Any time the word "snow" appears in a headline, Portlanders click like they've lost control of their car.
That's the lesson from the WW stories that drew the most traffic in 2019. Three of them were about forecasts of powder. (It might have helped that the top story, meant to warn of the biggest snowstorm in 19 years, instead was interpreted as predicting the most snow in 100 years.)
Other topics piqued readers' interest, too: taxes and Joey Gibson, especially. But mostly it was snow. Want to revisit these stories? Buy some kale, visit wweek.com, and settle in for a cozy winter evening, Portland-style.
Here are the top 10 most read WW stories of 2019.
1. February 8: New Portland Forecast Says Next Week's Snowstorm Could Be Worst of the Century in Pacific Northwest – Elise Herron: 370,531 pageviews
A company that provides Portland City Hall with weather forecasts sounded an alarm for a storm it thought would be worse than the record-breaking blizzards that hit Portland in 2008. (In fact, the storm largely missed Portland, but not before residents made sure to strip grocery shelves of kale.)
2. May 31: Stimson Lumber Announces It's Pulling Timber Jobs Out of Oregon, in Rebuke to New Taxes and Carbon Caps – Aaron Mesh: 148,949 pageviews
Portland-based Stimson Lumber announced that it would lay off at least 60 people at its Forest Grove mill—40 percent of the workforce there—and move some of its operations to Idaho and Montana. The announcement fueled a Republican rebellion against a carbon cap-and-trade bill.
3. July 9: The Owners of a Brewery Put a Crashed Airplane on Display in Their New Portland Pub. Then the Air Force Came Looking for It. – Andi Prewitt: 146,531 pageviews
On a quiet February afternoon, the Civil Air Patrol walked into Southeast Portland pub Vagabond Brewing in search of a wrecked aircraft. They found it hovering in the rafters as a decoration. They found it hovering in the rafters as a decoration—they'd been alerted because the emergency locator beacon was still working.
4. February 8: Winter Storm Maya Has All of Oregon Under a Weather Advisory. It's Going to Be Worse Than Predicted. – Elise Herron: 101,345 pageviews
The same storm as our most-read story! Forecasters named it Maya. The Portland International Airport canceled several flights. (Then Maya, for the most part, bypassed Portland. At least we were all prepared?)
5. February 14: Texts Between Portland Police and Patriot Prayer Ringleader Joey Gibson Show Warm Exchange – Katie Shepherd: 96,473 pageviews
Hundreds of texts obtained by WW showed that Portland Police Lt. Jeff Niiya, who tracked protests and extremist groups, maintained a cozy rapport with right-wing organizer Joey Gibson. The story led to an outside investigation, which cleared Niiya of wrongdoing but showed top police brass failed to adequately explain to the public what he was up to.
6. October 7: A Free Snoop Dogg Concert in a Small Oregon Town Caused Police to Panic, and May Lead to Fines For Organizers – Elise Herron: 83,865 pageviews
Hip-hop icon Snoop Dogg made a surprise visit to Ontario, Ore. in October to celebrate the opening of a new cannabis dispensary. The free show sparked alarm among local law enforcement, who initiated "major incident response protocol" to manage crowds.
7. May 16: Portland Fans Pledge to Donate a Dollar to Alabama Abortion Access Fund For Every Point the Blazers Score Tonight – Elise Herron: 82,266 pageviews
After Alabama's governor signed legislation making performing abortions illegal, Portland Trail Blazers fans pledged to donate a dollar for each point scored against the Golden State Warriors to The Yellowhammer Fund—which provides abortion access assistance for Alabamans. The Blazers scored 111 points that night.
8. November 13: Portland Might Be in For Another White Winter. Don't Freak Out— Embrace It. – Matthew Singer: 78,956 pageviews
We got the message: You're scared of snow. So we put together a guide to make it a little easier—including the best urban ski spots and where to eat, drink and frolic in an empty and transformed downtown.
9. August 29: After Washington State Ban, Oregon Becomes the Last West Coast State Where Consumers Can Buy CBD-Infused Food and Beverages – Elise Herron: 72,745 pageviews
On Aug. 1, new rules went into effect in Washington state banning CBD food and drinks from being sold outside of licensed cannabis retailers. That left Oregon as now the last state on the West Coast where consumers can buy CBD products at the grocer.
10. August 17: Proud Boys Wander Lost Through Portland as Police Allow Wild Goose Chase by Antifascists – Aaron Mesh: 69,881 pageviews
Portlanders have gotten used to bloody brawls between right-wing Proud Boys and antifascist protesters. But police changed tactics this summer—and the two groups ended up playing a game of cat-and-mouse and remaining more than a mile apart at all times.