Good Morning, News: The Arts Tax Survives, I-84 Nears Opening, and 'Melo to Portland?!

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ICYMI, the arts tax is legal. That's the ruling from the Oregon Supreme Court, which yesterday agreed with the decisions of two lower courts that the $35 yearly fee is not an unconstitutional "head tax." So everyone's favorite tax to gripe about is here to stay, but as we report this week, it's still got problems.

Hey!!!! Is Portland getting a Major League Baseball team?! No. Almost certainly no.

BETTER SPORTING NEWS: There's apparently a real chance Carmelo Anthony might wind up on the Trail Blazers. This would be huge.

Sorry, PDX-philes. Our dear airport isn't top of the heap any longer. According to a new JD Power survey, it's been unseated by such unworthies as Dallas, Nashville, and *gulp* Orange County.

You ever wonder how Oregon became one of just two states to allow non-unanimous verdicts in felony cases? With a heaping helping of antisemitism and xenophobia! The O lays out the case that started it all, as the US Supreme Court decides whether to take up a challenge to the practice.

You should watch this Oregonian interview with the Washington County employee who was blatantly profiled by ICE:

I-84 Eastbound might re-open from Hood River to Troutdale this weekend! First workers have to clear out a BUNCH of trees.

Squabbling continues between the North Portland homeless camp Hazelnut Grove and the Overlook Neighborhood Association (which, remember, recently went so far as to attempt to prevent homeless people from participating at its meetings). Interestingly: Hazelnut Grove just got a resident installed on the neighborhood association's board.

So Tom Price, Trump's health and human services secretary, has burned through more than $300,000 being whisked by charter jet from place to place. Bad form. Politico reports: "Price’s use of private jets represents a sharp departure from his two immediate predecessors, Sylvia Mathews Burwell and Kathleen Sebelius, who flew commercially in the continental United States."

Today in Useless Endeavors: Trump is going to try to get North Korea to listen to reason by further expanding sanctions on the country.

Aaaaand Kim Jong Un is serving up some snappy retorts. "Dotard."

If you haven't primed yourself on the havoc that might be caused by the latest Obamacare "replacement" proposal—which would mean far, far less federal money to Oregon—read up on the Graham-Cassidy bill now. Republicans are trying to get a vote by September 30. “This is by far the most radical of any of the Republican health care bills that have been debated this year."

ALSO: Facebook is going to show a Congressional committee more than 3,000 ads linked to Russian propaganda operations that it ran in the run up to last year's election. " Facebook had previously shown Congressional staffers a sample of the ads — some of which attacked Hillary Clinton or praised Donald J. Trump — but had not shared the entire collection," the NYT reports.

An autumnal weekend ahead.


The Author of "It's Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers" Does Not Get Residuals But He Did Get a Mug

Get ready to decorate, motherfuckers.
Get ready to decorate, motherfuckers. Oli Scarff/Getty Images

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get my hands on some fucking gourds and arrange them in a horn-shaped basket on my dining room table. That shit is going to look so seasonal. I’m about to head up to the attic right now to find that wicker fucker, dust it off, and jam it with an insanely ornate assortment of shellacked vegetables. When my guests come over it’s gonna be like, BLAMMO! Check out my shellacked decorative vegetables, assholes. Guess what season it is—fucking fall. There’s a nip in the air and my house is full of mutant fucking squash.

Thus begins the infamous ode to fall, "It's Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers," a 2009 McSweeney's piece that makes the rounds like clockwork every fall. To mark the beginning of this year's decorative gourd season, we bring you this Q&A with Colin Nissan, the author of the piece.

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Comedy Has a Diversity Problem. Take My Wife’s Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher Know How to Fix It


In a sea of white-guy-does-stand-up shows, Rhea Butcher and Cameron Esposito’s SeeSo series Take My Wife has been a welcome deviation—and the best depiction of gender in comedy I’ve ever seen. For the comedy power couple, that’s by design.

“Rhea and I had the chance to design our show so that it reflects our real life,” says Esposito. “Because we were writing a show that centered on two characters who were both women and both queer, we felt that there was enough diversity between just different women’s experiences.”

