Timbers v. Vancouver Match Preview

IM1.jpg
Craig Mitchelldyer/Portland Timbers

On Sunday afternoon, Providence Park will play host to its biggest game since the first leg of the 2015 Western Conference championship: a Decision Day clash between the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps, with number one seed in the Western Conference playoffs and the Cascadia Cup on the line (1:00 p.m., TV on ROOT Sports).

The scenarios are simple: with a win, the Timbers will win the West. With a draw or loss, they could finish anywhere from second to fourth. The top two seeds get a bye through the Wild Card round next week. After a long season, it all comes down to this.

Continue reading »

NewsCopsCity Hall

Chief Danielle Outlaw Is Pushing a Brand New "Deputy Chief" Position Atop the Police Bureau

Police Chief Danielle Outlaw
Police Chief Danielle Outlaw Portland Police Bureau

Since taking over earlier this month, Police Chief Danielle Outlaw hasn't been willing to talk about leadership changes she might enact at the Portland Police Bureau, but at least one fairly large change could go into effect as early as next week.

Outlaw, a former deputy chief at the Oakland Police Department, is now on the verge of creating a deputy chief position in Portland. The new position would serve as Outlaw's second-in-command, acting as a buffer between her and the PPB's three assistant chiefs, who've traditionally reported directly to the police chief.

"I think she found that configuration of leadership staff useful," says Anna Kanwit, the city's human resources director. "That will free her up some because she won't have as many direct reports as she otherwise would."

The PPB hasn't responded to requests for details about the position—including whether Outlaw has already tapped a deputy chief—but Portland City Council appears primed to approve the move. An ordinance creating the brand-new job classification appears on the "consent agenda" for next week's council meeting, which suggests it's got widespread council backing.

According to an impact statement filed with the ordinance, the position carries a maximum salary of $186,576, plus benefits and perks like a take-home car. The new salary will require a budget adjustment for the PPB, the statement says.

The deputy chief will assist Outlaw with "planning, directing, managing, and overseeing the activities and operations of the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) and all its branches," the filing says.

Kanwit says Outlaw has very few limitations when it comes to picking her second-in-command. The hire could come from within the PPB, as assistant chiefs typically do, or Outlaw could bring someone over from her time in Oakland.

Mayor Ted Wheeler's office, which requested the new position on Outlaw's behalf, referred questions to the PPB, which, again, hasn't gotten back to us.


Three Multnomah County Deputies Who Tipped Off ICE to Immigrants' Whereabouts Won't Face Discipline

gettyimages-492659230-johnmoore.jpg
JOHN MOORE / GETTY IMAGES

Three Multnomah County deputies who shared the whereabouts of undocumented immigrants with federal agents last year did not intentionally break office policy and won't be disciplined, the sheriff's office says.

In an email this afternoon, the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office says a months-long investigation into the deputies' contact with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents "revealed areas where policy direction was not clear, and members were conducting business within the parameters provided by a previous administration. The case files have been closed with a finding of not sustained."

The MCSO began investigating deputies conduct early this year, after it became clear that Close Street deputies were helping ICE agents locate people wanted for potentially violating immigration law. As revealed in emails obtained by the Portland Tribune, deputies Keith Fisher, Larry Wenzel, and Karl Kolberg all had interactions with ICE agents that raised questions about whether they were violating Oregon laws against using public resources to enforce immigration law, to say nothing of the MCSO's own "sanctuary" policies.

The emails show the deputies told ICE agents where defendants would be on certain dates and times, or when at least one defendant was being released from jail. After nearly eight months making up its mind, the sheriff's office now says those interactions don't merit discipline. The office further argues that a policy Sheriff Mike Reese enacted in February "clearly defined expectations for MCSO staff in accordance with both Oregon Revised Statue and federal case law."

The new policy states, in part: "MCSO does not use agency monies, equipment or personnel to enforce federal immigration law, nor does MCSO hold people in custody pursuant to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers."

It also says: "Should ICE request information from MCSO, members shall route the request to the Records Unit Manager, who will provide no greater information than is available to the public."

Asked whether the three deputies' actions would have run afoul of the new policy, MCSO spokesperson Lt. Chad Gaidos said only that "the policy released in February will prevent such activity from happening in the future."

Reese isn't available to speak about the matter, Gaidos says.


The Snowman Review: Michael Fassbender and the No Good, Very Bad Murder Investigation Day

SNOWMAN.jpg

Tomas Alfredson’s Scandinavian crime thriller The Snowman, based on a novel by Jo Nesbø, starts off good ‘n’ creepy, portraying the exact conditions that mark the early lives of many a serial killer. Alas, it slowly unravels into a collection of loose ends, despite the best efforts of Michael Fassbender and Rebecca Ferguson as a dysfunctional team investigating murders in pristine Norwegian towns.

