This Week in the Mercury

Talking Pop with Chvrches' Lauren Mayberry


Talking Pop with Chvrches' Lauren Mayberry

Of Buffy, Goonies, and a Kick-Ass Sophomore Album

Ask a Pot Lawyer


Ask a Pot Lawyer

Alcohol and Cannabis, Together?


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

UPDATE: Stumptown Coffee Sold to Peet's

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Tue, Oct 6, 2015 at 2:10 PM

UPDATE 2:45 pm: Stumptown Vice President Matt Lounsbury just called back to confirm that Peet's now has 100 percent ownership of the company, but says that customers can expect "business as usual," and that no Portland jobs will be lost as a result of the sale. There are also no plans for Stumptown products to be sold in Peet's locations, or vice versa. Founder Duane Sorenson will also continue to be involved in the day-to-day operations of Stumptown, according to Lounsbury, and the deal in no way affects Sorenson's other ventures in the restaurant world (The Woodsman, Ava Gene's).

Original Post:
After a rumor-filled morning, Stumptown Coffee Roasters just confirmed the sale of their company to the California-based Peet's Coffee (itself once a charming specialty destination beloved by Bay Area residents who felt a similar ownership towards it, Peet's founder Alfred Peet first sold it in 1979, and the company eventually went public in 2001) to Eater.

Stumptown already caused a bit of a citywide freakout back in 2011 when news got out that the iconic Portland company, which represents many of the values associated with local pride—from its legendary treatment of employees (hello staff massage therapist) to its artisanal approach to beans and brew—had accepted a majority investment from the New York-based TSG Consumer Partners. Nonetheless, after the dust settled, founder Duane Sorenson's mini empire has carried on in much the same spirit it always has.

  • Stumptown

More details are expected soon.

This Week's Style Events: FashioNXT, Aesthete Society, PLATFORM, & More

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Tue, Oct 6, 2015 at 11:44 AM


FashioNXT is as close as you can get to a major fashion week experience in the Pacific Northwest, and it kicks off this week with a mix of designers from China, Portland, and television, and a rarely-seen-in-Portland-vibe that's fun to dress up and experience at least once a year. I'll be there for each night of the spectacle, so check Blogtown for reports and lots of photos. NW 9th & Northrup, Wed Oct 7-Sat Oct 10, 8 pm, $25-165

Design Museum Portland is hosting storytelling events specially tailored for the design-minded. The theme of the next one is “Making,” and features WeMake’s Yvonne Perez Emerson, the lead blacksmith at Portland Razor Co., and the product line manager for Looptworks, among others. On Deck, 910 NW 14th, Wed Oct 7, 6:30 pm, free (but register for a spot at

• Portland milliner ElizaBeth Rohloff and hairstylist Laurie Ann Greenberg are teaming up for a tutorial event called “Hat Tricks and Styling Tips,” designed to make your hairstyle and fall headwear more copacetic. Plus, one of a kind and limited edition hats as well as Bumble and Bumble hair products will be available at 10 percent off. Halo Salon, 2000 NE Sandy, Wed Oct 7, 6-8:30 pm


• Mercantile's featured label this week is Max Mara, with a multi-day trunk show featuring pieces from the F/W '15 collection. Mercantile, 729 SW Alder, Thurs Oct 8-Sat Oct 10, 10 am-6 pm & Sun Oct 11, noon-5 pm


• The decade-old Minnesotan Junk Bonanza makes its first foray into the Pacific Northwest this weekend with an array of vendors selling architectural salvage, antiques, and vintage items. Unlike the piles of junk studious pickers are accustomed to wading through, here things are arranged into lovely vignettes. Clark County Event Center, 17402 NE Delfel, Ridgefield, WA, Fri Oct 9, 10 am-5 pm, Sat Oct 10, 9 am-5 pm, Sun Oct 11, 9 am-4 pm, $10 (parking $6)

• It's "Shop for a Cure" day at What's Upstairs, with 15 percent of all sales going to benefit the American Cancer Society in participation with Breast Cancer Awareness Month. What's Upstairs, 736 NW 23rd


• The huge, citywide version of Design Week Portland we’ve grown accustomed to has moved from fall to spring of 2016, but turn that frown upside-down: They’ve got a mini version kicking off this week that features open houses at spots like Ampersand, MadeHere PDX, Spooltown, and Hand-Eye Supply, as well as an installment of Creative Mornings with Adam Arnold, and an evening with the architects of the looming Burnside Bridgehead development. Various locations, Sat Oct 10-Sat Oct 17, details and pricing at

• Jewelry company Tasi Designs is celebrating their eight-year anniversary, with a party/sample sale stretched across two days. Look for giveaways, raffles, one-of-a-kinds, and refreshments throughout. Cargo, 81 SE Yamhill, Sat Oct 10 & Sun Oct 11, noon-6 pm

• You know the drill with the buy-a-pair, give-a-pair concept of TOMs, but this weekend the company's offering a closer look at how it works. Drop in for snacks, beer, "an inside look at how TOMS Giving works," as well as a chance to win a spot to accompany them on a shoe-giving mission. US Outdoor Store, 219 SW Broadway, Sat Oct 10, noon-4 pm


• Hot on the heels of FashioNXT comes yet another fashion show, this one as part of a multimedia event called PLATFORM. Expect things to be on the conceptual side with contributions from GoodSport, Kayleigh Nelson, and Laurs Kemp.

