This Week in the Mercury

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Monday, November 30, 2009

CBS Cares... About Your Jewish Prostate

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 5:28 PM

I'm pretty sure this is why more people prefer Christmas to Hanukkah.

BREAKING: Saltzman Backs Down

Posted by Matt Davis on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 3:10 PM

The Portland Police Association has decided today not to release the results of its no-confidence vote in Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman and Police Chief Rosie Sizer.

It appears, from statements just released, that Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman has reversed his decision to suspend Officer Christopher Humphreys, and instead, plans to place him in a desk position pending the outcome of the investigation into his shooting a 12-year-old girl with a beanbag shotgun.

That was the original verdict of Police Chief Rosie Sizer on November 19, but Saltzman overruled her, following accusations by fellow city commissioner Randy Leonard that Saltzman was a "parrot for the police chief" over the discipline of Humphreys.

Humphreys claimed stress-related disability last week, so it's not clear when he will actually return to duty.


9:08pm Statements from the police union and Commissioner Saltzman, Chief Sizer are now after the jump.

Updates coming.

3:28 The mayor's office plans to issue a statement shortly. We've got calls for reaction in to City Commissioners Randy Leonard, Nick Fish, and Amanda Fritz, and we'll let you know if they decide to comment.

3:34 Fritz, who supported both Saltzman and Sizer last week, has also changed her mind today about appropriate discipline for Humphreys, it seems:

“I totally support his approach, I think he’s making good decisions," she says, referring to Saltzman. "I think he is working behind the scenes. You can’t just take someone off the force without doing a proper investigation."

Fritz thinks having Humphreys on desk duty is a better solution than having him on paid leave. Her opinion about whether or not Humphreys should be on the force depends on the outcome of the investigation.

3:54 "It's not surprising," says Jason Renaud with the Mental Health Association of Portland. "Commissioner Saltzman is now learning how potent the union is, and how powerful the union's contract is. His suspension of Officer Humphreys was a mistake, because under the terms of the contract, there was a due process—the officer is due a full review of the event prior to a decision being made by a politician."

"Police Commissioner Saltzman has clearly felt the political pressure of his upcoming campaign for re-election," says Renaud. "He needs to prove himself, and buff up his work experience over the past four years. Saltzman waited for three years, prior to insisting on an investigation being finished by the police bureau in the Chasse case, and that allowed this issue to reach a boiling point. And now the police union is taking advantage of this, and has him wrapped around its finger."

5:12 Mayor Sam Adams was talking to TV reporters as we arrived at city hall. City Commissioner Randy Leonard had left for the evening and plans to allow the mayor to comment first on the issue, according to his chief of staff, Ty Kovatch. The mayor was kind enough to give us five minutes.


MERCURY: So the police commissioner has backed down. Do you support him?
ADAMS: "My focus right now as mayor is to see an investigation that is thorough, complete, and accurate. And for the police bureau to follow protocol and procedures requiring officers under investigation. There is a continuum of options for officers who are under investigation."
MERCURY: So you're saying that's why Officer Humphreys wasn't given a desk job after the Chasse incident?
ADAMS: "I am not allowed to address that case beyond to say that the legal process is under way."
MERCURY: Does it put you in a difficult position, supporting the police commissioner one way and then having to support him when he turns around and takes a completely different position?
ADAMS: "I've been around. I've worked for a police commissioner for 11 years, I've been on city council observing police management and operations for 11 years, and I assigned the police bureau to Commissioner Saltzman so that I could focus on the recession, and dropout rate, while we have a historically low crime rate. The job of police commissioner is an inherently controversial assignment, and whatever you do, there will be people who are happy with you, and people who are unhappy with you. My priority throughout these negotiations has been to see that the investigation is thorough and that the officer is reassigned. Commissioner Saltzman deescalated what he thought was a polarizing situation, impacting operations in the police bureau."
MERCURY: "Anna Griffin put on her Facebook page just now that there is an absence of leadership at the city. Could you respond to that?"
ADAMS: "The police bureau was controversial under Mayor Katz, under Mayor Potter, and under police commissioner Dan Saltzman. During the most controversial incidents, one side or the other accuse each other of a variety of things, and there is often an allegation of a lack of leadership."


