Wing Week!

Good Afternoon, News: Clean & Safe Gets Pushback, Schools and COVID Confusion, and Another Portland Heat Record

The Mercury provides news and fun every single day—but your help is essential. If you believe Portland benefits from smart, local journalism and arts coverage, please consider making a small monthly contribution, because without you, there is no us. Thanks for your support!

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Portland Public Schools

Good afternoon, Portland! Here's the latest on local news, national news, and a little bit of fun.

In local news:

• On Thursday, City Council will vote on a contract that will shape the future of Portland's downtown as it reemerges from the pandemic. The vote will renew and tweak a contract the city currently holds with Downtown Clean & Safe, an organization that charges property owners located within its 213-block boundary to fund additional, or “enhanced,” services not already provided by the city—like graffiti removal, expanded trash pick-up, and augmented police and security patrols. Clean & Safe is a subcontractor of Portland Business Alliance (PBA), with many of its staff on the business lobbyist group's payroll. The proposed contract falls short of overhauling critics' top issues with the program.

In related news: Weird flex, but okay.

• As Oregon students cautiously return to in-person learning, school districts, teachers, and families are asking Multnomah County health officials what could trigger a reversal to remote learning. As it turns out, the county doesn't have concrete metrics that would determine such a switch—our own Isabella Garcia has more.

• Meanwhile, the demand is outpacing the supply for COVID-19 tests in Portland—and it's especially frustrating for parents trying to get their school-aged, unvaccinated kids tested.

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Council Poised to Approve Controversial $25 Million Contract with Downtown Clean & Safe

A security guard walks by unhoused campers in Downtown Portland.
A security guard walks by unhoused campers in Downtown Portland. Dirk Vanderhart

The fate of downtown Portland has remained a common source of hand-wringing in City Hall after the economic toll of COVID-19 slowed downtown pedestrian traffic, shuttered businesses, stalled tourism, and increased the number of unhoused Portlanders on downtown streets.

On Thursday, City Council will vote on a contract that will shape the future of Portland's downtown as it reemerges from the pandemic. The vote will renew and tweak a contract the city currently holds with Downtown Clean & Safe, an organization that charges property owners located within its 213-block boundary to fund additional, or “enhanced,” services not already provided by the city—like graffiti removal, expanded trash pick-up, and augmented police and security patrols. Clean & Safe is a subcontractor of Portland Business Alliance (PBA), with many of its staff on the business lobbyist group's payroll.

Clean & Safe is one of the city's three Enhanced Service Districts—or ESDs—that oversee how property owners' fees are distributed to support a certain business district. In each contract it holds with an ESD, the city plays the role of the fee collector—ferrying money from property owners to Clean & Safe.

The proposed contract (link to PDF) is being introduced on Thursday by Mayor Ted Wheeler and Comissioner Mingus Mapps, and allegedly has the support of the "majority of the City Council." It's not clear if Comissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, whose office has pushed for transparency in the contract's development, is part of that majority.

The $25 million, 5-year contract attempts to address concerns long raised by homeless advocates, law enforcement critics, and business owners—concerns that were also outlined in a 2020 audit by the city. Yet the proposed contract falls short of overhauling critics' top issues with the program.

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TBA

Photo Essay: Striking Scenes From PICA’s Time-Based Art Festival

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Andrew Jankowski

Editor’s note: The following are photos from three exhibits at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s Time-Based Art Festival (TBA), running now through October 3. Find more of the Mercury’s TBA coverage here and here.

A participant in vanessa german’s THE BLUE WALK responds to the poet-artist’s call for rage in an empty field near Legacy Emanuel Medical Center, where once a Black Portland neighborhood thrived. Behind her, an adult guides and comforts a child participant while women around them cry out and shred flowers with their bare hands. THE BLUE WALK was a ritualistic performance honoring sacred Black presence, broadly on Earth but specific to areas where Black people are still displaced, threatening their futures.
A participant in vanessa german’s THE BLUE WALK responds to the poet-artist’s call for rage in an empty field near Legacy Emanuel Medical Center, where once a Black Portland neighborhood thrived. Behind her, an adult guides and comforts a child participant while women around them cry out and shred flowers with their bare hands. THE BLUE WALK was a ritualistic performance honoring sacred Black presence, broadly on Earth but specific to areas where Black people are still displaced, threatening their futures. Andrew Jankowski
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Get Ready, Tummy! The Mercury's Delicious WING WEEK 2021 Is Coming At Ya Oct 4-10!

