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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

At Least One Labor Union is Helping Pay for Steve Novick's Latest Street Fee Survey

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 5:25 PM

Taxpayers aren't the only ones footing the bill for a recent telephone survey that seemed to magically unearth support for higher income taxes to pay for Portland roads—a plan previously dismissed as unfeasible.

At least one local labor union confirms it's arranged to kick in $1,000 for the $16,500 survey commissioned by Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick last month. The City of Portland Professional Employees Association (COPPEA) had discussed helping fund the effort before Novick paid for the late June poll, says union rep Amy Bowles, but hadn't formalized the arrangement until this week. COPPEA represents 132 Portland Bureau of Transportation employees.

"As far as we’re concerned, it’s because we represent PBOT members," Bowles said on Monday. "We want a stable funding source."

Laborers' Local 483 has also talked about chipping in, though it's unclear if those arrangements have been made. Scott Gibson, former union president and current board member, says the labor group supports "looking at a more progressive way" to fund road improvements, so showed interest when Novick asked. He wasn't sure if anything ever came of it, though, and calls to the union's president and business manager have not been returned.

The June poll found fairly robust support for upping the income tax of wealthier Portlanders—those with salaries of $125,000 a year and up—by 1-3 percent. Roughly 60 percent of those surveyed supported such a plan, which officials said could raise more than $50 million a year. Participants were evenly split on another proposal that would have taxed Portlanders making under $100,000 by .25 percent.

Those findings run contrary to a $28,000 survey released by Novick this spring, which said 52 percent of Portlanders support an $8 a month flat fee to pay for the city's roads, and found far less support for tax increases.

Novick and Mayor Charlie Hales have used that first poll to justify putting forward a flat fee that would be assessed on many Portlanders, along with a sliding scale charge for businesses. But similar proposals have failed twice since 2000, and outrage quickly fomented around the "transportation user fee" proposal, causing Hales and Novick to regroup. Three separate workgroups are looking into the matter, and there are plans to have a proposal before city council later this year.

Neither Hales nor Novick has formally supported the tax-the-rich idea that suddenly seems so palatable to Portlanders.

The mayor "has said all along and continues to believe that he’s not a particular fan of a street fee," Hales' spokesman, Dana Haynes, tells the Mercury. "We haven't been able to find a better way to do it. If in fact we found that there's a better mechanism out there and it’s popular enough to pass, hallelujah."

Current estimates suggest Portland's roads would need more than $90 million in repairs each year for a decade to catch up on deferred maintenance.

Old Town Development Plan Still Mired in Controversy, Still Likely to Advance

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 3:58 PM

OTCT_Opportunity_Sites.jpg
  • Portland Development Commission

The immediate fate of an Old Town/Chinatown redevelopment plan that's opened up a rift among Portland city commissioners—with Amanda Fritz and Nick Fish still steadfastly refusing to back one of its primary cash streams—is one of delay.

After one last modification this morning, the council will now wait until August 6 before voting on the neighborhood-created, Portland Development Commission-led plan. That includes the notion of waiving infrastructure fees worth as much as $7 million in a bid to replace fallow parking lots with new construction of working-class housing.

For the record, that change proved just as contentious as the plan itself. Fritz and Fish both said no, presaging their overall votes.

As originally drafted, the plan would waive fees for housing developments aimed at renters making no more than Portland's median income, so long as landlords agreed to forgo rent hikes for 10 years. But after Commissioner Steve Novick fretted last week that landlords might dramatically hike rents in year 11, Mayor Charlie Hales devised a workaround. Rent controls would remain in place for five more years, Hales offered—with the caveat that landlords could set prices for renters making 120 percent of the city's median income.

"This is even worse than the original proposal," Fritz said before logging her decision.

But even with that hiccup, the plan seems destined to advance—shrugging off deep political and administrative divisions, revealed in council meetings and emails obtained by the Mercury, on its way to a cautious embrace from neighbors and, presumably, developers. (THIS HAS BEEN UPDATED, WITH SEVERAL MORE EMAILS, AFTER THE JUMP.)