So Butcher and Esposito, who perform together at Revolution Hall this week, committed to filling their writers’ room with women—only women. In season two, 43 percent of those writers were also women of color.

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Disaster Relief Events This Weekend in RESISTANCE & SOLIDARITY


In the face of natural (and teenmade) disasters around the globe, these good citizens are coming together to host a variety of benefits over the weekend. From rebuilding efforts in light of the Eagle Creek fire, to the recent catastrophic earthquakes in Mexico and Hurricanes Maria, Irma, and Harvey, there are ways to give back to all causes. Plus, if you can’t show up IRL, you can pick from any of the vetted organizations to donate to.

Benefit Concert featuring Year of the Coyote, Hair Puller, Law Boss, and Diaspora
Headbang to the sounds of crusty hardcore and sludgy metal at this show in support of the victims and survivors of the 7.1 earthquake that shook Mexico earlier this week. Funds will be collected and distributed to Topos México and as an added bonus, the law office of Steve Seal (who drums in Hair Puller) will be matching all donations up to $500. Twilight Café and Bar, 1420 SE Powell, 9 pm–12 am, $7 suggested donation

Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico Donation Drive
Two local boricuas have teamed up to deliver supplies to the Caribbean in light of the tragic hurricanes that have left many of the islands destroyed and without power. A small fund will be set up to cover the shipping costs. Items needed include: first aid kids, canned food and non-perishable goods, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, clean clothing and shoes in good/new condition, blankets, candles, solar chargers, flashlights, and batteries. Broad Space, 425 SE 3rd, 11 am–6 pm, FREE


Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico Donation Drive
Two local boricuas have teamed up to deliver supplies to the Caribbean in light of the tragic hurricanes that have left many of the islands destroyed and without power. A small fund will be set up to cover the shipping costs. Items needed include: first aid kids, canned food and non-perishable goods, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, clean clothing and shoes in good/new condition, blankets, candles, solar chargers, flashlights, and batteries. Broad Space, 425 SE 3rd, 11 am–6 pm, FREE

Ninkasi Showcase/Firefighter Fundraiser
For every keg sold in Portland and surrounding areas during the month of September, Ninkasi Brewing is donating $5 of all sales to the Portland Fighterfighters Association (PFFA) charitable fund. The local 43 chapter has been instrumental in aiding during the Eagle Creek fire alongside other groups of firefighters and they’ll be using donations to support a coat drive, the PFFA fallen firefighters memorial platoon, and the PFFA pipes and drums band. While you can enjoy pints at any location that sells ‘em, Loyal Legion has purchased several Ninkasi beers for their tap and have invited folks to sample a taster tray at special prices. Loyal Legion, 70 SE 6th, 12 pm–12 am, FREE

Mississippi Ave Supports the Columbia River Gorge
You can shop, eat, and drink all along Mississippi Avenue in support of restoration efforts along the Columbia River Gorge. A portion of all sales on 9/25 will be donated to the Friends of the Columbia Gorge from the following businesses: Another Read Through, Beacon Sound, Black Wagon, Crow Bar, Ecliptic Brewing, Flex & Flow, Flutter, Gravy, Gumbo Gifts & Gallery, Gypsy Chic, The Herbe Shoppe, Interurban, Miss Delta, Mississippi Pizza Pub, Moloko, Paxton Gate, PDXchange, Pistils Nursery, ¿Por Que No?, Prost!, Radar Restaurant, The Rambler, ReBuilding Center, Samurai Blue, She Bop, Sunlan Lighting, Spin Laundry Lounge, Stash Tea, Stormbreaker Brewing, Trailhead Credit Union, Uchu, Verde Cocina, and Widmer Brothers Brewing. As No Bones Beach Club is closed Mondays, you can visit them on Tuesday 9/26 instead. Historic Mississippi District, N Mississippi, all day, FREE