Laurs Kemp
  • Savannah Mark
  • Laurs Kemp

Says Kemp of her preparations: "I'm treating Platform more like a pop-up art exhibit than a pop-up shop. I plan to show my small capsule collection gallery-style on the wall, rather than on a rack where details can easily be missed. I tried to be less concerned with commercial appeal and just have fun making one-of-a-kind pieces. Although, I may choose to incorporate some of the ideas into future collections." Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison, Sun Oct 11, 9 pm, $5


• It won’t stop! This week is also the launch presentation of menswear line Aesthete Society. (Three cheers for more locally designed menswear options!) The installment-style show, Amalgamated Allure, will be the first opportunity to check out the garments, currently being kept out of public view. Portland Art Museum’s Fred and Suzanne Fields Ballroom, 1219 SW Park, Mon Oct 12, 6 pm, free

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Weekend Shopper: Union Rose, Haunt, & "Socktober"

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Fri, Oct 2, 2015 at 4:29 PM

• First Friday at Union Rose features Vivid Element apparel, including a new collection of dresses and separates called "Earth and Stars," and RubyGirl jewelry, plus apple cider ("spiked if you like"). Union Rose, 7909 SE Stark, Fri Oct 2, 6-9 pm

• Elsewhere for First Friday, Haunt is featuring a trio of art and wearables, with midnight floral photography by Amy Wennerlind (with flowers by Kailla Platt), Melamosey Jewelry, and Continuall Vintage. Haunt, 811 E Burnside, #113, Fri Oct 2, 7-9 pm

  • Continuall Vintage

• It's "Socktober" over at Imelda's & Louie's Shoes, which means 15 percent off purchases of three or more pairs of Stance socks now through Oct 16, and a free pair of Trail Blazers socks with any full-price purchase of a pair of men's shoes while supplies last. Imelda's & Louie's Shoes, 3426 SE Hawthorne

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What's Portland's Housing Emergency Worth? $30 Million For Now.

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Wed, Sep 30, 2015 at 10:17 AM

Marc Jolin lays down what $30 million can buy.
  • Marc Jolin lays down what $30 million can buy.
Mayor Charlie Hales says Portland's in a housing emergency, but funding solutions to that crisis will mostly have to wait 'til July.

A week after Hales' abrupt announcement he'll ask his colleagues to formally declare a state of emergency, we've got a pledge of millions to fight the scourge. The mayor, Chair Deborah Kafoury, commissioners Dan Saltzman and Nick Fish, and a bunch of other Portland housing honchos announced this morning $30 million will be spent on new shelter space for hundreds of homeless and affordable housing for more than 1,000 people. That amounts to $10 million from the county and $20 million from the city.

It's a big mound of cash, and it's impressive so much has been agreed upon so soon, considering the mayor only cursorily informed his colleagues (and the county) he'd be making the emergency announcement last week ("It raised a lot of hope and it raised some eyebrows," was how Fish put it this morning). But it looks like the money's going to come on a timeline few would associate with an "emergency."

Though Hales talked this morning about problems we can solve "tonight" and "this week" and "this month," the vast majority of the $30 million likely won't come into play until next year's budget kicks in. The city's fiscal year begins July 1.

"We wanna set a goal of cutting homelessness by half" Hales said. "That's a goal I think this coalition and this partnership can reach together."

You might imagine the details around the money are sketchy at this point. You'd be right.

Continue reading »


Monday, September 28, 2015

At Least 98 Portland Dispensaries Will Sell You Pot On Thursday

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Mon, Sep 28, 2015 at 1:54 PM

The list of Portland dispensaries that plan to sell you legal pot on Thursday is growing in real time. Earlier today, the Oregon Health Authority posted a database on its Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program page that lets you sort the state's dispensaries by city, and whether or not they plan to sell recreational pot once October 1 rolls around.

The list is growing rapidly, as the OHA plugs in new dispensaires. Last time I refreshed the page it showed 69 dispensaries planning on selling recreational pot—more than half of Portland's 123 licensed medical marijuana dispensaries. Statewide, 169 dispensaries are listed as planning to sell recreational pot.

Expect it to keep going. Since late July, the state's medical pot industry has been licking its chops for Thursday, when its list of potential customers shoots up from around 71,000 medical marijuana patients to hundreds of thousands of pot-smoking Oregonians (to say nothing of tourists).

Dispensaries all over the metro area report that anticipation has led to rising prices—fueled by increased demand from the city's growing number of dispensaries, and good old fashioned market speculation. And you can bet more than a few of these pot shops are planning on marking up prices. Some won't, of course, and it looks like you'll have plenty of options to choose from.

Update, Tuesday 9:06 am: At some point yesterday the number of participating dispensaries in the city stalled out at 86. That's about 70 percent of the city's dispensaries, and that number might still grow. It's possible some owners were late in informing the OHA they'll sell recreationally. Check out the full list here.

Update, Tuesday 3:44 pm: Now we're up to 98!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Commissioner Steve Novick Is Doing Street Fee Polling Again—On the Cheap This Time

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Fri, Sep 25, 2015 at 1:44 PM

  • Shawn DiCriscio
Last year, City Commissioner Steve Novick spent nearly $45,000 on a pair of polls (see here and here) that attempted to divine how Portlanders felt about various options for funding streets.

Now, as he weighs whether to put a gas tax before voters, Novick's going the budget route. The transportation commissioner is asking neighborhood associations to send quick surveys to members to get a read on where they stand.

"Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick has requested that Neighborhood Associations to conduct a short survey of their members to find out what priorities they have regarding transportation funding and how to obtain these funds," Forest Park Neighborhood Association President Jerry Grossnickle wrote in an email to members earlier today.

Here's what Forest Park's survey looks like.


The effort is a further sign that the commissioner is serious about re-igniting the "street fee" discussion in earnest. It's estimated Portland's roads need more than $1 billion in work over the next decade if they're going to get up to snuff. The 10-cent gas tax Novick says he's considering would capture a small fraction of that. And it would almost certainly face fierce opposition at the polls from the petroleum lobby—still furious about Oregon's rejiggered clean fuel standards.

That means a gas tax will need to have a solid measure of public support before a campaign even kicks off, experts say. What little polling data we have suggests something like 58 percent of Portland residents could get behind a tax, but that number's by no means rock solid.

One apparent booster Novick seems to have scooped up? Mayor Charlie Hales, who appeared on OPB's Think Out Loud this afternoon, and signaled support for a gas tax.

"A lousy ten cents when gas prices have fallen by a dollar seems like the right thing to do," Hales said during the appearance.