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What, dear reader, was the greatest week of your life?

Think back on that moment... and then THROW IT IN THE TRASH, because the Portland Mercury’s Portland Wing Week is about to make every other week you’ve ever experienced look like GARBAGE.

That’s right: From Monday October 4 to Sunday October 10, the Portland Mercury’s Portland Wing Week returns—with 24 plates of custom-made chicken wings available at some of Portland’s favorite bars and restaurants! Even better? Each order of wings will cost you a mere $6! Yes, it will be amazing—because the Mercury and our pals at Jim Beam (also our generous sponsor), wouldn’t have it any other way!

Read on for a sampling of this year’s wings—and once you stop drooling, keep a few things in mind:

TIP, AND TIP WELL! Wing Week’s a ton of fun—and making it happen takes a ton of work! Make sure everyone behind Wing Week—everyone working on the floor, in the kitchen, and behind the bar—knows how much you appreciate them. Wing Week couldn’t happen without ’em!

WINGS... AND MORE! As subtly implied by the name “Portland Wing Week,” wings ARE the focus of Wing Week. BUT! Each Wing Week location also has an amazing array of sides and drinks (perhaps even a Jim Beam cocktail?) that are a perfect match for their wings! Don’t miss out!

HAVE FUN! This is Portland’s biggest Wing Week ever—and it’s almost guaranteed that despite everyone’s best efforts, there’ll be lines, sell-outs, and more. So if one location is too crowded? Just come back another day, and in the meantime, hit another Wing Week location!

#PORTLANDWINGWEEK! Stay tuned for updates, reviews, and tips on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook (just search the #portlandwingweek hashtag for loads of up-to-the-second info)—and hit portlandwingweek.com for even more useful info, like this handy-dandy map of all Wing Week locations!

NOW CHECK OUT A DELICIOUS SAMPLING OF JUST A FEW OF OUR MANY WING WEEK WINGS! (For the complete list, hit up portlandwingweek.com!)


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An Oregon Christian Summer Camp Gets Skewered in Hilarious Stage Show Wild Wild Christian

Simone McAlonen reads her own adolescent diary entries about attending a Christian summer camp in Wild Wild Christian.
Simone McAlonen reads her own adolescent diary entries about attending a Christian summer camp in Wild Wild Christian. Adrian Aguilar

Like a lot of people—especially Oregonians—I binged the hell out of the documentary series Wild Wild Country when it dropped on Netflix in 2018. If you watched it, you might remember that the last episode touched on what became of the 60,000-acre plot of land in Antelope, Oregon that was abandoned by the Rajneesh cult in 1985. It was one weird, borderline-unbelievable detail layered in a series full of them: The land became a Christian summer camp, Washington Family Ranch, that’s still in operation today.

Simone McAlonen attended that camp, as a kid with her family (her dad was an employee). Her real-life diary entries from those summers, from ages 12-15, make up the bulk of the comedic show Wild Wild Christian, currently at the Siren Theater. The show paints a hilarious picture of growing up religious and the awkward horniness of preteen girls, and examines the often blurry lines between “religious organizations” and “cults.”

Wild Wild Christian smartly opens with a real-life TV news package about the Rajneeshees leaving Antelope, then transitions to McAlonen reading her diary entries, interspersed with musical numbers and sketches from a cast of actors performing as church camp counselors and one Rajneeshee. Some of the biggest laughs come when McAlonen’s references the Rajneeshees—she thanks God for starting a fire that burns down a key cult leader’s home on the camp property—but the most effective parts of the play focus on the inherent contradictions that come with being an adolescent in any kind of devout culture.

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What Could Cause Portland Schools to Return to Remote Learning This Year?

