White House: Yeah, We're Going To Go After Legal Pot

Politico:

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday that he expects states to see “greater enforcement” of the federal law against marijuana use, a move that would be at odds with a growing number of states’ decisions to legalize it. Spicer, taking questions from reporters at the daily briefing, differentiated between the administration’s positions on medical marijuana and recreational marijuana.... Spicer suggested that the administration is opposed to encouraging recreational marijuana use and connected it with the crisis with opioid addiction in some areas.

Instead of going after the pharmaceutical companies that are driving and profiting from the opioid epidemic—and buying members of congress with the profits—the White House and Justice Department are going to dust off the "gateway drug" argument and go after legal recreational marijuana. Legal pot has been linked to fewer opioid prescriptions and didn't cause the heroin epidemic and may help end it, German Lopez writes at Vox.

But the same assholes who insist that millions of illegal immigrants voted for Hillary and that Trump's inauguration day crowds were bigger than Obama's and that Melania doesn't despise Donald going to let reality stop them.


SEX

Savage Love Letter of the Day: Overcoming Abuse & Finding Partners Who Aren’t Pieces of Shit

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Do you have any advice on how to develop healthy sexual boundaries when you have a long history of people not letting you?

I was sexually abused by a relative starting when I was a child and continuing until I was fourteen. My first relationship wasn't until after I finished college, and it wasn't a healthy one. I've dated a little since then, but not much, mostly because: (1) pretty much no one is interested in me and (2) frankly, I'm not sure I'm healthy enough to be dating these days.

As a fat, disabled, gay trans guy, I pretty much feel like my options are to either not have sex at all or to have casual sex with guys who it often turns out don't treat me well. I don't think there's anything wrong with having casual sex, and it has sometimes been a positive experience for me. Far too often, though, I've met up with guys with whom I've agreed to have one kind of sex only to have it turn into something violent or very different from what I consented to. Yes, rape would accurately describe several of these experiences. Help?

Haunted, Unlucky, Recovering Trans Individual Needs Guidance

P.S. Talking to a counsellor about at least some of this seems like the obvious answer, but that's currently not something I can afford, nor have I ever been able to find someone I could talk to about this stuff who has been helpful instead of judgmental or traumatizing. I live in Vancouver, if that’s helpful to know.

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Trump Is Trying to Cut Arts Funding. But Are You Really Surprised?

The arts, snore...
The arts, what a snore... WIN MCNAMEE / GETTY

This is a city that loves its public media [editor's note: this piece was written in Seattle]. Nearly every cab driver around town seems to listen to All Things Considered on repeat, and in addition to KUOW and KEXP, we also have KNKX, the newly independent radio station that plays bird songs every morning, classical music station KING, and public television station KCTS 9. But last weekend, The New York Times reported that failed steak salesman and current US president Donald Trump—a man with less political experience than a high school class president—had drafted a “hit list” of programs to defund, including Americorps, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), which distributes federal funds to over 1,400 locally-owned public radio and television stations across the U.S.

That’s right, folks: He’s coming for our tote-bags.

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PANIC! 100 Tickets Released for the Sold Out HELL NO! Benefit Show With Sleater-Kinney, Colin Meloy, and More!

HELL YES! Grab your credit cards! 100 more tickets were just released to the sold out HELL NO! benefit show at the Crystal Ballroom this Sunday featuring short sets from the absolute best Portland has to offer including...

Sleater-Kinney
Colin Meloy
Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks
Quasi
Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly
Team Dresch
Gregory McKelvey of Portland’s Resistance
Chanti Darling (DJ set)
Summer Cannibals
Máscaras
Hosted by JoAnn Schinderle

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All benefits from the show go to benefit the ACLU and Unite Oregon which is super amazing, but you're going to have to stop reading this and go get your ticket right now before the late releases are sold out...SO GO!

GET TICKETS HERE!


For the latest in information about rallies, marches, and political events, consult the Mercury's RESISTANCE & SOLIDARITY calendar. Want to publicize an event? Send the info to calendar@portlandmercury.com.


