Power Ranking

The Greatest Portland Summers of All Time!

The most exciting summer memories in Portland history: starring Elvis Presley, Pelé, and a bunch of stoned hippies.

By Martin Patail July 19, 2012 Published in the August 2012 issue of Portland Monthly

Best portland summer collage vjrmif

Vortex Photo: Courtesy Gerry Lewin


Governor Tom McCall orchestrates Vortex I, an instantly legendary, drug-laced free music festival, to distract would-be antiwar protesters. Where was he during Occupy?


Meier & Frank starts selling Wham-O’s brand-new Slip ’N Slide for a mere $6.66. Pre-PlayStation youth exults.


At an average 83.6 degrees, our hottest summer on record. Unfortunately, not all moods lift—racially charged riots cause massive damage in North Portland.


Our greatest sports summer begins with the Trail Blazers’ NBA championship and ends with soccer legend Pelé’s swan-song game at Civic Stadium. Recent sports seasons make this one look better and better.


Newsweek hails Portland as “the Hippie’s New Nirvana,” and the city braces for an influx of 20,000 “San Francisco longhairs.” Sadly, the invasion never occurs; cultural tension is limited to local kids and their dads.


Elvis gyrates at Multnomah Stadium (now JELD-WEN Field). The Oregonian reports “ear-splitting tumult.”


Portland’s frontier conditions cause “the summer complaints.” With diarrhea, cholera, and dysentery rampant, our earliest summers have a very steep PR hill to climb.


Worse than dysentery? Pioneer brewer Henry Weinhard promises free beer to flow from Skidmore Fountain—and is forced to renege, ruining what could have been Portland’s best summer ever.

Filed under
Show Comments