Editor's Note

Portland Monthly Turns 15—and Welcomes a New Editor in Chief

Remember when Voodoo Doughnut was edgy? We've come a long way since 2003.

By Kelly Clarke October 24, 2018 Published in the November 2018 issue of Portland Monthly

Editor in chief Kelly Clarke recovers from the demands of editing this month's Best New Restaurants package atop a mountain of (what else?) French toast.

Image: Amy Martin

Portland was a messy, exciting stew of ambition and creativity when Portland Monthly magazine debuted in 2003—15 years ago this month. It was the year we wrapped our heads around the idea of a vegan 7-Eleven (Food Fight!) and could not shut up about bacon-maple bars at edgy new Voodoo Doughnut. Fred had just met Carrie at a Saturday Night Live after-party—a chance encounter that eventually cemented Portland’s rep as a hipster mecca—and PICA’s TBA Fest debuted, luring avant-garde creatives to a smallish city with outsize arts chutzpah.

Fifteen years on, Portland is bigger, thankfully more diverse, and more complicated than ever. But at our core, we’re still a patchwork of scrappy entrepreneurs, community organizers, artists, and neighbors working to construct a city in our image, piece by idiosyncratic piece.

This month’s issue encompasses that messy beauty with a focus on two of our longest-running obsessions: Our annual Best New Restaurants package careens from local food-world titans launching unexpectedly fun third acts to Portlanders importing hometown flavors from Laos to Ivory Coast. Plus, some wild boîtes that took a stick of dynamite to the musty concept of the “wine bar.” A few pages later, we celebrate the work of our annual Light a Fire award winners, a passel of devoted, inspiring nonprofits and individuals working to make Portland a better place to live for everyone. (Cue all the tears.)

Image: Michael Novak

Know what else was here 15 years ago? Me. I was writing a foul-mouthed food column for a local alt-weekly (and moonlighting as a dance critic and nightlife reporter). Like many of the longtime local characters we profile in this month’s issue, I grew up a bit, had a kid, and renegotiated the way I live and interact with Portland (fewer 2 a.m. indie rock shows, more 9 p.m. Dungeons & Dragons tavern pop-ups).

Today I’m proud and honored to be Portland Monthly’s new editor in chief, where I get to work with a passionate, engaged crew of reporters and designers who are still just as head-over-heels for this damn place as I am. (Bonus, they bring me cookies from Courier Coffee when I’m stressed and make me laugh so hard I spit pinot on my keyboard.)

Loving anything—a person, a scene, or an entire city—means taking a clear-eyed look at it, celebrating its wins, and being honest about its faults. Our promise: We’ll continue to care, stubbornly and deeply, about this place. We’ll ask big questions and shine a spotlight on one-of-a-kind operators. We’ll mess up, learn, and try again. This city and our readers deserve no less.

I can’t wait to see where we end up in another 15 years. Just keep those cookies coming.

Kelly Clarke
Editor in Chief

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