Ash Street Saloon Will Close Sometime Before 2018

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The end is in sight for the Ash Street Saloon. The downtown bar/venue—which hosts live music almost every night of the week, often featuring emerging local bands—will reach the end of its lease at the beginning of 2018. Commercial real estate agents have already begun showing the property to potential new tenants, and it’s possible that a new business could take over the space before Ash Street’s lease runs out. Either way, Ash Street will most likely be closing by the end of the year.

Speaking on behalf of Ash Street Saloon's owner Trish Greenlee, the venue’s show booker, Barret Stolte, confirms the news. Stolte tells the Mercury that he has already booked shows for the venue through summer 2017, adding that he is booking as far out as he normally would. But if the right deal is made—commercial realtors are currently advertising the venue, located at 225 SW Ash Street, as a potential restaurant space—then Ash Street could close up shop early. Stolte says the landlords have elected not to renew Ash Street’s lease, which expires at the start of 2018, and do not wish to keep it going as a live music venue.

This news is emblematic of the changes taking in place in the immediate neighborhood. Located on the edge of Old Town—and a stone’s throw from the Mercury office—the property at 225 SW Ash is located on the backside of the same block as Ankeny Alley, where businesses have changed hands and signage quickly, and the storefronts look drastically different than they did even five years ago. Ash Street Saloon’s immediate neighbor, the former Sky Club—and before that, Captain Ankeny’s Well—is currently undergoing significant construction to become a new business. An online brochure for 225 SW Ash touts that the bar/venue is located next door to what will be the second Portland location of acclaimed Japanese ramen spot Afuri Ramen. Afuri has not responded to the Mercury’s inquiry about this, but info seems to indicate that the Sky Club/Captain Ankeny’s Well space will become home to the Afuri’s newest location. (Captain Ankeny’s Well, meanwhile, has opened up at a cozier new spot nearby, at 116 SW Pine.)

Elsewhere in the neighborhood, Pine Street Market has collected numerous eateries in a centralized indoor location, and former porn theater Paris Theatre is once again hosting live music and DJ events. With tourist destination Voodoo Doughnuts right around the corner, 225 SW Ash has de facto become part of a renewal district dubbed the “Ankeny Blocks." Downtown Development Group LLC—headed by the longtime Portland real estate holders in the Goodman family—is currently spearheading a series of developments in the neighborhood that include commercial and residential high rises and other sizable buildings, including a proposed 75-foot-tall structure on the parking lot located across the street from Ash Street Saloon. (The aforementioned brochure offers slightly different info, suggesting the lot may become home to a 12-story market-rate apartment building.)

All this development may bode well for investors, property holders, and future enterprises in the neighborhood, but it spells the end for Ash Street. The writing has been on the wall for some time; the business was even at one point posted for sale on Craigslist, and the venue has known for about four years or so that it would eventually shut its doors, once the landlords established they did not wish to renew the lease. Portland Maps indicates the building dates from 1890, and the space itself, which includes four bathrooms and an outdoor courtyard, is quite large for downtown. It’s likely to be split into two, three, or potentially even four different businesses.

Greenlee currently has no plans to open a second Ash Street Saloon or keep its torch burning with a similar type of venture (unlike, for example, the Know, which found a new home on NE Sandy after its original location on NE Alberta was destined to close). Which means it’s time to celebrate Ash Street for what it has always been since it first opened its doors on Halloween 1994: a readily accessible venue for live music, specializing in local, loud, and low-cover shows, often spotlighting bands before they break through on the scene. I’ve seen legendary Portland bands like Dead Moon and Richmond Fontaine perform there, and for many years it functioned—along with similarly departed venues like Berbati’s Pan, Satyricon, and Someday Lounge—a crucial hub of the thriving downtown live circuit. Stolte says he would like to book some special events and guests to commemorate the place before it closes for good.

Stay tuned for more news and confirmed dates for Ash Street’s upcoming closure and any farewell shows or parties they might host. In the meantime, check out their live music calendar.


