It’s been precisely a year since a bunch of us at the Mercury got together with more than 50 concerned citizens to rip up duct tape along the entire Rose Festival Parade route in Portland. The tape, laid down to mark off spots along the route by lazy families from the suburbs, was offensive to me, and also, technically, “offensive littering” under the law—although the cops never arrested anyone, of course.
The mayor weighed in, we got on TV, we drank tequila and shouted, it was a LOT of fun. Sadly, the city of Portland then decided to waste tons of time and effort taking our prank seriously, and has passed a law making it illegal to put duct tape on the sidewalk. Aren’t there more important things to do?
At the time the mayor said he didn’t like what we were doing, that “there would be a lot of misunderstandings” over it. There were none. He was just gutless. We had pissed off suburban moms calling us “anarchists.” Rent-a-cops in our faces saying we couldn’t pull up tape in front of Nordstrom because “they were a big sponsor” of the parade. What a riot.
Now, a year later, we plan to camp out overnight as part of the parade. The controversy is gone, and so is the duct tape, and I can’t help missing having someone to fight with about something that really isn’t all that important. Oh well. There’s also a sense of expectation about what we’re going to do this year. But I’m feeling pretty aloof. It’s like, weren’t you paying attention the first time? We’re too cool for a replay. In the words of Dane Hesseldahl, “I’m out.“