Portland Madness : Final “Flannel” Four

Without a doubt, this has been the most entertaining Portland Madness tournament in history. With a week to go, we are faced with a nearly unpredictable “Flannel” Four (Only two out of 887 people correctly predicted all four teams). In a vacuum, it could be argued that the four remaining Portland Things are quintessentially the Most Portland, so of course they’ve made it this far. But that viewpoint would do a disservice to all the other quality entities that had their chance to make it, but just had a bad draw at some point that found themselves losing. Let’s take a look at the four remaining Portland Things and what it would mean if they were ultimately victorious.


Rain was selected as the #1 overall seed by the selection committee. Portland has more rainy days than any major city in the US, and it gives the Pacific NW its greeniness. Greeniness is a word, don’t look it up. If Rain wins, it will both be an appropriate choice but also kind of a depressing outcome. If the most defining thing about a city is its weather, then that could imply that it doesn’t have enough personality to make up for it. Rain is like the traditional #1 overall seeds in that the diehard fans of Rain will root for it to win, but fans of the sport (in this case, fans of Portland), want to see an underdog win it all.


Microbrews, the lifeblood of Portland happy hours, was the most popular champion among the bracket submissions. Nearly 25% of all brackets submitted selected Microbrews winning, and they are going to try to ride their popularity to a championship. Microbrews, along with Rain, is another aspect of Portland that dominates more than any other city. Portland has (as of now) the most breweries of any major city in the world. We love our craft beer, and with so many options, we can try so many distinct styles and variations. A win for microbrews is a win for Portland and civilization. And wouldn’t it be so much better to celebrate a win with a beer than with a rainy day?


Powell’s, it turns out, was criminally under-seeded with a #5 seed in possibly the most difficult region. Powell’s path to the Final Four involved having to take down the iconic White Stag Sign, then defeating the Cinderella and fan-favorite of the tournament, Darth Vader Unicycling Bagpiper aka The Unipiper, unofficial mascot of Portland in one of the closest battles of the entire tournament. After squeaking by, Powell’s took their momentum and completely demolished #2 seed Bikes to the surprise of many. Now in the Final Four, a win against Keep Portland Weird seems almost inevitable. If it advances, it will face two of the favorites in the tournament, with the winner of Rain vs Microbrews battling for the title. As the last single entity remaining in the tournament, Powell’s could get some votes to swing their way with crowd-backing.

Keep Portland Weird

The strange phrase adopted from an Austin motto found itself in arguably the weakest region in the tournament, and found a relatively easy path to the Flannel Four. Its opponents of Yielding Drivers, Hipsters, Tattoos and Beards did not find themselves as uniquely Portland as other entrants. While Keep Portland Weird benefited from their favorable regions, they now need to pull out all the stops in order to get past Powell’s. If every sticker found in the city counted as a vote, they probably advance. But it’s doubtful that you’ll find enough people in Portland that actually prefer that phrase over the giant bookstore. But even getting this far, it shows a little bit of the quirkiness and weirdness of Portland that it’s even part of the conversation.
Check out Portland Madness to vote on these matchups. If you have a bracket, be sure to log-in and check the scores.

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