Luann Algoso is a professional do-gooder with a master’s degree in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution. Since moving to Portland nearly a decade ago, she’s busied herself with making the world a better place. After landing a job at one of Oregon’s largest nonprofits, she was thrilled—but soon saw that while the organization’s mission was commendable, it wasn’t exempt from office politics and hierarchical practices. “I was having a tough time trying to grapple with the realities of the nonprofit-industrial complex,” Algoso says. “I realized that you can try and try, and do good for the community, but you still [have to] think about the politics of being restricted in the kind of work you want to do.”
Algoso considered writing a novel about her experiences, but instead a screenplay formed, leading to her new web series, Gabby Smashes the Imperialist, White Supremacist, Capitalist Patriarchy!
The City of Portland is about to jump into the fight against opioid manufacturers.
A resolution set to come before Portland City Council next week will authorize the City Attorney's office to join hundreds of other jurisdictions around the country—including Multnomah County—that are suing drugmakers for what they say were irresponsible business practices that led to the opioid epidemic being felt nationwide. The city's rationale: that crisis has ratcheted up costs for firefighters who distribute overdose-fighting drugs, has contributed to Portland's housing and homelessness problem, and has cost the city money in treating opioid addictions for those covered by its health insurance, among other things.
"Manufacturers knowingly misled doctors and patients regarding the benefits of prescription opioids for treatment of chronic pain and trivialized the significant risk of addiction," reads an impact statement filed with the resolution. "At the same time, distributors failed to monitor prescription opioid distribution and report suspicious orders. These actions resulted in an opioid epidemic, involving a dramatic increase in opioid addiction and overdose deaths. Manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids have experienced significant profits, while the City of Portland, like other jurisdictions, has borne the increased costs for emergency medical services, policing, housing, and medical expenses."
The resolution doesn't list which specific manufacturers the city plans to sue, or how much money it will seek. If it follows the lead of county officials, companies like Purdue Pharma, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, and Johnson & Johnson could be on the list of defendants. Multnomah County's ongoing lawsuit seeks $250 million.
The action—all but certain to pass—comes at an interesting time. Attention has begun to shift back to the toll methamphetamine use has taken in Oregon. A story that ran this week in the New York Times was centered in Portland, and noted that deaths related to meth occur in Oregon at a far higher rate than heroin-related deaths.
“Everybody has meth around here — everybody,” one heroin user told the paper. “It’s the easiest to find.”
Join neuroscientist, philosopher, and best-selling author Sam Harris as he explores important and controversial questions about the human mind, society, and current events. This will be a live recording of the Waking Up podcast with special guest Sean Carroll.
I will start this post off with the obvious: JNCO JEANS MAKE ME WANT TO STAB MY EYES OUT. They are an abomination of fashion, and are quite possibly the cause of all the evil that has been inflicted on this earth for the last 30 years.
That being said, I know some of you have a warm spot in your heart for these baggy-ass raver jeans from the '90s, so you might be interested to know that JNCO has announced they are going out of business, AND ARE SELLING THEIR ENTIRE INVENTORY. From the JNCO site:
Due to licensing issues, JNCO will be ending production and concluding all sales through our website.
“We were honored to serve our vast customer base and with harsh feelings will be winding down operations.”
While this is an end of an era for JNCO, what JNCO stands for will continue to live on in all of our customers and fans who will carry on the spirit of our brand and all it represents.
For our loyal base of fans looking to acquire a few more pieces of JNCO gear from their favorite shop, we still have limited supplies of apparel available on a first-come first-serve basis.
Well, regardless of any "harsh feelings" now is the time for some JNCO shopping! Here are just a few examples of pants you can purchase—though if I ever see you in them, I'll fucking blow up the earth (with you in it).
"Oh boy! The circus is in town!"
"Here's where I hide my glow sticks, ecstasy, and neon smiley face T-shirts."
We got word that the owners of Piazza Italia plan to open a bar/de facto waiting room next door to its Italian restaurant sometime this summer, and that Taco Pedaler is opening its second brick-and-mortar in the old Pollo Norte space in Concordia, possibly by the end of this month.
Portland Monthlyreported that Bollywood Theater’s Troy MacLarty has plans to open Churchgate Station, an intimate Indian supper club that will host Friday and Saturday night family dinners starting this summer right next door to his Division Street restaurant.
Willamette Weeklearned that Big’s Chicken is rising from the ashes of the fire that temporarily put it out of business last summer—but this one will be in Beaverton, not Portland.
