On February 11, Mayor Charlie Hales unleashed a tirade of rhetoric aimed at a group that is both suing the city and backing a campaign to take Portland's water and sewer utilities out of City Council's hands.
"The anti-environment funders behind this suit are also behind a ballot measure to create a new layer of government to run the environmental services and water utilities," the mayor was quoted as saying in a news release. "If the facts aren't with you, and the law isn't with you, unlimited corporate money is a wonderful thing. It can be used to attack Portland's environmental investments again and again and again. It you don't like green programs, these are the best attacks money can buy."
It was by no means a surprising take from Hales, who's spearheading a campaign opposing the so-called Portland Public Water District. But it turns out the mayor never said it.
His spokesman and speechwriter, Dana Haynes, came up with the comments. Hales was a continent away.
"I crafted the quote and shared it with the mayor via email to South Africa," Haynes wrote this week to a Secretary of State's Office employee looking in to the release. "He OK'd it. This is a standard method used in our office for many quotes."
That "standard method" may have bearing on whether Hales' office violated Oregon law. As an elected official, the mayor is free to make comments on political campaigns, so long as he doesn't use public resources to do so. But Kent Craford and Floy Jones, chief petitioners behind the Portland Public Water District, say that's exactly what happened in the case of the February 11 release.
The pair filed a formal complaint with the state the next day, claiming Hales violated a state law prohibiting public employees from promoting or opposing political measures "while on the job during work hours."
"The PPWD campaign has requested Secretary of State Kate Brown investigate and demand an immediate halt to Hales' further abuse of office," the campaign said.
The February 11 press release actually centered on an upcoming hearing in the case of Anderson v. City of Portland, in which angry ratepayers are demanding the city pay back utility revenues spent on projects they argue were improper. Beyond Hales, it quoted Commissioner Nick Fish as saying the lawsuit "lacks merit." But it also folded in references to the water district measure, which would create a new seven-member board to control the Portland Water Bureau and Bureau of Environmental Services.
"The high-powered corporate lobbyist behind this lawsuit also represents the chief petitioners in a corporate-funded ballot measure to strip the City of its Environmental Services and Water bureaus," the release said.
On February 19, Secretary of State elections staffer Alana Cox sent Haynes a inquiry letter about the release. It asked, among other things, if Haynes had written the document, who else was involved, and for background on the quote from Hales.
Haynes said officials decided to send out the release on February 3, in a meeting involving Fish, BES Director Dean Marriott, water bureau Director David Shaff, Hales aide Jackie Dingfelder, staffers in Fish's office and two city attorneys. The topic of the release was to be the court case, he said.
"After I drafted the press release on Feb. 8, 2014, City Attorney Tracy Reeve and Deputy City Attorney Terry Thatcher read the press release in a draft form and in a final draft form, and offered legal advice regarding the law suit, which I adopted," Haynes wrote. "Commissioner Fish also read the press release and offered wording advice, which I adopted."
Haynes says he wrote the release on February 8, a Saturday, "when City Hall and city offices were closed because of snow and freezing rain."
Asked if he was "directed" to issue the release, Haynes said no. "I offered to write the press release. Mayor Hales was in South Africa at an environmental conference."
Two of Cox's five questions centered around the Hales' quote, which comprised the sixth paragraph of the press release. Was Haynes directed to include it? It what context was it made?
"The topic of the press release—and paragraph 6—is the law suit against the City," Haynes wrote. "The people behind the law suit also are the people behind a ballot measure. The point of Paragraph 6 was to bring that to light."
Portland Police Association Daryl Turner has answered a jolly announcement late Friday that the Portland Police Bureau, as part of federal reforms and a new contract with the police union, was putting in place a new matrix meant to help the chief of police and his team mete out appropriate discipline for police misconduct.
In a statement to his nearly 1,000 rank-and-file members sent out yesterday, Turner accused Chief Mike Reese of publishing a discipline guide that hadn't been fully vetted by the union, despite talk of collaboration. Turner also says the bureau isn't mentioning something important about the guide: that it's merely advisory.
During bargaining and mediation sessions with the City, the PPA came to an agreement with the City regarding the use of an advisory discipline guide. The advisory discipline guide would be used primarily by the Police Review Board as an advisory tool for sustained allegations of misconduct when recommending discipline to the Chief. To memorialize the terms of this agreement, Mayor Hales and I signed a Letter of Agreement.
The two key provisions of the Letter of Agreement are:
1. that the discipline guide is an advisory tool, and
2. that the advisory discipline guide does not change the just cause discipline standard under the collective bargaining agreement.
During the past two weeks, the PPA and representatives from the Chief’s office have discussed changes that the PPB wishes to make to the advisory discipline guide. The PPA opposed the changes. Those issues had not been resolved when, on Friday, the Chief sent a Bureau wide email without further conversation with the PPA regarding the PPB’s implementation of the advisory discipline guide, which includes provisions that the PPA opposes.
Turner, in an interview, said he wouldn't get into details about differences, because he expects further discussions with the city on the guide. But he did repeatedly mention how important he thought the advisory nature of the guide is.
"It doesn't override our collective bargaining agreement," Turner says.
The full statement is after the jump.
Police Chief Mike Reese has been pushing back hard against a controversial city council staffing study that suggested, as a worst-case scenario, cutting 23 police command positions as a way to save the city $2.5 million.
The study, overseen by Commissioners Steve Novick and Nick Fish, looked at supervisor and employee ratios in the city's workforce, a statistic also known (wonkily) as the city's "span of control"—but focused heavily on the Portland Police Bureau. It was first published yesterday, by the Mercury, though it's been a touchy subject in city hall and in the Portland Police Bureau for several weeks.