It's more supportive than Hales has been in recent weeks. On September 15, his office sent the Mercury this statement regarding his stance:

Mayor Hales says it’s dangerous to think a 5- to 10-cent gas tax will cover all of the transportation need. Gas tax could be part of the solution, but it would have to be part of a larger package. “A gas tax is regressive, but so is passing the problem on to the next generation,” he says.

Hales primary competition in next year's mayoral race, Ted Wheeler, gave tentative support for a gas tax on September 9, hours after the City Club of Portland released a report supporting the concept.

Update, 3:35 pm: Novick reached out to the city's neighborhood coalitions about a month ago, he says, asking them to poll their member neighborhood associations. He's heard back from just one of the seven coalitions to date—the North East Coalition of Neighbors, which reported 102 respondents favored a gas tax, followed a miles-traveled charged based on vehicle weight.

While Hales told the Oregonian he expressed his support for a gas tax to the transportation commissioner before announcing it on Think Out Loud, Novick's only saying he "had an inkling that [Hales] was leaning in that direction."

"I just heard what he said," Novick said earlier this afternoon, regarding the mayor's on-air comments.

Update, 3:53 pm: Novick now confirms the mayor said he was supportive of the concept. The commissioner was unaware Hales was going to announce it publicly.

Also: It's sounding like Novick probably isn't casting aside expensive, scientific polls after all. Asked whether he's commissioned a new effort, the commissioner said: "Uhhhhhhhh.... If I did I wouldn't tell the press."

Lobbyist Paul Romain, the Portland Street Fee's Greatest Foe, Is a Ted Wheeler Supporter

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Fri, Sep 25, 2015 at 12:20 PM

Ted Wheeler wants to talk roads. As the state treasurer mounts a campaign for Portland mayor, he's repeatedly taken Mayor Charlie Hales to task for a halting and confused efforts to secure millions for city streets last year.

One person he's apparently convinced: One of the single largest enemies to any "street fee" proposal that's cropped up in the last decade or so. Petroleum industry lobbyist Paul Romain just gave Wheeler $1,000.

It's an interesting donation, given Wheeler's promise to take care of Portland's "rotting" roads once he's in office—and his announcement he favors a gas tax in order to do so. Wheeler talks about how people would be willing to pass a new revenue mechanism if the city would just level with them.

“The first thing the mayor said is, ‘Whatever we do we’re going to make sure the taxpayers of this city don’t have a say,’” he told the Mercury a day before formally announcing his candidacy. “What that tells the citizens is ‘City hall thinks we’re stupid.’”

Romain has proven a consistent thorn in transportation funding efforts.

When Sam Adams wanted to raise millions for roads with his "safe, sound, and green" proposal back in 2008, Romain's promise to put that effort on the ballot, on behalf of his clients at the Oregon Petroleum Association, killed the whole thing. Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick came up against the same intransigence (though their effort had other problems). Most recently, Romain has vowed to kill any statewide gas tax effort, if the legislature doesn't repeal Oregon's clean fuel standards law, telling the Oregonian: "Nobody is getting a transportation package. We're serious about that."

And yet Romain supports Wheeler, who supports a city transportation package. Why? He got back to us quickly.

"It’s the process that we go through to determine what is necessary for transportation and what is currently available that makes me a Wheeler supporter," Romain wrote in an email. "We have said consistently that you first need to see if you are spending your existing funds appropriately before you look for other sources of money. If there still is a need for additional funds after you look at your current spending, then you can work with people to come up with a fair way to raise it."

The Mercury looked at where the Portland Bureau of Transportation gets its money, and where it goes, in a feature story last year.

Wheeler's campaign hasn't commented substantively just yet, but promises to get back to us.

Update, 2:55 pm: After taking a few hours to think about it, Wheeler campaign manager Jake Weigler got back to us. The upshot: Wheeler will take the compliment (and money).

"Even though we may disagree on a gas tax, Romain supports clear leadership to restore public confidence in how our transportation dollars are spent," Weigler wrote.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

With Recreational Weed a Week Away, The City's Having a Really Hard Time Licensing Shops

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Wed, Sep 23, 2015 at 4:48 PM

For a town hell-bent on regulating marijuana shops, the City of Portland is having an exceedingly hard time regulating marijuana shops.

Last week, City Council delayed new regulations on pot businesses after outcry from medical dispensaries that their existence could be imperiled.

Now they've had to push back the rules again. The problem? The fix council members envisioned—suggested by members of the medical marijuana industry—didn't actually solve anything.

As we report in this week's Mercury, proposed rules that dictated all cannabis shops—be they medical or recreational—have to be at least 1,000 feet apart would vastly limit the amount of new pot shops that could move into the city.

But the rules drawn up by the city's Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI) didn't decrease the likelihood that medical dispensaries might be put out of business under Portland's expensive licensing scheme. They still would have allowed an aspiring pot shop owner to find a storefront across the street from a medical dispensary that has been in business for years. If the new business beat the years-old dispensary to getting a city license, it could have effectively killed the medical outfit, since the stores would be less than 1,000-feet apart.

"There is a possibility that we would say 'no' to an existing dispensary," ONI staffer Theresa Marchetti told council this morning, after furious dispensary workers raised that possibility.

That sent city council scrambling for solutions.

Continue reading »

Mayor Charlie Hales Wants to Declare A Housing State of Emergency

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Wed, Sep 23, 2015 at 10:41 AM

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales on Wednesday morning announced intentions to declare a housing emergency in Portland. He'll ask city council to approve in two weeks.

The move would allow the city to waive zoning codes and convert city-owned buildings into shelters more nimbly, Hales' office says. The city also plans to work with Multnomah County to petition Gov. Kate Brown to declare a state of emergency for Portland. That would mean Portland can waive portions of state building codes to allow for expedited conversion of buildings to shelters. It could also speed the construction of a new permanent housing site for people who've been served by the Unity Center, the psychiatric emergency center planned in Portland.