Eaterreported that John and Renee Gorham have opened a second Shalom Y’all in the old Taylor Railworks space next door to their Plaza del Toro space, and that Eugene and Salem-based 22 Below is bringing Thai ice cream to Goose Hollow in the coming months.
The Oregonian had both good news and bad news. The bad? Associated, the pizza restaurant, is closing on SE 11th. The Good? It’ll soon be the permanent home to Holdfast Dining and it’s turning Deadshot, its craft cocktail pop-up, into a nightly operation.
And finally, everyone reported on the announcement of the 2018 James Beard Award semifinalists. In all, 18 Portlanders were picked including Han Oak’s Peter Cho, Departure’s Gregory Gourdet, Coquine’s Katy Millard, and Nong’s Nong Poonsukwattana, all of whom were nominated for Best Chef Northwest. Because everyone reported on it, we’ll link to… Eater, where you can find the full round-up.
MARY TIMONY Mon 2/19 Mississippi Studios James Smolka
Mary Timony is finally getting the credit she’s long deserved for being a guitar player and songwriter of rare vintage. There was an entire Pitchfork article devoted to that very subject, with folks like Sadie Dupuis and Timony’s Wild Flag bandmate Carrie Brownstein singing her praises as a shredder and innovator. Much of that came in the wake of Timony’s work with Wild Flag and Ex Hex, her brilliant power-pop band with Betsy Wright and Laura Harris.
But where she truly came to the fore was in the ’90s, when she was the singer/guitarist for the art-rock trio Helium. During the band’s short time together, their two albums (1995’s The Dirt of Luck and 1997’s The Magic City) cut a dazzling path between the harder-edged work of her riot grrrl contemporaries and the more tender explorations of folks like Liz Phair.
What Timony shares with all of these artists are songs that spell out her personal frustrations, particularly with the men in her past who treated her like a prude or a plaything. That she meshed them with mystical imagery (dragons and unicorns make prominent appearances) only confused some critics who wanted to frame her as a lost faerie princess. But as the music proves through all its knotted-up time signatures and mucky guitar tones, Timony was entirely earthbound and shouldn’t have been as far removed from stardom as she remains.
The tide could be turning in that department, if the euphoric response to the recent vinyl reissues of Helium’s albums are any indication. Or the news that her show at Mississippi Studios—where she will perform a full set of Helium tunes backed by members of the band Hospitality—is completely sold out. If you’ve slept on Timony all this while, it’s long past time to wake up.
In an interview with the Mercury about her 2016 album Gemini I, Portland singer/songwriter Johanna Warren explained her love of tarot: “For me it’s just a really beautiful and effective tool, like a library of visual, symbolic archetypes, breaking down the human experience into these building blocks that everyone can understand. It raises so many interesting questions, like: Do you believe in predestination? Do you believe in prophecy?”
While Gemini I was inspired by the tarot card “The Lovers,” its sequel, Gemini II, was inspired by “The Devil,” which depicts a couple chained loosely to the throne of the horned demon. Released via Warren’s own label, Spirit House Records, the two albums were recorded simultaneously at an old church in Woodstock, New York, though she decided to wait nine months—the length of gestation for a human fetus—before releasing the second.
Initially enchanted by lead single “All the Stars,” with its tribal drum beat and dazzling Afrocentric music video, I’ve been bumping the Kendrick Lamar-curated Black Panther soundtrack all week. The song (which features SZA) is a worthy representative of the rest of the album—and, as I’d hoped, it came on right as Black Panther’s end credits rolled for the audience to enjoy as we waited for the sequel-teasing stingers.
In addition to producing original music for the album, Kung Fu Kenny appears on roughly half of the 14 tracks. After seeing the latest Marvel installment (and discovering how unapologetically Black it is), Lamar’s integral involvement in the movie’s music makes even more sense. There’s a humming tribal undercurrent throughout the album, with African beats, chants, and various verbal references to Wakanda and other elements of Black Panther. Lamar is famous for his unconventional use of jazz influences and artists on his critically acclaimed album To Pimp a Butterfly; here, he incorporates a variety of styles and artists on the track list.
I, Anonymous is the column where YOU write your most secret confessions and insane rants—anonymously! Sure, it's a great way to get stuff off your chest, but it's also a way for you to become FAMOUS—anonymously. The best rants or confessions are chosen to be featured in the print edition of the Mercury (read weekly by hundreds of thousands), and if it's especially interesting/crazy/well-written it's picked for inclusion in the I, Anonymous podcast (a monthly comedy show hosted by Portland's funniest person, Caitlin Weierhauser) that has a potential listenership of MILLIONS! So submit your great anonymous story here!