Reese, in a memo (pdf) sent to Novick and Fish last Friday, said he wanted to wait for a separate, independent, and police-focused staffing study before making any changes. That study, he wrote, is close to starting—with a contractor about to hired. The chief didn't pull punches when warning what would happen if the city council moved forward on the current report before then. He says it would imperil federally mandated reforms currently sitting in front of a federal judge.
Several Bureau sworn command positions require command officers due to the experience, scope and complexity of the positions, and the need to provide executive-level oversight and accountability. Examples of such positions include (but are not limited to): the Operations Branch Executive Officer, the Professional Standards Lieutenant and the Force Inspector. The nature of this work is critical in our law enforcement agency. The study’s proposed reductions in supervisory positions will severely impact accountability and oversight of Bureau operations.
The elimination or demotion of supervisory positions in the City’s span of control study is also directly counter to several of the recommendations in the settlement agreement between the City and the DOJ. A key focus area of the DOJ agreement is increased oversight and accountability.
Reese's memo was released today by Mayor Charlie Hales' office, following reports on the staffing study by the Mercury and then the Portland Tribune. Reese appears to have some backing from the mayor, who oversees the police bureau as police commissioner. A statement released by Hales' spokesman, Dana Haynes, thanked Fish and Novick for the report. But it also thanked Reese for providing such a detailed response. And, most importantly, it included the following line:
Obviously, more debate is called for in regards to the Portland Police Bureau and other bureaus as well.
Lawmakers in Crimea, the autonomous peninsula in Ukraine currently hosting a large amount of Russian troops, unanimously approved a March 16 referendum on whether the Russian-leaning province should switch countries. They claim it's an answer to "lawlessness" in Kiev, Ukraine's capital. The vote comes amid a European Union summit on Ukraine and what to do about it, and a move by the White House to impose visa restrictions on Russian officials.
Funny fact! Crimea was a part of Russia for all but the last 60 years, when Nikita Kruschev rather bureaucratically transferred it to Ukraine. It looms large in Russian history and in its cultural memories. Crimea's largest city, Sevastopol, was a Russian naval port for 200 hundred years. The unrest in Kiev cave Crimean partisans their chance to rewrite the past.
NATO forces, working with Afghan soldiers, killed five of them in a horrific "friendly-fire" airstrike.
The CIA spied on Congress? The spy agency's inspector general is investigating claims its operatives searched Senate intelligence committee computers to see who was reading up on what was supposed to be an internal review of the CIA's interrogation policy. The CIA's director has angrily denounced the claims as "spurious."
A journalist facing several (intimidating) federal charges after he republished a hyperlink containing hacked email addresses and other data from a government security contractor saw many of his more serious charges mysteriously dropped yesterday.
Someone found the fellow who pretty much invented Bitcoin. But he really didn't want to talk about it.
In Massachusetts, the state's supreme court ruled, it's currently legal to take nonconsensual upskirt photos on public transit or in other public places that have surveillance.
The people behind the SAT have put forward a sweeping overhaul of the near-ubiquitous college application test—realizing that, maybe, you know, it's not been as useful for helping low-income kids.
It's been harder and harder getting the kids interested in Japanese organized crime these days. Yakuza membership is reputedly at an all-time low.
Three third-graders caught smoking pot in their California elementary school's bathroom somehow scored their very own pot pipe.
Justin Bieber's penis will be blurred out of a Miami Beach jail video before it's made public under Florida's public records law (which is way better than Oregon's).
THE ICE CAPS REALLY ARE MELTING. AND TINY TIM IS A GODDAMNED PROPHET.
Police Chief Mike Reese was pointedly clear when he wrote the Citizen Review Committee—a volunteer panel tasked with handling police misconduct appeals—and said he wouldn't overturn a discipline finding that cleared a controversial cop accused of menacing his ex-wife and her new husband.
The letter, sent January 23, was first reported by the Mercury last month. Reese wrote, in part:
I found no evidence that the basis of the recommended finding was unreasonable and find that there is sufficient evidence in the record for a reasonable fact finder to come to a finding of UNPROVEN WITH A DEBRIEFING.
The cop in question, Jason Lobaugh, has a bit of a checkered history. His ex-wife, Laurie Grant, accused him, while off-duty, of instigating three confrontations over a six-week span in late 2012 as part of a custody dispute. Among the accusations: he called her new husband a "little bitch." Lobaugh, however, was cleared by his commander of violating the bureau's rules on professionalism. The CRC disagreed and urged Reese to overturn that ruling.
That impasse, with the chief refusing a unanimous vote by the CRC, was supposed to head back to the panel during a hearing tonight. And if the CRC and chief couldn't come to a decision, the appeal would head to the city council for a decision. (That's only happened once. Ever. In 2003. According to Portland Copwatch, that case saw the council split the difference and opt for an "unproven" finding.) But the chief, it was announced tonight, has asked for more time before a final decision is issued. Faced with that council hearing, Reese is thinking of changing his mind.
"Chief Reese reconsidered that and asked for additional time to think bout the committee's findings and look at some other material," said Jamie Troy, the CRC's chairman.
Constantin Severe, the city's Independent Police Review director, said he expects a decision in April, in time for the CRC's next scheduled meeting.
"That would be my expectation," Severe says. "All of these cases have clocks on them. And we can't have it staying in stasis. I've expressed my concern that this case cannot be hiatus on a longterm basis."