“As you know, I was early and clear in my support of Commissioner Saltzman and Chief Sizer on this," says City Commissioner Randy Leonard. "So in that context, I’m equally as disappointed in their decision today to back away from the action I felt was appropriate regarding Officer Humphreys and his actions with the 12-year-old girl."

“I’m equally as disappointed as I was supportive of their decision to put Humphreys on administrative leave,” Leonard says.

“Neither Commissioner Saltzman or Chief Sizer has spoken to me at all about any of this since the beginning—not to inform me of their appreciation for my support, or to hear what I thought about their plans," says Leonard. "So I don’t know what their reasoning is. I’ll just tell you that I fear that this has empowered bad behavior on the part of some of the command staff of the police bureau, and has in my view weakened the principle of chain of command and civilian oversight.”

“There was a time to be resolved," says Leonard. "The council was unanimously united in their support of what the commissioner and the chief had done, we expressed that, publicly, and it just seems like it was a time to be clear that the city would not tolerate those kinds of behaviors on the part of police officers, and I’m disappointed in that.”

December 1, 4:36pm:
“As you know I stood with Dan when his authority to determine the appropriate action was challenged," says City Commissioner Nick Fish. "And I issued a statement to that effect. He has apparently had a change of heart, he has not discussed it with me and I’m going to withhold judgment until I have had a chance to talk with Dan.”

Continue reading »

Seattle Manhunt Spirals Into Near Insanity

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 2:07 PM

People are going INSANE right now in Seattle where a massive manhunt is going down for Maurice Clemmons, the suspected shooter of four Lakewood cops, who is apparently wounded and on the run in the city. Citizens are panicking about bloody pieces of gauze found on the street, "scruffy black people" are being pulled over with impunity, and even vigilantes are getting in on the action. From Dominic Holden on Slog, in a piece aptly titled, "Calm Down, People":

Officers on the police scanner say that a would-be vigilante flagged down a cop near Cowen Park. The man was carrying a handgun and wearing body armor. He apparently wanted help flush out the suspect from the park.

Check out Slog's continuing coverage here, and be prepared to shake your head in amazement.

Maurice Clemmons
  • Courtesy KIRO
  • Maurice Clemmons

Happy Anniversary, Battle in Seattle

Posted by Patrick Alan Coleman on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 1:00 PM

Ten years ago today, I hailed a cab out of a riot. It had been a long day. I smelled of teargas and pepper spray. I’d given away my gas mask and all of my medical supplies.

I had worked the barricades in downtown Seattle that day as a medic—pulling people out of the teargas and treating them for minor wounds, pepper-spray and gas burns.

Police pepper spray a crowd in Seattles WTO protest

My companions and I gave the cabbie the address of the Direct Action Network’s headquarters—we were going to set up a triage there for people coming in from the mayhem. He pulled away just as the riot bore down, pursued by cops in black parkas hurtling concussion grenades.

Were you at the WTO protests? Tell us about it.


Sizemore Indicted For Tax Evasion

Posted by Matt Davis on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 12:26 PM

Update, 1:10pm:

Each of the three counts against Sizermore could lead to a maximum penalty of five years in prison with a $125,000 fine, says Sean Riddell, chief of Kroger's criminal justice division. "There's case law statues to support the maximum on all three counts, or probation," says Riddell.

Riddell waited until after the tax amnesty period to give Sizemore an opportunity to file, he says, adding that the investigation was opened in April 2009, prior to his joining Kroger's office in August.

Sizemore will be arraigned December 7 in Marion County circuit court at 9:30am. No handcuffs.

Is the decision to indict political? "It's not," says Riddell. "When I was first hired by the Attorney General, in my first interview with him to discuss our goals and objectives, he made it quite clear that he and I were never to discuss politics, and that I was never to make any decision based on politics."

Sizemore is yet to return the Mercury's request for comment, but he's told Nigel Jaquiss at WW this morning: “If it wasn’t this it would be something else...” “This is all part of the collabortion between the AG and unions to get me. I just feel bad that they’ve sucked my wife into this.”

Original post:
OMG. Oregon initiative racketeer, and more recently, Republican Gubernatorial candidate Bill Sizemore and his wife Cindy have been indicted for tax evasion. Funny, because last week, he said: "I may have to run my campaign from inside a jail cell." From the Attorney General's office:

Oregon Attorney General John Kroger today announced that the Oregon Department of Justice has filed tax evasion charges against Bill and Cindy Sizemore.

