The Effort to Make the Criminal Justice System less Devastating for Mentally Ill People

Mercury staff

A report released by Disability Rights Oregon (DRO) last March made it abundantly clear: The Multnomah County Detention Center, the downtown jail operated by the sheriff’s office, is a dreadful place for people with severe mental illness.

The limited staff is not well trained, and jail facilities and policies are harmful, the report found. It detailed incidents involving mentally ill inmates that would seem at home at Guantanamo Bay.

"Medical and mental healthcare in jail is woefully inadequate and so the jail relies on correctional tools: rampant use of solitary confinement, punitive use of restraints and suicide watch, and routinized force against people with mental illness," says the DRO report, which was written by attorney Sarah Radcliffe.

Last Thursday, more than eight months after the highly critical audit, Sheriff Mike Reese and other officials said fixes are in progress. Those with mental illness make up a significant portion of the jail population—estimates range from 30 to 80 percent—and in a hearing before the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners, Reese and his colleagues argued that the system is now less disastrous for this particularly vulnerable population.

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Your Best Bets for Record Store Day’s Black Friday

Sundazed Music

Record Store Day happens every April, but it’s a holiday so nice, they hold it twice. The Black Friday edition of RSD comes the day after Thanksgiving (this year, obviously, it's Fri Nov 24), so avoid the mass of humanity at the big-box stores by getting to your local independent record shop and picking up these limited items—and don’t listen to the fun-hating snobs who pooh-pooh the event as a crass commercial exercise.

There’s a solid batch of releases for this year’s Black Friday, which you can peep in its entirety at, but click through for our picks for the most crucial items. (Pro tip: Music Millennium stocks nearly everything that’s on the release slate, but downtown’s 2nd Avenue Records has better prices, if a smaller selection.)

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This Is the Gayest Thing I've Ever Seen

This is gayer than anything I've ever done. And my gayest-thing-ever-seen-or-done bar is set pretty damn high. Watch:

An anti-gay hate group opened their poorly attended #Teens4Truth conference in Texas earlier this week with this... interpretive rainbow flag modern dance gay ass fucking spectacular. Okay, okay: there's no actual ass fucking—I watched to the glitter end—but this is as close as one fully clothed dude alone on a stage can get to ass fucking. Media Matters captured the performance on video and the Texas Observer reported on the conference itself and—SURPRISE YOU GUYS ARE YOU SITTING DOWN OMG—the flag dancer is an ex-gay:

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Ex-Black Sabbath Drummer Bill Ward's Heart Problems Force His Band, Day of Errors, to Cancel Tour

The former Black Sabbath timekeepers ticker is on the mend.
The former Black Sabbath timekeeper's ticker is on the mend.

Hard-rock group Day of Errors, who were slated to perform at the Dante's on December 9, have had to cancel their tour due to heart problems suffered by drummer Bill Ward, famous for his decades-long stint with heavy-metal pioneers Black Sabbath. In a note on his website, Ward says he is doing fine and recovering, but is not in any condition to handle the rigors of touring. These shows will not be rescheduled. You can get refunds at the point of purchase.


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With Native Invader, Tori Amos Interweaves Politics and Mythology

TORI AMOS Wrapping lifes harshness in a beautiful song.
TORI AMOS Wrapping life's harshness in a beautiful song. PAULINA OTYLIE SURYS

Many oddball moments in my life have intersected with Tori Amos songs. Like the time a boy who sat behind me in eighth grade sensually humped a chair while singing the chorus to her Boys for Pele hit “Caught a Light Sneeze,” or when a man at a Tiki bar in Hell’s Kitchen with avocado dip spread across his pants drunkenly accused me of being in a Tori Amos music video. Avocado Pants was right, though; I am in a Tori Amos music video—forever captured at an awkward My So-Called Life-influenced 16—and I’ve unabashedly loved Amos’ music from grade school to present day.