A potentially controversial report examining notably low supervisor/employee ratios across the city of Portland's workforce—part of an ongoing effort to further scrub the city's budget for extra cash—offers some potentially bitter medicine for the Portland Police Bureau, the Mercury has learned.
According to the report (pdf), obtained this afternoon via a public records request, the city could save as much as $2.5 million, largely by eliminating 23 police bureau command positions and reclassifying six others. The report, drafted by Commissioners Nick Fish and Steve Novick, requires the bureau to come up with a "position-specific response," and projected savings, by April 1.
The findings in the report suggest much of that culling would be among the bureau's lieutenants and captains, which it says are a hotbed of "redundancy." At issue is what's called the city's "span of control," its ratio of supervisors to workers. The report focused on supervisors with three or fewer employees—finding several in the police bureau. It also makes clear, however, that the bureau wasn't much interested in having a discussion about how to increase its "span of control," choosing instead to defend the status quo.
Overall savings could be lower—down to just $500,000—under a best-case scenario that swaps 22 command positions for non-supervisory police officer jobs. Sergeant Pete Simpson, the bureau's lead spokesman, said the bureau will work to provide an answer in time for April 1 but that he wasn't sure yet about the timeline and who was heading it up.
The span of control study follows a note approved by the council during last year's budget deliberations. It's unclear where the rest of the council might land. And that's no small calculation, because this isn't just about dollars and positions. There's an element of politics—even if city sources would argue the report and its political implications are separate.
This finding lands near the end of a push by Mayor Charlie Hales to decertify the union that represents police commanders, captains, and lieutenants, the Portland Police Commanding Officers Association (PPCOA). Hales' argument is that supervisors shouldn't be allowed to form a bargaining unit.
Taking away nearly 30 positions, even if those officers are reassigned under the report's best-case scenario, would significantly hamstring the PPCOA, even if the state Employment Relations Board sticks up for it. At any given time, with vacancies and other issues, that union has maybe 50 members at best.
One of the PPCOA's executive officers, Central Precinct Commander Bob Day, met with Hales for an hour last week on union business. That meeting came while Fish and Novick's offices were putting the finishing touches on this report. Messages left for Day and the union's president, Training Captain Bryan Parman, have not been returned. Hales' spokesman, Dana Haynes, says he hasn't yet had a chance to talk to his boss about the report and its implications.
With less than a week to go before the filing deadline, it was looking like City Commissioner Dan Saltzman was going to walk into a historic fifth term without even a cursory vote come this May.
Sitting on a decent-but-not-formidable war chest provided by developers and big businesses, the dean of the Portland City Council had managed to avoid an actual challenger—even though his colleague one office over, Nick Fish, has attracted two.
No more! Joe Meyer, an activist and familiar voice on KBOO (he just did the station's "Mo Is Shy" docudrama on the Pioneer Courthouse Square bomb plot trial), announced yesterday that he's launched a campaign website and plans to file for Saltzman's seat. (He hasn't done it yet, according to the city's elections website.)
Meyer doesn't mention Saltzman by name. But according to the statement he sent out, he and Saltzman clearly disagree on one major subject: the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force and Portland's role in the thing. Saltzman has been a major force for working more closely with the JTTF, coming off of the FBI-facilitated courthouse bomb plot.
I like Meyer, having gotten to know him at various rallies, trials, city council meetings, and city budget forums. He's everywhere. But this is where I also responsibly point out that it's difficult even for a well-connected, deep-pocketed challenger to knock off an incumbent in city hall. (See Mary Nolan vs. Amanda Fritz.) But maybe this will be cause for Saltzman to show up for some candidate forums, and the JTTF stuff will give them something good to talk about.
Here's Meyer's full statement.
I am a husband and a dad, a neighbor and a friend, a physicist by training and a volunteer by vocation.
I've been a volunteer KBOO radio reporter for the past three years and produced public affairs shows on issues important to Portland including coal transport, fluoride, open reservoirs, and the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Through this volunteer work I have met hundreds of Portlanders and learned from them about the issues most pressing on City Hall.
My campaign's core value is 'freedom'. My freedom depends on my neighbor's freedom—our mutual freedoms depend on the protection of law and the persons elected to protect those laws.
My campaign for Portland City Commissioner #3 calls for a new relationship between sovereign citizens and City Hall.
I was an activist before I was a reporter and testified in front of council many times. This, combined with my City Hall reporting made it pretty obvious that important decisions are made by a very few people and then marketed to the public.
I reported and reported and reported and the people said, 'We know that! So, what's the news.'"
The fate of Pendleton's the Portland Collection—which, in case you somehow missed it, is the local heritage brand's very well received contemporary collection, and which has also served as an arguably crucial driver of interest in regional apparel production—has been in question for months now. The original trio of designers tapped to work on it—Church + State's Rachel Turk and Nathaniel Crissman, and John Blasioli—stepped down from the line late in 2013, and when it was announced shortly thereafter that former hometown champ Gretchen Jones (who moved to New York to pursue her eponymous line after winning Project Runway in 2010) had been hired by the company, it seemed likely that she might be an important part of the Portland Collection's future.
And now that Jones and Pendleton have had a chance to get to know each other, the mystery has been answered, with what's essentially a "yes and no" as to whether she will take over:
Pendleton Woolen Mills, a globally celebrated American lifestyle brand headquartered in Portland, Ore., is taking its contemporary brand, The Portland Collection, in a new direction. Gretchen Jones has been named the lead designer charged with evolving the look and character of Pendleton’s new contemporary line, PENDLETON COLLECTION.