The move is abrupt and unexpected. Hales and his chief of staff, Josh Alpert, were hurriedly visiting city commissioners' offices directly before this morning's City Council meeting, apprising Portland's other electeds of the plans. Even Housing Commissioner Dan Saltzman's office only got word of the declaration yesterday, Saltzman's chief of staff says.

“When I came into office, the single-night count of homeless told us we had 1,800 Portlanders sleeping unsheltered. That same count, two years later, barely budged. And yet we had spent millions of dollars and countless staff time,” Hales said in a news release. “We’ve tried slow-and-steady. We’ve tried by-the-book. It’s time to add the tools we currently lack.”

Though the immediate goals of the declaration Hales is proposing revolve around moving all homeless women off the streets by year's end, it's still unclear where the tendrils go. Alpert told reporters after the mayor's announcement that the state of emergency may extend to affordable housing and renter protections. And he said the mayor's office agrees with the contention of the Community Alliance of Tenants that the city's experiencing a "man-made" emergency—a designation which could allow Hales and the council to enact rent control measures otherwise prohibited under state law.

That's "based on housing vacancy rates that have produced a system of human suffering," Alpert says.

UPDATE, 1:45 pm: At a press conference with reporters this afternoon, Hales said rent control's probably off the table. The mayor says skirting the state's ban is "really based on something like a natural disaster. This is a market problem, not a natural disaster." It seemed City Attorney Tracy Reeve, standing nearby, was in agreement.

The actual language of the state law makes clear man-made disasters apply. But the law says the emergency in question has to "eliminate a significant portion of the rental housing supply," which would almost certainly be legal fodder for landlords and developers to fight rent control—Portland hasn't eliminated supply so much as completely failed to keep new housing in step with new residents.

Continue reading »


Friday, September 18, 2015

The Weekend Shopper: Evo, Tilde, Jane's Vanity, & More

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Fri, Sep 18, 2015 at 1:44 PM


• Hey maybe this winter we'll get some decent snow on yonder mountain. All you winter sports fans should make note of the preseason tent sale happening at Evo this week, where they're letting go of past seasons' snowboards, skis, and accessories at "waist deep" discounts. Evo, 200 SE MLK, Fri Sept 18 (4-7 pm), Sat Sept 19 (10 am-7 pm), & Sun Sept 20 (10 am-5 pm)

• Yay, it's finally time for the grand opening of Le Souk Le Souk—fans of Branch Birdie and international textiles rejoice! There'll be raffles and refreshments and shopping, because what else do you need? (Also see my interview with owner Anna Margaret for more on the new venture.) Le Souk Le Souk, 820 NW 23rd, Fri Sept 18 (6-9 pm)

Jane's Vanity is hosting their second trunk show with Zynni Cashmere, in the glam-cozy confines of the Hotel deLuxe. Order from current stock or via same-season delivery. Hotel deLuxe, 729 SW 5th, Fri Sept 18 (now-7 pm)

• Crowd favorite Eileen Fisher is being featured this week at Mercantile. Stop in during the three-day event for a look at new fall arrivals, a chance to win a linen cashmere scarf, and $25 off any purchases from the collection. Mercantile, 729 SW Alder, now-Sat Sept 19

Hand-Eye Supply is having a summer apron sale, with 40 percent off their selection of hardy, American-made work aprons. Hand-Eye Supply, 427 NW Broadway, now-Sept 30


• Time for another good ole group sale: A generous handful of vendors selling apparel, housewares, art, vintage, skincare, and jewelry (including Rogue Minx, MOORE Custom Goods, This Is Folklore, Hovden Formal Farm Wear, Katie Guinn Designs, and Laurs Kemp) are teaming up for Coalesce, which presents an excellent opportunity to check out some of the city's up and comers. Tillamook Station, 665 N Tillamook, Sat Sept 19 (noon-4 pm)

  • Laurs Kemp via Instagram

Mônom is a collaborative line by couture designer Gretchen Belle and graphic designer Sky Ospes, defined by androgyny, movement, and layers. The new collection will preview this weekend in a gallery-style presentation/trunk show alongside work from Beach Bones Jewelry and more. Mod Salon, 4007 N Williams, Sat Sept 19 (6:30-9 pm)

• In honor of Tilde's ninth anniversary, for one day the entire (brick 'n' mortar) store is marked down by 20 percent, plus drawings for merch baskets contributed to by businesses in the neighborhood, including Tilde GCs. Tilde, 7919 SE 13th, Sat Sept 19

Imelda's & Louie's are having a "give-back" weekend sale: All merch is 10-70 percent off, and donations of coats, diapers, gloves, and winter hats for Impact NW will also net you a gift bag. Imelda's & Louie's, 3426 SE Hawthorne, Sat Sept 19 and Sun Sept 20

HalfPint is combing through its stores of used and vintage leather goodies to make room for the new season, with a two-day garage sale where they'll be liquidating "over a thousand lbs of merchandise." (Note: the sale is not at the retail location!) 6032 NE 31st (at Ainsworth), Sat Sept 19 and Sun Sept 20 9 am-4 pm


Jane's Vanity and Zynni Cashmere return once again for The Art of Accessories. The focus is on scarves, with specimens from Klements, Ambas, and Maria la Rosa as well. Plus, performances by dance troupe Trip the Dark (at 3, 4, and 5 pm). Oregon Wines on Broadway, 515 SW Broadway, Sun Sept 20, 2-6 pm

• The Portland Flea is on! Shop vintage, handmade, small-batch clothing, apothecary, housewares, food, and more in one spot. Plus, it's the Flea's fourth anniversary! Union/Pine, 525 SE Pine, Sun Sept 20, 11 am-4 pm

Study: Portland's Got the Nation's Fastest-Rising Rents

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Fri, Sep 18, 2015 at 1:36 PM

Here's a crazy figure: In the last year, average Portland rents rose by more than 15 percent, according to a Texas firm that studies rental markets.

If that's true—and the company, Axiometrics, says it's confident in the finding—rent in Portland is likely rising faster than at any point in the city's history. It's also rising faster here than in any other city in the country. Portland isn't yet the walled city that San Francisco has become, or Seattle's marching toward, but it's getting there—and quick.