Amos grew up a Methodist minister’s daughter. She was the youngest person ever accepted to Baltimore’s prestigious Peabody Institute and was subsequently expelled at age 11 for insubordination. (The youngest expelled? It’s never been confirmed.) She’s a lifelong performer, a genius songwriter inspired by the likes of Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell, and a champion for survivors of sexual assault—her haunting a capella song “Me and a Gun” recounts her own experience, and she was formative in the founding of the Rape and Incest Nationwide Network in the 1990s.

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Chloe Eudaly's Facebook Use Has City Officials Re-Examining Public Records Law

Jason Desomer

Ever since screenshots began circulating earlier of Commissioner Chloe Eudaly disparaging an Oregonian reporter (and others) on her private Facebook account, a question has emerged that doesn't appear to have an easy answer: Whether or not that private account should be a matter of public record—at least the parts where Eudaly is referring to her job.

The question became a matter of official inquiry recently, after a complaint to the city's ombudsman that "Eudaly is using her personal Facebook profile to discuss city business and post city job listings and communicate with constituents and have unreported contact with registered city lobbyists..."

The City Attorney's Office began looking into that allegation, and the commissioner's use of Facebook in general. Eudaly's use of the social media platform, in fact, has been the subject of three separate complaints to the Ombudsman's Office this year, according to records obtained by the Mercury last week. There are no names attached to the complaints, so it is unclear whether they are coming from the same person (Eudaly says they are).

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Buds Without Borders Aims to Help Cannabis Farms in California

Northern California during the recent wildfires.
Northern California during the recent wildfires. Jason Wilson

Oregonians watched this summer while our beloved Columbia Gorge burned, rained hot ash, choked us out like a UFC fighter on 'roids, and generally made us all feel very helpless, small, and sad. #worstsummerever

The damage is horrible, but it pales in comparison to what happened in early October in Northern California. The loss of property, businesses, and life from the Northern California wildfires was staggering, and there were some losses that made it hurt that much more for the canna community—namely, the cannabis farms in Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

California’s recreational program will begin issuing licenses in January 2018, and those growers have invested all their resources in order to meet the requirements for licensing. They don’t qualify for crop insurance like other farmers, they can’t get loans like other business owners, and they won’t qualify for federal emergency relief funds. It's almost as if the feds aren't looking out for cannabis business owners or something...

Damage from the Northern California wildfires.
Damage from the Northern California wildfires. Jason Wilson

The California’s Growers Association has started the Wildfire Recovery Fund to help aspiring licensees that have suffered a severe or complete loss of property. Their mission: to ensure that not a single grower fails to get a license because of wildfire-related hardship.

Matt and Meghan Walstatter, the couple behind Portland dispensary Pure Green, stepped up after hearing of a friend's loss of home and canna business, and decided to establish a great opportunity for Oregonians to help out the Wildfire Recovery Fund. Along with several others, they've started the Buds Without Borders campaign, and local cannabis research facility Phylos has agreed to a matching $8,000 grant, triggered once the campaign raises its first $8,000.

Having smoked a ton of awesome flower and hash from Northern California's Emerald Triangle, I can attest that when it comes to buds, there rarely are borders, nor should there be. Tossing this campaign the cost of a pre-roll will help out some hurting friends to the south. Learn more about how you can help at

Good Morning, News: Net Neutrality's Repeal, Trump Sides With Accused Child Molester, and Uber is the Worst... AGAIN

If the President can support an accused child molester, why cant you?
"If the President can support an accused child molester, why can't you?" Scott Olson / Getty

GOOD MORNING, BLOGTOWN! Boy, I know you want me, I can see it in your eyes. But you keep on frontin'. Won't you say what's on your mind? LET'S GO TO PRESS.

Oregon Senator Jeff Kruse (R) has been accused of sexual harassment by a second senator.

Portland commissioner Chloe Eudaly has caused a pickle for the city attorney who must decide if her private posts on social media, in which she discusses Portland business, fall under public records law.

The FCC's plan to repeal Net Neutrality is a terrible idea that will be especially terrible for you if you love streaming and using the internet.


John Lasseter, a founder of Pixar, is going on leave after admitting to "missteps" with his employees. Funny: What one person may call "missteps," another might call "grabbing, kissing, making comments about physical attributes."