Continue reading »

Man Witnesses Police Shooting, Expounds on Shrubbery

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 3:14 PM

Common hawthorn

This week's Mercury takes a brief look at witness testimony in the June 12 police shooting that left a 23-year-old homeless man dead. It's a tragic story, involving common themes of untreated mental illness and limited resources for combatting homelessness.

Then there's a chunk of the 171-page grand jury transcript that is bizarre and sort of delightful, despite the dour incident.

A man named Steven Garratt was driving west on SE Foster the morning of the shooting, en route to his wife's job at the Hawthorne Fred Meyer. While stopped at a traffic light at SE 104th, Garratt (and two other witnesses who gave testimony) saw Nicholas Glendon Davis fall backwards from two shots. So he turned his old Toyota dutifully around and waited to give a statement. The man is adamant Portland police officers Robert Brown and Matthew Nilsen were right to shoot Davis—who was wielding a large crowbar—and thinks Davis was "whacked out" according to the transcripts.

But mostly, Garratt wants to talk about hawthorn. As in the plant.

What begins as a passing reference to bushes off the Springwater Corridor quickly, weirdly (and not without some help from a grand juror or two) becomes a discussion of hawthorn's usefulness, its bad reputation, its constitution, and how Garratt has apparently become an object of disdain among contemporaries for making it into yule logs.

It wouldn't have fit—thematically or space-wise—into our story. So here, after the jump, are Steven Garratt's fulsome thoughts on hawthorn. The plant.

Continue reading »

The I, Anonymous Blog Quote o' the Day

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 2:59 PM

Uh-oh... trouble at home!

I hate your 20-year-old worthless stripper girlfriend. I hate the way she took over the spare bedroom and painted it all stupid (without asking). I hate the way her dog and "other neglected pets" live here now. I hate the way she can't attempt communications at anything less than a hundred decibels. I hate the way you pretend she doesn't live here and that's why she shouldn't have to pay any rent/bills. I hate the way she comes home every night at 4am, passes out and pisses on my couch.

Oh, but that's not all! Stick around for more of what this person hates (along with a shocking surprise ending that may shock and surprise you)! And while you're there, drop off your own rant or confession in the I, Anonymous Blog—it may shock or surprise you!

I_anon_banner.jpg

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This Week's Mercury Music Section

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 2:44 PM

MÖTLEY CRÜE Boys, boys, boys...
  • MÖTLEY CRÜE Boys, boys, boys...
It's a Mercury music section for these laughy, taffy days of Summer 2014: For the first time since The Buttoned-Down Mind of Bob Newhart topped the charts in 1960, a comedy album is at Billboard's number one. Congratulations, Weird Al Yankovic! You couldn't have done it without us, and those five videos we posted on the blog last week!

Mötley Crüe are hanging up their mousse and hep C for good. Didn't this, like, already happen?

• Wisconsin's Sugar Stems are making some of the best power-pop you've ever heard, and they're doing it on Portland's Dirtnap Records.

ARCO-PDX is murdering the classics. Not the way Spike Jones did, mind you—the Portland ensemble is reframing the way traditional classical and chamber music is performed, by updating it for the 21st century. About time.

• And a swim into the depths of Hundred Waters. Does their high-concept vapor warrant dipping more than a toe in?

• Plus! Andrew Jackson Jihad and the great Portland band Hemingway in this week's All-Ages Action!

• And in case you need coolin', we gotta whole lotta Up & Coming previews for the week.

Poster of the Week

Posted by Courtney Ferguson on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 2:29 PM

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Furturtle has a pretty steady gig doing posters for the annual Pickathon fest, and you can see why, with their complementary aesthetic.

Have a recommendation for next week? Email me!

Nathan Fielder Solves America's Underage Liquor Problem

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 1:59 PM

In last night's episode of the verrry funny Nathan for You, Nathan Fielder helped out a struggling liquor store owner by coming up with an ingenious way to bypass state law and sell booze to teenagers. But don't get your undies in a bunch! His plan is so perfect, everyone (including you) will walk away happy. Watch.

Expatriate on Esquire Network; Country Cat Chef in a Knife Fight

Posted by Andrea Damewood on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 1:29 PM

I have a friend with cable and a pool. I'm at her house a lot, as you might guess. When accessing her cable, I prefer to spend it watching strange new channels, among which is the Esquire Network.

