Archive for November, 2004

New Fondue Place Opens

One of my secret stashes of info is the Portland Business Journal’s Daily Breaking News Updates, which is usually info straight from the press release, but contains gems like “Fondue restaurant opens in NW Portland” which tells me a bit more about the under-construction place I walk by everyday on my way to work.

Urban Fondue is owned by Sterling Restaurant Management Group, who also own Voodoo Lounge, Bartini, Ohm and Be Zinful. Bartini and Be Zinful are on either side of Urban Fondue, and I think all three places were connected under the previous owner. I was surprised to see that Bartini is owned by the same people as Ohm since the style seems so dramatically different (I say that but I have never been to Bartini and haven’t been to Ohm in about a year). Finding more info on Sterling Restaurant Management Group has proven difficult.

I also like that BizJournal makes a point to mention that, “The Melting Pot, which bills itself as ‘the nation’s largest fondue restaurant franchise chain,’ opened a restaurant this fall in the Congress Center building at Southwest Sixth Avenue and Main Street.” So it looks like it’s a case of chain vs. local.

Bad Week For Weeklies

I’m guessing the circulation for the PM and WW must drop like a rock in November and December. I just got around to picking up last week’s Portland Mercury as it landed on the busy Thanksgiving weekend, and I figure a lot of others may have missed it as well. The feature article is Zac Pennington and Marjorie Skinner’s exploration of ICP culture and I recommend it.

Not to ruin it for you, but I find the last paragraph very quotable:

One can only hope that when the sun sets on the Insane Clown Posse, their followers will have graduated to good-humored maturity–rather than a bitter legion disenfranchised by the insincere cogs of commercialism that originally brought this family together.

National Novel Writing Month

Well, you should all congratulate me. I finished writing a novel on the plane trip back from Ohio. Let me tell you something about Ohio. It’s boring, and the coffee sucks. Let me tell you something about my novel. I wrote it as a part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and the Thank God It’s Over party is going to be on Saturday.

Portland always has a hefty share of the NaNo participants, and I’ve been trying to get act together to get to some of the events, but I always somehow find some reason not to. Oh well, such is life. The point is, it’s a party, I’m going, and you should too.

It starts at the Orenco Station Starbucks, and proceeds to a private residence from there.

Hot ‘Cross Buns

y’all, i heard a rumour that warren miller’s movies ain’t got nothing on this documentary. let’s hope it’s true:


A New Documentary Exploring the Community of Cyclocross Racing! Features local racers as well as others from the past and present!!

Premieres in Portland, OR Saturday December 11th, 2004 in the OVERTON the Doubletree Jantzen Beach. Show times are 4:30pm, 6:30pm, & 8:30pm.

Cost will be $4, Tickets will be available at the Cyclocross Nationals at PIR December 10th and 11th.

River City Bicycles has a copy of the trailer; if you ask nicely they might play it for you. Also, Tom (TROUSCULP [at] can get a copy into your hands.

Spotted on the bus, #1

(Yes, this will be an ongoing feature. Send nominations to me via email, will you…?)

I take public transportation everywhere. And I’ve seen a lot of interesting characters (you tend to do that if you’ve ever ridden the NYC subway system) along the way, of course. I often wonder about the lives and/or the backstory of the characters I see – don’t you?

Which leads me to this: I spotted a guy on a downtown-bound bus two or so weeks ago around 8:45 am. He was wearing a mostly-unremarkable black baseball cap with two lines on it:

  • An email address (which I couldn’t make out, although it was a Yahoo address)
  • Let’s do lunch.

No, I wasn’t close enough to see what he looked like (a pretty average guy, if I recall correctly.)
No, I didn’t get the email address.
No, I wasn’t looking to get the email address to invite him to lunch.

But I do have one question for him: How’s that been working for you so far?

And I have one question for all of you: is it a novel approach – or a little creepy (or something in between)? You decide…

A Ringside, And A Prayer

I’m that rarest of species – a confirmed carnivore who eats Gardenburgers.

But every once in a while, the Carnivore wins, and I go to Ringside Steakhouse.

This summer I went there, and let me put it this way. I could do better on the Barbie.

Ringside has their moments. Last time I went there, the steaks were pretty juicy. But if ya want quality, go to El Gaucho.

Clean Campaign Financing

I was very surprised to read two articles (Phil Stanford, Promise King) in the Portland Tribune criticizing the Clean Money Campaign Finance Reform proposal put forward by Erik Sten’s office.

The basic premise is that there are qualified people who do not run for office due to the enormous amounts of money required to run a successful campaign. Just because someone is smart, talented, experienced, and ready to be a city commissioner, it doesn’t mean they have deep-pocketed friends who can generate two or three hundred thousand dollars.

The solution proposed is public campaign finance. Any candidate who can demonstrate broad support, by collecting 1,000 small contributions, would receive $150,000 for a primary campaign, or $200,000 for a general election campaign.

Yes, that’s out of the city’s tax revenue. But hang on.

Candidates elected through this process would not be beholden to big-money — after receiving public campaign dollars, a candidate is not allowed to raise money from outside donors, whether they’re private individuals, rich corporate donors, developers, or special interests. Make no mistake: there are projects the city is paying for right now that never would have happened if not for big-money donors. It’s quite likely the city would actually save money with this proposal.

Stanford calls it the “Incumbent Protection Act.” Who’s he kidding? Is it easier for an incumbent to raise the kind of money necessary to win a race, or a challenger? This type of public campaign financing should terrify incumbents — which is probably why there are only a few other examples around the country of this type of law. It requires brave, forward-thinking legislators to create it.

I’m glad we’ve got some of those in Portland City Council.

Portland Scores on Public Spaces

Apparently, 23rd avenue is one of the nicer places around, at least according to the Project for Public Spaces.
The 20 Best Neighborhoods in North America

Of course, it’s no coincidence that it also happens to follow the tenets laid out for urban villages in the City Comfort Blog.

Concert etiquette?

Hey, there! I’m a snarky 40-something single mother who still tries to think she’s cool and hip. That means I try to take in the local music scene from time to time (even if my kids don’t think my wardrobe passes muster…).

Last night, that included seeing the Cake concert via 94.7 at the Crystal Ballroom (I know, I know – I’m so out of their demographic it’s not funny, but humor me here, ok??)

And I discovered just why I like Portland so much. People here (well, most people, anyway) are just so civilized.

See, I’m short. 5′ 1 1/2″, to be exact. Trying to see at concerts is challenging. And of course, people all like to crowd to the front to see – which means I usually end up looking at the back of someone’s head, or run the risk of getting beverages dripped on my own head.

But last night, several people did what they could to try and help me see – from asking the crushers to stop moving in front of me to finding me optimal sight lines.

And that’s why I love PDX. Even though we’re all trying to get ahead, there’s room to help the person next to you.

What are your favorite places to see music locally? And what do you love (or hate) about local music venues?

I’ve a looonng kid-free weekend coming up, and need suggestions!

(You’ll also find me over at My Whim is Law…)

Seaplane Moves to NW 23rd

Last Friday was the last day that Seaplane will live on Belmont. Starting this week they have a new store on NW 23rd, and I’m really excited to check it out (grand opening on Tuesday I think?).

Holly’s been posting all about the move and the new space on her Seaplane blog (yeah, I set this one up too, and yeah, it’s also on UrbanHonking). I love being able to see things happen “behind the scenes” of businesses I like.

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