The Sizemores were each indicted by a grand jury on three counts of Oregon Personal Income Tax Evasion. The indictment alleges that Bill and Cindy Sizemore each failed to file tax returns for the tax years 2006, 2007 and 2008.

The indictments were issued by the grand jury on October 27, but not unsealed until after the state tax amnesty period ended Nov. 19. Late last week, Oregon Department of Revenue officials confirmed that the Sizemores did not seek to take advantage of the tax amnesty, which was an opportunity for taxpayers to file or amend tax returns in exchange for a waiver of civil penalties and partial interest.

This is the second tax evasion case filed by the Oregon Department of Justice since the end of the amnesty period. On Nov. 20, two counts of Oregon Personal Income Tax Evasion and two counts of Unlawful Manufacture and Delivery of Marijuana were filed against Michael Troy Dyer of West Salem.

All criminal defendants are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Evidence in support of the charges against Bill and Cindy Sizemore was uncovered during a civil lawsuit against entities controlled by Bill Sizemore. That lawsuit established that Bill Sizemore set up a sham charity to hide political contributions to various ballot measure campaigns with which he was associated. As a result of that case, Sizemore was banned from managing any charity in an order signed by the court in May 2009. The Oregon Department of Justice’s Charitable Activities Section, which handled the civil lawsuit, referred the potential criminal charges to the Department of Justice’s Criminal Justice Division earlier this year. The Criminal Justice Division completed the tax investigation and will handle the newly indicted case in court.

“It is a written policy that any allegations of criminal wrongdoing unearthed during a Department of Justice civil investigation be referred to the department’s Criminal Justice Division for possible prosecution,” said Sean Riddell, the head of the Criminal Justice Division. “We cannot ignore evidence of criminal conduct. We were obligated to follow up on evidence of tax evasion that arose during the civil case.”

Attorney General Kroger said that several other potential tax evasion cases are under investigation.

Another chance to whip out my "Sizemore goes to jail" shot from this time last year:

More when we have it.

Savage Love Letter of the Day

Posted by Dan Savage on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 12:15 PM

I'm a 40 year old lesbian who had a bad break up about two years ago. My ex reached out to me via email recently and we've begun writing back and forth. Yesterday she emailed me to inform me that she felt sexually violated by me during our relationship and that she needed me to know this.

The event she referenced was a sexual encounter in which I was talking dirty to her, something she had told me she enjoyed. I asked her, "Who does this pussy belong too?" while fucking her. At the time she seemed to be enjoying herself... now, two years later she is informing me she felt violated.

My immediate reaction was to become defensive, but now I am concerned. The last thing I want is to be responsible for hurting someone I was intimate with. I have emailed her apologizing for violating her trust but I am unsure how to proceed because I didn't at the time that I was doing anything wrong. I've never thought of myself as some sort of abusive person and this has made me question myself. Can you offer me any words of wisdom on how to deal with this?

Violating Asinine Gal

My response after the jump...

Continue reading »

Spencer Burton Runs For Saltzman's Seat

Posted by Matt Davis on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 11:50 AM

Stonemason Spencer Burton is like a cross between Jack Kerouac and Don Draper. This struck me about ten minutes into our interview this morning at the Black Sheep Bakery on NW 19th, and I had to blurt it out.

"You're a cross between Don Draper and Jack Kerouac," I said.

"Who's Don Draper?" he asked.

"Okay, let me re-phrase that as a question," I said. And so begins our candidate Q&A.

Do you think your obvious charisma will have an impact on the campaign?
"Well, you framed it in that way. I think my spirit, my sense of heart, my big heart is going to attract people to this campaign. I want to be a servant to the people, but a fiery servant, to get people fired up. Whatever you want to call it, I think that's going to be a factor, yes. It's pretty much the only way I'm going to get any traction in this race—these last campaigns, you wouldn't even have known about them if you hadn't been paying close attention. But I want to stress the importance of public engagement in this campaign."


Who is Spencer Burton?
"I always knew I wanted to get involved in politics, since I was a little boy—I was inspired by Bobby Kennedy in '68, even at a young age, sitting in our family room watching him on the television, and that's just stuck with me. It's just a question of when the heart is right, and the spirit is right. I've been preparing myself for this from the inside out, rather than from the outside in."