And lest we forget, President Trump has been accused of sexually abusing/harassing 13 women—and refuses to admit it or apologize.

Ungrateful fool Donald Trump calls the father of an NBA player an "ungrateful fool" on Twitter (while confirming that he is still a racist).

Uber continues to be THE WORST: In 2016 they hid the fact that private info on 57 million riders and drivers was hacked, and they tried to keep it quiet by paying a $100,000 ransom. THE... WORST!

David Cassidy, the former teen heartthrob from the Partridge Family, has died at the age of 67.

Now about the subject of WEATHER: Warm and wet with a high of (what) 60!

And finally, there is no other TV show on earth more worthy of your time than "Slippery Stairs." Enjoy.

Q&A with FashioNXT Emerging Designer Winner, Sundari Franklin

The designer behind the new line Minnie Opal has garnered a heap of attention as the winner of the UpNXT competition as well as being awarded the Portland Fashion & Style Awards Best Emerging Designer. Her style blends a mix of Edwardian lace notions and 1960s mod A-line silhouettes in one-of-a-kind pieces that employ salvaged “upcycled” textiles such as antique doilies, fringe, and colorful vintage prints.

I caught up with Franklin for a Q&A about her new line and what direction she plans on taking following all these sudden accolades.

Minnie Opal on the Runway
Minnie Opal on the Runway Jeff Wong Photography

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Bullseye Glass Fined More Than $15,000 For Contaminating Groundwater

Dominic Deventua

Bullseye Glass was fined $15,600 as part of a settlement over its allowing toxic materials to seep into neighboring groundwater, the state's Department of Environmental Quality announced today.

According to a release from the agency, officials confirmed that chemicals that found their way from the company's furnaces to its roof eventually made their way into a downspout and a stormwater collection "drywell" on the property. The Mercury reported at length about suspicions of contaminated groundwater in October 2016.

"In Oct. 2016, DEQ discovered stormwater runoff from the factory's roof had been discharging into an underground drywell and contaminating soil and groundwater," today's release says. "The stormwater contained the toxic materials cadmium and selenium, which had settled on the roof after the company released them into the air through unfiltered furnaces."

An order laying out the settlement reveals that groundwater samples near Bullseye's dry well contained cadmium and selenium well in excess of federal "maximum contaminant levels" (MCLs) for drinking water. Officials found cadmium levels that were more than 26 times the MCL, and selenium levels at nearly 6 times the MCL.

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Trump Endorses Roy Moore


On Tuesday, Donald Trump told reporters that he is considering campaigning with embattled Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.

Moore, who has been accused by at least eight women of sexual misconduct and assault that occurred while they were in their teens and Moore was in his 30s, is running for Jeff Session's vacated Alabama Senate seat in a special election scheduled for next month. He denies the allegations against him.

When asked about Moore by reporters, Trump referenced Moore's repeated denials as well as the time that has elapsed since the accusations.

"Well, he denies. I mean, he denies," Trump said. "I mean, Roy Moore denies it. And by the way, it is a total denial. And I do have to say 40 years is a long time. He's run eight races and this has never come up. Forty years is a long time."

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FCC Lays Net Neutrality on Chopping Block

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, good friend to telecom giants.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, good friend to telecom giants.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican and great friend of conservative Sinclair Broadcasting, announced Tuesday that the FCC plans to end net neutrality in the U.S., a 2015 rule that prohibited internet service providers from blocking, slowing down, or charging more for access to some online content.

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed titled, ironically, "How the FCC Can Save the Open Internet," Pai wrote:

This is why I’m proposing today that my colleagues at the Federal Communications Commission repeal President Obama’s heavy-handed internet regulations. Instead the FCC simply would require internet service providers to be transparent so that consumers can buy the plan that’s best for them. And entrepreneurs and other small businesses would have the technical information they need to innovate. The Federal Trade Commission would police ISPs, protect consumers and promote competition, just as it did before 2015. Instead of being flyspecked by lawyers and bureaucrats, the internet would once again thrive under engineers and entrepreneurs.

