May 19, 2009 Published in the February 2009 issue of Portland Monthly

Top Docs
The process of nominating physicians for listing as a “Top Doc“ (January 2009) is so flagrantly flawed and subject to manipulation, it does more harm than good.

Here are my concerns about listing top trauma doctors: there is nothing scientifically valid about what is a “top doc” in this survey—nothing about credentials, track record, publications, true peer reviews; any organization and/or group can nominate candidates and “stuff” the ballot box, and this is in fact what is happening; trauma in Portland is different from other specialties that aren’t peer-reviewed by experts in their field from outside Oregon; trauma care is a “team sport” (anesthesiologists, neurosurgeons, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, cardiac surgeons and cardiologists, radiologists, vascular surgeons, nurses specially trained in trauma, therapists, pharmacists, housekeeping, administrators, and many more); and singling out individual doctors undermines the trauma team organization.

The magazine’s selection is based on an office-practice model and suggests that a patient can schedule an appointment with the “best.” This is not true in trauma acute care. Seventy percent of our patients come from the scene of the accident, and there is no time to call ahead for the “top trauma surgeon,” even if that surgeon exists and is available. The current methodology for publishing the names of “top docs” is not scientific or validated by any objective criteria. Let’s call the process what it is: advertising masquerading as a valid polling process.

Medical Director, Trauma Services
Legacy Emanuel Hospital

Mt Hood Howitzers
I recently happened upon Julian Smith’s article “Cannonball Run” (December 2008), about the new Howitzer being installed by Mt Hood Meadows for avalanche control. This article is of particular interest to the organization I’m involved in, the Snowrider Project (, the nonprofit mountain arm of the Surfrider Foundation ( While there may be benefits for Mt Hood Meadows in having a military weapon installed in their ski area, other potentially deadly outcomes need to be mentioned to the general public. While Smith mentioned that some backcountry skiers have voiced concerns about the potential transboundary effects of this weapon, the danger was easily dismissed with a quote from the US Forest Service stating “it hasn’t happened in thirty years of avalanche control.” Perhaps Smith should be a bit more diligent in vetting statements. Overshoot situations have occurred—some as recently as March 2005, when an overshoot near Ogden, Utah, landed a Howitzer shell in a residential backyard, resulting in severe damage to a house and the surrounding area. Thankfully, no one was killed. These links were found in less than two minutes of Google searching.

The Snowrider Project feels it’s important to make the general public aware of both sides of this issue. There is, in fact, a dangerous aspect to this Howitzer installation on the mountain, and these effects should be mitigated fully by Mt Hood Meadows in the interest of public safety. The Snowrider Project has been in active negotiations with Mt Hood Meadows concerning this issue, and while it has not been entirely addressed to our satisfaction, we do hope they will continue to work with us in the interest of public safety for all mountain users, not just their paying clientele.

The Snowrider Project
Northeast Portland

State Cocktail
John Chandler’s Two-Minute Critic on Oregon’s new state cocktail (“Strange Brew,” December 2008) was mean spirited and ill natured. As a writer for one of Portland’s more favored magazines, he should have gathered a few more facts before spewing his brusque opinion. He obviously doesn’t understand the origins of the winning cocktail recipe or the purpose of having an Oregon cocktail. The contest to find an “unofficial official” Oregon cocktail was part of Oregon Bounty’s annual statewide promotion celebrating the state’s diverse and plentiful culinary landscape.

Before being judged as the unofficial official Oregon cocktail by top Portland bartenders, food and beverage writers, local media personalities, and representatives from Travel Oregon, this drink beat out several hundred entries to become one of seven regional winners. The punch recipe adhered to the contest rules by using appropriate regional spirits and ingredients. While marionberries are delicious, they certainly are not the berries that best represent the eastern part of our state. And Chandler’s ignorant comparison of the New York Cocktail to this punch recipe exposed his overinflated ego and proves he is unqualified to act as one of our “gatekeepers for a city of beverage connoisseurs”—the only common ingredient between the two drinks is whiskey.

Southwest Portland

Editor’s note: Meloy invented the drink in question—Hike, Fish, & Go Camping Punch. Some may find the cocktail scrumptious; we merely questioned its high-maintenance name. Read John Chandler’s review at

A profile of Mayor Sam Adams (“Becoming Sam Adams,” January 2009) misstated the amount of time he dated Christopher Stowell. They dated for about six months, beginning in September 2005.

In the same issue, we incorrectly listed Jay C. Andersen as a specialist in gynecologic oncology (“Top Docs 2009”). His correct specialty is medical oncology.

We regret the errors.

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