Even before The Snowman's release, Alfredson admitted the film's production was rushed and incomplete, and it shows: Entire plot lines are abandoned. Charlotte Gainsbourg's character does nothing but act confused and wear short skirts without tights in Norway. (NORWAY!) Another character is dispatched with so quickly and unceremoniously that it wasn’t even clear if they were, in fact, dead; another’s death is so drawn out it becomes desensitizing. Meanwhile, Fassbender’s furrowed brow does a lot of the movie’s heavy lifting. It’s capable of a lot, but not carrying an entire movie.

I liked The Snowman just fine—it’s scary, and all the casual detective knitwear looked cozy—but I watch a lot of murder mysteries and have a high tolerance for even the category’s most mediocre entries. This is certainly one of them. But the bones of a more complicated, interesting movie are visible: There’s something fantastically creepy about a murderous weirdo disrupting Alfredson’s cleanly framed, beautifully filmed atmosphere, and some moments—as when we see the first victim attacked—are imbued with a real sense of dread. If you love crime movies so much that you’ll excuse the bad ones, there’s enough here to recommend The Snowman. If you don’t, get back to Mindhunter.


The City's Planning a Lawsuit to Fight Releasing Public Records to an Anti-Union Group

cityhall.jpg
ANOTHER BELIEVER / CC 3.0

The City of Portland is preparing a lawsuit in order to avoid releasing the names of members of a public-employee union to an anti-labor group, after District Attorney Rod Underhill's office deemed those records are public.

A resolution Portland City Council will vote on next week would give city attorneys permission to file suit in Multnomah County Circuit Court, opposing the release.

At issue is whether the city will reveal the names of hundreds of members of the union Laborers' Local 483 to the Freedom Foundation, an anti-labor group that has made plain its intention to try convincing union members to stop paying union dues. Willamette Week reported last month that the Olympia-based group was called into town by disaffected sewer workers who belong to Local 483.

The city refused a request from the Freedom Foundation to release the names of dues-paying union members, arguing "employees' membership is a union is personal and confidential in nature." But the group appealed to Underhill, who frequently acts as a final arbiter as to whether records fall under Oregon's public records law. The DA's office ruled last week that the membership list is fair game for release—noting that names of non-union members have been released to unions in the past—but Local 483's crying foul.

"They’re an anti-union, anti-worker group," says the union's business manager, Farrell Reichartz. "We’re interested in protecting the rights and privacy of our members."

According to City Attorney Tracy Reeve, Local 483 has threatened to file an unfair labor practice complaint against the City of Portland if it complies with Underhill's order.

"The union has taken the position that release of this information would constitute unlawful interference with its representational responsibilities.." reads a statement filed with the resolution council will take up.

The decision, Reeve says, might come down to whether public records law and state labor laws clash, and, if so, which should win out in this instance. Local 483 says its complying with its members wishes that their names not be made public in conjunction with their union membership.

According to the Willamette Week report, the Freedom Foundation took a similar tack with another public-employee union last year, and "foundation activists landed at the front doors of more than 10,000 workers, urging them to stop paying dues."


Nasalrod's New Record Will Leave You Perplexed

music-nasalrod-buildingmachines.jpg

Music writing usually goes like this: Listen to a band, determine which genre to file them under, describe their sound with a few colorful adjectives, metaphors, and analogies, then inject your opinion on whether or not their efforts were successful. The formula rarely ever fails. Until it does. And when it does, you’re fucked.

Nasalrod completely obliterates any preconceived notions about the boundaries of genre and traditional songwriting. There isn’t any formula for what they do. The Portland band’s new record, Building Machines, will force you to reconsider the capabilities of guitar, bass, and drums.

The album has no skeletal structure—it’s a formless mass of gonzo musical weirdness. If Building Machines had a spine, though, it’d be punk, because most of the tracks are in-your-face, unhinged, and mildly confrontational. Guitarist Mustin Douch’s style is similar to Dead Kennedys’ East Bay Ray; Douch’s approach is nuanced, and, with the help of some well-placed effects, very theatrical. The band’s vocalist, Chairman, is quite flamboyant and hard to pin down. He growls, sneers, and soulfully belts in a strange vibrato, like a carnival barker who’s having some kind of psychotic break.