It's everything you'd imagine it to be. List shows with hot chicks, terribly terrible guilt watching of douchey high end realtors, and lots about booze and food. Naturally, Portland was bound to make the airwaves at some point. But this mens' mag turned content churning cable station's got two Portland chefs featured big time in the next week.

First up, Expatriate appears on an episode of America's Best Bars for its inventive (and addicting) "drinking snacks." The always packed Concordia outpost is run by Kyle Linden Webster, who dominates the cocktail menu, while those tasty snacks are whipped up by his wife, Chef Naomi Pomeroy, whose Beast is just across the street. The best parts? Watching a not-so-recently bleach blonde Pomeroy dip corndogs and fry 'em up herself, and learning the recipes to two drinks, the Bourbon-based cocktails Ornament and Crime and Lost Weekend.

Show's on tonight at 10 pm, and here is a Portland Mercury exclusive (ooh-la-la) sneak peek!

Then, Country Cat's Chef Adam Sappington is promised to be in some sort of knife fight against Kansas City Chef Michael Smith. Check that out on Tuesday at 10 pm or catch a preview here. I'm pretty sure no one dies.

Tonight in Music

Posted by Courtney Ferguson on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 12:59 PM

The Chain Gang of 1974 (Via)
  • The Chain Gang of 1974 (Via)

Bunk BarThe Chain Gang of 1974, Empires, 10 pm, $10
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall–Music on Main Street: Brothers & Sister, 5 pm, free, all ages
Dig a Pony–Pussy Control: Holla & Oates, 9 pm
East End–Warm Hands, Some Ember, Body of Light, Windows, 9 pm
Gold Dust Meridian–Whiskey Wednesdays: Pete Krebs, Brent Martens, 8 pm
HabeshaTectonic Jelly Release Party: Ali Muhareb, Cody Berger, Horrible Present, 9 pm, free
Holocene–Fin De Cinema: The Color of Pomegranates: Valet, Dreamboat, Spectrum Control, 8:30 pm, $7
Kelly's Olympian–A Happy Death, Cadaver Dogs, Mister Tang, 9 pm, $5
Mississippi Studios–The Polyphonic Spree, Sarah Jaffe, Friends & Family, 9 pm, $18-20
White Eagle–Miss Massive Snowflake, LoveyDove, Nate Ashley, 8 pm, free
White Owl Social Club–Fast Times at White Owl High: Don & The Quixotes, Danny Corn, 7 pm

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Steven Wilber Is Portland's New Funniest Person

Posted by Alison Hallett on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 11:59 AM

From left to right: Adam Pasi, Steven Wilber, Gabe Dinger

Well, that was unexpected! Last night was Helium Comedy Club's annual Portland's Funniest Person contest. The final round is always hosted by the previous year's winner; last night's host, Shane Torres, said that 180 people signed up for the contest this year, which are winnowed down over about a month (based on audience response in the early rounds, then by judges in the semifinals) to the final 12.

I've always been skeptical of Funniest Person's popularity-contest element—comics are given a bunch of free tickets to the contest's first round and encouraged to pack the house with supportive friends, and it's always seemed very likely that good comics could get ousted by less-talented standups with louder friends. I gotta say, though: Last night's lineup was a very good, very representative snapshot of comedy in Portland right now. I've been a judge at the final rounds for three years running now, and this year's lineup was easily the best.

And everyone did great, some technical difficulties notwithstanding (WTF was up with that mic?). To name check a few people: Gabe Dinger, Amy Miller, Sean Jordan, and Bri Pruett had some of the best sets I've ever seen from them, Jacob Christopher keeps getting funnier, and I'll put $5 on Stephanie Purtle being one of the best comics in town in a few years.

I was one of about nine judges, which means I got to weigh on on the outcome, though my opinions were not particularly well represented in the final decision. The other judges included the wonderful Portland comic Susan Rice, who shared my dismay that Bri Pruett didn't place; Ground Kontrol's Art Santana; three hosts of the podcast Funemployment Radio; a Seattle comedy booker; a guy who produces a sports radio show and goes by "Pork Chop"*. (If you enjoy counting these sorts of things—I do—there were three women judges, and three of the twelve comics performing were women.)