A adult in a mask squats down to bump elbows with a young, masked student
A teacher welcomes a Scott Elementary School student to school. Craig Mitchelldyer/AP Images for Portland Public Schools

As Oregon students cautiously return to in-person learning, school districts, teachers, and families are asking Multnomah County health officials what could trigger a reversal to remote learning.

The county isn’t sure.

“We have heard clearly from school leadership, from parents, from the public that they are looking for what is that mark where schools are no longer safe for kids to gather every day,” said Multnomah County Health Officer Jennifer Vines during a press conference Tuesday. “I think they imagine a number of cases or a percent positive or some level of transmission.”

But those metrics don’t directly translate to a clear threshold on when to close schools in order to protect public health, according to Vines.

At the same time, county health experts can’t be sure that shuttering schools will necessarily improve public health if there’s a COVID-19 outbreak. It’s possible that closing a school would not actually accomplish the county’s goal of slowing the spread of COVID in that community, due to social behavior.

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Good Morning, News: State Employees Given Vax Extension, Clackamas Commish Shull Re-Inserts Foot in Mouth, and Biden to Boost Global Vaccines

The Mercury provides news and fun every single day—but your help is essential. If you believe Portland benefits from smart, local journalism and arts coverage, please consider making a small monthly contribution, because without you, there is no us. Thanks for your support!

Clackamas County Commissioner Mark Shull has once again stuck his big stupid foot in his big stupid mouth.
Clackamas County Commissioner Mark Shull has once again stuck his big stupid foot in his big stupid mouth. Courtesy Clackamas County

GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND! Color you peach and black. Color me takin' aback. Crucial... I think I want ya. LET'S GO TO PRESS.

IN LOCAL NEWS:

• The state is giving some 24,000 workers out of 42,000 state executive branch employees an extra six weeks (until November 30) to get vaccinated, after unions pushed for more concessions, including getting extra time off if they suffered side effects from the vaccines.

• The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) has once again run afoul of state law, this time a judge has agreed with the ACLU that when the cops livestreamed protests in 2020, they were "collecting information about the political, religious or social views, associations or activities of people who are not suspected of criminal activity." That's a state law no-no! Our Alex Zielinski has more.

• Also in trouble again: Clackamas County commissioner Mark Shull is drawing mass condemnation for stupidly sharing an antisemitic meme on Facebook comparing COVID-19 health restrictions to the Holocaust. This is the same ding-dong who, in July, compared vaccine passports to Jim Crow laws. Somebody needs to take an analogy class! (And maybe get recalled?)

Continue reading »

Good Afternoon, News: COVID Disrupts Redistricting, Police Livestreamed Illegally, and Booster Shots Are on the Way

The Mercury provides news and fun every single day—but your help is essential. If you believe Portland benefits from smart, local journalism and arts coverage, please consider making a small monthly contribution, because without you, there is no us. Thanks for your support!

the Oregon state capitol
The Oregon Capitol building eyecrave / Getty Images

In local news:

• The Portland police violated state law when they filmed protest activity in 2020 and shared live-streamed footage online and internally, a Multnomah County judge ruled Monday. The judge agreed with the ACLU that, by livestreaming protests from PPB devices, PPB was "collecting information about the political, religious or social views, associations or activities of people who are not suspected of criminal activity,” which violates Oregon law. 

• A positive COVID case at the state Capitol forced state leaders to adjourn until tomorrow, delaying the already tense redistricting process. House leaders have until September 27 to pass new maps for the state’s 90 legislative districts and six congressional districts, or forfeit their ability to control the process.

• This year’s Time-Based Art Festival (TBA) is offering a slew of virtual shows and experiences for these COVID-times. Here’s a look:

Continue reading »

New Savage Lovecast: Hurts So Good with Leigh Cowart

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It’s the sight that strikes fear in everyone’s hearts: WHITE DREADS. One of his lovers has them, and just doesn’t wanna cut them off. His other partners are offended. Should he keep seeing this woman? Is she oblivious to the connotations, or a bit of a troll?

A gay man’s boyfriend is a very kinky lad. He loves to be denigrated and roughly used. But the tender-hearted caller loves him so much that he feels uncomfortable treating him that way.

