"I'm Sick and Tired of these Far Left-Wing Liberals": A Q&A With the Republican Bringing Fire Extinguishers to the Inauguration Day Flag Burning Event

Left wing protesters burned an American flag in October. The Oregon Liberty Activists plan to use fire extinguishers at a flag burning event on Friday.
Left wing protesters burned an American flag in October. The Oregon Liberty Activists plan to use fire extinguishers at a flag burning event on Friday. Doug Brown

John Glendenning is a 46-year-old Portlander and co-founder of the right-wing Oregon Liberty Activists (OLA). Before the Portland’s Resistance march on Friday, a separate anti-Trump group is planning to burn American flags in Pioneer Courthouse Square (in response to Trump floating the idea of revoking the citizenship of flag burners). Glendenning and his OLA crew will be there with fire extinguishers.

MERCURY: So, you’re organizing the flag-extinguishing event?

GLENDENNING: Yes. I talked to the fire marshal here in Portland, and it’s illegal to burn anything downtown. Flags, campfires for the needy, none of it can be burned down there, so why are the police going to stand by and watch an illegal activity? Burning a flag isn’t illegal—hell, I burn United Nations flags in my fire pit and put it on the Internet all the time. But not in the middle of downtown where it’s illegal to burn anything. Frankly, you can hardly even smoke down there. That’s the ground we stand on. I’m conservative but I have a bunch of liberal friends, but they’re not a bunch of anarchists running around being anti-American. But these far-left anti-American scumbags—that’s exactly what they are, and I’m not going to be chased away. I know people who have had their car attacked for being Trump supporters. I’m not gonna keep quiet, I’m not going to hide, and I don’t care what the media make people look like, because I don’t think conservative issues and limited-government people have been given a fair shake by anybody in the press.

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Q&A With Gregory McKelvey, One of the Organizers of the Massive Inauguration Day March

Gregory McKelvey at a protest in October
Gregory McKelvey at a protest in October Doug Brown

Gregory McKelvey, a 23-year-old law student, is one of the leaders of Portland’s Resistance, the city’s anti-Trump go-to for protests, marches, and liberal advocacy formed immediately after the presidential election. The group has been planning a massive march scheduled to start at 3:30 pm on Friday at Pioneer Courthouse Square. Thousands are expected to attend.

MERCURY: What goes into planning one of these marches?

McKELVEY: We’ve been having people wear different bandanas on their arms. Red bandanas would be the medics, which you need to have because people could get pepper-sprayed or hurt, and it’s obviously hard to get an ambulance through there if something bad happened to anybody. We have something like 20 medics ready for J20, and we’re training more. We have people wearing yellow for security—not like they beat you up if you do something, but just to keep the lines of the march going in the right way, blocking off streets, and that kind of stuff. And we wear white for the organizers, who can basically answer questions. And really even more than the roles the people will play, it just makes the march feel safer when they know that certain people have roles and somewhat of a uniform. It makes the event go smoother, which we’ve learned through experience.

This march has been planned for a while, and the ones immediately after the election were pretty spontaneous. How different will Friday be?

After the election, we wanted to make sure there was direction—other than things just going to chaos—not just for the marches, but what we’re marching for. If we just come out there and don’t change any policies, then it was all for nothing. That said, everything was put together day-of for all the marches, but people were going to be in the streets regardless. But for this march, there’s a lot of planning going into it, the same as our march that was the day of the Electoral College [vote]. It definitely goes smoother, but we never know what the police response will be. It’s also the first march under Ted Wheeler, so we don’t know how he’s going to be responding.”

