When the City Club of Portland released a report on bicycling in late May, much of the coverage—ours included— centered around some of the more sensational findings. For instance, the report's suggestion than an excise tax be levied on new bike purchases.
I actually found most of the report sort of predictable at the time. Bikes are good? They should be accepted and provided for in the urban landscape? Thanks, City Club.
Now I'm thinking I was wrong. There are some really interesting details in the report I glossed over the first time around. Mainly, an idea I'd not heard: Bike lanes are no longer going to help Portland attract new cyclists.
The change of heart was spurred by an e-mail sent out recently by Portland economist Robert McCullough. McCullough did a lot of the heavy data lifting for the City Club report, and he's about to present his findings further in a lunchtime talk tomorrow.
Relying heavily on numbers from the Hawthorne Bridge bike counter (as well as census data and Metro infrastructure tallies) McCullough's essentially concluded [pdf] Portland's gotten as much use of the handy paint stripes as its likely to get—at least where attracting new users is concerned.
Sure, the city's seen a bike boom in recent decades, McCullough says, but the strategies that got us here are no longer enough. We've reached a point of flattening growth on the "logistic curve" and things will be harder from here on out. Simply slapping paint on the side of a road, his data suggests, isn't going to push the city past the stubborn stagnation in cycling growth we've seen recently.
So what are we supposed to do, especially when the stated goal [pdf] is to have a quarter of all trips in Portland made by bicycle by 2030? (We're nowhere close.)
I think Black Friday/weekend is going to lose its cred as the biggest shopping weekend of the year, because at least around here, the two weeks that follow are bonkers. This week's Sold Out column is part 1 of a 2-part series in which I shut my mouth and just give you the facts about the bazillions and bazillions of holiday-related shoppery being organized by your friendly local retailers. It was too much to cram it all in print, but the online edition is more extensive, plus we have added some more late-breaking announcements over here on MOD so you can fully strategize your evening. Betcha five bucks I have all my gift shopping done by Monday, you guys!
Or do. Then tell me if it made you jump.
Unfunniest dad EVER.
The first round of artists includes the great Run the Jewels duo of El-P and Killer Mike, Built to Spill, and Mr. Gnome, plus the up-and-coming Saintseneca (who are going to have a huge 2014, mark my words), the Joy Formidable (who never did too much for me but who I kept hearing were a definite highlight of Musicfest), Seattle's Iska Dhaaf (members of Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band and Mad Rad) and Denver's lovely Paper Bird. Plus a clutch of great Portland bands, like Modern Kin, Vikesh Kapoor, Hustle and Drone, Psychic Rites, and Summer Cannibals.
Click the jump to take a look at the existing lineup—and remember, lots more is to come—and check out the announcement video. Lots more info, including tickets, over at Treefort's site.
The Pope doesn't know anything about economics, argues a Fox News columnist, so Pope Francis really should shut his mouth about youth unemployment or income inequality. Currently digging through the columnist's archives to see if he objected to the previous pope commenting on abortion, birth control, adoption, and gay sex—also not areas of expertise for elderly celibates.
With a clarion 5-0 vote, the Citizen Review Committee (CRC) harshly criticized the bureau for a tepid ruling—citing the bureau's policy on professional conduct—that found the accusations against Officer Jason Lobaugh merely "unproven." The CRC's vote amounts a to formal request that Police Chief Mike Reese change that "unproven" finding to "sustained."
The policy they cited reads, in part: "Members, whether on duty or off duty, shall be governed by the reasonable rules of good conduct and behavior, and shall not commit any act tending to bring reproach or discredit upon the Bureau or the City."
Lobaugh's ex-wife, Laurie Grant, complained to the bureau in November 2012 after three tense confrontations with her ex-husband over a six-day span—all of which brought out police officers from the city of North Plains. Lobaugh was off-duty during all three incidents.
"This is not acceptable behavior you would expect from an officer," Grant said at the hearing before breaking down in tears. "My physical and emotional safety has been threatened."
In the first confrontation, on November 3, 2012, Grant says Lobaugh had shown up to pick up their son on a day when he wasn't scheduled to, under their court-approved "parental plan." Grant called the cops after they argued on her front porch and Lobaugh, as even he admits, called her a "head case" and yelled into her house at her husband.
