I'm a Friend of Willamette Week.

I've been reading Willie Week since I was a kid, riding around on TriMet before I got my driver's license. It was very influential to me. WW helped me discover new places and people and made me feel part of a unique culture.

Many years later, after way too many drugs, endless arrests, and 15 years of incarceration in multiple states, I rejoined society (and my family's bread biz) and we built the Dave's Killer Bread brand.

WW documented much of it, from the "innocent" early days at the Portland Farmers Market (fond memory: being named in "Best of Portland 2007"—good call, Willamette Week!) to the painful saga of my infamous bipolar meltdown in 2013.

That horrific and inexplicable event was covered in a WW story by Aaron Mesh cleverly named "Breaking Bread," complete with a modified "Breaking Bad" logo in the title. When this article came out, I was in a "hypo-manic" phase in the aftermath of bipolar insanity. I laughed at the title, but reading it knocked my heart into the shitter. Took a month to overcome the immobilizing depression I felt when it hit me just how many people I had let down. I was eventually sentenced to "supervised mental patient in the street" status (also covered by WW).

But that article was a vital part of my healing and a new chapter for me. So much was happening. So much was changing. Dave's Killer Bread had outgrown me and had become an ungrateful adult. I was now a wealthy man, but at great cost. I had to find myself again.

And how? I refocused on something that had NOTHING to do with me, art. It was perfect.

The years since then have been "two steps forward, one step back", but I'm on a great road. I still enjoy reading Willie Week, now online, and I get the Daily Primer so I don't miss anything. As painful as WW's coverage of my story has been at times, it's taught me to trust the paper more than most and to appreciate the importance of tough, independent and smart reporting. Wherever it leads.

Dave Dahl
Co-founder of Dave's Killer Bread