Another Shelter in Old Town Wouldn't Break City Planning Promises, Ted Wheeler Now Says

Screen_Shot_2017-09-20_at_3.10.15_PM.png
Doug Brown

A new 200-bed homeless shelter would not represent a "significant expansion of services" in Old Town, Mayor Ted Wheeler's office now says.

Citing the recent departure of a self-run homeless camp and transitional living facility from the neighborhood, the mayor is arguing that adding a large shelter wouldn't run afoul of long-held city planning policy to not meaningfully expand social services in Old Town. The so-called "no net gain" policy has been a central argument of Old Town businesspeople, who say their neighborhood is already full up with nearly 330 beds among four year-round shelters.

"The mayor believes that the new shelter under discussion does not represent a significant expansion of services," Wheeler spokesperson Michael Cox told the Mercury this week.

That argument comes as the battle over the shelter is poised to heat up.

Earlier today, the Old Town Chinatown Community Association (OTCTCA) sent officials a three-page letter describing the neighborhood as overrun with predatory drug dealing, sex trafficking, and gang activity, and called on officials to find a space elsewhere. The letter was addressed to Wheeler, County Chair Deborah Kafoury, and Marc Jolin, director of the county's Joint Office of Homeless Services (JOHS).

"Our neighborhood knows first-hand the unintended consequences of services and shelters being over concentrated in a single area," says the document, first noted by the Portland Tribune. "The issue is not with those receiving services or seeking shelter, but rather with those who prey on vulnerable populations."

The association's conclusion? That it "cannot support" the proposal to develop a shelter in an unused warehouse at NW 3rd and Glisan. To make its case, the group offers up reasons cited by every neighborhood facing the possibility of a new shelter: safety (the OTCTCA says Old Town has the worst crime rate in Portland) and economic impact (it mentions businesses that have recently moved out).

But as the Mercury reported recently, Old Town stakeholders have a more unique argument, too: decades of commitments by city officials to not meaningfully expand social services in Old Town. Current city planning policies say officials should "not locate additional major social services in the district.”

That verbiage was included in a plan approved by Portland City Council in 2015, and it's repeated in another plan—dubbed Central City 2035—that the council is currently considering. Even so, Wheeler says the language doesn't apply to the proposal for the new shelter, which could become the city's largest.

Continue reading »

Wildfire Diaries: Three Days in Oregon During the Eagle Creek Fire

marlowedobbe_mercury.jpg
Marlowe Dobbe
There is ash falling from the sky.

Way back in the 1990s, years before I fell in love with him, my first boyfriend witnessed several other eighth grade boys throwing fireworks through the video return slot of our local hardware store in Corbett, Oregon. The hardware store was a mainstay of the community, renting videos and selling snacks to high-schoolers and hardware necessities to adults. And although it didn’t burn down completely, the structure was so badly damaged that it never reopened. And it was never torn down either. The shell of it is still standing, slowly deteriorating, on the north side of the Columbia River Highway. Its once-painted siding is gray and the whole structure is buckling, listing to one side. One day, it will completely collapse. It could be tomorrow or in 100 years.

I think the boys were suspended, or had to do community service. I don’t remember. I don’t think my ex-boyfriend was ever punished, but I do know he felt a good amount of residual guilt for years.

The fire is moving west and the air is filling with smoke. The sun is bright pink in the gray sky.

Every year on my birthday, my father likes to tell the story of waiting in line to see The Empire Strikes Back the night I was born.

“Ash was falling on our heads as we waited in line,” he says. I like this story too, although it is slightly disturbing: My birth coincided with one of the most catastrophic events in Northwest history—the Mount St. Helens eruption. It would be grandiose to say it was portentous. It would be dismissive to say it meant nothing. Perhaps the only thing it really means is that one day the mountain was there and then one day it wasn’t. And one day I wasn’t there, and then the next day I was.