On both the Micro and the Magnum, Dan chats with Leigh Cowart about their book Hurts So Good: The Science and Culture of Pain on Purpose. They talk about how the pleasure derived from pain is as old as the hills, isn’t always sexual and is often unfairly misunderstood. If you just don’t understand what all this S&M business is about, this is the show for you.

And, a couple are “butting” heads over toilet paper. When he gets a prostate massage, he wants the softest toilet paper, like the kind he has at his house. She stocks her home with eco-friendly bamboo-based toilet paper that he finds too rough. Listen in as fearless Dan Savage wades in to this seemingly intractable problem.

Listen here:


Our Favorite Virtual Events at the Time-Based Art Festival, Happening Now

Artist Holland Andrews piece for TBA, There You Are, will take place via phone call and text message.
Artist Holland Andrews' piece for TBA, There You Are, will take place via phone call and text message. Ariel Crocker

Opening night of this year's Time-Based Art Festival (TBA) felt cautiously optimistic. I have seen art shows during the pandemic, but not a live performance yet. I arrived at the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA) on Thursday evening before the Emily Johnson/Catalyst performance with composer Raven Chacon, collaborating with artists Holly Mititquq Nordlum, and Drew Michael. I and the rest of the audience congregated in PICA's event courtyard, awaiting the start of the performance.

Johnson casually enters the courtyard space, and then fills it with a scream, a yell, a protest, calling our attention. She then tells us a short story and then what will happen next. A walk together, outside of the courtyard. We are directed that we will head west, then south, and stop in front of a tree. Then head east again. It is then when we have returned east, that we will enter the performance space. Johnson elaborates that there there will be a mountain and that when we come to it, we'll walk around it twice.

The entire audience and myself unhurriedly follow Johnson out of the courtyard, and we all walk together, in a sort of amalgamated synchronization. This feels familiar, reminiscent of walking in line during adolescence. The steps of people's feet hitting the ground keeping pace, moving forward, creates rhythm. We reach the mountain, walk around it twice, and the performance starts. Johnson brings her immersive energy and control to every part of her performance. The result is a confluence of traditionalism and modernism that is refreshing, yet also introspective. We know where we’re going, but where does this lead?

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The Story Behind the Gayest Week in TV History

Consider your grits kissed.
Consider your grits kissed.
The gayest week in television history occurred exactly 45 years ago, in late September of 1976.

Anyone who turned on a TV that week would have encountered a bizarrely queer couple of days. The season premiere of the show Family featured a teen finding out his friend is gay; the new sitcom Alice began its regular run with a visit from a gay football player; The Nancy Walker Show introduced one of TV’s first recurring gay characters; Barney Miller brought two gay friends in for the start of a two-parter.

And television wasn’t the only medium going gay! The comedy Norman Is That You? premiered that week, in close proximity on the schedule to Car Wash and The Ritz, all with prominent queer characters. David Bowie had just come out. Elton John was about to. It was the year of A Chorus Line on Broadway.

But for all the queer entertainment that year, this one week stood out beyond all others for the sheer concentration of queerness in the span of just a couple days. So … what happened?

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NewsCops

Portland Police Violated State Law by Livestreaming Protests, Court Finds

Portland police arrive at a protest in August 2020.
Portland police arrive at a protest in August 2020. Paula Bronstein / Getty Images

The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) violated state law in 2020 when it filmed protest activity and shared livestreamed footage internally and over social media channels, a Multnomah County judge ruled Monday.

Multnomah County Judge Thomas Ryan's ruling sides with ACLU of Oregon, who sued PPB on July 29, 2020, on behalf of protesters who had been filmed by officers during June protests. The ACLU argued that, by livestreaming protests from PPB devices, PPB was "collecting information about the political, religious or social views, associations or activities of people who are not suspected of criminal activity," which violates Oregon law. Ryan agreed, and went further to determine that, by doing so, PPB had also breached an 1988 agreement with the ACLU prohibiting the PPB from taking photographs of protesters at demonstrations.