This Month Marks the 20th Anniversary of Portland’s Jackpot! Recording Studio

JACKPOT! Ka-ching.
JACKPOT! Ka-ching. Jackpot!

LIKE COUNTLESS studios past and present, Portland’s Jackpot! Recording Studio began in a basement. That, however, changed quickly.

Larry Crane founded his home studio (which he originally called Laundry Rules Recording) with the money he got after being doored on his bike. Crane soon began attracting more and more clients—word was getting around that his operation, unlike several other makeshift recording studios of the era, actually provided nice gear.

“It was a different time,” Crane says, referring to Portland in the late 1990s. “A home studio was like an eight-track reel-to-reel tape machine. Jackpot!, when it first opened, had a two-inch, 16-track machine. Then, just having anything you could record on, they were like ‘Oh my god!’ Now they don’t even ask, they just come in.”

The basement was no longer cutting it. “I had a wife and a roommate, and it was getting kind of noisy,” he says. “Bands had to go all the way through the house to use the restroom, and to have someone go through your whole house when nobody else is home—kind of weird.”

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Portland Mercury's Highball Drink Recipes Are Here: Home, A Bar, Iconic, Landmark Saloon

It’s almost time for... HIGHBALL!

Brace yourself for over 40 specially crafted cocktails… for only $5 each!

All of the tantalizing drink recipes are available online! Check out what your favorite neighborhood bars and restaurants have in store for you March 6-12 HERE!

For a full list of participating bars and restaurants and more information check here.

Here's a few teaser cocktails...



Home, A Bar's The ShinKicker

Home, A Bars The ShinKicker
Home, A Bar's The ShinKicker MINH TRAN

In a cocktail shaker, add ice, 2 oz Jim Beam white label, a splash of fresh lime juice, and cranberry juice. Shake and pour in highball glass over ice. Top with Cock & Bull ginger beer. Garnish with lime wedge.

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Two City Documents Dictate Opposing Fates for Right 2 Dream Too

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K. Marie

Right 2 Dream Too's uncertain future could be decided by two weirdly contradictory city documents.

As first reported by the Mercury, the respected homeless rest area last week lost the opportunity to move to a parking lot on SW Naito, when Mayor Ted Wheeler shot the idea down. With no other plots of land being considered, that left the camp with less than two months before an apparent deadline to clear out of its home of nearly six years.

As we also first reported, R2DToo's attorney is confident his clients won't be tossed out so easily. Mark Kramer cites a 2014 city ordinance [PDF] that says if the City of Portland purchases the land where R2DToo sits, it has to find a new home for the camp before evicting it. Kramer wouldn't go into specific strategies, but suggested that that clause would be a safeguard ensuring the camp's continued existence.

It's not that simple, though. A purchasing agreement [PDF] the Portland Development Commission signed eight months after the city ordinance could make that provision unwieldy to enforce, since it mandates the camp be gone before the city buys the land.

So in essence: If the city buys the land, it has to keep R2DToo around, but in order to buy the land, the city is demanding that R2DToo clear out. It's a bizarre ouroboros that officials are still puzzling out.

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Get Out: Clever, Scary, and Very Of-the-Moment

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Get Out is a feature-length version of the not-quite-joking sentiment among African Americans that the suburbs, with their overwhelming whiteness and cultural homogeneity, are eerie twilight zones for Black people. Far from being a one-joke movie, however, Jordan Peele’s directorial debut is both a clever, consistently funny racial satire and a horror film, one that mocks white liberal cluelessness and finds humor in—but doesn’t dismiss—Black people’s fears.

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"March 4 Trump" Rally in Lake Oswego Sounds Like They Might Need Some Help

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From Facebook

According to the Lake Oswego Review, local businessman Kevin "The Geek" Gerwin (nationally known for posting a sign in his store window telling liberals to "go straight to hell"—he also despises Bruce Springsteen) is desperately trying to drum up interest in a "March 4 Trump" rally in Lake O on March 4. HE REALLY, REALLY WANTS THIS TO HAPPEN, GUYS.