Continue reading »

Adrienne Antonson

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Portland's summer of fashion rages on in part thanks to the Museum of Contemporary Craft's Fashioning Cascadia (up through Oct 11), and while Portland's own Cassie Ridgway's residency at the exhibit's "Safehouse" runs through this Saturday, I'm also looking ahead to the next visitor, Adrienne Antonson.

Antonson went from Charleston to Washington's Vashon Island (where she worked and lived at an alpaca farm) to Seattle to New York City, where she pursued work as a sculpture artist who mostly worked with human hair, and developed the State line of clothing, through which she coined the term "farm-to-hanger," which is used to describe a number of clothing lines now, including Oregon's own Imperial Collection.

For her time in Portland she'll be working on Fully Clothed, a project that "makes use of entirely salvaged garments and textiles to create an entire wardrobe" and presenting a (free) lecture at the museum on Thurs, July 31 at 6:30 pm. In the meantime I've been filling up on the eye candy of her past work, from her curious, delicate sculpture work to her clothing design, which runs the gamut from cute printed "britches" and other intimates to the types of big-pocketed smocks that seem to be on many designers' minds right now.

Made from human hair--Im impressed.
  • Adrienne Antonson
  • Made from human hair—I'm impressed.

Head over to MOD for a few favorite images of what happens when Antonson turns her attention to apparel.

Burger Week Profile: Double Barrel Tavern

Posted by Chris Onstad on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 10:59 AM

Double Barrel Tavern has the wooden guts and brass trimmings of a wild old bar, the sort of place The Right Stuff's desert flyboys would have tipped neat bourbon from thick-bottomed shots while women with Liberty curls waited semi-indifferently for them to die.

It is conveniently located on Division street, across from the Seven Corners New Seasons.

But enough about rough-shod bars and big-hearted neighborhood grocers. Here is the Double Barrel's Single Barrel burger, only $5 during our Burger Week blowout:

The $5 Double Barrel burger. Sidewinder fries and a frosty pound of beer not included.
  • Chris Onstad
  • The $5 Double Barrel burger. Sidewinder fries and a frosty pound of beer not included.

That's 1/3-lb of nicely-charred Painted Hills ground chuck, American cheese (unapologetically so), tender butter lettuce, bright and witty house-made pickles, a lovingly-griddled white bun, mayonnaise, mustard, and ketchup. This is a backyard picnic burger of the old school and it needs no dinkering around with. Try it with $2 sidewinder fries or onion rings, then stay for shuffleboard, some of the finest back patio cigarette smoking in the city, and the vibe of a bar that knows how to say "fuck you" to drinks that have basil in them.

Read all the Burger Week details here!

The Portland Mercury would like to thank our partners once again this year, world-class meat provider Nicky USA, Widmer Brothers Brewing, and Jim Beam Kentucky Fire!

SL Letter of the Day: Watch Safely

Posted by Dan Savage on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 10:44 AM

I am on vacation for all of July. But I've invited Mistress Matisse to handle the Savage Love letters of the day. Mistress Matisse is a writer, a dominatrix and a sex worker’s rights activist. She has a blog here and twitter here. The archive of her Stranger column, Control Tower, is here. Mistress Matisse will be answering your questions all week.

I'm a 27-year-old gay guy living in a medium-sized city, happily single. Over the last few years, I've had this recurring fantasy more and more: to watch a straight couple having sex. I started watching straight porn, and then I've ended up going to a few swingers clubs, where sometimes I end up being able to watch something hot and sometimes I don't, but I can never be really close up for reasons of etiquette. I've posted a couple of ads on CL, but those have never panned out to anything real, mostly because I'm not looking for a relationship, or to have sex with the woman... and also, perhaps, because there are lots of CL flakes.

I'm going on a business trip to a larger city next month, and it occurs to me that I could fulfill my fantasy in an ethical way by hiring sex workers. I've never paid for any sexual services before, but I have no moral qualm with it. However, no matter how much I Google, I can't figure out how I would find two escorts that would be willing to come together (pun intended). I can't find an individual escort who discusses the issue on his/her site and I can't find a discussion board or forum that mentions it. What should I do?