Want to know what kind of I, Anonymous submissions are chosen for print and our podcast? Here's a great classic I, Anonymous from June, 2015.
Here's a Tip
When I use the bathroom at your house, I end up snooping under the sink, in medicine cabinets, and opening up containers until I find what I am looking for. I'm not looking for medications, or to see if you have any creams for weird infections. I don't want to take anything. I just want to feel the light scrape of a cotton-covered stick against my inner ear. I love Q-tips. My use of them is compulsive and I've damaged my ears at least twice. After I use them I try to bury them in the garbage so no one will know that I have performed a search for them without permission. If there is no garbage can in your bathroom, I will put them in a pocket until I leave your house. I don't mind generic ones, but it's even better when the name brand is found. Like a recovered alcoholic, I sometimes have to keep them out of my house, but at your place I go into relapse mode. I mean no harm when I snoop. I just want 30 seconds of bliss.—Anonymous
Ah, Summer 2017. That bygone era when scandals had yet to rock the entertainment industry, when Anthony Scaramucci's résumé had just been freshly uploaded to LinkedIn, when no one apart from seasoned aficionados of adult entertainment knew Stormy Daniels' name. It was a simpler time.
And here to bring you back to those halcyon days is Jalen N'Gonda, who performed this lilting tune at the Pickathon festival on their nocturnal Starlight Stage. "It Don't Take Much" is a breezy, uplifting tune that could be a sunshine-pop hit from the '60s, but works just as well in this stripped-down arrangement of N'Gonda's voice and electric guitar.
We're getting ever closer to 2018's Pickathon, and tickets are on sale over at their website. This year's lineup features Built to Spill, Broken Social Scene, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Bee Bee Sea, Bedouine, and Black Pumas—and that's just the Bs.
"Republicans called for prayers, but argued that no single fix to the nation’s gun laws would deter a shooting like the one on Wednesday in Parkland, Fla." Do I even need to spend time writing that the political response to Wednesday's massacre at a Florida high school is the same "thoughts and prayers" nothingness we've seen countless times?
Meanwhile in Oregon, the House of Representatives yesterday voted 37-23 to approve a bill that will expand prohibitions on gun possession for people who abuse or stalk their significant others. The rules had been in place for spouses or ex-spouses. Now, lawmakers are hoping to close the so-called "boyfriend loophole." The bill's a priority for Gov. Kate Brown. Its fate in the Senate is still unclear.
SURPRISE! The much-vaunted open "debate" over an immigration deal in the US Senate was a complete bust. "The standoff left the Senate right where it has been for years — frozen by a deep reluctance on the part of leaders of both parties to force vulnerable incumbents to take politically challenging votes."
I just don't know what the hell to make of this Oregonian story headlined "Portland neighborhoods increasingly out of reach for renters, 'housing instability' grows: report." The report it's talking about is more than a year old. Yeesh.
There's another Beaver State show for you to check out on your televisions and tablets this weekend: Netflix's Everything Sucks! is a '90s-set high-school comedy/drama that's set in Boring, Oregon (the show was filmed in nearby Oregon City). Netflix has done pretty well with the teen genre lately, what with The End of the F***ing World and the fantastic American Vandal (the second season of which is filming here in Portland). While I haven't seen any of Everything Sucks! yet, the trailer is an awkward but not altogether off-putting mix of sentimentality, adolescent angst, and blatant '90s nostalgia. (And, ouch, that Cranberries song. Fresh wound there.)
It's probably better, though, to listen to someone who's actually seen it, and so far a few critics really seem to like Everything Sucks! Uproxx's Alan Sepinwall, the dean of American television critics, says:
"Both the show and its leading man can be a bit much at first, with the series’ constant period references and needle drops.... In time, though, the show turns out to be enormously appealing—not Freaks and Geeks level, but much closer than it has any business being."
And Vulture's Jen Chaney kicks off her review with the headline, "Everything Sucks! Most Definitely Does Not Suck," before going on to say:
"The ten episodes of Everything Sucks!, all dropping Friday, have more than their share of bugs: dialogue that sounds more scripted than anything actual teenagers would say, then or now; barely developed supporting characters; and a tendency to incorporate music choices that are so on the nose, they are more painful than an infected piercing.... But it also is so sincere and sensitive in its treatment of its young characters—especially the two main ones, Luke (Jahi Di’Allo Winston) and Kate (Peyton Kennedy)—as well as their respective single parents, played by Patch Darragh and Claudine Nako, that it succeeds in making you care deeply about what happens to them."
