Just got back from a five-day weekend in Oregon, half of which was spent in the wonderfully compact city of Portland—or, as I like to call it, Seattle Jr. (With Trains). It was 104 outside when I arrived at P-Town's far superior Amtrak station. Yet due to the absence of awaiting taxis, my companion and I hoofed it a mile and a half (thank you, St. Louis, for toughening us up!) to the Jupiter Hotel, where we lodged in order to conveniently catch performances by both my brother Tim and The Long Winters.
Over a superb hangover brunch, replete with fresh squeezed mimosas and French-pressed coffee, the next morning at Le Pigeon in the former DMZ area of East Burnside, I flipped through the Portland Mercury, the Stranger's Rose City offshoot. This took all of five minutes, because the Merc was only around 60 pages long. Unlike my colleague, Flip Dawdy, I'm pretty fond of the Mercury, especially their hilarious film reviews and off-kilter special issues. But I wonder, after looking at that slender page count and virtually nonexistent front of the book (all of 13 pages), if Portlanders are. I'm also wondering whether the Merc is becoming a money-losing albatross for our beloved rival (which cut its press run/circulation pretty dramatically in the first quarter) and its Chicago backers. To this end, Stranger/Mercury publisher Tim Keck says that the Mercury is still rising, thank you very much, and that its next issue will be among its largest ever at 80+ pages.