Read article »

Ai Weiwei's Human Flow, a Film About the Global Refugee Crisis, Packs a Wallop

film-humanflow.jpg

Boundless ambition is nothing new at the movies, of course. But occasionally, a project can still come along with the scope and chutzpah to throw the audience for a loop. Human Flow, the staggeringly gargantuan look at the global refugee crisis from Chinese director and activist Ai Weiwei, takes a subject that could consume a documentarian’s entire career and seemingly attempts to get it all in one go. While the constant stream of jaw-dropping imagery can sometimes feel like a case of Too Much Information, the sheer macro power of the visuals packs a wallop.

Read article »

Don't Miss the Horrifying Hilarity of Poltergeist Live!

Poltergeist.jpg

If you want to kick off your pre-Halloween festivities in a hilarious way, don't miss the opening weekend of Poltergeist Live!—a live on-stage parody of the classic 1982 Steven Spielberg/Tobe Hooper horror flick, starring some of the funniest actors in town (and me, too!).

Poltergeist Live is another Siren Theater/Bad Reputation joint, maker of such great movie parodies as Road House: The Play and Lost Boys Live... which you really liked, remember? And trust me when I say, this production is wilder and crazier than anything that has come before. Expect tons of ghosts, horrible apparitions, and maybe even a certain strangling clown? It's directed by the whip-smart Loren Hoskins, and stars Shelley McLendon, Lori Ferraro, Janet Scanlon, Jed Arkley, and lots more verrrrry funny people. It opens TONIGHT (Fri Oct 20) and runs on weekends through Nov 4—SO GET YOUR TICKETS NOW... because "THEY'RE HEEEEEERE!"



Ask Benny Henderson, the Child Detective™

grabbag-gettyimages-184879457.jpg
ONECLEARVISION / GETTY IMAGES

Dear Benny Henderson, the Child Detective: I’m a private detective in Washington County. I’ve got strong suspicions that a local, very wealthy member of our community is kidnapping teenage runaways and possibly murdering them. The cops won’t touch the case, and now I’ve noticed a strange van parked outside my home. I want to do the right thing, but frankly, I’m terrified. What should I do?

—Anonymous, Washington County


Hi, Mr. Anonymous! Ugh, what an awful situation! But I think the answer is pretty obvious. (1) Tell your parents or principal. (2) Take your parents with you to the van parked outside, and tell the driver to take you to the murderer’s house. (3) Tell the murderer “the jig is up,” and to turn himself in. (4) If he refuses, judo flip him into a bunch of trash cans, put him in the van, and tell the driver to take him to the police station. Hope that helps!


Dear Benny Henderson, the Child Detective: I’m an actual police detective, and you need to stop interfering with our investigations. You’ve been spotted at several active crime scenes and have contaminated much of the evidence. In one instance, we found Skittles in the open wound of a murder victim. We’re impressed with your enthusiasm, but stay away or we’ll be forced to prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.

Det. Danny Lewis, Portland Police Bureau, Homicide Division


Hi, Mr. Det. Lewis! Thanks for writing! Wow! A real police detective! I’m gonna be you when I grow up! In the meantime, please return my Skittles. Keeping them is a crime. Also, a rich murderer is killing people in Washington County. Please arrest him—unless you want me to keep doing your job. Hope that helps!

Read article »

Good Morning, News: Firework-Happy Teen Charged, New Homeless Restrooms, and a Strike!

GraceyZhang.jpg
Gracey Zhang

STRIKE! (MAYBE!) Members of the DCTU, a conglomeration of six public-employee unions, voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike yesterday. If the group and the city can't iron out a contract by November 3, Portland could see its first employee strike in 16 years.

News lots of people were waiting for: Oregon State Police announced yesterday that that Vancouver teen accused of setting the devastating Eagle Creek Fire faces a passel of misdemeanor charges in Hood River County. The kid's identity is still being kept close.

Portland wants Amazon's new headquarters, like pretty much everybody else. We submitted a proposal—along with Beaverton, Milwaukie, and Clark County—by deadline yesterday. Don't hold your breath.

By the way: Am I the only one who finds Calgary's servile flattery on the HQ2 matter unseemly?

Bathroom trailers are probably coming to Southeast Portland. The Mercury got ahold of an internal proposal to purchase two trailers—offering three stalls apiece, hot water, and needle and trash disposal—that would serve homeless residents in Lents and the Central Eastside. It's better than sidewalk poop.

I still think it's crazy that the feds made a point of noting that parts of a man's exploded hand struck a federal officer while charging that man, Jason Schaefer, with assault. You'd think the fact that Schaefer allegedly set off an explosion in an attempt to kill himself and the officer on October 11 would do the trick, and yet we learn in court documents that the federal agent was pelted "by the flesh from Schaefer's mangled left hand."