How did you end up in Oregon?
"I studied American Political History at UCLA, I did a second degree in economics at the University of Oregon, I've studied German and a little Italian, I lived in Paris for two six month tours I like to call them, and then I moved to Arizona, and cleared some ground for a winery down there, and that's how I got into stonemasonry. I've lived in Portland four and a half years now, and I love this place. I'm an independent stonemason—I work pretty much by myself, but when I need a digger I'll use a couple of Street Roots guys, I've used Latino day laborers—wherever I can find a good man. I keep it simple, I keep it small, it gives me plenty of time to read and think and study, because I'm an educated stonemason.

And what are you reading at the moment?
"I read several newspapers every day, the Mercury, Street Roots, the Northwest Neighborhood papers, the Oregonian, the Wall Street Journal and lately I've been getting a sense of urgency about the climate change situation.

How would you describe the "sense of urgency" around climate change?
"Well, I think we need to be doing weatherization upgrades across the city starting with the poor neighborhoods, and employing the people in the neighborhoods so that we have diversity in the workforce. I think we need solar panels on rooftops across the city, and be requiring all new buildings to have those. I think there's a way of bringing in institutional money to do that. For example, we recently did something here in our school system, and I talked to them about that, and we were able to bring an 11% return on investment for the investors."

"I also think transportation is a key issue. Instead of being incremental about this, we need a network of bike paths and streetcars across the city, not just a couple of lines. And we need to figure out a way to use some sort of local money to do that, instead of stimulus money. We need to invest in ourselves. I don't think the council's real clear right now on how to put people back to work."

Continue reading »

Tiny Kitty Gumball Machines for Your Hands

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 11:28 AM

Yes, I said "tiny kitty gumball machines for your hands." Obviously you must know, then, that I am referring to something that could only happen (first) in Japan:


Check out a few more impressive entries from the Tokyo Nail Expo 2009 on MOD, and a tip o' the brim to Best Week Ever for the pics, although I have to call out their Michelle Collins for commenting that "the Tokyo Nail Expo 2009 still proves one thing: People in Japan still have a lot of trouble wiping themselves." Are you kidding? Japan has the most advanced toilet technology in the world. We're the ones inefficiently smearing around little bits of paper. Japanese toilets sing songs to cover up your "bathroom noises" and wash and dry and powder you. You should be so lucky, Michelle. So lucky.

Source of Portland's E. coli Still Unknown

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 11:28 AM

Just a couple more quick thoughts from yesterday's press conference declaring our water E. coli free after the weekend scare.

Though we know that E. coli spreads through feces ("shit"), county health and Water Bureau officials still aren't sure what brought the E. coli to the Washington Park reservoir. It could have come from a bird flying over, a deer or a hiker. "We’ll leave it to your imagination for how that could get in there," said health officer Gary Oxman.

A reporter at last night's press conference asked Randy Leonard and Mayor Adams directly: Is it time to cover our reservoirs? They weren't game for the idea, noting that we're on track to build new reservoirs (like one at Powell Butte) to replace the open ones. In the meantime, says Leonard, “We have the best drinking water in the world and the best safeguards to protect our drinking water.”

Mt. Tabor Reservoir: For drinking, not swimming or shitting.
  • Portland Online
  • Mt. Tabor Reservoir: For drinking, not swimming or shitting.

Usually the Water Bureau's safeguards work. Remember last summer when the Water Bureau publicly humiliated two skinny dippers who snuck into the Mt. Tabor reservoir?

But though this weekend saw the first ever "boil alert" for Portland water, it marked the 14th time the water has tested positive for E. coli traces throughout our history. Is it dangerous to keep the reservoirs open?

The E. coli that launched the alert was a minute amount, just 24 organisms per 100 milliliters. Beaches in Toronto and Missouri, by contrast, only issue "no swim" warnings when the E. coli levels get about 100 to 126 organisms per milliliter.


Look, There's a Monkey on Karl Rove's Head.

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 11:21 AM


I don't know what the fuck to do with this, but for some reason, I feel like it needs to be seen. Via some press release I just received:

Crystal, star of Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, makes friends with Karl Rove on Fox and Friends in celebration of the Blu-ray and DVD release on 12/1.

Do with this information what you will.

When Twitter Billboards Go Wrong

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 10:57 AM

Naturally this occurred in Alabama, where all such things occur.


