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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

1999: The curse of the New Carissa | Heroin's fatal pinprick | Adios, La Luna!


In a verdict with broad free-speech implications, a federal jury orders anti-abortion activists to pay a stunning $109 million to local abortion providers for publishing the Nuremburg Files--an Internet site that lists personal information about abortion doctors amid gruesome imagery. The suit said the Web site and various "Wanted" posters amounted to an assassination plot.

A federal study reports that 5.8 percent of Oregon households experienced hunger at some point in the last year--the highest percentage in the nation. Researchers describe Oregon's hunger rate as "quite remarkable" for a state that recently boasted the best economy in the country.

The city is rocked by a series of grisly discoveries: the bodies of three women, each assaulted, strangled and abandoned, in Forest Park. Police set up a trap for the serial killer, baited with a decoy streetwalker who resembles the victims. They catch Todd Allen Reed, 32, a produce worker with a history of sexual violence. Reed is now awaiting trial.

After a bitter campaign, employees at Powell's Books vote to unionize by a narrow margin--161 to 155. The move comes at a crucial time for the world's largest used bookstore, which is fighting fierce competition from online booksellers while extending its labyrinth of shelves.

Gaining unprecedented media attention at the speed of light, Local post-riot-grrl band Sleater-Kinney releases its third full-length album, The Hot Rock.

Survey says drug use among teenagers--specifically of marijuana, cocaine and speed--has leveled off in the past three years. In contrast, experts estimate that nearly 5 percent of all school-age children in Multnomah County are taking Ritalin.

Police unmask Maul, the prolific graffiti artist whose tag defaces walls all across the city. Far from the deprived inner-city youth they were expecting, Maul turns out to be a Reed College senior named Sara Fisher. She avoids jail by paying almost $3,000 in restitution, spending 400 hours on cleanup duty and making four awkward public apologies.

"It's like Christmas," says PJ Gilmour, who organizes a 55-person rotating squad to spend nearly two weeks outside the Eastgate Theatre--all for the thrill of being among the first to see The Phantom Menace.

Jammin' 95.5 FM becomes the first commercial Portland station to switch to a low-octane mix of hip-hop and R&B--even though similar formats consistently earn the highest ratings in L.A., N.Y. and Seattle. "I've got my cargo pants on and my baseball hat turned backward," says 47-year-old General Manager Tim McNamara.

HomeGrocer.com begins Portland-area deliveries in May. WW reviewer and self-declared "supermarket junkie" Jim Dixon reckons the Internet grocer is serious competition for Freddie's.

Portland experiences an outbreak
of soccer fever as Civic Stadium hosts four Women's World Cup first-round matches.

Portland catches millennium fever: New Agers pack up their crystals and head for the hills, while suburbanites stock up on dried beans at the Bishop's Storehouse on Southeast 82nd, a Mormon cannery (requests are up more than 400 percent). The only thing more frightening than the prospect of a global technological meltdown is the thought of all those ponderous end-of-century retrospectives yet to come.



  The star-crossed 639-foot cargo ship New Carissa runs aground just north of Coos Bay. In February, its accursed hulk will haunt the shoreline until the next millennium. In an effort to burn the oil on board, Navy crews detonate the freighter's fuel tanks; the explosions split the bow from the
stern, but the oil won't ignite. Next, crews try to pump the oil ashore through 700 feet of hose, but they mostly suck water. Then a tugboat hauls the bow out to sea for ignoble burial; 40 miles out, in the fiercest storm of the winter, the tow line snaps and the wreck drifts back to shore near Waldport. A week later, the tugboat drags the wreck back to face a Navy destroyer, which hammers it with artillery shells. No good. A Navy submarine's torpedoes finally sink the thing. In November, the stern section rebuffs two attempts to tow it out to sea. By the end of the saga, at least 70,000 gallons of oil will have fouled the Oregon coast.

Deaths from heroin overdose in Multnomah county


The local economy is as strong as it's ever been. Employment is steady; incomes are rising. There's a chicken in every bucket and an SUV in every garage. Why, then, is Portland in the middle of a heroin epidemic? Over the past decade, fatal heroin overdoses in Multnomah County have risen more than 600 percent--and treatment providers say they are increasingly inundated with younger addicts, who have succumbed to the lure of the cheaper, more potent heroin now available on Portland's streets. "How can we allow this to go on?" asks Richard Harris, executive director of Central City Concern, a local nonprofit agency that operates the Hooper Detoxification clinic. "It's an outrage."



  Evolution, according to Darwin, is imperative for survival, and few music venues have followed Darwin's dictum as much as the one situated at the corner of Southeast 9th Avenue and Pine Street. In the '70s, the looming, temple-like structure housed the folk-friendly Ninth Street Exit. After that closed in late 1980, the place was renamed the Pine Street Theater, whose chandelier-crazed ceiling oversaw its transformation into a showcase for ascendant modern-rock acts like Hüsker Dü and the Violent Femmes.

But in 1986, the city played a tough hand: The building's owners were forced to either make costly seismic and fire-code renovations or limit concerts to 300 people. In-house promoters Monqui Presents--a.k.a. Chris Monlux and Mike

Quinn--opted to take their sizable shows elsewhere (such as the Melody Ballroom and now-demolished Fox Theater), bidding adieu to Pine Street on Dec. 31, 1986, with a farewell gig starring Screamin' Jay Hawkins and never-say-die PDX hard-rockers Napalm Beach.

The structure's function and ownership fluctuated for years, until Alex Rosenast and Tomie O'Neil (owners of Seattle's RKCNDY) bought it in '92, made the necessary seismic upgrades and handed the booking reins back to Monqui. Thus LaLuna was born--and so was a major chapter in the life of Portland music. No one club better represented Portland's shift from small-town underdog to big-time contender. At the time of LaLuna's grand opening--New Year's Eve '92, six years to the day after Monqui first parted company with Pine Street--the Pacific Northwest was spearheading a so-called "alternative music" revolution, and the ability of local bands like Sweaty Nipples, Dharma Bums, Pond, Hitting Birth, Hazel and Heatmiser to fill the 1,000-capacity room helped draw national eyes to the humble city once passed over by a Seattle-happy press.

Soon Portland acts became known on the national stage. The Spinanes. Elliott Smith. Everclear. Dandy Warhols. Quasi. If the eccentric X-Ray Cafe gave them "training wheels," roomy LaLuna was the full-size motorbike they rode to stardom.

In 1999, however, Monlux and Quinn finally tired of clashing with OLCC liquor licensers, who had long been a thorn in the club's side. Monqui passed the lease on to an upstart Florida promoter, and the building mutated once again, this time into an ill-fated rave club called the Womb, which closed mere months later. If Darwin was right, however, the venue will be back again.


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