So they're keeping a contemporary line, but they're re-branding it, which I think is appropriate. Another key detail is that this Pendleton Collection is women's apparel only—a disappointment to TPC's male fans, no doubt, but reflective of Jones' background and experience as a designer who only worked in womenswear. As for when the new venture is set to arrive, it's due to launch for Fall 2015.
GOOD MORNING, BLOGTOWN! Now this type of shit, happens all the time. You got to get yours, but fool, I gotta get mine. LET'S GO TO PRESS.
As the West threatens to level tough sanctions against Russia for their threatened military intervention in Kiev, Russia responds with a brisk, "Fuck you, then we're going to confiscate assets from US and European companies! And in addition, NYAAAH."
Today in You Gotta Be Fucking Kidding Me: Despite doing a Ukrainian reach around, Russian President Vladimir Putin is still on the list of Nobel Peace Prize nominees.
That being said, Putin backs off slightly—but only slightly—from his earlier comments, now saying while Russia is not currently planning on an invasion, they still retain the right to do so.
Unfortunately, Putin's so-called "calming" words haven't had much effect in the Ukraine where many citizens now see the Russians as their enemies for life.
Hillary Clinton compares Putin to Hitler—but she explains why, and for once, that analogy isn't too far off.
The former IRS official who previously apologized for her department using extra scrutiny on the Tea Party refuses to answer questions in a congressional hearing, pissing off Republicans to no end.
The Kentucky Attorney General says he will not appeal a judge's ruling that said the state must recognize same-sex marriages from other states. In response, Snuffy Smith shouted, "Maw! Git me mah squirrel rifle! These gays are worse than the revenooers!"
While the Pope still thinks gay marriage is an abomination, he seems to be softening on the idea of civil unions. At least some civil unions. And only under very, very specific circumstances. Progress?
A transgender teen who told police that he had been beaten and sexually assaulted in his high school bathroom, takes back his story—and things just get more sad from there.
Florida parents are arrested for allegedly abandoning their children in the woods. (Of course Twitter's "Florida Man" is married!)
Another possible unintended victim of global warming? GUACAMOLE. PANIC!!!!
In case you missed it, Portland's Independent Police Review (IPR) is planning a “review of the Portland Police Bureau’s policies and procedures that relate to its interactions with hiphop music events and venues." Yes, it has gotten that bad.
Now here's what's going on in your neck of the woods: Rainy, rainy, briefly dry! Then rainy, rainy again.
And finally, at first I was like... "This is the dumbest fitness class ever." And then I was like... "WHERE DO I SIGN UP FOR THE MOST AWESOME FITNESS CLASS EVER?!?"
Multnomah County is among the defendants in a pair of federal lawsuits challenging Oregon's 2004 ban on same-sex marriage. Right now, because of that ban, county officials have a policy of saying no to any and all same-sex couples seeking a marriage license.
But just like the attorney general's office—which announced last month that it won't defend the state's own ban on the grounds it violates the federal constitution—county officials today put their own opposition to the ban on record (pdf)
Of course, as noted in that legal filing (pdf), it was the county's decision to start recognizing same-sex marriages in 2004 that helped lead to the state's prohibition. It says it really, really, really wants to start doing that again.
Fallout from a police action during a highly anticipated hip-hop show Saturday at the Blue Monk Bar was felt immediately when Illmaculate, the last performer on the bill, refused to take the stage and promised he’d never perform in Portland again.
I will not perform in this city as long as the blatant targeting of black culture and minorities congregating is acceptable common practice.
— illmaculate (@illmaculate) March 2, 2014
But days later, the fallout is still piling up. Even at city hall.
Just before Illmaculate (real name Gregory Poe) appeared alongside a police spokesman on OPB’s Think Out Loud to talk about what's generally seen as an uneasy relationship between the city's cops and hip-hop scene, the city’s Independent Police Review (IPR) Division made an announcement of its own.
The agency, whose civilian investigators normally react to misconduct complaints, said it's planning an independent “review of the Portland Police Bureau’s policies and procedures that relate to its interactions with hip-hop music events and venues. IPR staff members will conduct interviews with members of the community, music industry, and the Police Bureau. When IPR’s review is complete, it will issue a public report.”
Mayor Charlie Hales’ office followed with a statement of its own, as reported by the Skanner, saying this issue was already on Hales’ radar screen and will remain there.
Members of the mayor’s staff have been working on this topic for some time now, and met with industry representatives on Monday for our own education and information gathering, in an effort to ensure that all fans have an opportunity to enjoy any music in a safe, comfortable atmosphere. Mayor Hales supports a review of police procedures in this area, which was announced today by the Independent Police Review.
All of this comes after the bureau acknowledged, to reporters on Monday and again on OPB this afternoon, that the whole thing at the Blue Monk started because gang officers were worried about the performer leading off the bill: Mikey Vegaz. Sergeant Pete Simpson says Vegaz (real name Eddie Bynum Jr.) is "known" to members of the bureau's Gang Enforcement Team and was inside a recording studio that was the target of a gang-related shooting last month.
“I’m not a gang member,” Vegaz told the Oregonian in a story posted yesterday. “Do I have ties to gangs because I was born and raised in Northeast Portland? Are they saying because I’m black I have gang ties?”
It's official: Bike share isn't coming to Portland this year.
Portland Bureau of Transportation officials announced today that a series of supply shake-ups has persuaded the city not to press forward with a long-awaited 750 bike system as planned. The revelation marks the second year PBOT's had to delay a bike share system. The original launch date was set for spring 2013.