My father is an avid photographer, and one of the most iconic photos we have in our family collection is a black-and-white image taken atop a skyscraper in downtown Portland. In the foreground my sister Sarah, a toddler, wipes her blond bangs from her forehead. My little bundled body is in an infant carrier. In the background, behind the safety railing on the building’s deck, a huge mushroom cloud rises into the air. The picture is so fantastical that it looks unreal, fake, like a trick of darkroom photography.

But it is real and the mountain did explode and as my mother told me last night over the phone, “It didn’t end us. It didn’t destroy the economy. Even though we all thought it would. We went on.” And the mountain regenerated and the wildlife came back, and even the fish in the ash-covered lakes returned more quickly than biologists had imagined they would.

Read article »

So Long, Grand Juries

multnomah_county_courthouse_portland_2012_-_05.jpg
ANOTHER BELIEVER / CC 3.0

Big changes are coming to Multnomah County’s most high-profile criminal cases, but nobody knows how much strain they’ll put on the court system.

This summer, the Oregon state legislature passed a law requiring prosecutors to record and provide transcripts of grand jury testimony to defendants. For the first time in the state, those accused of felonies, and their attorneys, would get a glimpse of the extremely secretive and oft-criticized process used to indict them.

Now, in a shift that’s raising questions throughout the justice system, Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill plans to drastically cut the use of grand juries. By next year, vastly more transparent preliminary hearings will be the predominant first step in felony cases.

Read article »

Surprise! The GOP's New Health Care Bill Would Be Terrible For Oregon

FUCK.
FUCK. Getty Images / mphillips007

Maybe you've heard: The GOP is donning wax wings yet again with its latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Though marginally more policy-focused than earlier iterations, the latest proposal, from Senators Lindsey Graham (who should know better) and Bill Cassidy, leaves health care oversight to the states, and cuts federal funding for it by 6.4 percent. And it's especially bad for states like ours.

According to "Impacts of New Graham-Cassidy Repeal and Replace Proposal," a policy report authored by Manatt Health for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Graham-Cassidy would leave the fate of the 23 million people projected to receive health care through the Affordable Care Act in the hands of individual states, working from block grants that, in many cases, provide considerably less funding than current law. The Manatt report estimates that the block grant system "would provide states with $81.6 billion less in federal funding than would be available under current law, a reduction of 6.4 percent." By 2026, the report continues, the number grows to 8.9 percent.

States facing the biggest cuts include those that opted to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, or that have more expensive care—among these are Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, and Vermont.

Continue reading »

Tickets On Sale NOW for The 13th Annual HUMP! Film Festival!

HUMP_-sex-toy-letters-01.jpeg

If you're wondering why there hasn't been a "Savage Love Letter of the Day" this week—or if you've seen me stumbling around Capitol Hill in a daze—it's because the HUMP! Jury met all day on Monday and Tuesday, watched and re-watched every one of this year's HUMP! submissions, and then locked ourselves in a conference room without food or water until we could finalize the list of films that will be featured at the 13th Annual HUMP! Film Festival.

It wasn't an easy task—there were so many great films to choose from this year! But the list has been finalized, the filmmakers have been notified (a big "hey, congrats!" to those whose films made it in, a sincere "maybe next year!" to those whose films didn't make it in), and the tickets to festival screenings in Seattle and Portland are on sale now! You can get your tickets by going to...

WWW.HUMPFILMFEST.COM.

All the dirty details...

Continue reading »

There's No One Quite Like the Space Lady

THE SPACE LADY Fri 9/22 Hollywood Theatre
THE SPACE LADY Fri 9/22 Hollywood Theatre TERRI LOEWENTHAL

There’s no one quite like the Space Lady. Susan Dietrich Schneider left her small Colorado hometown in the ’60s for San Francisco, where she met her first husband Joel. When he was drafted in the Vietnam War, they retreated into the wilderness of Northern California, making their home in a cave atop Mount Shasta. The couple had three children, and to support her family, Schneider—AKA the Space Lady—would busk on the streets and subways of San Francisco and Boston throughout the ’70s and ’80s.