"That market is really hot right now," says KC Sanjay, an affable researcher for Axiometrics. "We haven't seen that growth historically."

The actual findings: From August 2014 to August 2015, rents in Portland rose by 15.4 percent. That edges out Oakland which previously had the fastest growing rents. Axiometrics actually expects that growth rate to cool a bit toward the end of the year, resulting in a 10.5 percent increase overall in 2015. Even if that happens, it's the largest rent increase Portland's seen in decades. (Home prices are rising too. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median price of homes in the area has shot up by 10 percent in the last year.)

Continue reading »

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Cops Showed Up To Help Remove Those Eastmoreland Sequoias, But Now the Mayor's Stepped In?

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Thu, Sep 17, 2015 at 9:54 AM

The months-long battle over three towering Eastmoreland sequoias might be rounding a final, sawdust-sprinkled bend.

Neighbors and fans of the majestic trees have plead with Portland developer Vic Remmers, owner of Everett Custom Homes, to leave the sequoias up. Remmers has said 'no dice,' arguing the trees need to go if he's gonna get MAXIMUM CASH for his investment. He offered to sell the land to neighbors at a handsome profit, but they've been unable to pony up the requisite $900,000.

The issue's been in and out of the headlines since this summer, but now it may be the end for the trees. After demonstrators turned away work crews hoping to fell the sequoias earlier this week, Remmers has gone full-on, kids-movie-style evil developer, showing up with cops to press his right to cut down ancient trees.

Neighbors report police have already made arrests, but they've also got to figure out how to get an unclear number of activists down from those regal boughs. (Climbing harnesses are the new Guy Fawkes mask of Portland protest. People should wear them on marches, carrying ropes, just to keep the authorities on their toes.)

And now the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association is reporting Mayor Charlie Hales has asked Remmers to hold off cutting the sequoias. The mayor's office hasn't made that statement public, if it's true, but this whole fight—along with a similar one near SE Clinton—has prompted elected officials to acknowledge the city's new tree code makes it too easy to get rid of old trees.

The mayor's an Eastmoreland resident. He's also the police commissioner, meaning cops might not be on scene for much longer.

Anyway, Shelby's headed down to moneyed Eastmoreland to report from the scene. Stay tuned.

Update, 1:14 pm: The trees are apparently safe for now. After being cagey with the media all morning, the mayor's office just issued a release saying the sequoias will be left alive while the neighborhood and Remmers continue to work out a deal. Here's the mayor's office's version of events.

On Thursday, Sept. 17, the mayor’s chief of staff, Josh Alpert, contacted both sides and asked for three things:
● All protesters off private property.
● A stay on cutting down the trees,
● And time for the mayor’s office to organize last-minute diplomacy.

Alpert spoke to both sides throughout the morning.

As of 1 p.m. today:
● There is a tentative structure of a deal.
● The trees are staying for now.
● It is up to the neighbors to implement the deal.

The parties are not releasing details of the negotiations until they are complete. We hope to hear back from both sides by tomorrow.

Unclear what's happening with the young man who was in the tree.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Racist Graffiti, Surge Pricing, and Other Interesting Tidbits from Portland's Proposed Bike Share Contract

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Mon, Sep 14, 2015 at 10:46 AM

What Portland bike share might look like if no sponsors emerge.
  • What Portland bike share might look like if no sponsors emerge.

When the Portland Bureau of Transportation announced last week it's finally moving forward with a bike share program next year, many of the details were hard to come by. PBOT wouldn't share a copy of an amended contract it wants to ink with New York-based motivate, the latest incarnation of Alta Bicycle Share, which Portland selected to run its bike share system in 2012.

Portland City Council will consider that contract on Wednesday, and the deal's expected to have at least the three votes it needs to pass. The city released a copy [pdf] of the new contract on Friday. We read it! Here are a few notable takeaways.

Surge pricing's on the table: Ride-hailing apps like Uber have attracted occasional criticism for these pricing tactics, where rides are more-expensive during periods of high demand. Such schemes haven't been a common feature of American bike share systems, but it seems they could be in Portland. The proposed contract with Motivate lays down some price baselines—including that a 30-minute ride should cost an average of $2.50. But that's not a hard rate. Motivate's able to charge up to $5 per half-hour if it's trying to "rebalance" the system—encouraging bikes to move toward other parts of the service area to make sure bikes aren't stacking up in certain places.

Even that's not a hard limit though. The contract states: "In cases of special events, City and Motivate can agree to pricing that exceeds $5 for a 30 minute ride. Motivate shall not use real-time demand based surge pricing on standard fare products for the first six months of the System."

Continue reading »

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Portland Rents are More than "Too Damn High"—it's a State of Emergency

Posted by Shelby R. King on Sun, Sep 13, 2015 at 11:29 AM


NEW WINDOWS were the first sign of trouble. The Brentwood-Pinecrest Apartments in North Portland were getting a facelift from the new owners, who were also promising other amenities, such as online bill payment.

"It was after the new windows that the people in the other building all got their eviction notices. It was the beginning of June and they had to be out by the end of July," says Jeri Jimenez, who lived in the apartments for seven years until she was kicked out. "So when they told our building we were getting new windows we all knew what was coming."

The eviction notices came at the beginning of July. Jimenez and her neighbors had to be out by the end of August. The property had become too valuable; it was time for a more moneyed class of tenants to move in.

"The Summer of Evictions" is what Portland's Community Alliance of Tenants (CAT) is calling the past few months.

Executive Director Justin Buri says volunteers at CAT have seen a huge increase in people calling their hotline asking for help in dealing with no-cause evictions and drastic rent hikes—which can lead to involuntary eviction when a tenant can't afford the increase. In addition to declaring a "Renter State of Emergency," the nonprofit, which works to uphold tenant rights, is launching a social media campaign, working to gather stories of people being forced to leave their homes in hopes that community leaders will start acting with the urgency they'd give a wildfire or flood.