So not only did Portland Public Schools completely mishandle years of creepy, troubling complaints against a now-disgraced teacher, it spent $11,000 trying to shield records of that mishandling from the Oregonian.

And since PPS is the worst with records, it's also trying to argue one of its officials isn't one of its officials in order to avoid releasing still more public documents.

Portland and Seattle's lawsuit against the Trump administration over sanctuary cities policy rides on.

Just noting to tweak my own despair: The Seattle Weekly is going to be maimed into some sort of "community weekly" by its publisher, and the Washington City Paper is up for sale. Things have certainly been sunnier in the alt-weekly world, which is why some have started making their writers hawk trinkets.

Soooo, the ex-Navy SEAL who Fox News reported is a Trump fanatic was actually not an ex-Navy SEAL at all?

Trump's chief of staff, John Kelly, issued a forceful defense of his boss during a press briefing yesterday—more effective than any Trump is likely capable of issuing himself.

Good News for Rich People: The Republican tax plan is inching forward.

Today in Nazi punching.

I'm guessing you didn't miss the term "atmospheric river" over the summer, but it's October now, so snap to. You've got a soggy weekend in store.

Screen_Shot_2017-10-20_at_7.55.50_AM.png


More than 1,000 City Employees Could Go On Strike Next Month

graceyzhang.jpg
Gracey Zhang

The city's largest group of unionized employees is ready to walk off the job.

In a vote tallied this evening, employees represented by the District Council of Trade Unions (DCTU) voted to go on strike November 3, if an ongoing contract dispute with the City of Portland hasn't been resolved.

According to Rob Wheaton, an American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) representative who bargains on behalf of the DCTU, 702 members voted to strike, with 76 members against. There are 1,043 employees in the bargaining unit, Wheaton said.

The DCTU is made up of six public-employee unions. Its members range from parking enforcers, to water bureau employees, to permit inspectors, to police records staff.

As the Mercury recently reported, the DCTU and the city have clashed over a number of provisions while negotiating a new three-year contract. The city wants to alter a policy for awarding promotions (which it says will encourage more diversity) and require employees to get periodic physicals in order to keep health care costs down. The DCTU has resisted those ideas, and is asking for across the board raises the city's been unwilling to agree to.

A "final offer" [PDF] the union group offered up earlier this month would cost the city an additional $51.6 million over three years compared to the current deal, according to a cost analysis the DCTU submitted. The city's final offer would cost a little more than half that.

It's been 16 years since a strike among City of Portland employees, and even that was an incredibly brief affair. According to news reports from 2001, there was confusion in the ranks about whether a strike was formally under way or not, but some workers walked off the job. The matter was settled in under a half-hour.

This could be a bigger deal—or it could be nothing at all. Under state labor law, the unions can't strike until early November. The city and DCTU bargain teams are planning to meet prior to that, according to Wheaton.


Mayor Ted Wheeler is Looking to Buy Mobile Bathrooms for Southeast Portland's Homeless

Heres what restroom trailers look like in Denver.
Here's what restroom trailers look like in Denver. City and County of Denver

Step aside food carts, public restrooms might become the latest Portland sensation on wheels.

Backing up a hint he dropped in a recent press conference, Mayor Ted Wheeler is mulling spending nearly $160,000 to purchase and operate two mobile restroom trailers meant to serve homeless people living in the Central Eastside and the Lents neighborhood, the Mercury has learned. The six-month pilot project, dubbed "PDX Pit Stops," showed up in a last-minute request Wheeler's office filed as part of the upcoming budget monitoring process (BMP, or "bump"), where officials are preparing to dole out around $12 million in surplus cash from last year.

"We'd like them to go to high-traffic, low-facility areas (think Central Eastside)," Wheeler spokesperson Michael Cox tells the Mercury.

According to a program proposal [PDF] subsequently supplied by the mayor's office, the restrooms would be operated and staffed by Central City Concern—a move similar to a pilot program that provided day storage for the homeless under former Mayor Charlie Hales.

"Neighborhoods in Southeast Portland have high populations of individuals experiencing homelessness," reads the proposal, noting the city frequently gets complaints about human waste "on sidewalks, in city parks and natural areas, and even on private property."

Continue reading »

The Teen Accused of Starting the Devastating Eagle Creek Has Been Charged

Big_Tree_Images_Eagle_Creek_Fire.jpg
Big Tree Images via the Oregon State Police

The 15-year-old Vancouver boy accused of chucking fireworks in the Columbia River Gorge and starting the the massive Eagle Creek Fire last month has been charged in Hood River County. The fire, which started on September 2, has devastated nearly 50,000 acres in the region so far, and its impact will be felt for years to come.

