Portland Mercury

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Portland Mercury
TypeAlternative bi-weekly
Owner(s)Index Publishing
PublisherRob Thompson
EditorWm. Steven Humphrey
FoundedJune 2000
Headquarters115 SW Ash St., Suite 600
Portland, OR 97204
Circulation45,000 (as of June 2014)[1]

Portland Mercury is an alternative bi-weekly newspaper and media company founded in 2000 in Portland, Oregon. It has a sibling publication in Seattle, Washington, called The Stranger.[2]

Contributors and staff[edit]

Editor-In-Chief: Wm. Steven Humphrey
News Editor: Courtney Vaughn
Arts and Culture Editor: Suzette Smith
News Reporter: Taylor Griggs
President and Publisher: Rob Crocker

Current list retrieved on June 15, 2023.[3]


The current Portland Mercury launched in June 2000.[4] The paper describes their readership as "affluent urbanites in their 20s and 30s."[5] Its long-running rivalry with Willamette Week began before its first issue was even printed when Willamette Week publisher Richard Meeker asked a Portland law firm to pay $10 to register the Mercury name with Oregon's Corporation Division, thus preventing it from being used for 120 days.[6]

The newspaper's revenue is almost entirely dependent on advertising and sales of tickets for events and concerts with nearly 95% of its revenue coming from advertisements.[7][8]

Former managing editor Phil Busse's controversial tenure included charges of plagiarism, a favorable review for a restaurant that hadn't yet opened, a bid for mayor, and a cover featuring him wearing women's underwear, dollops of whipped cream, and a hard hat.[9] Shrill, a television series based on Seattle-based writer Lindy West’s memoir and essay collection of the same name, was inspired by The Stranger and Portland Mercury and starred actress Aidy Bryant.[10] The paper has also published articles and columns written by Chuck Palahniuk and Dan Savage.[11][12]

Portland Mercury's print edition was published weekly until fall 2018[13] when it changed to bi-weekly beginning with the issue released on September 13, 2018.[14] Its name as displayed on the nameplate was shortened to just Mercury as well.[13][15]

On March 14, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the paper temporarily suspended print publication and switched to online only.[16] In addition, it laid off 10 employees, which comprised half of the publication's staff.[17][18] A special newsstand edition, titled 'Say Nice Things About Portland: A Manifesto,' was released in May 2023. It was Portland Mercury's first print publication since the beginning of the pandemic.[19]


  1. ^ "The Portland Mercury". Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  2. ^ Meza, Claudia (March 17, 2020). "How Alternative Weeklies Are Weathering The Pandemic". Oregon Public Broadcasting. Retrieved 2020-04-27. the Mercury and its Seattle sister paper, The Stranger
  3. ^ "Masthead". Portland Mercury. January 3, 2023. Archived from the original on 2020-10-12. Retrieved January 3, 2023.
  4. ^ Humphrey, Wm. Steven (June 1, 2000). "The Triumphant Return of The Mercury". Portland Mercury. Archived from the original on November 15, 2008. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  5. ^ "Ad-info". Mercury readers are affluent urbanites in their 20s and 30s with impressive disposable incomes and an appetite for everything the city has to offer.
  6. ^ Brenneman, Kristina (April 9, 2000). "No welcome mat for this Stranger". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved October 17, 2020.
  7. ^ Meza, Claudia (March 17, 2020). "How Alternative Weeklies Are Weathering The Pandemic". www.opb.org. Retrieved 2020-04-29.
  8. ^ Mesh, Aaron (March 14, 2020). "Portland Mercury Halts Print Editions Amid Coronavirus Shutdowns". Willamette Week. Retrieved 2020-04-29.
  9. ^ Butler, Grant (April 3, 2009). "White Bird hires controversial Phil Busse as general manager". Retrieved October 17, 2020.
  10. ^ "Portland-filmed 'Shrill' renewed for Season 3 on Hulu". March 31, 2018. Retrieved October 17, 2020.
  11. ^ Palahniuk, Chuck. "Chuck Palahniuk Article Archive". Portland Mercury. Retrieved October 17, 2020.
  12. ^ Savage, Dan. "Dan Savage Article Archive". Portland Mercury. Retrieved October 17, 2020.
  13. ^ a b Gormley, Shannon (May 24, 2018). "Starting This Fall, The Portland Mercury Will Publish a Paper Every Other Week". Willamette Week. Archived from the original on April 15, 2019. Retrieved October 12, 2019.
  14. ^ Humphrey, Wm. Steven (September 12, 2018). "Good Morning, News: Merkley Spills the Tea, GOP in Serious November Trouble, and the New Biweekly Mercury". Portland Mercury. Archived from the original on January 24, 2019. Retrieved October 12, 2019.
  15. ^ "Portland Mercury, News, Entertainment, Trouble". September 13, 2018. Archived from the original on September 13, 2018. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  16. ^ "The Mercury Is Temporarily Switching to Online Only". Portland Mercury. Retrieved 2020-04-16.
  17. ^ Davis, Rob (2020-03-14). "Portland Mercury temporarily cuts 10 staff, will publish online only". oregonlive. Retrieved 2020-04-26.
  18. ^ "Coronavirus woes causing cutbacks at Portland Mercury". Portland Tribune. March 14, 2020. Retrieved 2020-04-28.
  19. ^ "Say Nice Things About Portland: A Manifesto". Portland Mercury. 2020-05-17. Retrieved 2023-06-15.

External links[edit]