The Spoiler Boys present Save the Last Dance for Me
Say goodbye to “Portland’s favorite good boy,” Sean Pierce, at this bon voyage that doubles as a benefit. The Spoiler Boys DJ crew will be spinning tunes and collecting donations to be distributed evenly amongst DACA protection funds and relief efforts for Oaxaca and Chiapas earthquakes, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and the Columbia Gorge wildfire. Beech St Parlor, 412 NE Beech, 9pm-2 am, FREE

• Brigada de Rescate Topos (via Paypal at
Catholic Charities
Dominica-American Relief & Development Association
Dominica Hurricane Relief
Friends of the Columbia Gorge
Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund
Maria & Irma Puerto Rico Recovery Fund
Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies
Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief
Trans Disaster Relief Fund for Hurricane Harvey
UNICEF Disaster Relief
Unidos por Puerto Rico
United Way (Fondo Unido Mexico)

For even more events see the Mercury's RESISTANCE & SOLIDARITY calendar.

Portland's Almost Certainly Not Getting an MLB Team, But Let's Speculate Anyway


It's time to bump up the likelihood that Portland will be home to a Major League Baseball team in the future from .0001 percent to .001 percent. Things are looking up!

"Portland would be on a list" said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred on Wednesday at a press conference in Seattle, answering questions about potential cities that could get a franchise if the league somehow decided to expand from 30 to 32 teams. "Yeah, I think Portland's a possibility. We would need, if we were going to go to 32, we'd need a western time zone team. We'd need at least one more."

KGW is excited about this.

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Television Plays Portland for the First Time Since 1978

TELEVISION Sun 9/24 Aladdin Theater
TELEVISION Sun 9/24 Aladdin Theater High Road Touring

It’s mostly happenstance that Television got called a punk band, but while they were scene figureheads during the punk explosion in downtown Manhattan in the mid- to late ’70s, the music made by the virtuosic, jam-heavy quartet is even farther from the punk genre than that of their peers Blondie and Talking Heads. Television did share some roots with American punk, though, when guitarist Tom Verlaine, bassist Richard Hell, and drummer Billy Ficca first started as the Neon Boys in 1972. Hell departed, along with most of the band’s punk DNA, and newly added bassist Fred Smith and guitarist Richard Lloyd turned the renamed Television into an ambitious, interlocking machine centered on Verlaine’s lyrics, which were influenced by the Decadent and Symbolism movements (born Thomas Miller, Verlaine took his stage name from the 19th-century French poet).

Two remarkable albums followed—1977’s astonishing-to-this-day Marquee Moon, one of the best albums ever recorded by an American rock band, and 1978’s Adventure, a more than worthy effort that nevertheless falls in Marquee Moon’s impressive shadow. Songs like “See No Evil” and “Venus” are tightly constructed works that demonstrate the power of precisely composed lines of melody and counterpoint when transposed to a snarling rock format; the interplay of Lloyd and Verlaine’s guitars rarely lapses into slab-handed riffing but instead deliberately functions like a supercharged game of tennis. Ideas are shuttled back and forth, notes are cracked across the net, and fluid guitar runs move at varying velocities between the two.

And then there’s “Marquee Moon.” The epic title track from their tour de force debut is a total paradox—an indulgent, excessive meander through horror-movie imagery and stream-of-consciousness navel-gazing with multiple guitar solos that nevertheless is a breathtaking, edge-of-your-seat thriller, hooking you deeper and deeper with each one of its 10 crucial minutes. Television broke up in 1978, but have reunited intermittently in the ensuing decades; this visit to Portland—which, according to the internet, is their first since playing the Earth Tavern in 1978—sees guitarist Jimmy Rip (of Paul Collins and the Beat) taking Lloyd’s spot. With rumors of new songs and “Marquee Moon” all but guaranteed in the setlist, this is an unmissable event.


