The year 2009 was like a trip to the dentist - not the absolute worst thing that can happen in life, but not entirely pleasant either. In hopes for a better 2010, here are some wishes for the New Year:
• For the Oregon Ducks: Start the New Year right in Pasadena with a victory in the Rose Bowl. And then advance to the BCS National Championship in 2010 (This wish excludes Oregon State fans, of course). For Beaver Nation, rise again and challenge the Ducks once more for football supremacy on a national stage.
• For Mayor Sam Adams: Consistent evidence of the leadership qualities that Portland voters expected when they elected him in November 2008 and a resolution, once and for all, of the recall challenges that are distracting the mayor, citizens and City Hall. But, really, how could 2010 be any worse for Adams than 2009?
• For City Commissioner Randy Leonard: Fewer steak dinners - and no more portraits of himself - that are paid with leftover campaign funds.
For Leonard, Adams and all of Portland: The arrival of Major League Soccer AND the retention of the Triple A Portland Beavers baseball - a longtime local icon of clean, well-priced summer fun.
• Let's all hope for the sound of more hammers and saws at work, as new homes start being built once again, and older ones are remodeled.
• For former Multnomah County Sheriff Bob Skipper: a restful retirement this time.
• For city Commissioner Nick Fish, who has housing in his portfolio: Fewer homeless people to assist, but better, more coordinated ways of helping them.
• For newly resigned (and presumably retired) John Minnis, formerly head of the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training: golf lessons, but no marriage advice, from Tiger Woods.
• For Multnomah County Chairman Ted Wheeler: a buyer for those bridges he's been peddling.
• For Oregon's workers: an unemployment rate that at least settles into the single digits.
• For coach Nate McMillan's sake (and everyone else's): no more injuries for the shorthanded and increasingly size-challenged Portland Trail Blazers. And the hope that the young bodies of Nicolas Batum and Rudy Fernandez will recover quickly from their respective surgeries to repair a torn shoulder muscle and an aching back.
• For the May election: a vibrant race for Metro president (featuring Tom Hughes, Rex Burkholder and Bob Stacey) that explores all the issues and fully reveals to voters the importance of this region moving together as a whole - and not in uncoordinated pieces.
• For Oregon drivers: the commitment and common sense to hang onto their steering wheel and hang up their cell phones
• For area non-profits: more volunteers to help them weather the recession.
• For the area's food pantries that feed the hungry: extra donations of groceries in the slow months of January and February.
• For the Portland Water Bureau: some covers for the city's open air reservoirs, and a little less E. coli, please.
• For Portland Public Schools: rising enrollment and student test scores; fewer high school drop-outs;affordable answers about how to operate and maintain aging school buildings; continued stable leadership; and no more school blazes that drive students, teachers and staff from the security and experience of classroom learning.
• For East Portland neighborhoods beyond Southeast 82nd Avenue: just a little bit of attention from Portland City Hall.
• For Oregon National Guard troops and other Oregon servicemen and women deployed in harm's way in the Middle East: a safe return home in 2010. And for the parents of children at war: courage and support from our communities.