"Standing up to injustice is important to me; having my own government deliberately put me at risk for broadcasting my location and political stance... is unbelievable," said Portlander Marie Tyvoll, the lead protester named in the lawsuit, in a press statement. "In a time when extremists and hate groups violently attack activists, I am grateful that the court saw how harmful this practice is and chose to put a permanent stop to it.”

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Good Morning, News: Oregon Redistricting Drama, PPB Chastised in Court, and First Abortion Lawsuit in Texas

The Mercury provides news and fun every single day—but your help is essential. If you believe Portland benefits from smart, local journalism and arts coverage, please consider making a small monthly contribution, because without you, there is no us. Thanks for your support!

Theres drama this week at the Oregon State Capitol.
There's drama this week at the Oregon State Capitol. aimintang / getty images


Good morning, Portland!
And happy Last Day of Summer, whatever that means these days.

Here are the headlines!

• In case you missed this enraging news yesterday: A Newberg School District staffer went to school in blackface last week (?), claiming to be dressing as Rosa Parks (??) to protest the district's vaccine mandate for school staffers (???). Everything's going great at the Newberg School District!

Here you can hear from the local reporter who's been breaking all the Newberg news lately:

• Yesterday, a Multnomah County judge ruled that the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) acted illegally when live-streaming protests last summer, because of a law prohibiting cops from surveilling people who are not suspected of a specific crime. "Standing up to injustice is important to me; having my own government deliberately put me at risk for broadcasting my location and political stance — known as ‘doxxing’ — is unbelievable," one protester suing PPB said in a press release.

• Texas' new six-week abortion ban relies on vigilante citizens to sue abortion doctors for its enforcement—and we now have our first lawsuit of this nature. Texas doctor Alan Braid publicly admitted to violating the ban, and is now being sued by an Arkansas lawyer with a history of tax evasion. In a Washington Post op-ed, Braid said the move was part of a legal strategy, writing that "I fully understood that there could be legal consequences—but I wanted to make sure that Texas didn't get away with its bid to prevent this blatantly unconstitutional law from being tested."

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The Best Things To Do in Portland This Week: Sept 20-26, 2021

The popular Sunday market Portland Flea is celebrating 10 years this week.
The popular Sunday market Portland Flea is celebrating 10 years this week.
The weekend is over, though that doesn't mean the week doesn't have plenty of fun to offer. Whether you're looking to have a laugh with the legendary comic Marc Maron, celebrate Stephen King's birthday with a horror double feature, or catch a show from the ironic queen herself Alanis Morissette, there are plenty of exceptional events to get you through the work week. 

MONDAY


MUSIC

Marc Rebillet
Known as the “Loop Daddy,” Marc Rebillet is a chaotic force of music and sexual allure all wrapped into one. With shows that heavily focus on Rebillet laying it all out by improvising most of his set, every show of his is a unique experience that won't soon be forgotten.
Crystal Ballroom, West End

Read on EverOut »

Good Afternoon, News: Racist Blackface Incident at Newberg School, Pfizer Says Vaccine Safe for 5-11 Year Olds, and You Can Eat Oreos Again

The Nabisco workers strike (born in Portland) is over, so I guess its okay for you to try these now.
The Nabisco workers strike (born in Portland) is over, so I guess it's okay for you to try these now. Nabisco

The Mercury provides news and fun every single day—but your help is essential. If you believe Portland benefits from smart, local journalism and arts coverage, please consider making a small monthly contribution, because without you, there is no us. Thanks for your support!

IN LOCAL NEWS:

• After a fraught (and occasionally violent) few weeks, Portland's Nabisco workers' strike has come to an end after the national union and the company agreed on a new contract—one that local workers aren't 100 percent pleased with. Abe Asher has the details and the report.

• Warning: Get ready to lose your goddamn mind. I'm just going to leave the opening graph for this story by the Newberg Graphic right here: "A staff member at Mabel Rush Elementary School in Newberg showed up to work in Blackface on Friday, calling herself Rosa Parks and doing so in protest of a vaccine mandate for all school district staff." Newberg has also been in the news because of their heavily conservative school board who banned Pride and Black Lives Matter symbols in their district. Coincidence? I seriously doubt that.

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