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Photos from Girl Fest 2017, Sat 1/14 at Lola's Room in the Crystal Ballroom

Coco Columbia
Coco Columbia Christopher Garcia Valle

Neka & Kahlo
Neka & Kahlo Christopher Garcia Valle

Blossom, host of Girl Fest 2017
Blossom, host of Girl Fest 2017 Christopher Garcia Valle

LAST SATURDAY, Girl Fest 2017 celebrated its third year at Lola's Room in the Crystal Ballroom with performances by Karma Rivera, Coco Columbia, Haley Heynderickx, Neka & Kahlo, Courtney Noe, and My Voice Music. Madison Sturdevant founded the annual festival as a 501c3 non-profit to provide "a platform to support and spotlight the creative, talented ladies I saw making noise in our region.” Check out more of Christopher Garcia Valle's photos from Girl Fest 2017 after the jump!

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Ted Wheeler on City's Response to Snow, Ice: "I'm Not Here to Make Excuses."

Mayor Ted Wheeler, speaking at a newly reopened temporary homeless shelter today.
Mayor Ted Wheeler, speaking at a newly reopened temporary homeless shelter today. Dirk VanderHart

Regarding the icy, rutted mess that Portland's streets have become in the last week, Mayor Ted Wheeler won't defend the city's response. But he's not ready to throw Portland's winter weather playbook out yet, either.

"I'm not here to make excuses," Wheeler said today, addressing reporters after the unveiling of a 100-bed temporary homeless shelter downtown. "I have been deeply humbled by my first 2.5 weeks in office."

Reflecting on frustrations he said he's heard again and again about the city's response to the snowfall that's caused "too many" road and schools closures, Wheeler says he's looking to ask five questions about Portland's plans for such events.

•does the city have enough workers clearing ice and snow?
•does it have the right equipment?
•are the right procedures in place?
•has the city done a good job communicating the situation to the public?
•can Portland work better with other jurisdictions?

In coming days—once the freezing rain expected today and possible flooding in coming days are past—Wheeler's pledging to work with Transportation Commissioner Dan Saltzman to answer those questions.

"That's my commitment," he said this afternoon.

Just what that study would look like isn't clear. Wheeler said he'd be transparent about the process, but hadn't decided whether to release a formal study to the public, or whether to bring in outside consultants to help vet Portland's system.

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Savage Love Letter of the Day: Lifelong Straight Guy Wants To Recreate Magical Gay Sex He Once Had With Smooth Guy Whose Queeny Ways Appealed to Him


I'm about eight years older than you and am in good shape for a man my age. Better than most my age. I have been straight for most of my life. I'm still very attracted to women very much. About nine years ago I had a sexual affair with a sweet and very sexy gay man. It was short lived because I was scared of anyone finding out. He was, sensitive, very passionate, and powerful in bed. I would wrap my legs around him while he banged me. Not having had that experience before... it was totally amazing to watch and feel. I wanted and still want more. But only with the right person.

About that time, women stopped paying attention to me and I thought that perhaps I should explore more of my gay side. I tried to get back together with that same man a few years later but because I was so flaky towards his requests he doesn't want to have anything to do with me. I can see that, but I'm still incredibly attracted to him on a physical level. He has almost a queeny way about him. You definitely know that he is gay when he walks into a room, but that's another part of him that really turns me on. That very gay accent and a bit of swishiness that turns me on very much.

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Things to Do Tonight!

Reel Music
For more than three decades, the NW Film Center's Reel Music series has assembled some of the best contemporary and classic music documentaries. This weekend, Reel Music kicks off its 34th installment with 1972's Cocksucker Blues—which the Film Center calls "The best Rolling Stones movie you've never seen"—before moving on to such fare as Blackhearts, about Norway's black metal scene; One More Time with Feeling, about the creation of Nick Cave's latest album, Skeleton Tree; and Contemporary Color, about that time David Byrne rounded up St. Vincent, Nelly Furtado, Ad-Rock, and Ira Glass to create a "one-of-a-kind color guard extravaganza." Also worth checking out, Vince Giordano: T here's a Future in the Past, about the jazz saxophonist and band leader who's lent his talents to films from Scorsese and Allen; Bobby Womack: Across 110th Street, a profile of the soul icon; and a free screening of a NW Music Video Showcase program, offering a slew of music videos made in the Pacific Northwest. ERIK HENRIKSEN
Jan 13-Feb 5, NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium, $8-12 per film, see nwfilm.org for complete schedule