Wanna Watch Straight Sex

Mistress Matisse's response after the jump...

Continue reading »

Other Cities Keep Giving Us Their Fleas (Markets, That Is)

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 10:29 AM

As previously mentioned, the sustainably minded Urban Air Market—already well established in San Francisco, with over a decade of events spread over various neighborhoods—is making its first foray into the Portland market on August 2 and 3 at the Zidell Yards. In addition to pulling in some of their Bay Area vendors, they've tapped a growing roster of Portland makers, including Amira Jewelry, Appetite, Indie Ella, Sticks & Stones, Beckel Canvas, and so. many. more. They're also going to have art installations, food vendors, a beer garden, and a bunch of live bands.

If that weren't enough, the following weekend (Aug 9 and 10) sees the first-ever Portland version of the Renegade Craft Mini Market, which has 14 annual events in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, London, and—now—Portland. (They also seem to still be adding vendors; you can find out how to participate and see who's already on board here.)

It's been like Christmas in July around here with all the flea market/indie vendor events happening in town this summer. I'm excited by what seem to be lineups that miraculously aren't the same people over and over, intrigued by the ability to access out of towners without a plane ticket and a timing strategy, and optimistic about the prospect of Portland's small businesses making connections in other markets, too. I'm also curious to see if our population of flea/craft-market enthusiasts is strong enough to support the increased saturation. Needless to say, I hope so.

A massive crowd at another citys Renegade Craft event.
  • Renegade Craft
  • A massive crowd at another city's Renegade Craft event.

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Eating What the Chef's Eat

Posted by MJ Skegg on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 10:14 AM

Chefs Feed is the website that allows you to tap into where local chefs like to eat and, in particular, what their favorite dishes are. After doing some number crunching it appears that, from the 30-odd Portland chefs that have participated, the most popular dish is the Brussels sprout salad from Boke Bowl with six recommendations. Second place is the Khao Man Gai at Nong’s Khao Man Gai (five votes), while joint third is the radicchio insalate at Nostrana and the baked spaetzle at Victory bar (four votes each). The most popular establishments are Pok Pok and St Jack with five votes apiece. However, taking into account that chefs can nominate more than one thing and altogether there are 170-plus dishes from over 100 restaurants, it would seem that they like to spread the love all over town.

The site makes for an interesting resource (though it’s not clear how often the chefs update their choices); for example, anyone who’s a fan of Nong Poonsukwattan’s cooking might want to have Huong's Vietnamese Food, Kinara Thai Bistro and Frank’s Noodle House on their radar.

Some of the more interesting nominations: Joshua McFadden (Ava Gene’s) suggests anything on the menu at Ned Ludd; Jenn Louis (Lincoln, Sunshine Tavern) has three drinks on her list—cappuccino at Ristretto, margaritas as Por Que No and the bourbon selection at Sweet Hereafter; Ken Forkish (Ken’s Artisan Pizza/Bakery, Trifecta) apparently digs toast with butter and jam at Oui Presse. There are also a healthy number of shouts for Vietnamese food, as well as burgers, pizza and charcuterie.

After the jump... the full list of dishes that get more than two votes:

Continue reading »

The U.K. Gives Up on Online Piracy

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 9:59 AM

First, the greatest anti-piracy ad of all time, forever, in the universe:

Second: Huh, this is weird. Usually when I start applauding other countries for doing things a billion times better than the United States, I'm clapping in Canada's general direction. But this time it's ye olde United Kingdom that deserves a bow, as they've taken something that's long stymied Americans—the fact that, so long as we think we're relatively anonymous behind our computers, we'll steal any goddamn thing that isn't nailed down and not feel guilty about it at all. Across the pond they have this issue to, but they've given up on trying to do anything about it, which makes sense, because it's not something that will ever be fixed. So instead, they've just... washed their hands of it? No, that doesn't sound right. British people would... wave the problem away with a handkerchief? Arch an eyebrow at it until it felt so inferior it just kind of shuffled away? Whatever stereotypical image you'd like to picture, the point is the same: Britain's given up on trying to keep people from downloading shit they don't feel like paying for.

The Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme will take effect in 2015, installing a new system in which parties discovered downloading media will face no legal repercussions whatsoever. The bill dictates that pirates will instead receive up to four—count ’em!—four e-mails per year informing them of the harm that piracy can cause to creative industries. That’s it. No further legal action will be taken, regardless of frequency of offenses or volume of downloaded material. Major Internet service providers in the U.K. such as Sky, Virgin, Talktalk and BT are on board with the new bill, with others expected to fall in line. (Via.)

The chances of something like this ever happening here—where companies like Comcast might as well run the FCC, and where those same companies increasingly control not only the pipes content flows through, but also the content itself—is exceedingly unlikely. But hey! Jolly good job on your new, totally sensical programme, British people. Here in the States, we'll just keep getting letters of a different sort.

Washington Post Columnist Calls Bicyclists "Bullies," Makes Joke About Hitting Them with Cars

Posted by Paul Constant on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Take heed, automobile enthusiasts! Car drivers in other parts of the country are being crushed beneath the bootheels of bicyclists in a terrifying War on Cars, too. In a piece headlined "Bicyclist bullies try to rule the road in D.C.," Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy delineated the lengths to which those bicycle bullies will go to oppress the noble few who choose automobile transportation:

They fight to have bike lanes routed throughout the city, some in front of churches where elderly parishioners used to park their cars. They slow-pedal those three-wheel rickshaws through downtown during rush hour, laughing at motorists who want them to get out of the way.

Not the elderly! Dear God, is there any way for vulnerable car owners to strike back against these two-wheeled overlords?

It’s a $500 fine for a motorist to hit a bicyclist in the District, but some behaviors are so egregious that some drivers might think it’s worth paying the fine.

Yes! Wait, no. Don't do that! Is...is that supposed to be satire?

Good Morning, News!

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 9:29 AM

GOOD MORNING, BLOGTOWN! Move yourself and glide like a 747. Lose yourself in the sky among the clouds in the heavens. LET'S GO TO PRESS.

US intelligence says there's no evidence that the Russian government was involved in shooting down that Malaysian airline... you know, other than giving the separatists the missile launcher and doing a shitty job of training them how to use it.

And now, after a very short break, the Russian separatists are back at it—blowing Ukrainian jets out of the sky.

A plane goes down in a storm while trying to land in Taiwan; 47 people are believed trapped, and possibly dead.

Apparently there are enough war crimes to go around in the continuing Israel/Palestine bloodbath, and the UN Human Rights Chief issues a stern warning.

The bouncing ball of Obamacare continues its bounce from court to court, with a federal judge throwing out a Republican senator's challenge that Congress and staffmembers shouldn't receive subsidies.

Despite the spate of national and international problems he's had to deal with, according to a new poll, President Obama's popularity numbers haven't really budged. (Not that it was all that great a few months ago... but it's not getting worse! So there's that?)

At least 11 parents of the 200 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram have died, allegedly from worry and grief.

Working class whites are now officially outnumbered in Ohio, which should make the next few voting cycles verrrrrry interesting.

Will someone 'fess up about those white flags planted on top of the Brooklyn Bridge? It's really freaking people out for some reason.

Save up your nickels, nerds! A #1 edition of Action Comics will be going up for auction next month on eBay.

Now here's what's going on in your neck of the woods: Stormy today, cloudy tomorrow, but summer returns with a vengeance this weekend!

And finally, when I get to be this old, I'm going to carry around a couple of canes (even if I don't need them), attend dances, throw the canes away, and become an internet star. (Yeah, yeah, I know I'm cynical today. Well... YOU'RE CYNICAL TODAY.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The New Courthouse the County's Planning Will Be Bigger. Much Bigger.

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 6:00 PM

Update, Wednesday, 4:15 pm:

There are varying numbers for how many square feet the existing courthouse actually is. This report [pdf], posted on the county's website, indicates it is 328,486 GSF, or gross square feet.

The county also has another number: 292,717 square feet.

"Apparently previous county building numbers used all available space (HVAC space, etc.) and the standards have changed since then," says spokesman Hank Stern.