“It’s just a friendly walk down the sidewalks,” he says. “We’re not going to block traffic, smash windows or light cars on fire.”

And yet, according to the story, Gerwin doesn't plan on getting a permit. (We'll see if overly aggressive riot cops will automatically show up to this peaceful protest like they do in Portland.) Since Trump won the election, one might wonder why Gerwin feels an Oregon march is necessary, and what they intend to prove by marching.

“We’re happy with what Trump’s been doing, as conservatives,” he says. “We feel like the mainstream press is doing everything they can to assassinate what he’s doing.”

That's an interesting choice of words. Anyway, according to the March 4 Trump Facebook page, they've already got 51 people promising to attend the march—which, according to my quick math, is somewhat less than the estimated 100,000 that showed up to Portland's Women's March, but hey... they've still got a little over a week to drum up some interest. Who knows? Maybe a lot of anti-Trump people will show up to voice their own opinions. However, don't expect to lodge any complaints about Trump on the event's Facebook page.

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AMERICA!


Good Morning, News: Spring Arts Guide, Homelessness Law, and City Council Craziness

Good morning, Portland. Let's get started with these links.

First up, out in print as of yesterday (pick up a copy!), is our spring arts guide. Read it!

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K. Marie

News Editor Dirk VanderHart on the Oregon Right to Rest Act, "a multi-pronged piece of legislation that would bolster protections for homeless Oregonians and effectively roll back local laws that can criminalize people for not having homes."

My story, also out in print as of yesterday (but with extra photographs and video online), on how the Portland Police Bureau suppressed Monday's President's Day protest downtown.


A group of activists shut down Portland City Council yesterday and called for Mayor Ted Wheeler to resign. Wheeler had jury duty.

In the Oregonian: A person bled all over the Trimet Blue Line Max and it wasn't cleaned for 30 stops.

"In September 2014, a Portland Police officer deployed a Taser on a Portland bicyclist six times within 15 seconds in a use of force that drew years of scrutiny and conflicting opinions on whether Officer Bradley Nutting's actions were appropriate," the Oregonian reports. "The Portland City Council remained conflicted Wednesday and, on a 3-2 vote, overturned the Police Bureau's decision to exonerate Nutting for deploying a stun gun on Portlander Matthew Klug."

The Portland Tribune on the sheriff's office helping ICE deport immigrants:

The Multnomah County Sheriff Office will review new evidence of local deputies helping federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials deport undocumented immigrants.

The review was sparked by a Portland Tribune records request of emails that turned up several instances in which sheriff's deputies shared information with federal immigration officers.

Sheriff Mike Reese says he's bearing down to ensure deputies follow the law. In response to the emails, he's had a captain meet with the deputies in question to emphasize the ban on helping Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (known as ICE) deport people who have not been convicted of a crime, adding that the emails would be reviewed by internal affairs for potential investigation.

New Citizens: 31 people born in 14 different countries became American citizens yesterday in Beaverton.

The Northwest Children's Theater at NW 19th and Everett might be torn down, KGW reports. "The theater says over 3,500 kids every year learn singing and acting there. It's also a space for art classes, congressional hearings, health clinics, and more. But the building needs a lot of repair, and some say it's not worth the money, and it would be more productive to sell the building and demolish it."

This is bad:


This, however, is less bad:



Scenes From a Suppressed Protest

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Doug Brown

When Ted Wheeler ran for mayor, he pledged to “actively demilitarize the police force.” Instead, the almost two months since Wheeler took office have coincided with some of the strongest uses of police force in recent memory.

That was driven home again Monday, February 20, when the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) came down hard on a relatively small group of anti-Donald Trump protesters downtown. The crackdown set the stage for yet another battle with activists and civil rights groups saying their actions are protected by the First Amendment.