Engineers and entrepreneurs, however, largely disagree. This move, which gives a major win to companies like Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, and Charter, has been opposed by consumer advocates, the ACLU, Google, Facebook, and most Democrats. The FCC will vote on the proposal Dec. 14. Read more on this very bad idea here.

Richard Linklater’s Last Flag Flying Has No Easy Answers


What is the value of a comforting lie? That’s the question at the heart of Last Flag Flying, Richard Linklater’s sort-of sequel to 1973’s The Last Detail, in which three Vietnam vets reunite after decades apart to bury a casualty of the Iraq War. None of them can quite agree on how much truth can be humanely dispensed in the wake of a tragedy.

Fuck if I know either, and fuck if Linklater knows, but he sure is willing to puzzle it out.

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Hard-Candy Cannabis Edibles from the Makers of Drip Ice Cream

Drip Sweets

By now, my fondness for Drip Ice Cream is well known (although judging by my waistline, my fondness for all ice cream is well known). Andi Bixel, the powerhouse behind Drip, has just launched a new product that you should check out— and by "check out," I mean put into your face by the handful.

Dubbed Gems Luxury Candy, these 5-milligram beauties come in two flavors, Citrine Quartz (citrus) and White Mint Illuminite (vanilla mint). Each comes sold in packages of 10, and will be available in dispensaries this week.

According to Bixel, "These incredible hard candy Gems are known to grant the ability to play with time, bring joyful engagement with the physicality of life, and even assist in mystic travel to the realm of flow." Which sounds awesome, although Bixel may have had a Gem (or 20) before crafting that statement, but hey, anything that assists in mystic travel to the realm of flow should be celebrated (my four daily 20-ounce cold brews certainly aren't affording me such a privilege).

I was lucky enough to try some Gems ahead of their release, and found them to be tasty, potent, and very, very pretty. Perhaps an entire package was consumed in a single sitting. I can't recall, as I was too busy joyfully engaging with the physicality of life. (Or maybe just watching Rick and Morty.)

There are many great micro-dose edibles on Oregon dispensary shelves, and now we have another. Roll away the stoned and start mining your local shop for these. You can find them at Farma, Bridge City Collective, Ivy Cannabis, and Westside Wellness, and other places, with more soon to follow. Go to for a full list of locations.

Drip Sweets

The New Starbucks Cup Made Me Gay

You know what really gets my goat? EVERY YEAR the annual Starbucks cup controversy starts earlier and earlier! GODDAMMIT WHY CAN'T THEY WAIT UNTIL AFTER THANKSGIVING??

That being said, the new Starbucks cup has turned me gay. I was already bisexual, so it could be argued it wouldn't take much to tip me to either side, but this new holiday cup is SO gay, I couldn't resist Starbucks' devious and alluring invitation. Here's a picture of the cup... and WARNING: If you've ever had even a slightly gay dream in your life, don't look at this cup unless you agree right now to meet me at Steam this weekend.

Joshua Trujillo/Starbucks

See?!? What did I tell you? Just one peep at those androgynous hands touching each other, and suddenly we're all gayer than Gaylord McGayerson, the grand marshal of Gaytown's "Whoopee! I'm GAY" parade. Personally, I'm tickled pink that I'm now an official super gay—you can tell because I just spent the last hour on Amazon pricing out leather teddy bears and rainbow flags that I can hang on my apartment balcony—but many others are not! After Buzzfeed revealed they are gay after looking at the cup, Fox News (who have been struggling with same-sex feelings for years) came out with their own coming out story. And naturally this was followed by other articles from conservative web sites such as the Blaze, who after adamantly denying they're gay, rushed off to the bathroom to watch on their phones, while uncontrollably sobbing and masturbating on the toilet.

Obviously this isn't the first time Starbucks has created controversy with their cups, and it won't be the last. However, if you're going to make a product that's specifically designed to flip someone's sexual orientation—like this, this, and especially this—a coffee cup that instantly turns people (like ME!!!) gay isn't the worst thing that could happen.

This Christmas MAGA hat is the worst thing that could happen.