"Through no fault of [their] own, huge numbers of renters are facing unsustainable rent increases or are simply being evicted," a news release from CAT reads. "More and more of us are losing our housing security... renters are experiencing mental and physical health impacts, disruption of children's stability and education, loss of access to transportation, training, and jobs, and a lost sense of community and belonging."



Friday, September 11, 2015

Planning On Opening A Weed Shop in Portland? That'll Be $3,750

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Fri, Sep 11, 2015 at 2:33 PM

Marijuana will be big business in Portland a year from now, when the state plans to finally roll out recreational cannabis shops (you'll be able to buy limited quantities of pot from medical dispensaries in less than a month). But for entree into that market, would-be magnates are going to need to pony up some hefty costs.

As Portland City Council prepares to consider new city-specific marijuana licensing rules next week, the city's Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI) is floating a fee schedule that would see marijuana retailers handing the city nearly $4,000 just to get a shot at Portland customers. According to proposed fees, which ONI shared with the Mercury, pot retailers would have to pay $750 just to apply for one of the new licenses, and $3,000 if they were approved. Then they'd have to pay $3,000 a year to renew the thing.

That's by far the steepest rate the city's proposing. Operations that want to grow or process pot would pay a $500 application fee, and $2,000 for a license.

The fees are out of step with how the city regulates its liquor licensees, who pay $100 a year for applications and renewals. Here's the full schedule.


It's unclear if pot industry types will protest these fees, but expect some pushback this Wednesday. Dispensaries aren't pleased by ONI's recommendation marijuana dispensaries and retailers should only be allowed to operate from 7 am to 9 pm. The city agency stands by the hour limits.

"It will help to address any kind of nuisance acitivity in neighborhoods," says Victor Salinas, the city's marijuana program specialist.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Ted Wheeler's Already Flashing A Bunch of Campaign Cash

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Thu, Sep 10, 2015 at 10:04 PM


In announcing plans to run for Portland mayor yesterday, State Treasurer Ted Wheeler called those intentions the "most poorly kept secret in Oregon politics." Evidence of that leaky secret is pretty clear in his first round of campaign finance reporting.

Though he's not required to report contributions until October, Wheeler began releasing details about financial support Thursday. It's a similar scenario to the near real-time donations Mayor Charlie Hales has revealed for months.

The new filings show Wheeler's raised more than $25,000 since the beginning of September, with more than $11,000 of that arriving in his campaign's bank account before he formally announced intentions to run. The largest single contribution, $5,000, comes from Wheeler's brother, Thomas, but there are some notable items on the list.

For instance, Portland Spirit President Daniel Yates contributed $2,500 to Wheeler on September 1. Yates, perhaps not coincidentally, is on the board of the Central Eastside Industrial Council, the business group currently locking horns with the mayor's office over plans to move the homeless rest area Right 2 Dream Too to a plot near SE 3rd and Harrison. (Wheeler has promised he'd do a far better job than Hales has on homelessness, but he's not weighed in on moving the well-respected encampment.)

Another sizable contribution, $2,500, came in on September 2 from Azam Qayum, president of Cascade Pacific Holdings, a Lake Oswego-based real estate firm. It's worth noting, since Wheeler's been throwing soft shade at Hales over his financial relationship to property development types. While the treasurer's not come out directly against those donations, he's said the "race isn't going to be won based on who can raise money from real estate developers," and that Portland City Hall "won't be for sale" when he's in office. Draw your own conclusions about what he's getting at.

What else? Well, New Seasons co-founder Eileen Brady—who lost to Hales in 2012, and who was cheering wildly for Wheeler at Wednesday's event—has kicked in $1,000. So has Jim Brunberg, owner of Revolution Hall, where Wheeler held his campaign announcement.

Wheeler, who comes from a timber fortune himself, is pretty clearly making a statement here—though you could debate how it'll be received by the electorate. For months, the mayor's been flashing campaign donations. He's got more than $100,000 to date. In less than two weeks, Wheeler's racked up nearly a quarter of that.

As we said in this week's paper: "Just like that, Portland's got an honest-to-god mayoral race on its hands."

This Week's Style Events: Grayling Giveaways, Tilde, & More!

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Thu, Sep 10, 2015 at 10:44 AM


• Tilde is celebrating the launch of their spiffed-up, online shopping-friendly new website, as well as their ninth anniversary later this month. In honor of both benchmarks, they're offering 15 percent off entire purchases made now through Sept 18.

Kush is having a rug sale on its selection of gorgeous, pricey rugs from 'round the world. All in-stock rugs are 20-50 percent, with select ones all the way up to 70 percent off. That's a hell of a break if you're contemplating a one-of-kind Afghan carpet that retails full price at $5,950! Sale runs through Sept 19.


• In lieu of the usual bubbles 'n' treats soiree, Grayling is celebrating the launch of their new fall jewelry collection with three days of giveaways. To enter, make a purchase of any amount... and that's it. They'll pick one winner per day, and are rolling out a slew of new pieces (like these earrings from the Tiger Eye collection) to coincide.


• Modified Style's clothing swap/fundraiser returns just in time for you to clear some room for bulky outerwear: Bring a bag of clean, quality clothing in good condition plus eight bucks (or $12 if you're keeping everything and just want some new pickin's). All proceeds go to the annual spring fashion show, which in turn benefits local charities Project Lemonade and Dress for Success Oregon. Lola's Room in the Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside, 3-7 pm

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

It's Official: Ted Wheeler's Running Against Mayor Charlie Hales Next Year

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Tue, Sep 8, 2015 at 11:59 PM


Uploading a newspaper to the web is a long and tiresome process, but news is happening now. Here's a special preview of this week's Hall Monitor column.

TED WHEELER wants to make one thing clear: It’s not about Mayor Charlie Hales.

Wheeler, the Oregon state treasurer and former Multnomah County chair says it’s just that Portland’s too unique, too special a place to risk losing at the hands of its various and worrying problems—displacement, swelling homelessness, and crumbling roads, to name a few.