Savage Love Letter of the Day: Always the Rando, Never the Boyfriend


I am a 27-year-old gay male living in Seattle. I have been in the hookup scene basically since I was 18 years old. At that time I was hooking up with multiple partners never using a condom. In the year 2016 I decided to keep track of the number of different sexual partners I had, that number at the end of 2016 was 172 different sexual partners only using a condom once or twice. I contacted Gonorrhea and Chlamydia during that time. I used various sources to hook up, Grindr, Scruff, and BBRTS, BBRTS is a website that is for gay men that like BB sex. This year I decided not to keep track and found another website called Sniffies that is also for more of the public scene, however most men on there don’t use condoms.

I am HIV- and been on Prep since March 2016 and I got in every three months to make sure that my kidney and liver functions are all okay and since I am there I get tested for everything else. I just recently tested positive for Chlamydia and gonorrhea again and I find myself sick to my stomach with it all. I take full responsibility for my actions but I just don’t know why I am constantly having multiple partners, and using my extra time all on these hookup apps. I feel like I am broken, I want a bf—never had one and never even been close, the only thing I am apparently good at is hooking up.

Please tell me what I should do or what I can do to make myself feel less broken? Is there something wrong with me? I would love some advice on this. Please.

Sick Of Losing Out

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Put a Little Cocktail in Your Beer, and Vice Versa, at Shandytown


The next time someone asks you if you'd like a "shandy," they probably aren't asking about some new, weird sex act. (Probably. I don't know who you run with with.) No, a shandy is a British term for a drink made with a beer, often a blond lager, paired usually with lemonade or lemon-lime soda, often in a 50/50 ratio. You may know them by their German name, radler, although in Portland radler often means a beer made with grapefruit soda. In any case, a shandy can broadly mean a cocktail made with beer.

And Taqueria Nueve is hosting a one-night event celebrating all things shandy, fittingly called Shandytown, and taking place from 5 to 10 pm on Monday, September 25. Presented by Pono Brewing, Shandytown's tagline is "Where Beer and Cocktails Live Together." (A fine place... until one starts practicing drums at 2 in the morning, in which case all hell breaks loose.) The evening features five bartenders, five restaurants, hundreds of oysters, and a long list of shandys.

The setup will be like a mini-food festival, as attendees roam between stations, sampling bites from each chef's offering, each of which will be paired with a unique shandy. Ticketholders will cast a vote for "People's Choice: Commissioner of Shandytown," while three celebrity judges will crown "Judge's Choice: Mayor of Shandytown."

Your ticket gets you five drinks and "food until you are full," and the ticket price goes to support the non-profit Growing Gardens, which teaches gardening skills and builds organic vegetable gardens in homes, schools, and correctional facilities in Oregon. The staff and volunteers support children, adults, and families with garden beds, supplies, seeds, plants, mentoring, and other resources, and serve people who have limited access to safe and nutritious food.

Shandytown's food options will be provided by the chefs who are behind Big's Chicken, Twisted Filipino/Magna, Taqueria Nueve, Oysters by Tournart, and Eb & Bean Frozen Yogurt. Each shandy's beer component will comes from Pono Brewing, and the shandymakers will include bartenders from Ataula (using Pono's Pineapple Express pineapple kolsch), Le Moule (using Peachy Cabron tart farmhouse with peach), Shipwreck (using Three Amigos Mexican lager with blue agave), Raven & Rose (with Kīkīao tart farmhouse with Tao of Tea green tea, passionfruit, and mango), and Han Oak (using Tropical Storm hazy New England style IPA). Give Shandytown a visit by stopping by Taqueria Nueve (727 SE Washington) on Monday, and get your tickets here.

Daniel Norgren Brings His Folksy Blues Stateside

DANIEL NORGREN Americana, Swedish-style.
DANIEL NORGREN Americana, Swedish-style. PETRA NORGREN

If you dig into singer/songwriter Daniel Norgren’s background, it’s not hard to trace the roots of his strong independent streak.

Norgren grew up near Borås, Sweden, a town of around 70,000 people, where he knew no one else who was interested in playing the guitar, writing songs, or even listening to the kind of rootsy American music he loved.

Even his father—a singer and guitarist with a record collection dominated by American rock ’n’ roll—left Norgren to find his own musical way.

