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FEATURES: Intro | the Mt. Hood freeway | city hall of fame | architexture | rhymin' rogues | some of our favorite Portlanders | 25 years of statistics | what ever happened to...| Nike's marketing muscle | The Oregonian's big oh's
1977: bohemian elegy: the Anne Hughes Gallery | blazermania
Multnomah County District Attorney Harl Haas is arrested in Sacramento, Calif., on drunk-driving charges. He refuses to submit to a blood-alcohol test, is fined $315 and has his license suspended for six months. Haas later says he and assistant Mary Lou Calvin were in the Golden State capital to learn more about the city's victim-assistance program. Problem is, the program didn't start until two months after Haas' visit. He later becomes a judge.
Wait a minute--it's stopped raining! Oregon suffers its worst drought in 100 years; rainfall measures only 5 to 30 percent of normal across the state. Parched Portlanders suffer again in August, when the thermometer reads 102 degrees.
The Oregon Legislature proposes safety-net legislation to protect school districts whose operating levies fail at the polls. But voters reject the plan in a special May election.
Pacific Power & Light Co. president John Lansing resigns in March after the IRS discovers he commandeered a company jet for personal travel. He is rehired in December at his old salary, however, to head the utility's new public-relations subsidiary, which employs only Lansing and his secretary. He is fired again in June 1978 after public outcry.
Mayor Goldschmidt declares June 25 Gay Pride Day. Hundreds of supporters gather outside City Hall, while opponents stage a counter-protest in Laurelhurst Park, sponsored by the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church. One spokesman asks why Goldschmidt doesn't declare a special day for adulterers and wife-swappers.
The first Artquake erupts downtown, spewing hot Brazilian jazz, puppet shows, commedia dell'arte and other free performances across the city.
ERA supporter and state legislator Gretchen Kafoury proposes that state government refuse to pay for employees' hotel, airfare and meals when they travel on business to states that haven't ratified the proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
To protest apartheid, the Portland City Council denounces the sale and advertising of South African Krugerrands. Mayor Goldschmidt tells the council that he wishes similar action had been taken "when my fellow Jews were being murdered in Nazi Germany."
Blitz-Weinhard begins commercial production of an innovative specialty beer, Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve. The first establishments to carry the new brew are Jake's Famous Crawfish and the Goose Hollow Inn.
Gov. Bob Straub orders the state attorney general's office to conduct an investigation of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission after a Willamette Week story alleges that administrator Kenneth Underdahl and other agency officials have abused their authority by investigating private citizens and playing favorites in licensing matters. Underdahl is later relieved of his duties, and the OLCC is reorganized.
FOR ART'S SAKE
BY MICHAELA LOWTHIAN
Basketball analysts developed a number of theories to explain why the Blazers had won. Most of those theories centered on the Blazers' concept of team play. They were a unique blend of players, all dedicated to the good of the team; individual statistics took a distant second to winning, in their minds. In the era of superstars, huge salaries and runaway egos, the Blazers functioned as a single unit. Some described them as selfless--an overstatement perhaps, but tending toward truth.
While the chemistry and the teamwork between the players made them champions, other factors were important in the Blazers' success. None of it would have been possible without Harry Glickman, the general manager. It was his relentless work in the late '60s that brought Portland a franchise. Take away Harry Glickman and people would still think of Lewis and Clark when the words "Trail Blazers" were mentioned.
And then there was Blazermania: an arena full of stomping, whistling, screaming fanatics; a city full of support. Blazermania seeded with the first harbingers of spring 1977, then rooted in late April, blossomed in May and became a blue ribbon bouquet in June.
On Broadway, after the Blazers triumphed over Philadelphia for the world championship, horns were honking; Frisbees were flying; people were dancing, hugging and getting high. A shirtless man dribbled a basketball between two cars, then fired a jump shot at a street light. Cries of "We're No. 1!" cascaded down the street. Index fingers were thrust into the air. Happy people were sitting on car fenders or on the curb, waving to the drivers in the idling cars.
Some say that Blazermania, an unbridled love affair between a city and a sports team, had its origins in history. Historians of the Pacific Northwest have formulated a number of different theories to explain Blazermania. For example:
THE UNDERDOG THEORY OF BLAZERMANIA
THE BOREDOM THEORY OF BLAZERMANIA
THE IDENTITY THEORY OF BLAZERMANIA
THE "WHITE BACKLASH" THEORY OF BLAZERMANIA
THE "ONLY GAME IN TOWN" THEORY OF BLAZERMANIA
Larry Colton wrote about sports and other topics for WW in
the '70s and '80s. He is the author of three books (Idol Time,
Goat Brothers and Counting Coup) and lives in Portland.