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The Abortion Rate is the Lowest It's Been Since the '70s. It'll Probably Go Up Again with the GOP in Power

SAY IT WITH ME NOW: Birth control makes abortion rates go down. Birth control makes abortion rates go down. Birth control—
SAY IT WITH ME NOW: Birth control makes abortion rates go down. Birth control makes abortion rates go down. Birth control— istock / areeya_ann

Here's NPR:

The report by the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports legalized abortion, puts the rate at 14.6 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age (ages 15-44) in 2014. That's the lowest recorded rate since the Roe decision in 1973. The abortion rate has been declining for decades — down from a peak of 29.3 in 1980 and 1981.

Here's the thing that makes abortion rates go down: access to birth control.

Here's what else makes abortion rates go down: access to birth control.

Notice that the answer is NOT making it more difficult to access abortion. Or shaming women for being sexually active. And it's certainly not abstinence-only sex education.

What lowers abortion rates? Birth control.

You know what made birth control unprecedentedly accessible and universally covered? The Affordable Care Act.

You know who voted to take away the birth control provision of the Affordable Care Act, making birth control unaffordable again? Senate Republicans.

You know who claims to be against abortion? PEOTUS and his Republican counterparts in Congress.

You know whose policies were actually in place in 2014, when abortion rates dropped? President Obama's.

You know who's trying to save the Affordable Care Act, and maintain the policies likely responsible for the lowered abortion rate? Congressional Democrats.

The abortion rate in the United States is the lowest it's been since 1973.

What do you think will happen to it when American women's birth control access is reduced under the incoming Republican regime?

We already know the answer to that question, and there's nothing "pro-life" about it.

Lloyd Center Mall Pushed Back Against Spencer's Pro-Sexual Assault Shirts

Over the weekend, local writer and humorist Mary Numair took to Twitter to alert Portland that Spencer's gift store in the Lloyd Center Mall was proudly displaying Trump shirts—including a pro-sexual assault example that read, "Grab America By the Pussy."

The internet rightly blew up, and a protest against the store was in the works. The Oregonian reported that Spencer's corporate office consider the shirts "satire" (which is a cowardly bullshit response, but not surprising coming from them), but the local Spencer's management pulled them from prominent view anyway, relocating them to the back, facing the wall. Now, according to Mary's latest tweet, it seems that the Lloyd Center mall management had a lot to do with the shirts going away.

Kudos to Lloyd Center Mall management and the local Spencer's staff for realizing that profiting from rape culture is a fucking terrible way to live one's life.

If you'd like to remind Spencer's corporate office of that, feel free to do so here or here.

Ice Storm Remedy #6,437: Watching Dance Duels from Fame

Lots of people are staying home from work AGAIN (!!!) due to the threat of an afternoon ice storm. And I may be wrong, but perhaps by now you're going a bit CRAZY? There are several things one can do to relieve cabin fever: Exercise, dive deep into a Netflix hole, make delicious cookies, mstrb8, but ultimately? As terrifically funny local comedian/improviser Shelley McLendon mentioned on Twitter this morning, "On day 147 of ice and snow, all internet journeys lead to dance duels from the show FAME." And as usual, she is absolutely right. Lock your doors, close your windows, pour a drink, and surrender to the inevitable: Dance duels from the TV show Fame.

Good Morning, News: Someone Among Us Offended a Vengeful God and Now It's Ice Forever, and Other Items of Interest

I left town for a week as PDX was canceling all sorts of flights because of ice. I got back and roads were about the same. This weather is crazy, and it's not ending. Today, officials are on the watch for freezing rain, and warning to be ultra, super cautious on your commute. You're used to that by now. TriMet's modified MAX service all sorts of ways.