Sporting her signature winged valkyrie helmet, she’d perform celestial, electronic interpretations of classic rock songs like Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild” and the Electric Prunes’ “I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night,” singing through an echo unit and plugging her Casio keyboard into a phase-shifter pedal. On “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” she howls “yippie-yi-yay” like a space-bound cowboy wrangling the constellations into their proper places, while iconic tracks like “Synthesize Me”—a psychedelic original written by Joel—are made great by burbling spaceship bleep-bloops and her placid, Joni Mitchell-esque vocals, which sound like they’re echoing, as she sings, “from a strange planet a zillion light-years away, through a black hole across the Milky Way.”

In 2000, the Space Lady moved back to Colorado, where she became a nurse and met her second husband, Eric Schneider, also a musician. He coaxed her out of retirement about five years ago, and last year she performed a sold-out show at the Hollywood Theatre, where she’ll return this Friday. What to make of the Space Lady’s troubling stance as a 9/11 truther (which she detailed in a 2014 interview with Vice)? Considering she also claims to have been abducted by benevolent aliens while she was under anesthesia for a surgery, I suppose we’d best take her political beliefs with a grain of cosmic dust.


Green Box's Specialty Cannabis Packages Give You a Buzz in a Box

IMG_6946.jpg

Back in May, I previewed a unique start-up called Green Box (pdxgreenbox.com). To recap: Green Box curates cannabis and cannabis products for you based on your preferences, and then delivers one each month to your home. (Attention Jeff Sessions: A gay, married, Black man curated and delivered a box of cannabis to me in full compliance with state and city law. Welcome to Portland, you little punk.)

Green Box is now fully up and running, and they offered to deliver one to my modest abode. I'm stupid, but I'm not so stupid as to say no to such an offer, so I went online and completed my profile, answering questions about edibles, flower, flavor note preferences, and so on. While there was no box to check for "massive hedonist," I felt my answers gave a good overview of what I like regarding cannabis (which, again, is everything, and in large quantities).

I selected a delivery time period on Sunday morning, and received a text update that morning with a link that showed me, Lyft-like in real time, where my Delivery Driver of the Dank was, and when he would be arriving. Right on time, an unassuming car pulled up, and the owner of Green Box, Adrian Wayman, hopped out and handed me the specially curated box of green, and his phone to sign.

IMG_6956_copy.jpg

Showing admirable restraint, I waited until I was inside my house before lifting the lid on the sleekly designed package, which I will be repurposing this holiday season. Inside the lid was a highly detailed menu of the nine products contained within, along with a couple extra treats, and some ancillary items such as a lighter, organic hemp wick, and some crutches for joints.

To be exact, I received:

• a 5-piece container of Brownie Bites from Laurie + Mary Jane
• a Sesame Harissa Chocolate Bar from Leif Goods
• a CBD Sea Salt Caramel from Periodic Edibles
• 1 Orange Dreamsicle Cake Ball and 1 Lemon Cake Ball from Elbe's Edibles
• a pre-roll of a high-CBD strain, Shark Shock, from East Fork
• a king-sized pre-roll from TKO, a whopper at 1.3 grams in a sleek glass tube
• 1.39 grams of Cherry Kush from Nelson & Co.
• 1.25 grams of Sour Tangie from Ten Four Farms
• 1.22 grams of OGKB from Gnome Grown
• 1.25 grams of Golden Cobra from Bull Run Craft Cannabis

I was already familiar with many of the producers on this list, and the products they provided in my Green Box lived up to their reputations and my expectations. It was great to try some new strains and products from others I had heard of but have not yet tried. Everything was top shelf, and I would had no hesitation sharing this with the snobbiest of my canna friends and colleagues. In fact, I did share, with my 79-year-old mother, a cannabis consumer of 60 years, who raved about the packaging. Upon opening the box, she paused and asked, "This is the coolest fucking weed thing I've ever seen. You've giving me this, right?"