The official announcement comes a day after Commissioner Steve Novick—in charge of PBOT—told the Oregonian he's "uncertain as all get out" about the project's roll out date.
That the system is going to be delayed was already a foregone conclusion (one we've explored several times). The equipment the city now hopes to purchase for bike share won't even be available until this summer, and a system takes month to set up.
But Alta Bicycle Share, which Portland tapped to run the project, has said it can get a system off the ground this year. PBOT's message today: Don't rush it.
"We’ve been trying to think through where we’re at at the supply chain and where that fits in with the timing of a launch," said Dylan Rivera, a PBOT spokesman.
This time around, the problem isn't necessarily sponsorship funding, which officials say delayed a launch last year. Novick and others say the city's very close to announcing a mult-million dollar deal that would pay for the system—originally slated to cost around $5 million to purchase and run for five years, but now with more-uncertain costs attached.
The big issue now is the bankruptcy filing in January of Public Bike Systems Company (PBSC, also known as Bixi), the Canadian firm slated to supply a bike share system. In the wake of that filing, Alta scrambled to put together a deal with 8D Technologies, another Canadian company with a long history of developing software for bike share systems. The problem: 8D's never manufactured the kiosks or docking stations bike share relies on.
The city says it wants to be certain that equipment is functional and bug-free, rather than rushing a rollout.
"Our first and foremost piece of it is having a very high level of comfort with the product that’s being provided," said Steve Hoyt-McBeth, project manager at PBOT.
There's also a weather component. PBOT has been keen to launch bike share in the spring or early summer, when it would benefit from months of sun and Portland's annual influx of tourists. That's not going to be possible this year.
In a phone interview prior to the city's announcement to the Mercury, Alta Bicycle Share Vice President Mia Birk said she hadn't heard whether the city would want to delay rollout.
"The city’s in the driver’s seat in the schedule at this point," she said. Asked about the 8D equipment, Birk said it's "ready for orders to be placed. Place an order now and the kiosk and the bikes will be ready for summer launches." But Birk said firm cost estimates for the system aren't yet available, and Alta doesn't even know yet what kind of bikes it will purchase.
In another bit of news, Birk says Alta is still considering purchasing a portion of PBSC when it's broken up during bankruptcy proceedings. According to reports, Alta had considered purchasing the company before it declared bankruptcy, but decided its financial situation was too dire.
So according to Vladimir Putin, the Russian troops lining Crimean streets are not Russian, opposition protestors who overthrew Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich were an "orgy" of radicals and Nazi sympathizers who stationed snipers to shoot crowds and foment rage, and Russia has no plans to open fire on Ukrainian citizens... unless it is to protect Ukrainian citizens. Read all about Putin's first public comments since Russian troops insidiously oozed into the Crimean Peninsula last week.
You know what Putin's also probably got a wry take on? Secretary of State John Kerry is in Kiev, pledging $1 billion in aid and assistance that will help the nascent government there avert economic collapse.
AND OH NO: Adidas and Nike could suffer weaker sales because the Ukrainian people are busy wondering if they'll remain a sovereign nation and if they'll be shot by foreign troops.
A federal judge has ruled Kentucky must honor same-sex marriages carried out in other states. You think Kentucky's going to fight that ruling? Hell YES Kentucky's going to fight that ruling.
How do you combat the oft-cited ills of gentrification? The NYT says more and more cities are spurning some of the attendant property tax bonanzas in favor of keeping around long-time residents.
One more question. How extensive has gentrification in Portland been? Well, we're not as newly posh as Chicago or the sparkling condos up in Seattle, but, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, we're the eighth-most gentrified city in the US. If we only had one more Trader Joe's...
California's cruel industrial egg production is less-cruel than other states' industrial egg production. And those other states don't want to have to be any less cruel when it comes to producing their blood eggs.
That dude who delivered pizzas to the Oscars the other night a) had no idea he was going to be delivering pizzas to the Oscars and b) got a $1,000 tip, courtesy of Brad Pitt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and the like. He says it's the "American dream".......
Everyone keeps posting these stories about how RadioShack is closing 1,100 stores, and not ONE of them evinces even a little surprise that RadioShack still has 1,100 stores to close.
At least Daylight Savings Time is around the corner. It's my favorite.
LEARN ABOUT MULE PURCHASES, because I have no funny, whimsical, or bizarre videos to post.
In a good sign he's hardly planning to rubber-stamp Portland's police reform settlement agreement with the US Department of Justice, US District Court Judge Michael Simon on Friday submitted a detailed—and difficult—list of questions to the four main parties in the case: the city, the feds, the Portland Police Association, and the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform.
Read together, they show Simon was listening intently to outraged community members during a day-and-a-half hearing last month on whether the proposed settlement is fair and reasonable. And they show he's serious about getting the city, the feds, and the police union to consider making changes in light of that testimony. Simon—tasked with deciding either to approve or reject the deal—was politely rebuffed at the end of that so-called "fairness" hearing when he asked if either of those parties maybe needed some time to prepare, submit, and haggle over amendments.
It's possible if he doesn't like the answers he's looking for, or if his questioning doesn't produce changes, he'll reject the deal. In 13 questions entered into the court file Friday, Simon touched on some of the most controversial flashpoints in the agreement.
He reacted to the revelation that planned mental health crisis centers are merely "aspirational," a subject the Mercury explored after the hearing. He's asked the parties to explain why the volunteer board that hears appeals in police misconduct cases will only have 21 days to do its work.
