This just about sums up Portland's 2011: About an hour after Mayor Sam Adams told the Occupy Portland movement that it would be evicted from two downtown public squares in mid-November, a guy in a gold and purple jester's hat wearing a pair of bug-eyed ski goggles was playing a Fender guitar with a battery-powered speaker strapped to his back in the stone plaza outside City Hall.
In between chords and riffs, the tall, jester-hatted wandering guitarist in his 40s said he had been waiting 25 years for something like the Occupy Portland movement to come along. He wandered the fringe of a group shouting support for the Occupy campers, a bug-eyed-goggled walking background music box for the day.
It wasn't a scene from 'Portlandia,' but it should have been.
After a year that saw record gang violence, nearly weekly street protests, discord in City Hall and a limping regional economy, we hope better days are ahead in 2012. Here are a few things we'd like to see happen in the coming year.
• For the Occupy Portland movement: To quote Lennon and McCartney, 'We'd all love to see the plan.'
• For Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen: Negotiate a once-in-a-career compromise with library supporters on the funding issue.
• For Water Commissioner Randy Leonard: Sell enough Portland Loos at a profit to pay back the cost of all his other pet projects.
• For Mayor Sam Adams: Do not legally commit Portland to any other expensive projects during your final year in office. Let your successor decide whether the city can afford the Lake Oswego streetcar extension, other Portland Streetcar lines, a Portland-to-Sherwood transit line, or any of the projects - however worthwhile - envisioned in the coming Portland Plan.
• For Parks and Housing Commissioner Nick Fish: Stop waiting for the Portland schools and everyone else to decide when they're going to place funding measures on the ballot and show us your proposals for financing city parks and more affordable housing projects.
• For Metro President Tom Hughes: Prove that Metro can actually help solve serious problems by proposing some form of regional infrastructure financing assistance, perhaps in cooperation with the Community Investment Initiative that is studying the issue. Even if the proposal is not ultimately successful, you can show Metro is willing to take a chance by not merely offer voters uncontroversial Oregon Zoo and natural area ballot measures.
• For Democratic 1st Congressional District candidate Suzanne Bonamici: Name a controversial Republic proposal you support to prove you are not merely a rubber stamp for Democratic Party special interest groups.
• For Republican 1st Congressional District candidate Rob Cornilles: Name a controversial Democratic proposal you support to prove you are not merely a rubber stamp for Republican Party special interest groups.
• For conservative blogger Jack Bogdanski (Bojack): Run for public office to show the courage of your convictions.
• For the Portland Bureau of Transportation: We hope you find MAX and streetcar riders willing to honor the city's unusual honor system of payment with the required coins and passes. Barring that, please work with TriMet to hire enough fare inspectors to take care of the matter.
• For Portland baseball fans: A team. Any team. Maybe even a new stadium in Milwaukie.
• For Northeast Portland civic activist John Canda: More men and women willing to join him on Friday night anti-gang walks near Lloyd Center.
• For Old Town: A resurrection of the Uwajimaya development that would have dramatically changed the neighborhood's face. If not that, how about one high-end Chinese restaurant?
• For City Auditor Lavonne Griffin-Valade: Don't stop telling the truth, even if the City Council continues to ignore it.