--those were a few of the factors that Sperling's Best Places used to create a stress index of the country's 100 largest metro areas.

Shockingly enough, Portland ranked high--really high--as the sixth-most stressful city in America, right behind Las Vegas and New York.

It just seems wrong, doesn't it? Anyone who has spent more than an hour inside our city limits knows that this town is anything but uptight. Hell, we're the chill-out capital of the friggin' world--especially during the summer.

That's why we went the extra mile with this year's Summer Guide. We not only want to remind you of all the reasons why you love this place--and why you put up with all that rain the rest of the year--but we also want to remind you to lighten up.

Sure, that's easier said than done. And the fact is, putting together a guide like this, which included taking pictures of fashionable clothes in the middle of Portland's biggest street festival and on a beach the same day, as well as asking the boss to leave town and get a spray-on tan--well, let's just say my ass cheeks have never been tighter.

But I'd do it all over again, just to see the looks on your faces as you read through the following pages and plan all the great things you're going to do in Portland this summer.

It's a breeze, so just sit back and enjoy the ride.

All the best,

Byron Beck

Special Sections Editor