Five days later, cops came out again after Lobaugh tried to pick up their son a day early but was told not to. In that confrontation, Lobaugh admitted, he called Grant's husband a "little bitch." Then, the next day, during a scheduled drop-off of their son at a Fred Meyer, cops showed up to help facilitate, and Lobaugh again, Grant says, went after her husband. Lobaugh admits saying "look who came out to play." Grant says he told her husband, "looks like you and I are going to get know each other."
Jeff Bissonnette, the vice chair of the CRC, summed up what most of the panel was thinking as it weighed the bureau's ruling and whether it reasonably reflected the facts of the case as laid out.
"I'd say showing up on a front porch outside your custody agreement, when you're explicitly told not to, and it's not in doubt, when you call into the house and call someone a derogatory name, which is also not in dispute, and then, also say—undisputed—'look who came out to play,' to me that doesn't just 'tend to.' It does bring discredit and reproach upon the bureau and the city."
In a profoundly secular and mostly food-based way, I love the holidays. But they encourage a manufactured cheer that must be approached with caution, which is why December is the most perilous month of the theater season. When a show hits, it gives you the holiday warm 'n' fuzzies, or riffs on holiday traditions in a way that feels funny and fresh. When it misses, it's embarrassing, sentimental, broad, and makes you feel the opposite of the way you're supposed to feel about your fellow man. We don't know how any of the shows are gonna be this year, because we haven't seen any of 'em yet, but here are some picks:
A Christmas Carol at Portland Playhouse—Playhouse is going for it! Their "family friendly" adaptation of Dickens' classic promises loads of Christmas carols; it is, says artistic director Brian Weaver, "a gift that we could give to our neighborhood." Read: Come here for a faithful, well-produced take that ticks all the familiar, Christmassy boxes.
Rudolph - On Stage!—The producers of Road House: The Play and Lost Boys: The Musical get seasonal with a spoofy rendition of the Rankin/Bass stop-motion animated classic. The cast includes enough professional comedians—and my boss, Wm. Steve Humphrey!—to make it a pretty good bet that this show will be as funny as it wants to be.
Golden Girls Live Christmas Special—Same idea. Performed by an all-male cast, which makes me skeptical, but the concept hits a nice note of being sentimental and nostalgic but still silly.
Action/Adventure's Very Special Holiday... Thing—A/A's holiday variety show is co-hosted by comedian/Merc columnist Bri Pruett, and comedian/pianist/ace Ellen impersonator David Saffert, plus special guests. At last year's show, opera singer Albert J Glueckert—a tenor better known for his role in a Pulitzer-winning opera—made the doors of their little blackbox rattle. Also, Harry Potter slash fic. (Full disclosure: My boyfriend and one of my co-workers are company members at A/A. I like them.)
Xmas Unplugged—With an adults-only program of holiday one-acts billed as "edgy" and "irreverent," I'm pretty sure Artists Rep is doing penance for Mars on Life. Good. (One of our writers gives it a stamp of approval.)
The Nutcracker—Oregon Ballet Theatre does their holiday due diligence.
A Nightmare on Elf Street—Holiday-themed sketch comedy directed by Second City vet Caitlin Kunkel. Merc columnist Alex Falcone is one of the writers!
As advertised, 8 Bit Groan Zone is pretty, well, groan-worthy. The jokes are every bit as awful/clever as what you'd find printed on Dixie cups or Bazooka Joe wrappers. The art, though, elevates the book from a throwaway zine to an actual conversation piece. Main's art is suggestive, sweaty, and grotesque in the way that lots of old Zap Comix were. The longer you look at it, the filthier it seems. I didn't notice Dig Dug's nutsack until the second time I thumbed through the book, but there it was. Dig Dug. With a nutsack. Talking to a lady. Nostalgia!
Meanwhile, over in classier climates, the Sequential Art Gallery is showcasing Benjamin Dewey's brilliant and hilarious Tragedy Series. If you haven't scrolled through all of the Tragedy Series yet, then do yourself a favor and kill a few hours laughing at the sadness of people, objects, and animals that are not you. Single panel cartoons a la The Far Side are something of a lost art at the moment, but Dewey is a sterling example of the genre. In my correct and unhumble opinion his drawings and captions of strange situations are consistently better than Larson's drawing and captions of strange situations, and you should look at them, both in Internet and on-a-gallery-wall form.
