No One Mourns Closures Like We Do

Reason No. 30 to love Portland right now.

(Emily Joan Greene)

Say what you want about trend-hopping Portland: We respect our dead.

We will publicly mourn bars we haven't even been to and exhume Santa displays from stores we no longer want to shop in.

When Greek diner the Overlook announced it would sell to developers, diners who hadn't visited in a decade flooded in to sit shiva at its lunch counter. When beloved but obscure dive bar Penguin Pub closed in Westmoreland, a former WW editor declared it the end of the city: "We are destroying everything that makes Portland so Portland," wrote Byron Beck on social media (#notmycity).

But this year, nothing struck us more than the arches.

(Emily Joan Greene)
In January, a McDonald’s franchisee announced plans to renovate his drive-thru on Southeast Powell Boulevard. In the process, he wanted to bulldoze what is probably the third-oldest McDonald’s in the country, a Golden Arches design built in 1962 that had stood mostly vacant on his lot for 37 years.

News of the restaurant's impending demise became WW's most-read story online for two weeks. On a Save Powell McDonald's page, Portlanders called for a boycott of all McDonald's if this one went down.

"Few Golden Arches McDonald's still exist. Losing it will not only be a loss for Portland, but for the entire nation," wrote an Oregonian reader in a letter.

In a city changing so fast it can be difficult to recognize a street from one year to the next, almost anything can become hallowed ground. Our love for our own collective memory is outsized, perhaps even embarrassing. But it's also how our city maintains its character. For every Overlook there is a Sandy Hut or Clyde's Prime Rib, preserved in amber light.

The McDonald's on Powell still has a week left intact. Who knows what its afterlife will be?

2. TriMet Could Soon Stop Charging Life-Ruining Fines

3. You Can Now Smoke Weed While Listening to Live Classical Music

4. Oregon's Unemployment Rate is Incredibly Low

5. Your Favorite Sports Team is Only a Short Walk Away

6. The Blazers Star in Some Weird-Ass Commercials

7. We Now Have a Mountain Bike Park in the City

8. 24 hours after Chamber Music Northwest Burned Down, the Last Concert in the Series Went on as Planned

9. Portland is the Playground of Japanese Architect Kengo Kuma

10. You Can Soon Stream Local Music at the Library

11. Oregon Just Became the First State to Defelonize Hard Drugs

12. East Portland is Getting an Aerial Tree Walk

13. We're the World Capital of Canned Wine

14. Portland is a Hotbed of Small Bookstores

15. Unlike any Other City, We Have Multiple Niche Comedy Festivals

16. Our Developers Are Privatizing Socialism

17. The Nation's Best Airport Keeps Getting Even Better

18. We're Home to the World's First Sneaker Design School

19. Portland Scored the World's First Dog Tap Room

20Weed Prices are Falling From Cheap to Damn Near Free, and We Haven't Yet Found the Bottom

21. Our Local Mini-Mart Chain Makes Snickers Give You Free Candy Bars

22. The View From the MAX Orange Line is One of the Most Striking and Beautiful Paintings in the City 

23. We Are Still No. 1 in Semifactual Superlatives

24. We Make Biking So Accessible

25. You Can Crowdfund Anything Here

26. We Find So Many Ways to be Anti-Trump

27. Our Malls Are Becoming Cultural Embassies

28. Our Humane Society Rescues Pets From All Over the Country 

29. Winter This Year is a Pussycat

30. No One Mourns Closures Like We Do

Willamette Week’s reporting has concrete impacts that change laws, force action from civic leaders, and drive compromised politicians from public office. Support WW's journalism today.