Look, guys! Twitter billboards are a BAD IDEA. Especially if you are news anchors trying to hide the fact you're rapists.

Tip o' the hat to Joe. My. God.

On the Road with Floating World: Morrissey!

Posted by Alison Hallett on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 10:43 AM

For the Morrissey edition of OTRWFW—a semi-regular series in which employees of Floating World Comics recommend books for musicians playing in town—local comics writer, novelist, and film critic Jamie S. Rich steps up to the plate. Jamie's recent graphic novel You Have Killed Me borrows its title from a Morrissey song—he's also a former editor at Dark Horse and Oni who currently works at Floating World, making him uniquely qualified to recommend comics for everyone's favorite Vegas-idol-in-training. As always, mention this blog post at Floating World (20 NW 5th) the week of the show, receive 10% off recommended titles. Morrissey plays tonight at the Roseland Theater, 8 NW 6th, tonight, 8 pm, $49.50. Here's Jamie:

Recommending any book to Morrissey can be a daunting task. A well-read artiste of particular tastes, he's a reader that will challenge even the most knowledgeable bookstore clerk to toss him a tome he doesn't already know. Luckily, indie comics could be one area where it might still be possible to surprise him, and some recent new comics capture a personal vision that might appeal to the quiffed one.

Weird Fishes by Jamaica Dyer

This debut graphic novel chronicles the coming-of-age of two social misfits, Dee and the Bunny Boy. These creative kids meet when they are young. Both are outcasts shunned because of their creative outlook on life. Dee sees things that may not be there, while the Bunny Boy dresses in a rabbit suit. They grow up together as a platonic couple, but when adolescence lands hits, sex gets in the way of their friendship. Bunny Boy goes mod to try to get the attention of a girl, and Dee goes mad trying to get the attention of Bunny Boy. This story about two oddballs wrestling with their feelings could easily be soundtracked by any number of old Morrissey records, even if it is named after a Radiohead song. Hopefully Moz doesn't know that, just to keep him from rejecting it outright.

Beast by Marian Churchland

Another first-time solo outing, this time from an artist who has previously worked with other writers and contributed art to Conan and Elephantmen. For her first full-length work as a full-blown cartoonist, Marian Churchland spins a yarn about a sculptor who is sucked into her own "Beauty & the Beast" scenario by a faceless, timeless creature who demands she create his stone portrait. The question arises: how does one portray the inscrutable and the unknowable? The girl must feel her way, letting the stone itself and her own instinct lead her to the essence of the art. It may even be love she feels as she spends her every moment dreaming of her bizarre benefactor.

Churchland's sketchy style finds dreaminess in realism, as opposed to Jamaica Dyer's more wiggly line, but both have a classical art foundation that should appeal to a traditionalist like Morrissey. Each spin scenarios about personal passions and the drive to be true to oneself, two themes our subject is more than familiar with himself.

Breakfast After Noon by Andi Watson

An oldie but a goodie from my days editing at Oni Press. Andi's story about two unemployed lovers in England is evocative of the kitchen sink films Morrissey grew up watching. The gray skies, the shattered dreams, the anger and the heartbreak—these are all things that make those old British films so compelling. Watson adds to that a gentleness and sensitivity that further deepens the emotional landscape.

Good Morning, News!

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 10:12 AM

Obama is expected to announce he will send more troops to Afghanistan, as well as his plan for eventually bringing them all home. Aaaand probably sending them back again. Rinse and repeat.

Bickering Senate Democrats start debating Obama's health care reform package today—LET THE FREAK SHOW BEGIN!

Hey Westsiders: Still mad about possibly drinking poop? Here's your "things could be worse" headline of the day: "Radioactive isotope put in water-cooler by nuclear power worker." Or, you could live in Tuvalu.

Suspected cop shooter continues to evades Seattle police by not being where he was supposed to be.

Those GD Somali pirates are at it again!

Tennis hottie Serena Williams gets a $175,000 fine and two years of probation for her potty mouthed escapade at the US Open. Man, if I got fined 175 grand for every time I said what she said... what's the national debt times 100,000,000?

Tiger Woods is in a minor car crash, and refuses to talk to police about it—but hopefully we'll eventually learn what happened in a letter to Penthouse Forum.

David Hasselhoff was rushed to the hospital over the weekend for unknown (dook, dook, dook) causes.

