portland dining month

Good Morning, News: Prepping for Coronavirus, City Blames Police Shooting Victim, and Christian Sentencing Phase Begins

Stay up to date on Portland news and politics. Looking for fun? Here are the best Things to Do in Portland today.

Quanice Hayes
Quanice Hayes HAYES FAMILY

Good morning, Portland! PSSTTT: You can pick up a new issue of the Mercury today!

Here are the headlines.

Closer to Home: Health officials are growing concerned that the coronavirus could soon spread to the United States in a big way. Rather than panicking, you can read up on symptoms and preventative tactics on the CDC's website, and check out NPR's advice on how to prepare for a possible pandemic.

Oh, and also, shave your beard.

This Seems Worth It?

Christian Update: A jury has already found Jeremy Christian guilty of 12 charges associated with his racist rant and stabbing rampage on the MAX in 2017. Now, the jury is being asked to weigh in on questions that will affect the severity of his sentence. Those questions include whether Christian has shown any remorse, and if he's likely to be violent in the future. Read more on the sentencing phase from the Oregonian.

Continue reading »

City Attorneys Argue That Teen Slain By Portland Police Was Solely Responsible for His Death

Venus Hayes, speaking to reporters shortly after her son's death in 2017. DOUG BROWN

Attorneys with the City of Portland believe it's more plausible to argue that 17-year-old Quanice Hayes died on February 9, 2017 because he burglarized a house and lied to police officers about it—not because a Portland cop shot him three times with a AR-15 rifle.

On Wednesday, US District Court Judge John Acosta pushed city attorneys to explain why Hayes' death "was the sole and exclusive fault of Mr. Hayes," an argument that attorneys representing Hayes' family in a civil rights lawsuit want to throw out.

"Under their logic, officers have the right to use deadly force against anyone simply because they were engaged in felonies," said Jesse Merrithew, one of the attorneys representing the Hayes family. "That's ludicrous."

Hayes was killed by Portland officer Andrew Hearst after being cornered by a group of officers in an alcove outside of a Northeast Portland house. At the time, Hayes was a suspect in an attempted carjacking and armed robbery—accusations that haven't been contested by his family. After officers tracked him down, Hayes followed their orders to crawl on the ground out of the alcove, towards Hearst. But when Hayes reached down to his waistband, Hearst fired his rifle, hitting Hayes in the head and torso.

Continue reading »

John Sayles Interview: His New Novel Yellow Earth, the Boom and Bust of the Oil Industry, and How His Research Approach Has Changed


Few fiction writers understand the ripple effect that big industry can have on a community with as much depth and empathy as John Sayles. That’s been evident throughout his work, from Matewan, his 1987 film about a miners’ strike, to 2002’s Sunshine State, about a Florida island’s mixed response to real estate developers, to his gold rush-era epic novel A Moment in the Sun.

His latest novel, Yellow Earth, might be his most deeply felt work yet. Tracking the boom and bust of a shale oil development in North Dakota, Sayles puts us dead center in the tornado of activity that rips through a small town and a nearby Native American reservation—opening up the minutiae of drilling and fracking through the perspective of dozens of richly drawn characters who he seems to know as intimately as family.

Continue reading »

WA Legislature Passes Nikki Kuhnhausen Act Outlawing LGBTQ+ Panic Defense

Nikki Kuhnhausen was 17 when she was murdered last year, in what police officers believe was an act of anti-trans violence. A law outlawing the LGBTQ+ panic defense in Washington is named after her.
Nikki Kuhnhausen was 17 when she was murdered last year, in what police officers believe was an act of anti-trans violence. A law outlawing the LGBTQ+ panic defense in Washington is named after her. blair Stenvick

The Washington State Legislature passed a bill Wednesday that will make the state's legal system less homophobic and transphobic, and that honors a recently murdered transgender teenager.

Titled the Nikki Kuhnhausen Act, the bill outlaws the use of the LGBTQ+ panic defense. Also known as the gay-panic or trans-panic defense, this is a legal strategy arguing that uses of force against an LGBTQ+ person are sometimes justified. The shock of learning about that identity, the panic defense argues, could temporarily diminish someone's capacity to act reasonably, or cause them to fear they are at risk of sexual assault from the LGBTQ+ person.

"A defendant does not suffer from diminished capacity based on the discovery of, knowledge about, or potential disclosure of the victim's actual or perceived gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation," the bill reads in part.

The bill is named after a 17-year-old trans woman who was murdered in Vancouver, Washington last year in what police believe was an act of anti-trans violence. From the Mercury's recent reporting about Kunhausen's life and legacy:

Continue reading »

Aminé Gets High on the Burnside Bridge and Cruises Down the Willamette in His New Video

Aminé courtesy of the artist

It's like Aminé never left.

