RE: "Tuning In, Opting Out" [True Parent, Fall 2014], an article regarding standardized testing in Portland Public Schools from the debut issue of our spin-off publication for parents. Find it across the city and at trueparent.com!
DEAR TRUE PARENT—I was so very disappointed to read the article regarding the Smarter Balanced Assessment tests. I am an RN by trade and am the parent of a second grader at a Portland elementary school. I know that whenever you implement changes within a system, be it the human body or the education system, you run tests. The purpose of the Smarter Balanced Assessment test is the same as a blood test. It's information that can be used to make our education system better, not a way to crush the souls of our darling children. If parents start opting out in large numbers, how will we know if the curriculum changes are doing what we want them to do and are working equally for students across the city?
RE: "A Failure of Imagination" [Theater, Oct 1], criticizing a lack of inclusion of people with disabilities in the Portland arts scene.
HELLO—I cannot express how thrilled I am with Suzi Steffen's article. Ms. Steffen did something very rare in mainstream journalism: She didn't use any backhanded compliments, slights, or disability tropes. Too often, when disability is the topic, even in an affirmative piece like this, we still see micro-aggressive and dismissive language. Ms. Steffen, if you're interested in covering other things in this genre, I can point you to Disability Art and Culture Project, which has a youth/young adult-integrated, mixed-abilities dance company of people with developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, and no disabilities. We also have people with disabilities in leadership of the organization and on the board. We're at dacphome.org.
RE: "Bitter Biscuits" [I, Anonymous, Oct 1], criticizing an unnamed forthcoming brunch restaurant for soliciting funding on Indiegogo after inhabiting the space of a unnamed former neighborhood bar. The anonymous complaint was submitted after the Mercury reported the closing of Northeast Portland's Tiga, to be replaced by the Southern-themed Muscadine.
DEAR MERCURY—I know it's easier to snark and lament, but please do not assume. How exactly am I gentrifying Portland as a working-class minority? We're not outsiders; we've been here for the better part of two decades. We're two middle-class dykes replacing a middle-class family business, who actively advertised the sale of their business. We spent a lot of time at Tiga; we had a wedding party there. We loved it; that's why we worked so hard to buy it. We're intentionally maintaining a lot of aspects. Regarding the crowd funding, we planned for it, in case something went horribly wrong. We had a lot of people asking us how they could give, so we posted it. Obviously, people were excited to give and they felt that the perks were worth it. No one ever says a word about Portland bands crowd funding a tour van for $70,000. We started the campaign when sewer gas began pouring out of illegal plumbing. Amid great change in Portland, I would hope whatever semblance of a community exists would embrace its own. Making the conscious decision to feature the vitriolic I, Anonymous, the Mercury chose to create and continue misinformed controversy. Portland can't have it both ways—get pissed when the same five rich white guys open a 10th restaurant, not when two dykes put their entire lives into a business. Also, those "goddamn antique photos" are my family. If "twee" is continuing a 400-year-old culinary tradition, then I guess we are.
IT'S NO FUN to feel misunderstood, Laura, and while there might be a lot of sensitive feelings in the wake of a bar that was a favorite to many, time and good food heals all, and we're sure your restaurant will be given a fair shake. In the meanwhile, take your mind off of it with two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater, which everyone would completely lose their shit over if it were ever replaced, too.