The concept of a personal pot shopper would have been laughable a few short years ago. Now with Green Box, it's here, and would make a great gift, for yourself or someone else—hey, maybe even your own mother. Prices run $100 for a monthly box of 4-6 products, or $150 for 7-9 products. Check them out at pdxgreenbox.com.


Downtown Boys' New Album Wages War on Injustice

DOWNTOWN BOYS
DOWNTOWN BOYS FARRAH SKEIKY

Downtown Boys aren’t interested in freedom unless everyone’s invited. Since the Providence, Rhode Island, punk band formed in 2011, they’ve made it their mission to challenge capitalist entities, including the music industry. True to form, their new album, Cost of Living, fearlessly critiques complacency as well as political and economic systems that only value excess.

Downtown Boys’ music moves you, both physically and emotionally. Across 12 tracks, lead vocalist Victoria Ruiz chants powerfully over feverish riffs and snappy saxophone. Cost of Living sounds raw but clean, thanks to spotless production from Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto. Bruce Springsteen’s influence is also apparent—the band even covered “Dancing in the Dark” on their last album, 2015’s Full Communism.

“I don’t know if it’s like this anymore, but everyone [in the E Street Band] would get paid the exact same as Bruce,” Ruiz says. “What he’s done with his model of music is so inspiring, and a lot of his lyrics really get at that relentless, gritty desire and hope. You know it’s not about any dogmatic form of happiness or success. It’s about something that’s deeper than anything we probably know. That’s something we’ve tried to bring out in both Malportado Kids [Ruiz’s digital cumbia project with guitarist Joey DeFrancesco] and Downtown Boys.”

Read article »

Good Morning, News: Trump's Tantrum, Hurricane Maria Hits, and Portland Tells Jeff Sessions to Go Screw

GOOD MORNING, BLOGTOWN! How you doin' miss? My name is L, I'm from Queens. I heard about your man, he like to lace you with cream. LET'S GO TO PRESS.

So Attorney General Jeff Sessions visited Portland yesterday to beg us to stop doing our "sanctuary city" thing. We told him to "fuck off" and take his Foghorn Leghorn hillbilly ass back to Washington. So yeah... kind of a wasted trip.

The rain has helped firefighters make a lot of progress in stamping out the Eagle Creek blaze, but they warn us that fire season isn't over yet.

ICE agents attempted to snatch up an undocumented immigrant who turned out to be a fully documented Washington County employee.

Portland Public Schools has hired investigators to look into how they screwed up the Mitch Whitehurst/alleged sexual misconduct case.

A massive earthquake struck Mexico yesterday, killing over 200 and trapping more underneath rubble.

Once again, President Trump's oratory style leaves a lot to be desired. He spoke in front of the UN General Assembly yesterday, vowed to "totally destroy North Korea" if they continued to threaten us, and generally came off like a furious, spoiled fourth grader.

And yeah, other than with hawkish Republicans, the speech didn't go over very well with other countries, especially China.

Republicans are once again trying to scuttle Obamacare, with a new bill sponsored by Lindsay Graham and Bill Cassidy that is as horrible as all the others that have been rejected thus far. A group of GOP governors are fighting the plan, but once again it will be a tight vote.

Jimmy Kimmel had a few strong choice words for Sen. Cassidy (who's sponsoring the latest Obamacare replacement), saying "he lied right to my face."


The category four Hurricane Maria has hit Puerto Rico, and is being called the worst storm in 80 years.

Late night talk show host James Corden is apologizing for smooching American traitor Sean Spicer following the Emmys on Sunday night.

Okay, let's check out this WEATHER SCENARIO: Cool and showery again today with a high of 60.

And finally, this happy Corgi might be the world's greatest soccer star... that is, if his dick of an owner would ever let him out of that backpack.