He's probing for creative ways to expand his own oversight of the deal, provided he accepts it. He wants to know why officers haven't be required to wear body cameras. He also has asked for an explanation of why police officers need 48 hours, in cases when criminal charges aren't pending, to discuss a force incident detectives as part of an internal review.
Dan Handelman of Portland Copwatch says he sees the judge's questions as a means of triple-checking with the city, police union, and feds about whether they really and truly don't want to seek a few changes that might address community concerns.
"He's asking them, 'are you sure?'" Handelman says. We really want to see those changes made. But it's nice he's going to at least force them to respond."
It's a short document, which you can review here (pdf), and it's worth looking at. When the parties head back to court later this month, the answers could be a decent roadmap to his decision.
Russian assets dries up after President Vladimir Putin’s military forces took over parts of neighboring Ukraine. The ruble sank 1.8 percent against the dollar today, more than any other currency tracked by Bloomberg, while the benchmark Micex stock index plunged more than 11 percent and benchmark bond yields soared.... The rout today extends the ruble’s slide this year to 10 percent, a selloff exacerbated by the upheaval in Ukraine that led to the ouster of Putin’s ally last month and Russia’s incursion into the Crimea peninsula over the weekend.
We promise not to obsessively chronicle every campaign contribution as May's primary election draws near, but this is a biggie.
Among foes of a proposal to hand control of Portland's sewer/water systems to a new elected board, the Audubon Society of Portland has been the most vocal. And the wildlife group isn't stopping at rhetoric.
Audubon has kicked in $10,000 to the campaign fighting the "Portland Public Water District," which would assume control of the Portland Water Bureau and Bureau of Environmental Services if approved by voters in May. The contribution ties one from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 189 as the opposition campaign's largest cash infusion to-date (it apparently began raising funds in mid-February).
Since the campaign for a seven-member utility district began in July, Audubon Conservation Director Bob Sallinger has been a chief critic—even filing complaints with the Oregon Secretary of State's Office after he said signature gatherers for the effort were spreading lies. Those complaints, and others like them, were eventually tossed when they couldn't be substantiated.
Proponents of the new district say it will rein in poorly reasoned expenditures (and their attendant rate increases) that have marked city hall's stewardship. They point most-frequently to projects like the Portland Water House and the purchase of the Rose Festival Building as places we could have saved, but it's other projects—like the massive Big Pipe, which keeps sewage from seeping into the Willamette River during rainy periods—that have most-influenced utility bills.
Sallinger and others (Mayor Charlie Hales is at the head of the opposition campaign) paint the proposed district as an attempt by industrial interests to hold out-size sway over their own utility rates. Big ratepayers Siltronic and Portland Bottling Company, along with property management groups, have primarily funded the water district campaign.
Luck-One delivered an excellent homecoming set without incident, but due to the police presence, headliner Illmaculate opted not to perform. He made an announcement to the crowd that he refused to continue while the police were harassing the venue and its patrons. Later that night he tweeted:
I will not perform in this city as long as the blatant targeting of black culture and minorities congregating is acceptable common practice.
— illmaculate (@illmaculate) March 2, 2014
Mercury contributor Ryan Feigh was at the show on Saturday, although due to overwhelming police presence, he left after Luck-One's set. Here is his account of the night.
Showed up at 9:30, ran into some friends and made small talk. Around 10 o' clock Mikey Vegaz went on. Never seen him before, so I grabbed a drink and one of the many open seats. Around 11, Luck-One went on, and I got another drink and moved up to by the front of the stage. Amazing set. Not sure how long Luck's set was, but after it was finished I went to return my empty glass to the bar.
GOOD MORNING, BLOGTOWN! Hear me banging down these back streets, bumpin' Blackstreet, treated like an athlete. LET'S GO TO PRESS.
After President Putin informed the world that it's his right to invade the Ukraine, a Russian fleet reportedly issues a terrifying ultimatum to Ukrainian forces in Crimia; surrender by 5 am on Tuesday, or the "real assault" begins. (That sound you hear is Putin rubbing his hands together greedily.)
So what do the citizens of Russia think about this idea? Well, according to the thousands of pro-invasion marchers on the streets, they're pretty okay with it.
President Obama continues to consider methods to keep Putin from seizing more Ukrainian territory, and unsurprisingly is getting terrible advice from Republicans—who, I think we all can assume—have ulterior motives.
British foreign secretary William Hague joins Obama and other world leaders in advising the ever encroaching Putin to back the eff off.
Besides a potential Russian invasion, there are other reasons why global leaders are nervous about the crisis in the Ukraine: primarily $$$$$$$$.
At the Oscars, 12 Years a Slave takes home "best picture" while "best actress and actor" goes to Cate Blanchett and... McCONAUGHEY! But perhaps the biggest winner of the night? SELFIES. Check out all the winners here, and if you missed Elinor Joneser's fun-time live blog, relive the hilarity here.
The Supremes give the finger to towns in Texas and Pennsylvania who are trying to revive prior laws that cracked down on illegal immigrants.
The case of South African amputee athlete Oscar Pistorius (accused of killing his model girlfriend) continues, with creepy testimony from a neighbor who heard "bloodcurdling screams" and "gunshots" on the night of the murder.
Disney cuts their financial support to the Boy Scouts of America, because they still ban gay adult leaders.
A loud-mouthed daughter blabs about her dad's anti-discrimination settlement on Facebook (saying specifically that the defendants can "SUCK IT"), aaaand loses him $80,000. Go to your room, young lady!
R.I.P. free checking at major banks—but it's still alive and well at credit unions, though!
