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Mark & Dave: Up in the Air

Portland makes it on more lists than any other city in the world. Now we’re on the list of top 10 best cities to retire without a car — which makes sense since it’s our top 10 city in which it’s nearly impossible to drive a car. For starters, we have more potholes than Starbucks. (Message to Mayor Charlie Hales: Is “fog-sealing” really paving?)

Other reasons to retire in Portland: No plastic grocery bags; you never worry where to store them. Mental stimulation: Stay sharp calculating alternative routes around our crumbling bridges. PDX: It looks different every time you visit — except for the “Pardon our dust” signs.


CNN/Money Magazine named Sherwood as the No. 5 “Best Place to Live” in the United States. Couldn’t help thinking about it while stuck in molar-grinding gridlock on the way from Portland to ... Sherwood. Nice place, if you can get there.


Stop us if you’ve heard this one: Metro President Tom Hughes really wants to build a 600-room hotel near the Oregon Convention Center. But he needs support from Portland and Multnomah County. Metro and Multnomah County don’t agree on the merits of a new hotel. Hughes thinks it would be good for the economy. Multnomah County Chairman Jeff Cogen thinks it will be more convenient than flying to Atlanta twice a year.


It’s back-to-school time. We know because retailers have been pushing lined paper and pencils since the Fourth of July. So, kids will be back in class in a week or so. You know what that means? Time put up the Christmas decorations.


Turns out the National Security Agency did listen in on the private phone conversations among Americans. Everyone deserves privacy, except that guy with a Bluetooth and a booming voice at the supermarket, on the elevator, in line for fast food, and, the worst, the guy using the bathroom. Hard to scream about privacy when everyone can hear you now.


Amazing what Mark remembers: “In my formative years, an ex-boss once told me how to get things done. ‘You throw enough (blank) against the wall, some of it will stick.’ ” Why does Portland’s new idea of a carbon tax have that same kind of smell?


Minority report: At county parks, Clackamas County sheriff’s deputies can search your cooler without cause — part of the effort to cut down on drunkenness by enthusiastic Clackamas River floaters. But jurisdiction is suspended once you’re past the high-water mark on shore or if you already are on the river. So, how long will it be before drinkers figure out to put in a little upriver? Have a safe weekend.


For the first time in history, Portlanders will name the new Willamette River transit bridge under construction near OMSI and South Waterfront. We’d suggest the name “Squander.” Note to Gov. John Kitzhaber: squander is not a Native American name, it’s bad public policy. But since the new bridge is not meant for cars, we’ll also suggest the name “Sellwood.”


Mayor Hales wants to replace City Hall’s homeless camp with — wait for it — food carts. Yeah, that’s how you make Portland food carts even more appetizing ... put them on the soured grounds of former homeless camps. That stretch of real estate could probably qualify as a Superfund site.


The Trail Blazers will receive $4 million a year for naming rights to the Rose Garden — about the same as it would cost a family of four to attend every game and enjoy a soda and hot dog for a year at the new Moda Center.


The fireworks show at the 63rd Tualatin Crawfish Festival had surrounding neighborhoods feeling shock and awe. Too few were aware of the event and the opening salvo echoing down the Tualatin River canyon sent neighbors bolting outside thinking a disaster had taken place. “Did a train derail?” shouted one neighbor. Sadly, Tualatin’s Dave Nicoli isn’t optimistic about the Crawfish Festival’s future. As The Times (Tigard, Tualatin, Sherwood) noted, this bash was to be the last led by the Tualatin Chamber of Commerce. The chamber gauged Nicoli’s interest in saving it, as he did for the Tigard Festival of Balloons some years ago. His assessment: “...there isn’t enough money to make any money.” Shame if it went away, that fireworks show alone was better than most Fourth of July shows. Could be why there’s not enough money.

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