Lastly, Floating World is hosting the release party for Delusional, a collection of work by Farel Dalrymple. "Otherworldly" is definitely the best word for Dalrymple's work, and his illustration and cartoons tend to be dense, strange, and suggestive of alien dimensions. The guy's stuff looks like how classic science fiction feels, if that makes any sense.
There you have it: Three entirely worthy comics events within mere blocks of each other. Get out there, ambulate, and sip other people's wine, comics nerds. You have no excuse to stay inside and argue with your cat.
Analog Cafe–Sir Mix-a-Lot, Bad Habitat, Amerikan Overdose, Carmine, 9 pm, $15
Al's Den–There Is No Mountain, 7 pm, free
Doug Fir–Andrea Gibson, Shenandoah Davis, 6 pm, $12-14, all ages; Cate Le Bon, Kevin Morby, 9 pm, $10-12
Foggy Notion–Slutty Hearts, Dramady, Paulo Zappoli, 9 pm
Goodfoot–Blue Cranes, Dylan Ryan Sand, Kandinsky Effect, 9 pm
Holocene–Pure Bathing Culture, Them Hills, Nick Reinhart, 8:30 pm, $10
Kenton Club–The Ex-Girlfriends Club, 9 pm
The Knock Back–The Shivas, Thomas Mudrick, 9 pm
Mississippi Studios–Vaden Todd Lewis, Sean Croghan, 8 pm, $15-18
Music Millennium–Lovers, 6 pm, free, all ages
Valentine's–Ellis Pink, Wild & Scenic, Khan Heir, 6 pm; Sex Life DJs, 9 pm
Sadly, Wild Flag, despite acclaim for their eponymous debut, are no more: “It was great but I think it just kinda ran its course," Weiss tells us. "It’s hard to have a band when you live five hours apart by plane.”The article goes on to theorize that this raises the possibility of a Sleater-Kinney reunion coming soon, although of course Weiss is currently drumming for her longtime band Quasi; they're in the middle of a UK tour.
As the news echoes around the internet (as in here and here), pundits are hoping, hoping for a Sleater-Kinney reunion, citing as encouraging evidence the November 29 Pearl Jam show in Portland, when Weiss, Brownstein, and Corin Tucker all joined Vedder & Co. onstage for a finale of Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World." (Rolling Stone went so far as to call it a Sleater-Kinney reunion.)
Also tonight, comic Judah Friedlander is performing the first of three nights at Helium Comedy Club—you know him as Frank, the guy with the hats from 30 Rock, but he's an accomplished standup with a long list of TV and film credits (he's been on Sesame Street!). Judah is gonna give away a pair of tickets to tonight's show to whoever tweets at him by 1:30 pm today with the best reason why they should win. If you don't have Twitter YOU CAN'T WIN I AM SORRY. His twitter handle is @JudahWorldChamp.
This week we gave the coveted Letter of the Week prize to "Miss Fatima": "I think whoever says sunshine brings happiness have not danced in the rain, the best way to love is to meet people in a way that your feelings will be without sentiments, and also not getting attracted to looks until you have the heart opened to a good level of understanding, this is the only way to find such person. My name is Miss Fatima."
I do hope she writes us back! In the meantime, a couple real people wrote us things too. Such as!
—"Anonymous" wrote to complain about Matt Bors' comic addressing the big-box employees who worked on Thanksgiving. "As if those employees didn't choose to work there," he or she says. Awwwwkwaarrrrd.
—Erika has beef with the contention made by one of the founders of Little Boxes that Chipotle serves "super-affordable" meals. (Not as affordable as McDonalds!) Can this please be our last fight about Chipotle?
—Also! People are still arguing about Merc columnist Barbara Holm! This time frankieb says, "If her blog had as many negative references to say, black gay women as she makes to straight white men, she wouldn't even have a blog in the Merc."
—Which brings us back to Miss Fatima, who sagely confesses that, "at my age, I really want a happy life now, I want Good friend not only good, but also my best friend." Don't we all.
Letters: Read 'em and weep.
