IMAGE: EBEN DICKINSON
Portlanders have shopped at Meier & Frank since 1857. But soon, the remorseless meat-grinder of capitalism will chew up the venerable department store's name, almost as redolent of history as most of the ladies who still lunch at the Georgian Room.
Next year, M&F's old-school name will give way to the brand of its corporate parent.
Yes, the Macy's Bigfoot act might rob Portland of some local history, continue the homogenization of America and strip downtown of a signature landmark. But we see an upside.
As millions who are (for some reason) devotees of the traditional Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York know, the mega-store is good for one thing: gigantic, terrifying balloons, which loom like a form of cosmic damnation over the crowds gathered for the annual shopping-season kickoff.
What better way for Macy's to endear itself to Portlanders than by lending its scary-balloon expertise to another dying local institution, the Rose Parade? Who should be immortalized in the sky? With nothing but holiday cheer in our hearts, some ideas:
Lars Larson: Could be the first balloon in aviation history to supply its own hot air.
Francis Pettygrove and Asa Lovejoy: Balloon effigies of Portland's founders would prompt children to ask, "Mommy, who's that?" And their mothers to answer, "I have no freaking idea."
Tres Shannon: It's impossible to escape the Voodoo Doughnut kingpin, so why not?
Earl Blumenauer's bowtie: Our congressman flies all over the world to smart-planning confabs; his sartorial signature gets to fly all over Portland.
Mike Bellotti: Oregon Ducks fans already think their holier-than-thou football coach is God. This confirms their suspicions.
Karen Minnis: Republicans already think their holier-than-thou House Speaker is God. This confirms their suspicions. In case of a strong cross wind, her hair would pose a flight risk.
Tracy Blakeslee: For the stogie-smoking owner of Fantasy for Adults Only, a balloon that looks like a cigar, or is that...ohmigod!
The Cherry Poppin' Daddies: Just kidding.
Gov. Ted Kulongoski: On second thought, by next Thanksgiving, this one might be obsolete.