The PPB arrested 13 people on Monday, less than an hour after the Don’t Shoot Portland-organized “Not My President’s Day” protest began outside the federal building on the corner of SW 3rd and Madison. It was precisely a month after the PPB suppressed a downtown Inauguration Day protest with flash-bang grenades, less-lethal rounds, and tear gas aimed at nonviolent protesters standing in the street.

“Take off your riot gear, I don’t see no riot here,” yelled 31-year-old David Carlson, one of a handful of protesters still lingering in the road on Monday when riot cops stormed in.

Police had warned the group they’d be arrested for standing in the street, and subsequently shepherded demonstrators to the sidewalk. Most of them were still there when a police SUV with about a dozen riot gear-clad police hanging from the side pulled up behind Carlson. Several cops pounced on him, throwing him to the ground, putting their knees on his back as he was face-down in the street.


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Trump Yanks Back Protections for Transgender Youth

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Sara D. Davis / Getty

Every day one thinks, "President Trump cannot sink any lower"—and yet? Once again he distinguishes himself as simply a terrible human being without an ounce of compassion for those who need our help the most. From the Washington Post:

The Trump administration on Wednesday revoked federal protections for transgender students who sought the right to use the public school restrooms that match their gender identity, taking a stand on a contentious issue that has become the central battle over LGBT rights.

Trump officials notified the Supreme Court that they should ignore the memos sent from President Obama that pointed out it violated anti-discrimination laws to forbid transgender students from using the restroom matching their gender identity. Unsurprisingly, supporters of the LGBT community are absolutely right to be furious:




Expect a LOT more screaming, and hopefully another courtroom loss in the near future for Trump. Interestingly, according to the New York Times, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos reportedly fought against the rollback of protections for these students.

Ms. DeVos initially resisted signing off on the order and told President Trump that she was uncomfortable with it, according to three Republicans with direct knowledge of the internal discussions.

Mr. Sessions, who strongly opposes expanding gay, lesbian and transgender rights, fought Ms. DeVos on the issue and pressed her to relent because he could not go forward without her consent. The order must come from the Justice and Education Departments.

But Mr. Trump sided with his attorney general, these Republicans said, telling Ms. DeVos in a meeting in the Oval Office on Tuesday that he wanted her to drop her objections. And Ms. DeVos, faced with the choice of resigning or defying the president, has agreed to go along.

More on this story as it develops.


Put Down Your Dystopian Literature! The Mercury's Spring Arts & Culture Guide is Here!

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MARLOWE DOBBE

I don’t know about you, but in November, my capacity to appreciate complex art and culture took a nosedive. I reread A Wrinkle in Time and Matilda and temporarily banned myself from my beloved Sunday New York Times. I watched A LOT of Parks and Recreation. I no longer felt inclined to see live theater or comedy or visual art—and going to see those things are a huge part of my job.

I can only imagine what it’s been like for you.

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Oregon Lawmakers Will Consider Strong New Protections for the Homeless This Year

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K. Marie

Oregon's housing woes have been great at attracting attention to the plight of renters, but that hasn’t always translated to compassion for the folks who’ve already lost their homes.

Consider: As the state was in the teeth of a widely acknowledged housing crisis last year, the city of Roseburg adopted a new “exclusion zone” policy that critics say allows officials to ban people cited for homelessness-related crimes from setting foot downtown.

And in the Central Oregon town of Prineville, leaders took steps in September to more easily exclude homeless campers and others from city parks.

Of course, similar laws—Portland’s camping ban comes to mind—have been on the books for decades. Now, with legislators in Salem promising to drill down into the housing crisis during this year’s new legislative session, advocates for the homeless see an uncommon opportunity to give those policies the boot.

“Sitting down, sleeping—these are minor fucking crimes,” says Paul Boden, executive director of the San Francisco-based Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP). “The history of local governments using and criminalizing the presence of people they don’t like and discriminatorily enforcing laws against people is as old as this country is.”

For the second time, WRAP this year has convinced Oregon legislators to consider the Oregon Right to Rest Act, a multi-pronged piece of legislation that would bolster protections for homeless Oregonians and effectively roll back local laws that can criminalize people for not having homes

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