I recently reactivated my OK Cupid profile after a hiatus from the site while I was in a relationship. The good news is that since going back my profile had been getting lots of attention and I've been able to make a few dates. The problem is that I setup dates with two different women and only after making the plans did I discover that they both teach in the same small department at the same small university here in town. The dates are on different days, but the same weekend.
What's the etiquette here? Since they're first dates and the assumption with internet dating is that you're probably seeing other people until you have a conversation about doing otherwise, my inclination would normally be to not say anything. My hesitancy is that I stand out like a sore thumb in the community where we all live and I feel like it would be pretty obvious that they were talking about the same person if they turn out to be friends and have a simple conversation about the dates they went on this weekend.
Should I cancel one of the dates or at least postpone it further out? Is it appropriate to disclose or should I just see how it plays out?
My response after the jump…
How about watching him on Jimmy Kimmel reading the lyrics for R. Kelly's "Genius" from his upcoming album Black Panties? (Trust me you will SQUEEEEEE just as loudly as the ladies in the audience.)
Marc Webb's unasked-for Spider-Man reboot (Sony has to keep cranking these things out, lest the movie rights to the character revert to Marvel) was a surprising thing: On one hand, it felt rushed and mercenary, but on the other—thanks to across-the-board great casting and a Spider-Man who was actually funny—it was a big improvement over Sam Raimi's Spider-films. More or less everything was great about Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man except for the script. And scripts are... kind of important? If you're telling a story?
Hopefully they put together a screenplay that does't suck for the whoa-that-was-fast sequel (*sound of Sony frantically cranking*), which features new writers (Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, who're behind everything from Star Trek to Transformers to Sleepy Hollow) and about five billion bad guys: in a bid for long-term franchise viability, it looks like Spider-Man 2 is setting up something like the Sinister Six, an association of bad guys who HATE Spider-Man and like hanging out together. So far there's Jamie Foxx as Electro, Paul Giamatti as Rhino, Dane DeHaan as some kind of Goblin, and, in the trailer, a glimpse of Doctor Octopus' arms and the Vulture's wings. That leaves one spot open. I'm hoping it's filled by a bitter Tobey Maguire.
How many cell phones? Oh, just 5 billion. The latest Snowden leaks about the National Security Agency reveal another worldwide spying program, this time focused on tracking cell phone locations—giving spies the ability not only to know where phones are, but also to use that information to map relationships and gain other devious insights.
Stolen radioactive material in Mexico—a truck's worth of spent medical cobalt that could have been used for a "dirty" bomb—has been recovered a few dozen miles from where it was jacked. Good news for us, bad news for the thieves. Special cases shielding any would-be handlers the cobalt's radiation had been removed, exposing the thieves (who may not have realized what they were stealing) to certain death.
The new commie-pinko pope, Francis, keeps getting more awesome. Years ago, he once took work as a bouncer at a Buenos Aires nightclub.
How the shit is the federal minimum wage still stuck at $7.25 an hour? Fast food workers, who pretty much have been told to feel lucky they're even getting that much, are planning another wave of protests. They've finally gotten some support from President Barack Obama, who gave a speech yesterday about income inequality saying, he guesses, that a mere (and still paltry) $10.10 would be good.
The Dutch have begun giving jobs to alcoholics that pay in beer.
John Kerry, amid controversy over his breakthrough nuke deal with Iran, is having to kiss up to Israel a bit.
It may not work. A former Israeli security official is rattling sabres—suggesting Israel's so nervous by this new arrangement that it might have to give up on allowing even a tiny sliver of a Palestinian state.
Federal carbon taxes—anathema to conservatives and business lobby outfits—have already been built into the growth forecasts of several major energy companies, suggesting that those companies still see a way to make money in a greener future and won't be as liable to kick shit over climate-control policies.
Or maybe not. One corporate lobby group, ALEC—the people who seed little-watched and easily gerrymandered statehouses with arch-conservative clone bills—wants to start attacking people with the gumption to put up their own solar panels. It's one plank in a major anti-renewable-energy platform.
Somehow despite how awful everything is, all the time, the United States economy saw fit to grow by a robust 3.6 percent during the most recent quarter—far surpassing expectations. And that's without people spending buckets of money on gadgets and other nonsense. Consumer spending is as weak as it's been in years.
