If the good folks of Portland want to keep that city weird, as the saying goes, they should stick to whatever has worked in the past and not to sticking gum on the side of a building.
News out of the Rose City this week seems to indicate that Portlanders could soon have a wall of chewing gum taking shape to mimic the famed Gum Wall at Seattle’s Pike Place Market. A Facebook event posted by the downtown Portland tattoo studio RONIN, at 3rd Avenue and Northwest Couch Street, invited people to come down on May 5, chew gum and stick it:
Hey Y’all! Come join us in the starting of Portlands first gum wall here in the heart of Down Town Portland off of 3rd and Couch!! To get the word out and the wall a chance to STICK around for years to come we are throwing a fun little party here at the shop!! We will be providing free food and free drinks for (21+). And of course lots and lots of CHEWING GUM!!! Bring $20 worth of gum (with recipt) and recieve $150 voucher towards a tattoo at RONIN Living Art Studio. The more gum the better!! We’ll see ya there!!
The Portland Mercury called it an “abomination” that must be stopped, citing Seattle’s “sometimes loved, oft-hated” Post Alley Gum Wall. A vote on the weekly newspaper’s website has attracted more than 400 votes so far, with sentiment running strongly toward “No,” with 78 percent of votes, and saying the idea is “an insult to anyone who has ever had to clean classroom desks or movie theater chairs.”
Lizzy Acker of The Oregonian was equally grossed out in her commentary about the proposed wall of yuck.
“Anyone who experienced the gum wall in Seattle knows it was the absolute worst,” Acker wrote about the landmark, which got a good scrubbing in 2015, but is making a comeback. “Take one of the most disgusting things you can think of: someone else’s saliva-softened chewing gum, carelessly discarded on an object (feel it under your desk, try to remove it from your favorite shoes), multiply it by a million and call it a tourist attraction.”
The 20-year accumulation of multi-colored blobs that stuck to the bricks and everything else on the Seattle Gum Wall amounted to 1.175 tons of waste, The Seattle Times reported last year.
Here’s to hoping people in Portland can walk and chew gum at the same time and not stop to make a similar mess.