“He found this cheap, busted-up junkyard guitar in an old trash container, and he gave it to me when I was in high school. I just started strumming it,” Norgren says. “But he never taught me anything. He just gave me the guitar and said, ‘You can do whatever you want with it.’”

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle Is Bloated and Stupid. But It’s Pretty Fun, Too!


The first Kingsman movie shouldn’t have worked half as well as it did. Essentially James Bond cosplay, Kingsman: The Secret Service was based on a comic by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons, and directed by Matthew Vaughn, whose track record includes Layer Cake, Kick-Ass, and X-Men: First Class. It succeeded thanks to its complicated but deep affection for old Bond movies and its charmingly immature compulsion to inject R-rated depravity and computer-generated wow into 007’s musty old tropes. It was a total surprise—both batshit and pretty great.

Unsurprisingly, Kingsman: The Golden Circle suffers from sequel-itis.

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Let's Chat About Feast, Bay-bee!

Aaron Barnett of St. Jack/La Moule at Smoked.
Aaron Barnett of St. Jack/La Moule at Smoked. Andrea Damewood

Another Feast has come and gone, but we'd be remiss not to do a recap chat where we discuss the strengths, weaknesses, and burps of Portland's fave food fest. Providing the summary is Mercury food writers MJ Skegg and Jackie Varriano.—eds.

Jackie: So... Feast 2017. Initial reaction post-fest?

Martin: Apart from the usual wanting to eat lettuce for a week, I thought overall it was a good year.

J: Yeah, I drove home and stopped at the grocery store on my way. Only bought vegetables. I do have to say I left last year's Feast a little burnt out, but I think I've come back around on it. I really felt new energy in the Sandwich Invitational this year and had a blast at Smoked. Aso I'm kind of excited there might be a need to overhaul Night Market next year due to development. I'd love to see what else they'll come up with.

M: Agreed on Sandwich. Thought the quality and invention was better this year. Smoked is always my favorite, and it helped it didn't rain this year too! Gregory Gordet nailed it.

J: I think it's funny how the ones I loved aren't even on the radar. Really shows there's something for everyone. I feel like I could eat that butter-soaked corn from Bollywood every day of my life. Because butter. Also, we both went to dinners this year, which I think hasn't always been open to media in the past. What did you think of your dinner—it was at Jackrabbit, correct?

M: Correct. I enjoyed it. I was disappointed with beer pairings though, and the main course totally left me cold. I can't even explain it, apart from a lump of meat in pastry. Yours was better by the sound of it.

J: Yeah, I went to Whiskey Pig and in my book Carlo Lamagna can do no wrong. Toward the end of the dinner he talked about making Filipino food more of a part of the conversation and I'm all for it. I need more pancit and lumpia in my life for sure. I also heard a lot of positive feedback at the dinner, so I feel like people thought they got their money's worth, for whatever that's worth. And I have to say it was a little nuts for you that you had three events at Jackrabbit over two days. That's a lot of ham ass jokes to handle.

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There Are Only Two Worthwhile Things That Remain On This Corrupted and Fallen Earth: Movies and Dogs


And here is a trailer for a Wes Anderson movie about dogs.

The Best Entries From Our Andrew W.K. Pizza Party Coloring Contest 🍕

This month we ran a pretty cool promotion. We asked folks in Portland to color an awesome illustration of Andrew W.K. and return it to any Sizzle Pie location to be entered to win a pizza party with the man himself, as well as tickets to his show this Monday.

Portland did not disappoint. The winners (hand picked by Mr. W.K.) are pretty epic. See below.

Andrew W.K. rocks the Wonder Ballroom September 25. Tickets available via

Alex Shear

Aaron Bley

Dustin Cook

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Good Morning, News: Grand Juries, the Arts Tax, and Landslides in the Gorge

Good morning, Portland. I hope you've been enjoying the cloud-and-rain-based smalltalk recently. Let's click these links.

First up is this week's feature: "Wildfire Diaries: Three Days in Oregon During the Eagle Creek Fire" by writer Martha Grover. It's good and you should read it.


