City Commissioner Sam Adams...will help promote the

Chinatown Challenge

, aimed at encouraging downtown residents and workers to frequent Chinatown restaurants and businesses during construction and rejuvenation of the NW 3rd and 4th Avenue streetscapes.

-City Hall press release, Sept. 12, 2005

Chinatown! The very name conjures romance...intrigue...that time your dealer "punked" you outside the dirty bookstore off Burnside. Now, a moving plea from City Hall-specifically, Sam Adams, who knows a community-boosting opportunity when he sees one-calls on Portlanders to support the miniature 'hood in its time of need.

An urban-renewal project longer than the Tang Dynasty means Chinatown's sidewalks are torn up, its parking places rubble. Venerable dim sum joints are taking off for 82nd Avenue. What to do? Adams' (along with other city officials') "challenge" to eat and drink there seems way too easy. If you really want to pump some life into C-town, try to survive WW's customized version-the real Chinatown challenge!

Step One: Play "Spot the Crack Dealer" on the Bus Mall! Is that young gentleman in urban apparel just unusually outgoing? Are those two dudes who high-fived at the stop for the 4 Division bus simply very good friends? Or could there be more to this vibrant street scene than meets the eye?

Step Two: Meet your parole officer at Dugo's. Kidding. Don't ever tell your parole officer you hang out here.

Step Three: Find something worth buying at the Chinese knickknack shops. Self-explanatory. Also very difficult.

Step Four: Get your money's worth at the Classical Chinese Garden. Clear your calendar. Several months of full-time garden enjoyment may justify the water bill this publicly funded gem ran up when it couldn't plug a leak in its decorative pond.

Step Five: Get kicked out of the Republic Cafe. Difficult. Fighting with broken bottles would probably do it.

Step Six: Bend the "don't touch the dancers" rule at Magic Garden. The bouncers at the tiniest strip club in the West can't really mean this, can they? They seem so friendly. Plus, the place is so small, you almost can't help yourself. And that private dance ran you $20! So what the hell! Give it a whirl! (Only recommended for the well-insured.)