Here's another horrible byproduct in a town not used to this weather. Willamette Week reports officials found a newborn baby exposed to the cold last week, in the arms of its mother—a mentally ill homeless woman. The infant died, but the cause is in dispute. Cops say they didn't report the matter because they weren't sure if he died from exposure or other reasons. Weirder, the state county medical examiner found the child was stillborn, but first responders apparently reported it was alive.


Somewhat related: Local governments are about to double the frequency of the official homeless counts that give Portland its best measure for how many people are on the streets. They've been every-other-year endeavors for more than a decade. Now, they'll be yearly.

Spencer's Gifts' corporate office defends its aggressive marketing of gross Donald Trump t-shirts in the heart of Portland. Local management has pulled them nonetheless.

Not a great start: Not long after the University of Oregon football program made a coaching change, several players have been hospitalized because of ultra-tough workouts.

The Trib reports that the head of the state's transportation commission, which is supposed to supervise ODOT, has written a letter to Gov. Kate Brown asking for her help in making that happen.

Bill Hilliard, a pioneering Portland journalist and the subject of a recent profile in the Mercury, passed away on Monday at the age of 89.

We're three days out from the inauguration, folks. At least 44 lawmakers are refusing to attend the swearing in of the 45th president.

And Donald Trump continues to spar with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan over Medicare and other entitlements, which means the tax reform they've both touted so frequently may be in trouble. "The clashing philosophies between the GOP's two top pols — Trump once called Ryan's doctrine 'political suicide' — is about to come to a head. Left unresolved, it threatens to sink tax reform, a top priority for both men."

As Trump continues to bring his cabinet appointments before the Senate, all manner of intriguing, dispiriting news stories are emerging. Including possible Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross' history of sending jobs out of the country, and possible EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt being an enemy of environmental regulation.

Meanwhile, lots of cabinet picks still have to file required ethics paperwork.


Radiohead Is Coming to Portland

Alex Lake

Here's some good news for this week of decidedly mixed fortune: Radiohead is coming to Portland.

The English art-rock band, on the heels of their 2016 album A Moon Shaped Pool, are playing a series of US dates before they hit the Coachella festival. One of those dates is a show on Sunday, April 9 at Moda Center. Tickets go on sale this Friday, January 20 at 10 am and are limited to four per customer. They can be purchased through Radiohead's website and Ticketmaster. Looks like ticket prices will range from $66.50 to $99.50 before fees.

Radiohead has apparently not played a show in Portland since 1996 when they performed at La Luna (although they did play the TimberBowl festival in Estacada in 1997 and the Salem Armory in 1998). You could say the group's fanbase has grown a tad since then.

Pioneering Newspaperman Bill Hilliard Has Passed Away

Hilliard at his desk at the Oregonian, 1979.
Hilliard at his desk at the Oregonian, 1979. PHOTO PROVIDED BY THE OREGONIAN

William A. Hilliard passed away today at age 89, after a remarkable and unprecedented life as a newspaperman. After being turned down by the Oregonian as a young boy for a paper route (for being black), Hilliard went on to earn a journalism degree from Pacific University in 1952, then returned to the Oregonian and was hired as the first African American employee in the newsroom. While working as a copy boy, as well as a redcap at Union Station, Hilliard founded and published his own newspaper, the Portland Challenger, committed exclusively to the city’s African American population. Hilliard would work his way steadily up the ranks of the Oregonian, ultimately becoming the first black editor of the paper in 1986. Under his leadership, the newspaper covered more minority issues, hired more people of color into the newsroom, and forcefully spoke out against all forms of discrimination, including instituting the policy barring the use of derogatory sports teams names. In 1993 Hilliard was named the first black president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, and was awarded the Presidential Award by the National Association of Black Journalists. After 42 years, he retired from the Oregonian in 1994. He was honored with a Distinguished Service Award from the University of Oregon, and membership in the Oregon Newspaper Hall of Fame.