So far as we know, the 25-year-old rapper is still living in LA, but he's doing everything in his power to remind the world where he came from. Case in point: the video for his new track, "Shimmy."

The video for Aminé's new track "Shimmy" puts the beloved hip-hop sensation on a tour of Portland landmarks—rapping in the middle of Providence Park and on the roof of the Convention Center, zipping down the Willamette River in a boat, getting high on the Burnside Bridge with the White Stag sign in the background—and some lesser-known spots like Woodlawn Park and the track at Jefferson High School. And he raps while hanging off the side of a rock. As you do.

Continue reading »

After Republican Walkout, Cap-and-Trade Supporters Urge Oregon Dems to Stop Compromising

PCUN director Reyna Lopez speaks at a rally in Salem protesting the latest Republican walkout.
PCUN director Reyna Lopez speaks at a rally in Salem protesting the latest Republican walkout. Image courtesy of PCUN.

Lawmakers in Salem are continuing a years-long battle over legislation that would aim to regulate and lessen carbon emissions. As Republican senators walk off their jobs for the third time in two years, a coalition that has championed that legislation is expressing their frustration with conservative lawmakers—and urging Democrats not to make a deal with them.

The fight is over Senate Bill 1530, which would establish a cap-and-trade policy for Oregon’s private industries. Under a cap-and-trade framework, the state government places a limit on how much carbon large corporations can emit into the atmosphere each year. The framework also establishes a marketplace of credits, or “allowances,” that companies can purchase in order to emit more carbon than their designated limit.

Like previous attempts to pass cap-and-trade in Oregon, SB 1530 has faced strong opposition from Republican lawmakers who say the policy would drive up gas prices and hurt critical state industries, including the timber business. So Republican senators, concerned the bill would pass if it reaches a floor vote, held a walk-out this week—denying Democratic leadership a quorum, meaning state senators cannot vote on 1530 or any other bill.

For Reyna Lopez, who is part of the Renew Oregon political coalition that supports and helped shape the cap-and-trade policy, the Republican walkout is like “a spit in the face.”

Lopez is the director of Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN), a union that represents Oregon farmworkers, primarily Latinx farmers in Marion County. She and other cap-and-trade proponents spent the months leading up to this year’s legislative session working with politicians to make sure SB 1530 would be palatable enough for Republicans that they wouldn’t abandon the capitol. Last year’s cap-and-trade bill, House Bill 2020, was also derailed by a walkout.

“We made a lot of sacrifices, and we actually came to the table in good faith,” Lopez told the Mercury. “We’re highly encouraging the Democrats to not make any backroom deals with these people… We don’t think we need any more input from the GOP.”

Continue reading »

Another Vape Pen Danger: Deportation


It’s easy to forget that simply because a state has a medical cannabis program, that program doesn’t mean law enforcement is chill about anyone without a medical card using cannabis.

“Bro, it’s just some weed” isn’t going to get you out of a jam with Johnny/Joanie Lawperson in some cases. As I have written many times before, that goes triple for anyone of color. Case in point: 18-year-old Jonathan Torres Resendiz of Tucson. As Public Enemy rapped, “By the time I get to Arizona….”

Danyelle Khmara of Tuscon.com tells the story of Resendiz, who at six years old was brought here in 2008 by his mother along with two siblings from his birthplace of Guanajuato, Mexico. They made the trek just two years after their husband/father perished from hypothermia while attempting to make the same journey.

Jonathan is undocumented, and while at his high school on November 4, 2019, school security found 11 vape cartridges in his backpack. He was given a 10 day suspension by the school, which was the least of his concerns, because the school also called the police.

Continue reading »

Live Review: Andy Shauf Plays The Neon Skyline at Revolution Hall, Portland's Drunk Dads Yell Questions About His Guitar

The expression you wear when dads in the audience are yelling your song titles like stadium chants. Colin Medley

The crowd in attendance to see Andy Shauf, at Revolution Hall on Monday, was a little too antsy for a seated performance. You could hear it in the quips that a variety of dads and browned-out-drunk boyfriends yelled throughout the evening. Portland, when you yell “Jerry Garcia” at soft-spoken, Saskatchewan singer songwriter Andy Shauf, it makes me feel like you think I came here to listen to you. And that’s just not the case.

Back to the show: Shauf’s sixth, recently released record The Neon Skyline is an incredible work of pop-folk songwriting. I’ve likened it to a Raymond Carver book because the album’s lyrics loop in dialogue from characters in a bar, over the course of a single evening, unfolding an unobtrusive narrative of lost love and a sudden, unexpected chance at reconciliation that grips a careful listener by the heartstrings.