Some Dude Tries to Kiss Alvvays Frontwoman Molly Rankin, Reminds Us All to Not Sexually Harass People

Dont kiss her unless she says she wants to kiss you!
Don't kiss her unless she says she wants to kiss you! Rick Kern / Getty

On Saturday night in Antwerp, Belgium, a stage crasher took things way too far and sexually harassed Alvvays frontwoman Molly Rankin when he tried to kiss her. During their performance of “Party Police,” some dude waddled on stage and leaned in for a peck, and when Rankin ducked away from the mysterious bro, he looked genuinely shocked that she wasn’t interested in kissing a complete stranger. The incident was caught on video, and happens around 3:30.

Continue reading »

Watch Out: Zombie Obamacare Repeal Is Back, On the Move, and May Be Close to Having the Votes to Pass

Senator John McCain, Obamacare savior-turned-nemesis?
Senator John McCain, Obamacare savior-turned-nemesis? Mark Wilson / Getty Images

If you thought the Republican effort to repeal Obamacare had already failed so many times that it had been absolutely, totally dead and done—nope.

Everyone from Paul Krugman to Jeet Heer and David Leonhardt is warning that if the citizen activists who rattled Congress's cage in support of Obamacare earlier this year don't get back into the game quickly, a new repeal measure known as the "Graham-Cassidy bill" could actually pass the senate.

Graham-Cassidy would, those writers warn, "radically overhaul health care and roll back the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of coverage" and "would eliminate the individual mandate, undermine if not effectively eliminate protection for people with pre-existing conditions, and slash funding for subsidies and Medicaid."

Leonhardt, amid concerns that John McCain himself might get behind this effort, describes this moment as yet another defining, highly consequential test of McCain's principles—you know, the ones he made such a big deal about when he dramatically returned to the Senate to kill Obamacare earlier this year.

Continue reading »

Jeff Sessions Delivers a Drawling, Hysterical, Fear-Mongering Message to Portland

Probably emphasizing some point about how youre about to be attacked by an undocumented immigrant.
Probably emphasizing some point about how you're about to be attacked by an undocumented immigrant. Dirk VanderHart

Jeff Sessions had fear-mongering tidings of doom for Portland's immigrant-protecting officials. So where better to deliver it than the Pearl District room where the country’s newest citizens are sworn in?

Before a packed audience of dark suits—many of them from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement—the attorney general paid a special visit to our defiant sanctuary of a city this afternoon, railing on about the dangers of protecting undocumented immigrants who might be "pedophiles, rapists, murderers, drug dealers, and arsonists."

Sanctuary cities like Portland, Sessions insisted in a speech that lasted roughly 20 minutes, are "a trafficker, smuggler, or gang member’s best friend."

It was a chiding message of despair delivered in an appropriately ironic location. The room where Sessions spoke is known to employees of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as the "Oath Room" or "Ceremony Room." When new citizens are sworn in in Portland—two or three times a week—they often do it here.

Strong signs in the Pearl District, as demonstrators protest Jeff Sessions immigration jeremiad.
Strong signs in the Pearl District, as demonstrators protest Jeff Sessions' immigration jeremiad. Doug Brown

As the attorney general railed on about a society he says has "eroding" discipline and a "disturbing disrespect for law," a crowd of more than 150 gathered near the Pearl District USCIS field office to decry the message. It was pretty obvious, after all, what Sessions was going to say.

Since taking over as attorney general, Sessions has railed repeatedly against "sanctuary" jurisdictions that decline to cooperate with immigration agents.

Portland and Multnomah Count are no different than liberal bastions around the country that have earned the Trump Administration’s ire for expressly refusing to cooperate. Portland even joined up with a lawsuit against administration threats to cut federal funding to sanctuary cities—a point Sessions noted in his speech.

Sessions has reason to be particularly interested in our city and state, which he repeatedly called "wonderful" (or the closest approximation of that word his deep drawl will allow). The arrest this summer of a 20-time deportee who’s now accused of sexually assaulting two women has become a point of emphasis for people who support Trump's ugly characterizations of undocumented immigrants as rapists. It's become a go-to anecdote for Sessions too. During an August 16 speech in Miami, the attorney general used the Sergio Martinez case to argue the dangers not cooperating with the feds. He repeated much of that speech today.