And finally, though probably fake, still awesome. Soooo… wrecking ball vs. mini van: WHO YA GOT?!?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

After E. coli Emergency, Mayor Suggests City List of Citizens' Cell Phone Numbers

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Sun, Nov 29, 2009 at 6:31 PM

First of all, the Water Bureau says it’s safe to drink your tap water again. But this weekend’s E. coli scare prompted Mayor Sam Adams to propose a new idea that’s sure to be controversial: creating a mandatory database of all Portlanders’ cell phone numbers, so that the city could contact all citizens immediately in an emergency.


In a 5 pm press conference this afternoon, Mayor Adams, Commissioner Randy Leonard and representatives from the Water Bureau and Multnomah County health department announced that “it is absolutely safe to drink Portland’s water.” Testing in 23 places this weekend revealed no E. coli traces left in Portland's water. “We have the best drinking water in the world and the best safeguards to protect our drinking water,” said Leonard, suggesting that for extra precaution, Westsiders run their taps for two minutes before using the water.

But though Adams and Leonard told reporters at the conference that this weekend’s scare “shows that we have a system in place here that works” for emergencies, the Mayor said the city must create a secure database of citizen cell phone numbers so everyone in Portland could be contacted quickly. “This changeover has to happen. This event and last year’s inclement weather event shows for the need for us all to do that.” Noting that many Portlanders would go out of their way to sign up for a voluntary database, Adams suggested fines or other penalties for people who don’t let the city put their numbers on file any violation of the privacy of the database. UPDATE 11/30: They mayor called to clarify that he does not support fining people who would not sign up for the cell phone database, but instead meant that the penalties would be levied against anyone who breaches the privacy of the service. "People will not volunteer to share their info if they don't know it's going to be protected," says Adams. That makes the emergency database more voluntary than I originally thought. /end update

Adams recalled that he phoned his mom this afternoon to say he would not be able to make it for dinner at her Eastside home tonight. She asked why. “She didn’t know about the contamination. She doesn’t watch TV particularly and she didn’t know,” says Adams, who added that the idea also stems from cut backs in media that make city reliance on TV and print reporters widespread publicity of city announcements less feasible.

Continue reading »


Leonard: Water Bureau Will Announce More Test Results At 5pm Today

Posted by Matt Davis on Sun, Nov 29, 2009 at 11:16 AM

City Commissioner Randy Leonard will announce more water test results at a news conference this afternoon at 5pm, he says, announcing whether or not the "boil water" alert issued yesterday at 5pm can be lifted.

The city issued an emergency "boil water" alert yesterday after routine sampling of the Washington Park reservoir tested positive for E.coli on two separate occasions. The reservoir will now be drained of 10 million gallons of water over the next four days.

"They had a confirmed hit that I was phoned about at 1:30 on Friday, but they were then going to do some more tests," says Leonard. "We're getting some more test results today at 4 o'clock and we'll have a news conference at 5."

Leonard was on vacation last week and got the call in the middle of it. "I was in cellphone range," he says. "I always have to be accessible."

"E.coli is a common occurrence," says Leonard. "It's obviously frightening, but it's not an uncommon occurrence. We've gotten 19 positive hits since 1990, in nearly 20 years, and this is the first one where the state requires you to follow up and do an immediate second test, and this is the first one that's come back positive."

"These are significantly small samples," Leonard continues. "There is an investigation going on—we'll be draining the reservoir, and we'll inspect it closely, and try to find out what the source is."

Would armed security have prevented the problem? Does he expect the E.coli scare to play into any of the ongoing debate about whether or not to cover of filter Portland's reservoirs?

"No," says Leonard.

The news conference will take place at the Emergency Communications Center at the Water Bureau's main building on Intersate Avenue at 5pm. Sadly for us, on Thanksgiving weekend, we'll be there.

Ted Wheeler Breaks Back Skiing—Tweets The News To Constituents

Posted by Matt Davis on Sun, Nov 29, 2009 at 10:49 AM

Good for Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler. He went skiing for Thanksgiving, broke his back, and had the decency to keep us all updated both on Facebook and Twitter.