Locally, rapper Illmaculate walks out of a performance at SE's Blue Monk after the police blocks off street access and limited entry. The Fire Marshall cited overcrowding, while the rapper thought otherwise:
I will not perform in this city as long as the blatant targeting of black culture and minorities congregating is acceptable common practice.— illmaculate (@illmaculate) March 2, 2014
Now here's what's going on in your neck of the woods: Rain, rain, rain, until further notice, with highs in the mid-50s.
And finally, one of the Oscar highlights you'll be hearing about all day is how John Travolta BUTCHERED his introduction for best song nominee Idina Menzel. Or as he put it, "Adele Dazim!" Ehhhh... close enough.
Why's this post so late today? How could I possibly justify publishing a morning news digest in the afternoon? Well I got a late start, for one. And I needed a burrito. I'm actually eating that burrito right now. Al pastor. Decent, but hardly transcendent.
This situation in Ukraine, it's bad business. Now the Russian military has mobilized in Crimea and elsewhere, Ukrainian soldiers have been told to open fire if necessary, and President Obama has warned "there will be costs."
That last bit? Not all that clear what it means. As the NYT notes: "The United States has few palatable options for imposing such costs, and recent history has shown that when it considers its interests at stake, Russia has been willing to absorb any such fallout."
A look at Oregon's packed out classrooms, and why students are still largely able to get a decent education among 30 of their peers.
You should read the Portland Tribune's look at the city's much debated bioswales, and whether or not they're worth the money (answer: yup).
As the Port of Portland braces for news of its fate (its largest shipping partner is considering pulling out) Gov. John Kitzhaber wants to figure out why the city's container terminal is so painfully sluggish.
A truly terrifying scene in China, where knife-wielding attackers descended on a train station, killing nearly 30 people and injuring more than 100 others.
You're being cruelly punished for yesterday's amazing weather.
Yes, Alison posted this yesterday. And, yes, I messed up by posting an errant link to Twitter. Watch it.
But Mubarak—after pleading not guilty to charges of interfering with a peace officer and criminal trespass—promptly told reporters outside court that he had other plans: "Of course," he told reporters when asked if he'd ignore the order by Judge John Wittmayer. Mubarak says he and other homelessness advocates aren't done helping some of the people who've been sleeping under the bridge in recent weeks.
"That's my job," he says. "They're trying to stop me."
Mubarak also made a disquieting accusation about what happened after he was taken into custody. When told he wouldn't sign papers under his birth name, Keith Jackson, because he changed his name to Ibrahim Mubarak upon converting to Islam several years ago, he said officers mocked him and put him in a small, cold holding cell until he changed his mind.
"When I told them that's not my name, they told me they're not going to call me what Ali Baba named me," Mubarak says, "that they'd call me what my mama called me. I stayed in there for four hours."
In court, he was called under his birth name, but referred to throughout as Mr. Mubarak. His case came up after several other misdemeanors, mostly for charges like driving under the influence and shoplifting.
Mubarak says conditions for the people sleeping beneath the bridge have been rougher and rougher over the past few weeks. Guards and police officers have been moving people off the parking lot and onto sidewalks, and then warning people about trespassing arrests, or worse, if they get up in the night to use the bathroom and set foot on the U of O lot again. He says people who cops and guards don't see as homeless have been allowed to walk through at the same time, however.
"I was irritating her by standing my ground" last night, Mubarak says of the officer who ordered him arrested. "I'm going to fight this case."
The Russians are coming? Two airports in Ukraine's Russian-leaning Crimea region, and some other facilities, have now come under the provenance of Russian military forces. And, at the same time? Russia's Duma has taken up legislation that would dramatically simplify the country's annexation process... possibly with an eye on Crimea. Meanwhile, Ukraine's ousted president held a press conference in Russia saying he kinda/sorta thinks his old job might still be waiting for him. "Nobody ousted me," being the operative words, uttered in Russian.
An American Islamist in Pakistan has renewed an old question in our national debate over drone strikes in sovereign foreign countries: Can we kill our own citizens at will?
Uganda's dangerous homophobia—a new law punishing its LGBTQ population—has just cost it a $90 million World Bank loan meant to shore up its healthcare system.
Republicans say awful things about women... and guess what happens? Democrats running for office—more and more of them, curiously enough, women—see an amazing outpouring of campaign cash.
Bill Clinton's presidential papers are finally ready for release—giving Republican operatives plenty of time to sift through them in hopes of sinking Hillary Clinton's own presidential ambitions in 2016.
Winter weather has gently applied the brakes to the American economy, the Federal Reserve is guessing. Expected economic growth has been revised downward by almost an entire percentage point.
Kentucky hates it, but a judge says it's got to start recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states—one step before the judge rules on forcing Kentucky to start issuing its own same-sex marriage licenses.
President Barack Obama will direct the White House to address achievement and incarceration gaps among young men of color: "The group that is facing some of the most severe challenges in 21st century America is boys and young men of color. I believe the continuing struggles of so many boys and young men, the fact that too many of them are falling by the wayside, dropping out, unemployed, involved in negative behavior, going to jail, being profiled — this is a moral issue for our country.”
From the overnight files! It turns out almost everyone targeted in a nuisance crime program first detailed by the Mercury this week was homeless—and most of them, mistakenly, were cited because of sidewalk violations, not actual nuisance crimes. Then, early this morning, we reported that Right 2 Dream Too co-founder Ibrahim Mubarak was arrested beneath the Burnside Bridge while confronting cops during a sweep of the homeless.
They got ready to unzip the body bag, to embalm what they thought was the corpse of an old man. Then the "corpse" inside started trying to kick its way free.