"Federal immigration authorities properly lodged a detainer against Martinez just a few months before, asking to be notified when he was set to be released. But authorities in Oregon refused,” Sessions said in the August speech (he said basically the same thing today, with minor changes). "These policies of sanctuary cities do far broader damage to the country than many understand. At its root, it is a rejection of our immigration laws and a declaration of open borders.”

Since 1987, the state of Oregon has had laws on the books that say local law enforcement won’t turn undocumented immigrants over to federal officials if the only thing they’re accused of are immigration violations. A 2014 ruling from a local federal judge went further, saying sheriffs could not hold people for federal immigration authorities past their slated release date, absent a federal warrant.

Since Trump took office, Mayor Ted Wheeler, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury, and Sheriff Mike Reese, and others have indicated they support going further in not cooperating with federal officials.

Wheeler, rather than meeting up with the attorney general on today's visit, instead sent a letter laying out his support for sanctuary policies. And Reese’s department currently refuses to tell ICE when undocumented defendants are being released from jail, and forces the feds to scour jail rolls to determine if subjects of interest are in custody—a policy that has Sessions upset.

"Think about that: Police may be forced to release pedophiles, rapists, murderers, drug dealers, and arsonists back into the communities where they had no right to be in the first place," he said.

The well-worn territory Sessions plumbed in his speech isn't likely to have much sway on local officials' opinions, which are based in the common sense belief that undocumented immigrants who are crime victims or need government services will go without if they're worried about being reported to federal agents. Sessions pooh-poohed that idea today, and his message explicitly ignored the harm that is being done to families who have undocumented members deported for low-level offenses.

Instead, he said, sanctuary policies "undermine the moral authority of law and undermine the safety of jurisdictions that follow these ideas. Whatever the crime rate is in a city, you can be sure it will be higher if these policies are followed."

To drive home that point, the attorney general engaged in a bit of cherry picking and obfuscation. Between 2013 and 2015, he said, " the city saw an increase in homicides of more than 140 percent."

That's not true. In 2013, the city saw 16 homicides, its lowest number in four decades. In 2015, the number had indeed risen markedly—but not by as much as Sessions claims. The 34 homicides that year amount to a 113 percent increase, not 140 percent. And by the way: 2015 appears to be an outlier. News reports suggest there were 20 homicides last year.

Update: We got official figures from the Portland Police Bureau, which says that in fact there were 32 homicides in 2015, not 34 (that figure doesn't include "negligent homicides" according to spokesperson Sgt. Chris Burley). That means the number of homicides increased 100 percent from 2013 to 2015—again, not 140 percent.

In addition, there were 16 homicides last year, according to PPB, precisely matching 2013's tally.

Burley adds: "Comparing July 2015 to July 2016 and July 2016 to July 2017 the homicide rate decreased 13% in Portland."


Food Review: Alto Bajo and Lo Bar Live Up and Down to Their Names

mercury-altobajo.9.17.desomer-16.jpg
Jason Desomer

I’m not sure I get the name of the Hi-Lo Hotel. Online the hotel, from Marriott’s “Autograph Collection,” is billed in a half-assed buzzword mélange as being “crafted” as Portland’s “most relevant luxury destination,” with “Portland luxury” defined as “effortless, organic modern.” The Hi-Lo strives to represent Oregon’s “raw and refined” landscape.

The hotel’s restaurant is called Alto Bajo, more or less Spanish for Hi Lo, but otherwise branded separately from the above Marriott bullshit. It’s a “modern Mexican” menu from Chicago chef Chip Barnes with an assist from Oaxacan-American superchef Iliana de la Vega, though the two non-Northwesterners do an admirable job focusing the menu on local ingredients.