He likes Hales, Wheeler says. But, then again, he’s going to set aside designs on the governor’s office and spend the next eight months or more trying to take him out.

“The bottom line is this: Oregon has a governor in Kate Brown who’s making progress,” Wheeler tells the Mercury. “We have a mayor in Charlie Hales who is not.”

And just like that, Portland’s got an honest-to-god mayoral race on its hands. Wheeler plans to formally announce his candidacy at a press conference on Wednesday, September 9.

Continue reading »

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Weekend Shopper: Labor Day Edition

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Fri, Sep 4, 2015 at 11:44 AM

• First Friday in Montavilla doubles as the first anniversary of Union Rose under its new ownership. To celebrate there will be 25 percent off all Hubris Apparel (including already marked-down pieces). Union Rose, 7909 SE Stark, 6-9 pm

• Get on down to the nexus of West End shopping this weekend for a sidewalk sale of the retail neighbors at SW 10th & Washington, including Radish Underground, West End Select Shop, Woonwinkel, Finnegan's, Tender Loving Empire, Under U 4 Men, Poler, Animal Traffic, and Parallel. Sat Sept 5-Sun Sept 7

• Separately but nearby, Alder & Co.'s summer sale winds up after Monday, with an additional 20 percent off. Alder & Co., 616 SW 12th

Lizard Lounge is also taking advantage of the holiday weekend for its end of season in-store warehouse sale, with scores at up to 80 percent off. Lizard Lounge, 1323 NW Irving, Fri-Sat & Mon, 10 am-7 pm, Sun 11 am-7 pm

• Not to be outdone, the Pearl District is having its own Labor Day weekend sale, with deals to be found at shops throughout the neighborhood, such as Mabel & Zora. Fri Sept 4-Mon Sept 7

• Meanwhile, xobruno has your leather needs covered, with 20 percent off in the charmingly tucked-away studio/shop. xobruno, 811 E Burnside, #119, Fri Sept 4-Sun Sept 6 and with the code XOSEPT at

• It's a similar story at both locations of Adorn and with online code LABOROFLOVE (an additional 30 percent of sales items, through Monday); and Mercantile (40-80 percent off, including new markdowns, through Monday).


Thursday, September 3, 2015

The City Says Pacific Power's New Energy Proposal Would "Slow The Transition From Fossil Fuels"

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Thu, Sep 3, 2015 at 2:50 PM


Pacific Power says its customers—that'd be you, Northeast Portland—are in pecuniary trouble if the state won't modify rules about how it has to purchase renewable energy. We reported this week that the company's asking the Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) for changes to those rules—changes clean power advocates say could imperil the future of solar and wind power in Oregon.

The power company has suggested it's folly to lump in climate action with the changes it wants to make. City of Portland officials disagree.

Following a vote by Portland City Council yesterday, the city's offering its own thoughts on the matter. The City Attorney's Office has filed a petition with the PUC, asking to have a say in the pending case. That makes sense. The city's got a Climate Action Plan that calls for more solar, and designs on converting a vacant parcel owned by the Portland Water Bureau into a two megawatt solar farm.

As we've reported, Portland's submitting weaker language than initially planned, after Pacific's parent company, PacifiCorp, requested a meeting with officials. But the general argument is still the same: Pacific says it's acting in the interest of its customers (who currently pay an average of $12.50 more a year than they otherwise would because of the type of power that's being fought over). The city, like a lot of people who are speaking in this case, says that doesn't add up.

Here's the argument Portland attorneys plan to make:


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

This Week's Style Events: Red Clouds Collective, Elizabeth Mollo, Michelle Lesniak, & More!

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Tue, Aug 25, 2015 at 11:59 AM


Red Clouds Collective is currently having a BTS sale with 20 percent off handy, durable items like leather and canvas backpacks, pencil/paintbrush rolls, and durable work-ready pants. Now through Sept 1!

  • Red Clouds Collective

Hand-Eye Supply's having a sale on "any sharp thing in the shop," and they're calling it Knife Week, which is the best name for a sale ever. Take 25 percent off all their knives through Saturday.

• Pour some out, Montavilla: Yesterday it was announced that rather than adding the forthcoming NW Le Souk Le Souk shop to the Branch Birdie world, the original BB will be closing. Starting today, inventory and fixtures will be priced to sell.


• Another reason to remind you about tomorrow's Fade to Light fashion show: It's a rare opportunity to see design work from the show's producer Elizabeth Mollo (who also helps to execute nearly every other fashion show in town, including the Merc's). For the summer version of the twice-yearly event, she collaborated on a line with Altar's Cassie Ridgway. Says Mollo: "I had been wanting to design a collection for a while, and I wanted to incorporate elements of Greek Orthodox vestments into it, such as silhouettes and construction techniques. The day after the last Fade to Light I was thinking about it and all of a sudden it hit me a like a ton of bricks: Do a collaborative collection with Cassie!" Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside, Wed Aug 26, 8 pm, $12-40


• Exorcism: An Afterbath of Fear is a multimedia performance/installation exploring "indulgence, sex, anxiety, & raw humanity, in a lost sense of surrender to achieve balance and harmony in its disunion of body and soul." Woah! Among many other things, though, it features fashion by Summer Gunter, and should be very very interesting indeed. Service, 2319 NE Glisan, Thurs Aug 27 & Fri Aug 28, 7 pm, $20, 21+

Mercantile hosts Majestic Filatures for a fall trunk show and spring preview to all your deluxe tee-shirt needs. Mercantile, 729 SW Alder, Thurs Aug 27-Sun Aug 30


• To celebrate its 10 year mark (!), Una is having a sidewalk sale with "majorly marked down" past season merch and perhaps a few fixtures to boot. There will also be a raffle so... don't miss this one. Una, 922 SE Ankeny, Sat Aug 29, noon-6 pm

• Hometown hero Michelle Lesniak and her Project Runway pal Gunnar Deatherage are co-hosting a trunk show of their latest and greatest work. Shop with the stars! Michelle Lesniak, 1123 SE Market, Sat Aug 29, noon-6 pm