Continue reading »

Eritrean Filmmaker Sephora Woldu Talks About Her Joyous and Important Film Life Is Fare

courtesy of Abyssurdian Films

As the 30th edition of the Cascade Festival of African Films winds down, the annual celebration of art from the world’s second-most populous continent is spending its final days showcasing female filmmakers. On deck for the last three days of the festival are recent films from Algerian director Mounia Meddour, Naziha Arebi from Libya, and Ethiopian journalist and filmmaker Salome Mulugeta.

But it’s the film that is closing out the CFAF this year that is perhaps the festival’s most fascinating. Written and directed by Eritrean filmmaker Sephora Woldu, Life Is Fare is a delightful and trippy bit of magical realism that looks at a rarely discussed element of the African diaspora: how these emigres deal with staying connected to their home countries while trying to make their way in a new town. In Woldu’s vision, that is the struggle of a lonely cab driver from Eritrea who starts to experience visual and auditory hallucinations, calling back to places he used to know. While that sounds like the makings of a gritty thriller, Woldu keeps things light, with plenty of joyous music, an upbeat tone, and charming conversations with her real-life mom about the changing face of Eritrea.

In advance of the two screenings of Life Is Fare—happening Thursday February 27 at PCC Cascade and at the CFAF’s closing night event on Saturday February 29 at the Hollywood Theater—Woldu answered questions via email about the inspiration behind the film and the important issues it raises about the African diaspora in the US.

Continue reading »

Good Morning, News: Democratic Debate Was a Hot Mess, and the Coronavirus is Coming (Is Your Idiot President Ready?)

Stay up to date on Portland news and politics. Looking for fun? Here are the best Things to Do in Portland today.

Yes, I understand youre afraid of the coronavirus... but whos protecting the stock market and my billionaire friends?
"Yes, I understand you're afraid of the coronavirus... but who's protecting the stock market and my billionaire friends?" Chip Somodevilla / Staff / Getty

GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND! She was disco lights on the Friday night. She moves across the floor, she was oh-so-tight like dynamite. LET'S GO TO PRESS.

According to the CDC, the coronavirus is coming to America, regardless of what we try to do to stop it.

“It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a news briefing.

Furthermore, the CDC is advising that we should prepare for "social distancing," such as keeping kids home from school, and telecommuting. Stocks tumbled following the news... but DON'T WORRY! President Trump (as always) has a firm grasp of the situation:
President Trump, traveling overseas, had a sharply different tone than his own health officials, saying at a news briefing in India: “You may ask about the coronavirus, which is very well under control in our country.”
“We have very few people with it and the people that have it are, in all cases, I have not heard anything other — the people are getting better, they’re all getting better.”

Last night marked the latest Democratic debate, this time in South Carolina, which by anyone's standards was a hot mess. As expected, all candidates took aim at Bernie Sanders who stuck to his message as the others took shots at him in regards to his comments on Fidel Castro's Cuba and his dicey voting record on gun control. Sanders took the blows and emerged relatively unscathed, while Elizabeth Warren turned in another good performance—and as usual was pretty much ignored by many in the media. :(

Continue reading »

Judge Delays Ruling on Portland's Police Settlement Agreement with DOJ, Citing Lack of Community Engagement

PCCEPs first meeting in November 2018.
PCCEP's first meeting in November 2018. Alex Zielinski

On paper, it seems like the settlement agreement between the City of Portland and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding the conduct of Portland police officers has been resolved.

But it's not that simple, as US District Judge Michael Simon decided at a Tuesday court hearing on the status of the agreement, which has been snaking through the federal court system for eight years.

"It appears to me that there is a serious disagreement in whether or not there is substantial compliance with the settlement agreement," Simon said at the start of the hearing.

In 2012, the DOJ sued Portland, arguing the city had violated the United States Constitution by allowing its police officers to engage in "a pattern or practice of using excessive force" against people with a mental illness. To resolve this litigation, the City of Portland entered a settlement agreement with the DOJ in 2014, in which the city promised to create a walk-in emergency mental health medical center, form a behavioral health unit within the Portland Police Bureau (PPB), accelerate the process of investigating complaints of officer misconduct, expand mental health training for police officers, allow quarterly use-of-force audits within the PPB, and improve community outreach.

On January 10, the DOJ announced that the city has successfully met all the requirements laid out in the 2014 settlement (or, in legal terms, was in "substantial compliance" with the agreement). On Tuesday, Simon was expected to hear the DOJ's arguments and decide whether he, too, believed the city has met all of the DOJ's requirements.