George H.W. Bush has the best socks. The socks, striped red and white, with the ex-president's face on them, were sent over by a kind citizen from Ontario, Canada. AREN'T CANADIANS THE NICEST?
IN FACT, PLEASE SAY HELLO TO MY FAR MORE PLEASANT AND ATTRACTIVE CANADIAN DOPPLEGANGER! HE'S TO [sic] POLITE TOO INSIST [sic], SO I WILL!
Live from the Moda Center as the Portland Trail Blazers take on the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Blazers are riding high after knocking off the NBA-leading Indiana Pacers on Monday, an instant classic that cemented Portland’s status in the upper echelon of the league. And while that game was indeed a high water mark, tonight’s contest is clearly more important as the NBA Championship Belt is on the line. Or, you know, it’s a tough game against a really good division rival. Either way.
Between hectic game winners and ridiculous circus shots, things are going well for the Thunder. Hell, even their fans are getting in on the action, knocking down half-court shot after half-court shot. Despite Portland’s great opening record the Thunder are right there lurking: Oklahoma City is currently riding an eight game winning streak that has them a game back of the Blazers in the Northwest division.
Look at that! Three paragraphs of Blazers/Thunder talk without once mentioning the 2007 NBA draft. Baby steps.
Their announcement came roughly at the end of a 60-day window that Hales promised prominent Pearl developers who were fighting the city's initial plan for Right 2 Dream Too—moving them beneath a Broadway Bridge off-ramp—and asking for time to craft an alternative.
"We've got a lease in hand, ready to sign," Hales told reporters outside the site during a chilly set of interviews outside the 1925 warehouse building. "We did it within the 60 days."
But Hales and his staff also made clear that time was running short to get that deal together. Further—pointedly acknowledging that Right 2 Dream Too had not yet agreed to make the move—they also said they meant to drive home that urgency by going public at a meeting where neither R2DToo nor their lead sponsor in city hall, Commissioner Amanda Fritz, were invited to attend.
An agreement with the property's owner, Alco Investments of Seattle, would need to be signed by December 16, policy director Josh Alpert says. The reason? Other parties have expressed interest in the warehouse property, which has been on the market off an on in recent years.
"We are urging them to take this deal," said Hales' spokesman, Dana Haynes, when asked by Aaron Mesh of Willamette Week whether Hales' office was resorting to "brinksmanship." Hales later repeated the sentiment.
And if they don't? Right 2 Dream Too would have to stay at its current lot, at NW 4th and Burnside. Neither staffer indicated Hales would allow a move to the Station Place parking lot in the Pearl that Fritz had chosen, in concert with Hales. "They'll stay where they are," Haynes says.
Alpert also confirmed, as I'd reported this afternoon, that two of the developers opposing the Pearl move, Dike Dame and Homer Williams, have expressed an interest in buying the Station Place parking lot, often referred to as Lot 7. But Alpert walked back any notion that proceeds could be used to help with the Hoyt move. Alpert also says he doesn't remember if he first learned of their interest after Fritz and Hales put the lot in play and that there was "no particular plan" to sell it.
Among the biggest sticking points, they said, was the length of the lease. Fritz told me earlier today she had "significant concerns" about a lease that would last just 12 months. Alpert and Haynes said that's where they'd left things in a negotiating session with R2DToo last night. But they said they'd since been told they could have up to 15 months and that Fritz had been informed, if not the rest of R2DToo's board.
"The people who own the land want to sell it," Alpert says. "They know Old Town is developing."
It was unclear if the extension would sweeten the deal for R2DToo's board members, who clearly feel frustrated after getting this close to a deal on a site they overwhelmingly are excited about. I've called Ibrahim Mubarak, R2DToo's spokesman and lead figure, for comment. He's apparently meeting with Fritz. Fritz expressed frustration that she hadn't heard of the meeting.
Earlier this year, Portland's police and fire retirement fund settled a case in which it overpaid nearly more than 900 pensioners.
Now, the fund faces a massive suit claiming that it's also underpaying retirees.
Two former Portland Fire Bureau employees filed a class-action lawsuit in Multnomah Circuit Court yesterday, claiming the city's Fire and Police Disability and Retirement Fund has owed nearly 300 pensioners a pay bump for years, but hasn't paid up.