"Once in a while, a show finds its bearings in real time, which makes sticking with it worth the ride. That’s the case with Everything Sucks! Fair warning: Early episodes... are uneven at best. The half-hour high school comedy resembles the gawky, inexperienced teenagers it depicts: There are lots of awkward tonal collisions; the mix of melodrama, drama, and comedy fails to gel at times; and some characters and situations are often a little too cartoonish to really work. But it’s almost a different show in its final stretch of episodes. Once it finds its sweet spot, it becomes more than the sum of its influences."
So while it may take a little while for the show to find its groove, it sounds like it's worth the investment. As to whether the Oregon locale has any bearing on the show itself—I'm getting the impression that Boring is a stand-in for Anytown, USA—will just have to be evaluated starting tomorrow, when Netflix drops all 10 half-hour episodes on subscribers.
The PPB says it's working through an inventory of 1,700 untested kits.bonniej / Getty
The Portland Police Bureau sent out a press release this week announcing the conviction of Jose Rosales on two counts of sex abuse in a case originally reported to police in 2006. In November of 2016, the Portland Police Bureau Detective Division's Sex Crimes Unit was able to identify Rosales based on evidence that had been in the state's rape kit backlog and was finally processed with funding from a Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Grant from the Department of Justice.
It's the first conviction based on evidence from the backlog, and PPB's release frames it as a something of a good news story. Obviously, it's a good thing that the backlog is being processed and crimes are getting solved. But taking 10 years to solve a crime because evidence wasn't processed in a timely way is symptomatic of a much larger problem. The PPB says it's working through an inventory of 1,700 untested kits.
Two years ago, I wrote a feature about why we have such a backlog, and how law enforcement can do better by victims of sexual assault. Here's what Detective Carrie Hull, the police officer pioneering a new, victim-centered law enforcement approach to sexual assault cases with the Ashland Police Department, had to say then about why a backlog develops:
“What we’re seeing in Oregon mirrors what we’re seeing across the United States,” says Hull. “I say that because we find as a profession in law enforcement that we really did not receive specialized training about this issue. And I’m not saying that as an excuse for anything that law enforcement did or did not do. It’s really just reality that within the last couple of years we’re just starting to see significant training that helps law enforcement understand the value of processing these kits. And there really is a significant value.”
The PPB's Sex Crimes Unit is encouraging anyone who has had a SAFE kit collected before 2015 and wants to know their kit's status to reach out to the Rose Project at email@example.com or 503-823-0125. Information will only be released to the victim listed in the police report.
Melanie McClure got her start in the local food scene in 2011 by pedaling her Taco Pedaler-branded taco trikes to street fairs around town. By 2015, she opened her first brick-and-mortar on NE Broadway in Sullivan’s Gulch. And now, she tells the Mercury, she’s opening a second Taco Pedaler at 5427 NE 42nd, in the old Pollo Norte spot in the Concordia neighborhood.
McClure says she’s hoping to start doling out meaty, vegetarian, and vegan tacos, quesadillas, rice, beans, salads, chips, and guacamole by the end of February and, once the OLCC gives its say-so, beer, wine, and cocktails too.
Taco Pedaler’s new digs will seat around 25 inside, but considerably more outside once you account for the restaurant’s large outdoor soon-to-be-heated patio. Patio plans also include a fire pit and a children’s play area, which she hopes will make Taco Pedaler an outdoor hangout, whatever the weather. She also says the space comes with on-site parking.
Taco Pedaler on 42nd will be open from 9 am to 9 pm, daily. And McClure says it will follow the lead of her Broadway joint by offering an all-day daily breakfast burritos and taco brunch program.
As for her fleet of trikes? Just like at McClure’s Sullivan’s Gulch restaurant, her Concordia space’s sign will be adorned with a trike. And while she doesn’t plan on using the remainder of her fleet for street fairs, they are available for weddings and birthday and office parties.
A shooter took the lives of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Wednesday. Mark Wilson/Getty Images
It took no time at all for the right to start peddling lies, half-truths, and misinformation in the wake of Wednesday's school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida—a massacre that took the lives of 17 students and adults who had committed the grevious sin of getting up and going to school that day.