Dear Readers:

Everything about BEST OF PORTLAND 2005 is a little on the bizarro side. And that's the way we like it.

Sure, we've included our biggest readers' poll EVER, which is located somewhere in the center of this newspaper (see page 58). That's where you're going to find traditional "Best of" stuff, like the best place to buy lights or band equipment, the best burger or late-night workout spot. But in this issue, you'll find more than a hundred other bests, our writers' choices, which could be considered, well, as a little bit more freaky, geeky and unique-y. (Anything for the rhyme, man, anything for the rhyme.)

I like to think of each one of our bests as a surprise, a peek at a Portland that may not always be recognized-the people, places and things that make this city what it is, even though they don't always get the attention they deserve.

All the bests,

Byron Beck

Special Sections Editor

Best Top Model

We were going to name Nicole Nieland (left and on the cover) "Best Breasts of Portland" because she's the go-to gal sportswear giant Adidas calls to fit one of its brand-new bras.

But that would be just plain wrong-and sexist to boot.

So then we thought we'd label Nieland the "Best Perfectly Average Woman." Because the 28-year-old, 5-foot 9-inch girl-next-door-looking Portland native has the measurements considered spot-on for the average-sized woman: 34-25-36. But on second thought, that title didn't seem quite right, either.

So you fifth-wave feminists can stop your "WW treats women like poo" letter-writing campaign before it begins.

The reason we are naming Nieland as Portland's "Best Top Model" is because she has proven in a 15-year career that you can have a naturally healthy build and still be successful in an industry as demanding as modeling. Sure, she exercises and eats right. "I work out five times a week for about an hour," she says. "But modeling has never mattered enough to starve myself."

Nieland's career almost was sidetracked before it began. At 14, after winning a modeling contest, Nieland was whisked back to New York to one of the country's top modeling agencies, where she was immediately asked to drop 20 pounds.

"My mom freaked out," says Nieland, who knew she wasn't built to be a stick figure. "That's when we decided I'd go the healthy route."

Healthy? Check.

Wealthy? She's working national and international jobs all the time.

And wise. Well, that sure sounds like a best to us.

Best Place(s) to Pick Up Chicks

Portland has always been known as a "green city" that touts mass transit and dense neighborhoods over urban sprawl, but now we've pushed it one step further: urban chicken coops. July's second annual Tour de Coop '05 (284-8420, invited local chicken enthusiasts to flock from one local backyard coop to another for ideas and inspiration on a new urban trend. Designs ranged from simple free-range backyards to luxurious chicken manors with amenities such as timed automatic doors and group nesting boxes. Spoiled city chickens will soon be hatching at a coop near you, so get in on this latest clucked-up craze.












EDITOR: Byron Beck


CONTRIBUTORS: Mark Baumgarten, Nick Budnick, Nicolle Camarata, Adrian Chen, Kelly Clarke, Kim Colton, Tomi Douglas, Brooke Myers, Zach Dundas, Ellen Fagg, Melissa Favara, Christian Gaston, Brandon Hartley, Robert Hamrick, Ryan Hume, Danielle Kuehnel, Brian Libby, Ivy Manning, Richard Meeker, Steven Mendes, Morgan Moody, Matthew Moss, David Muller, Cliff Pfenning, Mary Putnam, Margaret Seiler, Karla Starr, Hank Stern, Angela Valdez, Jean Wenzel

COPY EDITORS: Matt Buckingham, Ian Gillingham, Danielle Kuehnel, Margaret Seiler

ART DIRECTION: Maggie Gardner, Samantha Gardner

photography: Martin Thiel, cover Tom Oliver, inside

PRODUCTION: Thomas Cobb, Allison Fordham, Kendon Gray, Tom Humphrey, Cari Vander Yacht, Matt Wong

CHICKENS: Cameron Browne