The Multnomah County District Attorney's Office is planning to cut the use of grand juries for felony cases, in favor of more transparent preliminary hearings. That means more work for defense attorneys. One public defender says cases "will back up like an old toilet."

"The Portland Arts Tax has underperformed and overspent," the Mercury's Dirk VanderHart writes. "When voters approved the oft-derided $35 tax in 2012, they did so with the understanding that about 95 percent of the money they forked over would pay for arts teachers and culture-related nonprofits. No more than 5 percent of the revenues, averaged over five years, was supposed to go toward administering the tax. These days, that assurance looks laughable."

More developments in the battle over homeless shelters in Old Town:

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.

ICE is bad and openly discriminatory and you should film ICE agents as much as possible. In the Oregonian: "Two Oregon lawmakers are calling for a federal investigation into the conduct of immigration agents who mistakenly approached a Latino man, demanded his name without identifying themselves and claimed he was in the country illegally. U.S. Reps. Suzanne Bonamici and Earl Blumenauer said they were 'greatly disturbed' by Isidro Andrade-Tafolla's account of what happened after he and his wife left the Washington County Courthouse on Monday morning. Andrade-Tafolla is a U.S. citizen who has worked for the county for almost 20 years in road maintenance." Watch this nonsense:

The Portland suburbs are growing at a faster rate that the city, the Portland Tribune reports.

Because nothing is good: "New maps show landslide hazards near Eagle Creek Fire burn area."

DOGAMI engineering geologist Bill Burns said if the land has slid in the past, it’s more likely to slide again. The soil in burn areas is also more likely to slide.
“With vegetation removed, rain can reach soil more quickly, and loss of root strength also means less stable soil,” DOGAMI said in a press release.
The new maps show 286 previous landslides that could be dangerous.

A 10-year-old girl said she was nearly abducted in Southeast Portland.

"Only the best people," Trump once said about who he surrounds himself with:

Sometimes you just gotta go...

The Portland Arts Tax is Legal, State Supreme Court Finds

Danielle Chenette

The Portland Arts Tax has big problems, but it's not unconstitutional.

In what should amount to the final say in the matter, the Oregon Supreme Court this morning issued an opinion finding that the $35 dollar annual charge doesn't amount to an illegal "poll tax" or "head tax," as long argued by George Wittemeyer, a Portland retiree who's challenged the tax in state-level and appellate courts.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court agrees with lower courts, saying that exemptions for people at or under the federal poverty line—or people who live in households above that line, who make less than $1,000 a year—mean the tax is okay.

"We conclude that a tax that takes into account the income, property, or other resources of taxpayers is not a 'poll or head tax' within the meaning of Article IX, section 1a," reads the opinion from Justice Jack Landau. " In this case, the City of Portland arts tax exempts certain residents based on their income and household resources. Thus, the tax does take income into account and, as a result, does not amount to a “poll or head tax” within the meaning of the state constitution."

While opponents—including economist Eric Fruits and Lewis and Clark College law professor Jack Bogdanski—had argued similar taxes in the 1890s were considered head taxes even with limited exemptions, the Supreme Court's opinion said that didn't matter. When voters outlawed head taxes in 1910, justices found, the definition of such taxes had shifted.

"By the time that Oregon voters adopted the constitutional prohibition, the term was understood to apply only to a tax that did not take into account income, property, or other resources in any way," the court ruled.

The ruling clears the way for the tax to continue, but that doesn't mean it's going to have smooth sailing. We reported this week on structural flaws within the tax that city council will likely try to correct in coming months.

Update, 8:29 am: Commissioner Nick Fish's office issued a press release shortly after we posted this news.

“We are gratified that the Supreme Court has affirmed the judgments of the Court of Appeals and the trial court,” City Attorney Tracy Reeve said in the release, “and held that the Arts Income Tax is fully constitutional.”

It also quotes Fish, who says: “Today’s decision is a big win for Portland’s kids. Thanks to the ruling of the Oregon Supreme Court, over 30,000 Portland children will continue to have arts education in school.”