If we go with the lower figure, the new courthouse Multnomah County hopes to build is almost 43 percent larger. It's important to note, though, that the county's numbers call for a new courthouse of 420,000 GSF, which, according to definitions I've found, includes the "all available space" Stern describes.

Original post:

The new courthouse Multnomah County officials have been pining for won't just be safer than the seismically shoddy court building on SW 4th. If county leaders get their way (after nearly five decades of striving) it's going to be nearly 30 percent larger.

In a solicitation [pdf] released yesterday, the county says the new courthouse will need to be nearly 100,000 square feet bigger than the current building—an increase that's roughly the same size as new county healthy department headquarters in the works. Now, officials are calling on Portland property owners to make their best offers for plots where the new justice building might sit.

That land should be within a certain boundary, the document says—roughly I-405 on the west, NE/SE 12th on the east, the Ross Island Bridge on the south and N/NE Weidler to the north (see diagram above). And it must be able to accommodate a structure of 420,000 square feet, with room to expand. That’s a number officials hadn’t yet furnished publicly, and the first indication of how large a building the county has in mind. The current courthouse—no Hobbit hole itself—is a little over 328,000 square feet.

There’s still no price tag attached, though the project has long been expected to cost upward of $200 million.

“Any cost estimate will be driven by the site the board ultimately chooses as well as by what goes into the new building,” says spokesman Hank Stern. A study is in the works that will provide many of those answers. Then officials have to figure out how to pay for it all.

To that point, the county is willing to be flexible in the type of land deal it makes—up to and including offloading the shaky old courthouse onto a potential seller. The site solicitation makes clear: “The County would be interested in considering a property exchange for existing County property. This exchange could include the existing Courthouse, recognizing the Courthouse's historic designation.”

As we've reported, Multnomah County intended at one point to place the courthouse on a piece of land just west of the Hawthorne Bridge. It even crafted a cushy deal with the Portland Development Commission as part of that process, before deciding the parcel wasn't big enough.

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New Theater Ensemble Asks "Who Made This Art"?

Posted by Alison Hallett on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 2:44 PM

This is rad. In June, members of a new experimental theater group calling themselves "overunder" stood out front of the Drammys, Portland's annual theater awards, and asked attendees pointed questions about the racial makeup of Portland's theater scene relative to the city as a whole. They're not the first people to raise these questions—hey, I wonder if the upcoming issue of Agenda will tackle the question of diversity in theater? It might!—but I like the way they've framed it in this video. Trigger warning for Reedies, but worth watching.

The Simpsons Marathon: Hello, Dystopia!

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 2:14 PM

On August 21, the FXX network will air every single episode of The Simpsons—all 552 episodes, all 25 seasons, plus the movie—over a two-week period in the most audacious TV marathon ever produced. How will the world react? I think this commercial for the marathon sums it up accurately.

Legal Pot Is On the Fall Ballot

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 1:55 PM

If you were waiting until the lone remaining pot legalization measure made the ballot to figure out where you stand, time to study up.

Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown's office officially certified the proposal by moneyed, establishment-backed New Approach Oregon today, meaning Oregon's best-ever chance to land recreational weed will come up for a vote in November.

But it was a close call. New Approach needed 87,213 valid signatures to make the ballot, and turned in more than 145,000. According to Brown's office, just 88,584 of those were valid.

It's unclear where opposition lies, but anyone who'd try to stymie pot's fast-moving ascension here has less than four months to pull together a campaign. And they'll need to marshal significant resources to combat New Approach's war chest, and may be swimming against the tide of public opinion.

New Approach, meanwhile, is turning its energies toward convincing young people to fill out their ballots. The campaign will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. at Pioneer Courthouse Square, announcing a planned get-out-the-vote push.

The group's proposal is one of three petitions that were floated this year, and the only one to turn in signatures (some would say New Approach contributed to the demise of the other campaign). Under the proposal, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission would be the chief agency responsible for regulating and taxing marijuana, which would be treated much the same as alcohol. Adults would also be able to cultivate and harvest their own small crops for personal use.

Meanwhile, the Oregonian has been hammering at New Approach for spreading iffy information, finding the group is exaggerating the number of arrests for marijuana in Oregon and providing questionable data on how many doctors support medical marijuana.