With a menu that changes as frequently as this one, you’re bound for hits and misses. My first meal at Alto Bajo was brunch—the time of day when Alto Bajo feels most like a hotel restaurant. We chose the wrong things on the menu: chilaquiles ($12)—tortilla chips swimming in salsa, crema, and eggs, unmemorable without some optional additions (we went with boar chorizo, which was a smoky, spicy delight, $4)—and an omelette a la poblana—with a splash of green poblano sauce, served with potatoes and totally dry toast. The $16 omelet’s saving grace was a streak of huitlacoche, a purply-black fungus-infected corn with a sweet, mushroomy flavor. (Huitlacoche is a rarity north of the border and a delicacy south of it, perhaps because in English it’s called “corn smut,” which sounds exceptionally unappetizing.)

Drinks were less disappointing. In the AM, there’s a michelada (beer and spices), but for it to cost $11 and not include any liquor is a shame, and despite a nice, slightly warming freshness, it can’t help but taste of a lost bet. A breakfast margarita never hurt anybody, and Alto Bajo has a few: naturally there are “Alto” (fancy) and “Bajo” (less fancy) versions, but also a purple prickly pear option and a slightly pinker hibiscus one. A house horchata is the base for the rummy Abuela’s Nightcap (A+ name), which, despite its postmeridian moniker, is a great morning drink, all warm cinnamon spice.

Read article »

This Week on Nextdoor (with Special Guest Frank Cassano!)

grabbag.jpg


Good Morning, News: Jeff Sessions Hits Town, Bumbling Trump Lawyers, and Washington Slaps Down a Gas Plant

JEFF SESSIONS: Likes to scold pot plants.
JEFF SESSIONS: Likes to scold pot plants.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is emerging from his cozy, cookie-scented tree bole to visit our fair city today, in what looks like it'll amount to a push for more stringent crackdowns on undocumented immigrants. There's a protest planned, of course.

Rainnnnn. We got drenched yesterday, and that means Multnomah County residents who've been displaced by the Eagle Creek Fire get to go home.

OH SNAP: Looks like Paul Manafort, a former top Trump aide, was wiretapped before and after last year's election.

You read this story about two Trump lawyers openly and loudly discussing sensitive White House business in a DC restaurant, right? They were sitting next to a New York Times reporter. "A reporter who happened to be at the next table heard Mr. Cobb describing varying views of how to respond to [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller’s requests for documents." Beautiful.

Speaking of White House attorneys, they're trying to force US Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley to accept Trump's choice for a new federal appeals judge. The two senators have said they'll block the nomination (using an informal process it's not clear Republicans will abide by).

ICYMI: The Merc's Doug Brown broke news on Friday that the secretive grand jury process is on its way out in Multnomah County. Instead of getting the thumbs up to try people for crimes in secret, local prosecutors will now have to convince a judge, in open court, that they have probable cause to move forward with a case.

A Washington State board has thrown a kink into the plan to build a massive gas-to-methanol plant in Kalama. From OPB: "In its summary judgement, the board wrote it is 'troubled by the project’s emission of greenhouse gases without further evaluation of potential mitigation measures...'" Makes sense.

A new Amazon warehouse is coming to North Lombard street—in an area of town that might offer the retailer a five year reprieve on real-estate taxes, according to the O.

Speaking of Lombard, it was the site of an awful crash last night that left two people dead and four more seriously injured.

Oregon legislators called three former state health officials to testify about an agency scandal yesterday. None showed up.

Protests continued in St. Louis yesterday over the acquittal of a police officer who killed a Black man. They were toned down compared to the weekend. Meanwhile, protestors there are calling foul on St. Louis police's use of a "kettle" to arrest them on Sunday. That practice has been used in Portland—most recently in an early June demonstration.

Donald Trump addresses the UN General Assembly today. And down in Washington, the latest effort to dismantle Obamacare might have a shot.

Now get out there in that rain!

Screen_Shot_2017-09-19_at_6.54.03_AM.png