We've got a direct message in to Wheeler, seeking a Twinterview, but for the most part, it's possible to discern some details of what happened from Wheeler's @replies to constituents this morning:

"big splat. I don't remember it but I must have hit rocks under the snow. Stuff happens."
"I don't remember anything at all. I was knocked out and had a concussion. Wife said I was out cold for 5 minutes."
"I got a concussion with helmet. I haven't seen it but K says it's trashed."


So far, we seem to be the first news outlet to get the news up on and old-fashioned wire service like a blog. Meanwhile, Wheeler's facebook account—which curiously features a picture of Wheeler with Bono this morning—has 43 people already expressing get well wishes.

Update, 11:18: Betsy Richter from OurPDXNetwork says she got it first. Damned "digital ranters" know nothing about real journalism. And KGW, too. But apart from that we're th-irst.

Update, 1:26pm: "This probably saved my life," says Wheeler:


Serious Shit in Portland's Water.

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Sun, Nov 29, 2009 at 1:07 AM

Portland's normally tasty tap water is let's put it as "much less delectable" for Westsiders this weekend. According to the Portland Water Bureau website, routine tests of a Washington Park open reservoir turned up "fecal coliforms" including E. coli.

From the Water Bureau:

Microbes in these waters can cause short-term effects, such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risk for infants, young children, some of the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems.

The water of Portland Water Bureau customers west of the Willamette and in Burlington, Palatine Hill, and Valley View Water Districts could be contaminated.

What should customers with this possibly E. coli laced water do? From the Water Bureau (all caps theirs): DO NOT DRINK THE WATER WITHOUT BOILING IT FIRST OR USE BOTTLE WATER.

The reservoir has been taken offline and they hope to have the issue "resolved" within 24 hours. No one is reporting any illnesses from the E. coli yet, but it is one in the morning. More updates on this as they come. In the meantime, two questions:

1. Who shit in Portland's water?
2. If Randy Leonard's armed reservoir guards were patrolling Washington Park, would the shitters have been shot?

Thanks to the tip from Ben.

uh... except for this weekend.
  • uh... except for this weekend.

Update 1 PM:

The Water Bureau still has no reports of E. coli sickening anyone in the county, though the illness can take several days to show up in symptoms. Hotels and cafes on the west side have responded quickly to the alert. Hotels last night distributed letters warning of their guests of E. coli and lots of cafes and small restaurants (including the west side Stumptown) are shuttered this morning, with notices about the E. coli above their "closed" signs.

At the Pearl District Whole Foods, the produce and seafood counters were completely empty. The produce had been washed with now-contaminated water and the seafood had sat on contaminated ice, so both were tossed.


The other shelf that was bare: normal bottled water. Westsiders are now reduced to drinking SmartWater.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Blazers vs Grizzlies - Hot Live Blog Action

Posted by Rob Simonsen on Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 6:48 PM


Live from the Rose Garden, where the 5-10 Memphis Grizzlies take on the 12-5 Portland Trail Blazers. The Grizzlies really aren't as good as their record would indicate, racking up meaningless wins against the Clippers, Timberwolves, Kings, Washington Nationals, and the San Jose Earthquakes. I'm pretty positive those last two teams don't even play in the NBA.

The Blazers pulled out a convincing win the last time these two teams met, but the bigger story was Zach Randolph's head wreaking havoc. Let's hope Rudy doesn't try one of his patented Luol Deng Off-The-Face Passes tonight with Zach: the ball just might explode.

It's a real treat to be here since normally I'm stuck transcribing Ezra's Rudy Fernandez fan fiction. Thankfully, for me and for you, this live blog will not contain the words mousse, tousled, or ball boy.

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Humpy's Black Friday Sexual Star Wars Toys X-Mas List!

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 2:44 PM

As long as you're buying bullshit anyway, here are three suggested gifts from my "Complete List of Gifts That Should Be Bought For Me, Okay? List, Unabridged and Annotated." And surprise! They are Star Wars related and 100% real.

Goodness, the feel of cellophane tape on my nether circuits is so”¦ so”¦ erotic.
  • "Goodness, the feel of cellophane tape on my nether circuits is so... so... erotic."

The C-3PO Cellophane Tape Dispenser!

Yes, I know Jar Jar is annoying... but oh. The things he does with his tongue.
  • Yes, I know Jar Jar is annoying... but oh. The things he does with his tongue.

The Jar Jar Binks Monster Mouth Candy Tongue!

Actually, these are for my 12-year-old girlfriend.
  • Actually, these are for my 12-year-old girlfriend.