But vocal opposition to the DOJ's ruling by Portland community leaders instead encouraged Simon to delay his decision for another year.

Continue reading »


New Savage Lovecast: All About Weed with Lester Black


A straight man was dating a woman, and it felt great. Until she gave him the "I'm not ready for a relationship" line. Is this always a lie? What does it mean? Dan spells it out, with no sugar on top.

A man is worried about his new girlfriend. You see, she has never had penetrative sex. Is he special enough to be her first?

On the Micro and more on the Magnum, Dan chats with The Stranger's Lester Black. They talk about a woman whose smart husband turns into a drooling dullard whilst blazed, smoking when you're pregnant, and the effects of marijuana on dick size. Can you resist this show? No, you cannot.

A man on the frozen tundra hasn't had sex in 3 years because he claims to be a grower, not a shower. Women reject him because of his dick size (he thinks) and then reject him further when he fails to eat them out properly. But he wants to learn! He asks his female friends if he can practice on them, but strangely, they all say "no."

Continue reading »

Cannabis Leaves Man Unable to Come Down; Or "The Case of the 12-Hour Erection"

Esther Kelleter / EyeEm / Getty

Most of what I put forth in the written word in this space seeks to educate and inform, including calls to action, product reviews, breakthroughs in cannabis research, and legislation pertaining to cannabis reform among other topics.

Then, every once in while... not so much.

Dear reader, this right here is one of those times.

Marijuana Moment brings us the story of a very unlucky 32-year-old man who experienced what is believed to be a strictly cannabis-related 12 hour case of priapism. Priapism isn’t sexual attraction to Prius owners (because ha-ha... no), but rather, as the Mayo Clinic explains:

“Priapism is a prolonged erection of the penis. The persistent erection continues hours beyond, or isn't caused by, sexual stimulation. Priapism is usually painful as it’s two main types involve an “erection lasting more than four hours.”

If left untreated, all that excess blood can result in damage to the oh-so-sensitive penile tissues, resulting (ironically) in erectile dysfunction (ED). Insert descending slide whistle noise here.

Continue reading »

Next Wednesday... It's the I, Anonymous Show!

Lance Edward, Dylan Carlino, and Wendy Weiss are the special guests for the March I, Anonymous Show!
Lance Edward, Dylan Carlino, and Wendy Weiss are the special guests for the March I, Anonymous Show!

If you're looking for a gut-busting night of comedy, we've got you covered with the I, ANONYMOUS SHOW—Portland's funniest and craziest night of entertainment. Host Kate Murphy (a Mercury "Genius of Comedy") chooses and reads the wildest, most jaw-dropping rants and confessions from the Mercury's I, Anonymous Blog and column, and then joins a crackerjack panel of Portland's funniest comedians to dissect them one by one!

And the panel for the merry month of March is ESPECIALLY GREAT. Join Kate as she welcomes an all-star gang of former Mercury Genius of Comedy winners including Wendy Weiss, Lance Edward, and Dylan Carlino! I CAN PERSONALLY ATTEST that these comedians are super smart and laugh-yer-butt-off funny, so get your tickets now for the WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4 edition of the I, Anonymous Show—7:30 pm at Curious Comedy Theater and sponsored by the fine folks at Kombrewcha—the delicious hard kombucha made with alcohol and organic ingredients!

Good Morning, News: Police Contract Negotiations Are Tense, Republicans Walkout (Again), and Trump's Attack on Abortion Continues

Stay up to date on Portland news and politics. Looking for fun? Here are the best Things to Do in Portland today.

You heard the llama!
You heard the llama! blair Stenvick

Good morning, Portland! Did you know there is another debate tonight? And yet I will probably have to wait months for Netflix to drop a second season of The Circle... the injustice!

Anyway, here are the headlines.

Butting Heads: Contract negotiations between the city and the Portland Police Bureau's officer union are just getting started, and already the two sides are disagreeing over the terms of the negotiations. Read Alex Zielinski's reporting on the back-and-forth so far.

Sweet Home Idaho: The Idaho Tourism Board Oregon Senate Republicans are doing their third job walk-out in two years—and once again, it's because the Democrats want to regulate carbon emissions. The whiny little turds distinguished elected officials are effectively making it impossible for the Senate to pass any bills while they're gone.

Progress: A jury found Harvey Weinstein guilty of two sexual assault charges yesterday. Listen to today's excellent episode of The Daily to hear the case broken down by the two women who first reported on his sexual misconduct—and learn how this case could have wide-reaching implications for the types of sexual assault cases that get tried.

Continue reading »