Sarah “little” Brumble reporting on the loss of Portland’s weirdness.

With over 18,000 bumper stickers instructing residents to “Keep Portland Weird!” it’s debatable what even constitutes ‘weird’ when everyone’s in agreement. However, removing this nebulous gray area, there’s little doubt that my fair-ish city has a stranger side to it than most of its comparably sized metropolitan peers.

It saddens me to report that my fair city seems to be ceding some of its most noteworthy eccentricities the face of an ever-increasing population and associated consequences. For instance,

1. The Woodstock Mystery Hole has recently closed to the public, though the Barron continues his commitment to the Universal Church of Fun. Interested parties may contact him through his website.

2.The 24 Hour Church of Elvis has become a shadow of its former self. It’s undeniable that the display at its current location pales in comparison to the tour-able collection of miscellanea in which I had the good fortune to receive a 24-hour marriage certificate at age 17.

3.And now, we have the Velveteria, which will be closing as of this coming Sunday, January 26th, “opening in parts unknown, but warmer climes.”



As one commenter pointed out not too long ago with regards to the Ware Hall House (a house whose owner moved it by hand in order to save it from being demolished in the name of modern development), “Well, it is a by-pass, and you do have to build by-passes.”

It’s true: progress will be made, and inevitably treasures will be lost. Part of what I love most about the Atlas is its ability to define a place for us to immortalize the fortunate exceptions, and provide a forum to host a proper send-off for those lost in the fray.

In this new year, I hope to do a better job of taking this celebration into the real world. I’d like to begin by extending an invitation to fellow obsuraphiles to join me in visiting the Velveteria while there’s still time.

On Saturday afternoon (of Jan 25th with a flower in my hair, the code phrase will be “Black velvet looks best at night”) you can find me roaming the Velveteria, and would love to be joined by fellow obscuraphiles in the Pacific Northwest! I’m thinking a proper wake for the Velveteria also may be in order… Just down the street there’s an establishment with delicious eats, skeeball machine, and Portland’s finest microbrews.

And hey at least Portland seems to be managing that other worthwhile goal…

the end. by sarah brumble.