The unnamed kid was arraigned in juvenile court on charges of reckless burning, depositing burning materials on forest lands, unlawful possession of fireworks, criminal mischief, and recklessly endangering other persons, according to a press release today from the Oregon State Police on behalf of the Hood River County District Attorney's Office.

Here's the full statement:

When the Eagle Creek fire erupted a criminal investigation was immediately begun by the Oregon State Police. US Forest Service investigators have been assisting the State Police in this ongoing investigation. As a result of the investigation legal proceedings have been commenced in the Hood River County Circuit Court. A fifteen year old boy recently appeared and was arraigned on a Juvenile Court Petition.

Allegations in the Petition include acts of Reckless Burning, Depositing Burning Materials on Forest Lands, Unlawful Possession of Fireworks, Criminal Mischief and Recklessly Endangering Other Persons. The charging petition was filed by the Hood River County Juvenile Department at the direction of the Hood River County District Attorney John Sewell. The Hood River County District Attorney's office has been acting in cooperation with the Multnomah County District Attorney's office. Although extensive damage caused by the wildfire occurred in both Hood River and Multnomah Counties, Oregon's juvenile code dictates that legal proceedings be commenced in the county where the illegal act originally occurred, which is Hood River County.

The District Attorney's office, the Oregon State Police and the Hood River County Juvenile Department will have no further comment until the case has been resolved.

Continue reading »

T Is for Texas, Not THC

Schulenburgs legendary Texas Polka Music Museum
Schulenburg's legendary Texas Polka Music Museum. Billy Hathorn/Wikimedia Commons

Back when I was tour-managing bands and artists, a trip to Austin meant a quick side excursion to the hamlet of Schulenburg, Texas. The German-centric town is home to 3,000 residents, the Texas Polka Music Museum, and the finest Czech-style pastries known to humanity. (Stoned tour buses of musicians know of such things better than most.)

But beginning this December, Schulenberg will also be home to something I only thought I would see alongside flying pigs—a Texas-based cannabis dispensary. And if anyone needs a dispensary, it's the good people of Texas.

But, as one can legitimately say there, hold your horses.

To begin with, this won't be a storefront dispensary, but rather a combination grow site and HQ for a statewide delivery service that deals solely in CBD oil. The owners of Knox Medical got their state license this summer, and per the 2015 Texas Compassionate Care Act, they'll be allowed to produce a very specific type of oil that's high in CBD and low in THC. The oil will be available exclusively to epilepsy patients—which is a fine start but falls far short of serving a vastly wider range of people who could benefit greatly from it, such as patients suffering from fibromyalgia, PTSD, Crohn's Disease, and many others.

Knox Medical's tincture cannot contain more than 0.5 percent THC. As CBD is an "entourage cannabinoid" (or "ensemble cannabinoid," if the word entourage reminds you of the douchefest TV series), it works best when introduced into the body with a higher amount of THC. So this is, by most industry assessments, a half measure that embodies the phrase "better than nothing."

Qualifying to receive the oil isn't exactly patient-friendly either. Two doctors must agree the patient will benefit from it, so thank god we have a robust single-payer health care system that makes seeing two separate doctors low to no cost. Oh, wait...

The doctors and patient must then register with the Department of Public Safety, because nothing says "grave threat to public safety" like a four-ounce bottle of tincture. Texas patients will most likely not be able to place their orders until after the first of the year, due to a slow licensing process by the state.

Maybe Knox will send out a free pastry with each order.


Ask Northwest Earthquake Experts Anything You Want at Noon on Reddit

A helpful illustration from the Washington State Department of Transportation on what might happen to the viaduct (which is still standing!) during a major earthquake.
A helpful illustration from the Washington State Department of Transportation on what might happen to the viaduct (which is still standing!) during a major earthquake. WSDOT

What's in an earthquake kit? Am I supposed to stand under a door frame or hide under my desk? When's the next one of these things due anyway? Why do seismologists like bikes so much? If it's the Really Big One, a.k.a the Cascadia Subduction Zone quake, will I have enough time to have sex? If I'm under the viaduct, should I just lie down and hope I get into heaven?

These are all questions you can ask Washington Emergency Management Division earthquake program manager Brian Terbush, geologists Corina Forson and Tim Walsh, engineer Emory Montague, and Oregon Office of Emergency Management earthquake program manager Althea Rizzo during their Reddit AMA from noon until 2 p.m. today. Stay prepared here.