Princess Leia Underoos!

For more freaky and disturbingly sexual Star Wars toys, check out the amazing Star Wars: 1,000 Collectibles: Memorabilia and Stories from a Galaxy Far, Far Away coffee table book, on sale now at!


Internet, Meet Your New Star

Posted by Dave Bow on Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 1:38 PM

Yesterday I was giving thanks to my friend Sally for turning me onto the anti-comedic stylings of Dan "The Poet Man" Songer. Working for an audience of none in what appears to be his backyard (he calls it Tranquility Hall), Dan's act will bring joy to your heart and/or make your head and ears hurt.

In each installment of his comedy act you learn more about his life. Like that he uses online dating sites and has trouble with women. Or that he has published three books! Or that he has "been in the entertainment industry since 1984" and got his start writing humorous songs on bar napkins.

The whole business reminds me of that Patton Oswalt bit about the hidden joys of judging open mic stand-up.

This Week's Mercury Film Section.

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 1:24 PM


Thanksgiving weekend is traditionally a big one for movie releases, and this year's no exception. Behold this week's Mercury Film section, bursting with reviews of:

The Road: Take the kids!

Fantastic Mr. Fox: Okay, no. Take the kids to this.

Bronson: This movie is seriously badass. Tom Hardy, you are officially forgiven for playing Jean-Luc Picard's Mini-Me.

Red Cliff: Let's just go back to this and relive Woo's glory days, shall we?

Ninja Assassin: He's a ninja! Who assassinates!

Old Dogs: Oh, fuck you, Hollywood.

There's other stuff, too: Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day opened but was kept far, far away from critics; the "Treasures from the UCLA Film & Television Archive" series wraps up at the Northwest Film Center; Gogol Bordello Non-Stop hits the Hollywood; Mad Max is at the Clinton.

More, as always, in our Film Shorts and Movie Times.

Today's Burning Question Burning Up Questionland!

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 12:45 PM

Can you help me with a completely bullshit reason to visit Seattle?

How about to viist the 1962 World's Fair?


I want to party with these guys. QUESTIONLAND!!

So Today I Woke Up with Lung Cancer

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 11:10 AM

So today I woke up with lung cancer... WTF?? Then I realized maybe I shouldn't have followed the suggestion of this 1936 Camel ad advising me to smoke after every Thanksgiving course.


Not only do I have lung cancer, but I'm STILL constipated. Thanks a pantload, Camel!!

This Week's Mercury Music Section

Posted by Ezra Ace Caraeff on Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 10:18 AM


Another week, another Mercury music section to read while you think about that missed loved connection at the screening of Twilight: New Moon. Some might find this creepy, but I think this guy is a real keeper.

Dear diary: If I don't get on stage and hug Morrissey I swear to God to I will cut myself.

Morrissey - "Munich Air Disaster 1958"

Vic Chesnutt has two brand new albums and cooler friends than you and I will ever have. These include the members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Thee Silver Mt. Zion, and Fugazi's Guy Picciotto that assisted him on At the Cut, plus the enigmatic Jonathan Richman that helped with Skitter on Take-Off. My friends won't even help me move.

Vic Chesnutt - "Coward"

A former product of Las Vegas, Rex Marshall of Mattress escaped the strip and now keeps the "dystopian torch ballads" burning.

Mattress - "Light My Life"

Alan Lomax went to Haiti and all he got was this excellent compilation of lost recordings from that troubled country. Oh, and he also got a T-shirt.

Le Roux Chay-o-pye - "Papa Gede Kenbe-M" (from Alan Lomax in Haiti)

End Hits: We smell like tofurkey and gin.

All in the Family

Posted by David Schmader on Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 10:10 AM

Whaddya know? Carrie Prejean's brother is a total fucking creep. Asked by about his sister's homemade diddling videos, Billy Arnone replied:


"If they were put in front of me I’d probably watch it."

He's also got his sister's back on gay marriage:

"I’m all the way against gay marriage. I don’t feel that it’s right that a man and a man should raise a kid. That’s just how I was raised and how Carrie was raised. We’ll stick by that ‘til the day we die."

Please let it be soon. Thanks for the heads-up, Joe.My.God.

P.S. Judging by his cap, Carrie Prejean's brother is a fan of either domestic partnerships or double penetration. Maybe both.

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