TAKE IT AWAY, THE AMAZING CRISWELL!
Ibrahim Mubarak, a Right 2 Dream Too co-founder, was arrested last night and booked into the main jail after he and a group of advocates reportedly confronted police officers who'd been cracking down on some of the homeless folks who'd been gathering in recent weeks beneath the Burnside Bridge.
Mubarak—booked under his legal name, Keith Jackson—faces one count of interfering with a peace officer, a class A misdemeanor, and one count of trespassing.
Interfering with a peace officer is the same charge, ironically, that police and prosecutors are using to target nuisance crimes among the homeless, as the Mercury first reported. Because of the Mercury's reporting, the DA's office yesterday acknowledged that police had mistakenly been applying the program to sidewalk violations. A memo telling police of the mistake also went out yesterday.
News of Mubarak's arrest spread on Facebook through advocacy group Right 2 Survive. Trillium Shannon, a Right 2 Dream Too board member, posted that Mubarak and others had gone to the Burnside Bridge after hearing a steady drip of reports about police and private guards rousting the groups that had gathered under the bridge at night.
Update 7:30 AM: Here's a link to video showing Mubarak's arrest and what led to it. It shows private security guards taking pictures of people, for recordkeeping, saying they're working "for the city" as well as the University of Oregon. It shows an officer asking Mubarak for his name and then invoking the university's property rights by ordering everyone off the lot and onto the sidewalks. Mubarak was headed to the sidewalk, but slowly, and asking the officer to ask him nicely. And that's when she had enough—and he was put into handcuffs and taken to a police car. Someone at the end says "Call Amanda Fritz."
The arrest comes more than a week after Right 2 Dream Too, the homeless rest area at NW 4th and Burnside, won the right to spend $846,000 on a new location as part of a complicated land deal approved by city council. The group had agreed to drop a lawsuit over the city challenging code fines and move to the Pearl, but developers in the Pearl fought that agreement. It's their money that will finance Right 2 Dream Too's move somewhere else. Willamette Week was first to publish a preliminary list of more than 20 potential locations turned up by a city-paid real estate broker.
Mubarak was released from jail overnight and is due in court at 2 pm.
The Multnomah County District Attorney's office Thursday said a program intended to provide stiff penalties for certain nuisance crimes has frequently been misapplied in more than eight months of use, resulting in consequences for unintended targets.
The Chronic Offender Pilot Project—first revealed by the Mercury this week—was born in June with the intent of levying harsher-than-usual consequences for people who continually drink in public, urinate on the street, and litter. But, apparently due to an errant memo sent early on in the process, cops have largely used the project to target people sitting or sleeping on the sidewalk, not offenders committing the kind of aggressive offenses authorities said they intended to address.
"We were looking at behavior that was active, quality of life behavior," said Chuck Sparks, a chief deputy in the district attorney's office, in an interview in his office Thursday afternoon. "Not someone sleeping in a sleeping bag."
Instead, Sparks said 17 of 19 people who've been arrested under the COPP program were sanctioned for violations of the city's sidewalk use ordinance.
According to a review of those offenders, the prosecutor's office believes many are so-called "travelers" who descend on the city each summer. But prosecutors concede there's no scientific way to make that distinction.
Even without the missteps in enforcement, the project has proved controversial since the Mercury reported on it for this week's issue. Commissioner Amanda Fritz said she was "horrified and very disturbed" to learn of the policy—which uses an oft-criticized Oregon statute to leverage harsh penalties on crimes often associated with homelessness.
But that was COPP as prosecutors say they intended it to be used—for aggressive individuals who frequently litter, drink and urinate in public. Instead, the bulk of the enforcement appears to have been aimed at people using the sidewalks in a way that breaches city policy.
The problem, Sparks said, is that a memo [pdf] issued to the Portland Police Bureau early on in the project contained violations of the city's sidewalk policy as behavior to be targeted. The verbiage was inserted into the memo by a deputy district attorney Sparks supervises, he says.
"I think it was just an oversight," he said. "I should have caught it."
Originally posted on July 6, 2011
I've just ended a four-year relationship with a great man who didn't lay his kink cards on the table until way too late. He's your typical straight guy with a she-male fetish. Apparently, the dom pegging I provided wasn't enough, because I found a secret e-mail account where he was soliciting she-male escorts. I'm genuinely more pissed that he didn't tell me he wanted to explore this—real cock—and didn't give me the opportunity to make his fantasy fit into our life together. I can't tell if any of these escorts ever met with him, and in usual hetero-male fashion, he is mortified that I know about his darkest cock-fetish secret at all. So my question is this: As a GGG girlfriend who would honor just about any fantasy, is this secret search for a stranger the betrayal I think it is? I get it that our play isn't the same as the real thing, but isn't cheating cheating?
Willing But Not Enough
Remember how we explained yesterday that the mayor's campaign against a new water/sewer board was picking up cash? And that you should expect labor unions to add to that tally soon?
In the scant hours since, the Stop the Bull Run Takeover campaign has reported a sizable $10,000 donation from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 189, which represents hundreds of Portland Water Bureau staffers.
The donation, as I say, was expected. Joe Baessler, statewide political director for AFSCME, previously told the Mercury he was simply waiting for word on where to send a check.
The $10,000 is big, but it's still small potatoes compared to the multiple checks of equal or larger size cut by industrial ratepayers and property management groups for the Portland Public Water District campaign, which is proposing a new seven-member board to oversee the water bureau and Bureau of Environmental Services.
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