  • Gunnar Deatherage


• The Urban Air Market comes to the Pearl District on Sunday, with sustainable small businesses selling housewares, soap, clothing, and more. NW 14th & Hoyt, Sun Aug 30, 11 am-6 pm


• Let's creep a little bit further into next week, shall we? The Rock 'n' Roll Flea Market will take the edge off your next Monday with a pop-up market of vintage vinyl, wearables, and more, live music from Danny Dodge and DJ J-Star, and enjoy some food and drinks while you're at, why don't you? Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside, Mon Aug 31, 6-10 pm, free

Monday, August 24, 2015

Wildcraft, Reif, & Content: The Day's News in Fashion, Design, & Retail

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Mon, Aug 24, 2015 at 11:29 AM

• If you're starting to feel those back-to-school fall feels, take a look at the schedule of upcoming textile workshops being offered at the Wildcaft Studio School, including a two-day focus on a Pacific Northwest Native American technique for cedar hat-weaving, raw wool rug-making, loom weaving, and basic leather crafting with Sara Barner.

  • Wildcraft Studio School

• The fall collection you saw a few months ago at Open Season from Reif is now available online, with lots of cozy items that will make the transition out of summer feel less tragic.

• Here's your reminder to submit an application to have a room at the 2015 edition of Content at the Ace Hotel! Click over here for the details on how to be part of creating the magic that will be revealed on Nov 14. Proposals are due August 31, which is just one week from today!!

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Weekend Shopper: Mercantile, Bridge & Burn, Caravan, & More

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Fri, Aug 21, 2015 at 3:44 PM

Friday, Aug 21

Mercantile's fall shopping event isn't just about offloading last season, but it is about those who are seriously loading up for next: Take $75 off purchases of $350 or more, and $175 for those of $750 and up, now through Aug 31. New arrivals include collections from Alexander Wang, Max Mara, Rag & Bone, and Vince. 729 SW Alder

End of season sales keep on cropping up, and Bridge and Burn's kicks off this week with up to 70 percent off (and at least 40 percent off) spring items through the end of the month. 1122 SW Morrison,

Saturday, Aug 22

Caravan traveling market is a new series of events that promise to be part pop-up shop and part flea market, mixing vendors of new and vintage clothing, plants, beauty products, salt and honey, furniture, accessories, and an ice cream truck. The lineup of vendors is pretty great: Jacobsen Salt Co., Bee Local Honey, AK Vintage, Billy Goat Vintage, and Fifty Licks, to name just a few. 410 NW Flanders, 11am-4 pm

The Division location of Adorn is hosting Prairie Underground's Portland sample sale this weekend. For two days you'll find past season samples and factory seconds at 50-70 percent off retail—over 1,000 items (!) and sizes XS-XL. It kicks off on Saturday, but there'll be an influx of new merch on Sunday, too. 3366 SE Division, Sat 10 am-8 pm & Sun 11 am-7 pm

  • Prairie Underground

Portland Made, Wildfang, & Sara Bergman: The Day's News in Portland Fashion, Retail, and Design

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Fri, Aug 21, 2015 at 2:44 PM

• Portland makers of all things, fashion-related or not: Another reminder to look into hooking up with the Portland Made Collective (basic membership is free), and take part in the important, metrics-building work being done to foster Portland-made products as an "international marketing force." They're currently over 500 strong and counting. If you want to check it out first, consider attending their upcoming quarterly Makers Meetup Happy Hour on Thurs Sept 17 at MadeHerePDX. Also, make note that the launch of the Portland Made book, Portland Made: New American Makers of the Manufacturing Renaissance launches Dec 2 at Powell's.

• For their latest lookbook, the clever tomboys of Wildfang spoofed some of the most iconic Rolling Stone covers, and did a pretty great job of it, too:

  • Liam Gillies

See the whole thing here.

• Don't forget! The late-summer edition of the Fade to Light fashion show is this coming Wednesday (Aug 26, Crystal Ballroom), featuring a grip of excellent local designers like Sara Bergman. Advance tickets are as low as 12 bucks, and it's always a super fun show.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

What You Need to Know About Mayor Charlie Hales' New Initiative On Homelessness

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Thu, Aug 20, 2015 at 3:14 PM


You've been on pins and needles all afternoon, Blogtown, so here's what we know about the new $1 million homelessness initiative Mayor Charlie Hales unveiled today (along with City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, Multnomah County Commissioner Jules Bailey, police officials and social service providers):

It looks largely like he said it would: As I noted earlier, Hales allocated more than $1 million to an "intensive street engagement and clean-up initiative" in this year's budget, and laid out a bare bones description of what it would amount to.

That's all on the table. The mayor's pitching a pilot program that resembles an effort the city tried late last year with people sleeping under I-405. The city will spend $924,000 launching a small army of social service workers—from Cascadia Behavioral Health, the Urban League of Portland, and the Native American Rehabilitation Association (NARA)—at the people "who have the greatest barriers to housing," by which he means the people most likely to tell social service workers to screw off.

Hales and his various partners in this effort make the case these organizations are uniquely qualified to tackle this issue. They say the Urban League and NARA can marshall outreach workers more likely to identify with people with backgrounds and racial demographics that might make them distrustful of white people.

On top of all this, money's going to Central City Concern, which will be running "cleanup routes" five days a week, according to Hales' chief of staff, Josh Alpert.

All those resources are actually going to target a tiny fraction of Portland's homeless. The goal for the pilot project is that 50 "households" find housing—a minuscule number compared to the thousands of people sleeping on the street. I asked about that, and Hales launched into a defense you got the sense he'd prepared. "You might say 'Thats a pretty expensive effort, to focus almost $1 million of services on 50 households," Hales said, pivoting to the cleanup efforts under I-405 last year. "When we focused that effort onto some of the key individuals on the street, not only were those folks housed, the side effects of those folks having large encampments went away."

"It's expensive," Hales continued, "but not compared to the alternative."

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