Hilliard and his wife Dian were kind enough to invite me into their home last November, for a profile piece I was working on for the Mercury. He’d been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and showed visible strain as we sat together in his living room, but he was still willing and eager to talk with me about growing up in Portland, overcoming the city's segregation and discrimination, and achieving what was then all but impossible. He brought out old copies of the Challenger for me to look through, and reminisced about old friends, who have since passed away. Hilliard spoke to me for over two hours, and though I would’ve loved to have spoken with him much longer, I didn’t want to overstay my welcome or use up any more his energy.

Though it was brief, meeting Bill Hilliard was one of the highlights of my still-developing career as a journalist and writer, and I’ll be forever indebted to him for making time to speak with me. He was an inspiration not only to me, and not only to the city, but to the nation as a whole.

Thank you for everything, Bill.

Read the Mercury's full profile on Bill Hilliard here.

Inauguration 2017 Playlist: Songs of Rage, Protest and Reflection


By now, more than half the U.S. population is likely feeling a growing sense of fear, rage, disbelief, and pitying self-reflection as Inauguration Day 2017 looms ever closer to the reality of Trump as President. We here at The Mercury are experiencing a similar sense of WTF?; how exactly do we accept the transition, from an eloquent, smart, often clever and forward-thinking Head of State, to one who can only communicate in 140 characters or less at a time and no compunction about voicing his generally uninformed, biased and often inflammatory views about every goddamn person, place or thing that catches his attention, from Meryl Streep to John Lewis to L.L. Bean?

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Officials Are Doubling the Number of Homeless Counts in Portland

An outreach worker speaks with a homeless man during the last point-in-time homeless count in January 2015.
An outreach worker speaks with a homeless man during the last "point-in-time" homeless count in January 2015. Dirk VanderHart

In a housing and homeless emergency, Portland's once-every-two-years homeless counts have become immensely important.

Again and again in conversations about the issue, you'll hear references to almost 2,000 people unsheltered on the streets, or almost 4,000 people in Multnomah County meeting the federal definition of homelessness.

But that data's likely woefully out-of-date. A lot has changed in this city since January 2015, when housing workers, outreach groups, and volunteers last conducted the study. Most people expect the numbers have grown more dire in the time since.

Which is why officials have decided to double the number of such studies in Multnomah County.

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Megyn Kelly, Donald Trump, and Angry Men Who Don't Understand Journalism

I read it so you dont have to.
I read it so you don't have to.

Over the holidays, I read Megyn Kelly's memoir, Settle for More. I'm not proud of this, and I felt weird reading Kelly's book in public—like I should probably have donned Handmaid's Tale lady-blinders, or Chloe Sevigny's chaste outfits from Big Love, the better to signal the shitty politics of my poor reading choices. (Kelly has never publicly taken a position on abortion, for example. Fuck that!)

And yet, I found Kelly's book pretty enlightening when it comes to explaining our dumb-as-a-post incoming president's weird relationship with the media. The Assaulter in Chief, you'll recall, accused Kelly of menstruating (!) when she dared ask him why he is such a dick to women during the first Republican presidential debate, then proceeded to retweet sexist messages about her and generally do his vewwy best to derail her career.

Of course, this didn't work. Megyn Kelly is definitely one of those ladies who embrace feminism only when personally convenient, her record is full of terrible things, and if you call her an unlikely feminist antiheroine I will have blood coming out of my eyes. But if anyone is used to rising above garbage drooled by ignorant babymen, surely it's Megyn Kelly, who spent nine years as an attorney before discovering her love of TV news, then rose among the ranks of Fox, the He Man-Woman Haters' Club of broadcast journalism. Anyway, she definitely got hers in this memoir, taking Trump to task. Here are some choice discoveries concerning Trump's dealings with the media I gleaned from Kelly's book:

Kelly says Trump tried to bribe her for good coverage by paying for a "girls' weekend" at one of his NYC hotels and did not take it well when she repeatedly refused him. Kelly says she wasn't an anomaly:

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