It's unclear how much money's at issue in the case, but, if successful, the plaintiffs would receive a three percent pay bump retroactive to 2008.
"It's gonna add up," says Greg Hartman, who represents plaintiffs Clark Stephens and Robert Wuerth. "The firefighters are entitled to be paid."
The dispute stretches back to 2009, when a dozen retirees first filed suit against the pension fund. Two things you need to know to understand their claims:
•The pensioners, who all retired prior to 1990, are beneficiaries of a now-defunct benefit plan that dictates they're paid 60 percent of the highest firefighter salary.
•Whereas many fire bureaus require only certain employees to be licensed to drive fire trucks and other vehicles, the Portland Fire Bureau mandates all firefighters become certified "apparatus operators."
So in 2007, when the city signed a contract giving those operators a pay bump, retirees argued their benefits should get the same. Nope, the city said, the raise was a "specialty payment" and so not eligible.
The pensioners sued in 2009, but a judge ruled they hadn't exhausted all their options. They appealed, Hartman said, and that appeal is still pending. In the meantime, the retirees made their case to the state's Office of Administrative Hearings. In 2011, an administrative law judge agreed that the fund should pay up.
But city officials appealed that decision, Hartman said, meaning the dispute now has two cases before the court of appeals.
"There are actually several cases and they all fundamentally focus on the same thing," said Hartman, whose firm also represented retirees seeking to keep years of mistaken overpayments by the pension fund. In a deal reached earlier this year, that group got to keep roughly 40 percent of the unearned money.
Neither fund Director Sam Hutchison nor Interim City Attorney Harry Auerbach have returned calls for comment.
Crystal Ballroom–Lorde, 5 pm, $20, all ages; Vampire Weekend, Holiday Friends, 8 pm, $40, all ages
Al's Den–There Is No Mountain, 7 pm, free
Bunk Bar–Escondido, The Verner Pantons, 9 pm, $10
East End–Jail Weddings, Mattress, DJ Sam Ott, 9 pm
Holocene–Phone Call, The Visitors, Mackintosh Braun, DJ Freaky Outty, 8:30 pm, $5
LaurelThirst Public House–Will West & The Friendly Strangers, 6 pm; Ryan Sollee, Sareh Jo, 9 pm, free
Mississippi Studios–Fanno Creek, Sama Dams, Hands In, 9 pm, $5-7
Revival Drum Shop–Lisa Schonberg, Lori Goldston, Roro, Ti Femme, 8 pm, $5-15, all ages
Roseland–Arctic Monkeys, Battleme, 8 pm, $35, all ages
Rotture–Church of Misery, Saviours, Wizard Rifle, 9 pm, $12-15
This video demonstration of an artificial hymen...
For potential hymen purchasers worried about the mechanics of operating a hymen replacement, the site offers a helpful step-by-step guide. “Insert the Artificial Hymen into your vagina carefully. It will expand a little and make you feel tight. When your lover penetrates, it will ooze out a liquid that appears like blood, not too much but just the right amount. Add in a few moans and groans and you will pass through undetectable!”
...is the creepiest, saddest, and most depressing thing I've seen on the Internet in weeks. Jeremy Wilson at The Kernel unpacks the creepiness:
If ever there were a reason to be horrified at the tentacles of the historic patriarchal oppression of women’s stubborn hold on modern day life, this is it. In a world where we’re constantly being told of technology’s potential to drive positive social change, it’s galling to see it being used to appease the infantile fantasies of backwards cultures. Depressing, really.
But... wouldn't an artificial hymen that works in the palm of your hand also work in your someone's ass? Anyone's ass? Seems to me that a girl could subvert the shit out of the patriarchy by sticking one of these in her boyfriend's ass and pegging the shit—and just the right amount of a liquid that appears to be blood—right out of him. And any gay men out there hymen envy could order a few. And, hey, a couple—gay or straight—could order a crate and spend a long, sensuous evening busting all sorts of hymens. Pegging hymens! Blowjob hymens! Handjob hymens! Buttsecks hymens! Tittyfucking hymens! Wet-willy hymens! The patriarchy-subverting possibilities are endless!
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