Courts Do Battle Over Typo in Obamacare

Posted by Paul Constant on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 1:44 PM

If, like me, you woke up this morning to the alarming news that a couple of activist judges basically curb-stomped Obamacare to death, you might want to read this ThinkProgress post, which explains the thinking behind the ruling:

The two Republicans’ decision rests on a glorified typo in the Affordable Care Act itself. Obamacare gives states a choice. They can either run their own health insurance exchange where their residents may buy health insurance, and receive subsidies to help them pay for that insurance if they qualify, or they can allow the federal government to run that exchange for them. Yet the plaintiffs’ in this case uncovered a drafting error in the statute where it appears to limit the subsidies to individuals who obtain insurance through “an Exchange established by the State.” Randolph and Griffith’s opinion concludes that this drafting error is the only thing that matters. In their words, “a federal Exchange is not an ‘Exchange established by the State,’” and that’s it. The upshot of this opinion is that 6.5 million Americans will lose their ability to afford health insurance, according to one estimate.

But now the news has changed again. We're basically in the middle of a court-fight:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld a federal regulations that implemented subsidies that are vital to President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul, in direct conflict with another ruling on the issue handed down earlier on Tuesday.

As the New York Times points out, there are more rulings from other courts on the way, too. It's the legal equivalent of a roller coaster! Keep your arms and legs inside the moving car at all times, because you may or may not have health insurance if your limbs are accidentally ripped off.

Lunch Wagon with Crowd Supply

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Last week I mentioned the debut of Lunch Wagon, a weekly lunch cooked by Jason Barwikowski (formerly of the Woodsman Tavern, Olympic Provisions, Clyde Common) that features guest speakers with a connection to local manufacturing. The idea is to help encourage networking, resources, and discussion of the hurdles faced in bringing a variety of products to market. It's part of an ongoing discussion about the preservation of manufacturing infrastructure and the re-homing of production to the US, and in particular Portland, and takes place over meals sourced from Stargazer and other local farms. (Stargazer is also going to be hosting dinners and brunches around similar, more agriculturally focused conversations beginning next month; collectively the city/country events are called the Explorers Series.)

Last week kicked off with electronics inventor Travis Feldman, and this week's will feature Crowd Supply's Joshua Lifton, whose company offers crowdfunding as well marketing support, warehousing, and shipping services to support the launch of small manufacturing projects. And, I've also been asked to start moderating the Q & A portion of these events, so come on down and see me sometime. Events take place every Friday at noon at ADX, and tickets are $10 for members and $25 for non-members. (Conflict of interest pony suggests I mention that I'm moderating on a volunteer basis; you're paying for the food!)

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  • ADX
  • Follow the arrow.

Hoverfest to Include Yob and Danava

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 12:29 PM

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  • Liesl Meissner
Hovercraft Amplifiers doesn't just make recycled, custom tube amps—their main man, Nial McGaughey, has also, with the assistance of Nanotear Booking, put together an all-day festival of heavy music:
McGaughey’s self-described “oh shit” moment was when he was in the audience at Stumpfest, and all of the bands were using a backline of Hovercraft amplifiers and cabinets. It was then that he realized he had done something incredibly spectacular and special and wanted to give back to the bands that create such amazing music using the gear. The first annual Hoverfest is the perfect way to celebrate how far Hovercraft Amplifers has come and to reflect on the amazing support the business has gotten from the people who love what they do.
It's going down on Saturday, August 23 at in the alleyway that's behind Cravedog and outside of Type Foundry Studio, on N Kerby between Thompson and Tillamook. The lineup's pretty killer, including Yob, who are headlining in advance of the September 16 release of their latest album, Clearing the Path to Ascend, and the first-ever performance from the new lineup of Danava. Take a look at the full roster:

• Yob
• Danava
• Acid King
• Witch Mountain
• Eight Bells
• Wounded Giant
• Holy Grove
• Mountain God

Renowned local metal producer Billy Anderson is doing the live mix, which is pretty cool, and best of all, the event is all-ages. Tickets are a mere $15 but they're only selling 500 of them (available here).

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