(a.k.a. The Old Spice Dude, a.k.a. The Man Your Man Could Smell Like)
This meaty pitchman boosted his hunk-deprived native city’s dreamboat quotient this year. After his Wieden & Kennedy–produced, Emmy-winning Manmercials debuted in February, the former NFL receiver reaped tweets from Alyssa Milano, Perez Hilton, and a multitude of fans, and sent W&K’s creative reputation rising as fast as his spots’ ever-so-suggestive Old Spice can. Isaiah, you’re so cool, we may chill the champagne on your fine, fine abs.
When the Trail Blazers ousted popular general manager Kevin Pritchard, fans roared in outrage. Then the team unveiled its new leader: Burma-born rising star Rich Cho, the first Asian-American GM in NBA history. Cho can expound on pro basketball’s insider complexities. The former Boeing engineer went to law school to master sports-contract legalese and is considered an expert talent evaluator and stats analyst. Depending on how the season’s going, we Blazers faithful can toast Cho’s arrival—or just drink to forget.
We’re hiring Lightner, the 30-year-old chef at Castagna, to cater this affair. While others traded punches over pig provenance or battled on Iron Chef, Lightner simply savored his pick as one of Food & Wine magazine’s best new chefs of the year. His avant-garde (but earthy) food looks like the work of a culinary mad scientist but, in fact, comes from the Willamette Valley’s fertile soil. Matthew, we don’t even know what frikeh is, but we‘ll take seconds.
(a.k.a. The Lemonade Stand Girl)
We’re asking this youngster from Oregon City to bring drinks. (Looks like we’ll need to pocket a flask.) In July, 7-year-old Julie set up a lemonade stand during the Last Thursday fête on NE Alberta Street. County health officials soon swooped in, telling her she needed a $120 license. After Murphy became a cause célèbre for local anarchists, tax-hating entrepreneurs, and connoisseurs of ridiculous Portland news, the red-faced bureaucrats stood down. Julie, we don’t even care that you’re pouring zero proof!
Loretta Smith and Karol Collymore
We sealed our invites before Election Night, so both protagonists in the battle for the open Multnomah County Commission seat made our list. Two fresh, amply qualified, African-American women brought optimism to an angsty political year. Smith traded on local cred and connections as a Portland native and ex-staffer for Senator Ron Wyden. New Mexico transplant Collymore cultivated a youthful campaign style—hosting a “Vodka for Victory” fundraiser, for example. She may not have won, but we endorse that idea.
The Jefferson High School Demos’ Donkey
Portland Public Schools’ drama over how to remake local secondary ed hinged on the fate of the state’s only majority-black high school. Jeff’s proud traditions contrast with falling enrollment, but with high-profile supporters like Pink Martini’s Thomas Lauderdale and fierce community backing, the North Portland school seems safe for now. Instead, Southeast’s Marshall High will get the hoof. Jeff, we welcome your mascot’s feisty fight to our table. Heehaw!