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Defense Attorney Says Jeremy Christian Acted in Self-Defense in 2017 MAX Slayings

Christian observing Tuesdays opening statements.
Christian observing Tuesday's opening statements. Beth Nakamura / OregonLive

In the eyes of Multnomah County prosecutors, Jeremy Christian knew exactly what he was doing the afternoon of May 26, 2017, when he plunged a 4-inch blade into the necks of three fellow MAX passengers who had stood up against his loud anti-Muslim and racist rant. Christian’s defense attorneys, meanwhile, believe their client was cornered by people trying to stifle his constitutional right to free speech, and acted impulsively in self-defense.

These were the two distinct arguments made before a 14-person jury Tuesday, the first day of what’s expected to be a month-long trial on Christian’s actions surrounding the 2017 stabbings.

Christian, 37, is facing 12 charges for allegedly killing Ricky Best and Taliesin Namkai-Meche and attempting to kill Micah Fletcher, the three strangers who intervened after Christian boarded a MAX train on May 26, held a Book of Mormon above his head, and began shouting about killing Muslims and Christians.

Christian’s charges also include intimidating fellow passengers Walio Mohamed and Destinee Magnum because of their race and perceived religious beliefs. According to witnesses, the two African American teenagers were the primary focus of Christian’s tirade that afternoon. Mohamed was wearing a hijab, a headscarf signifying her Muslim faith, at the time. Christian is also charged with threatening fellow passenger Shawn Forde with a knife after Forde used his body to block Mohamed and Magnum from Christian’s sight.

"You guys ready to smash Portland’s fairytale of a hate crime?”

Christian’s final alleged crime is against Demetria Hester, an African American woman who was allegedly assaulted by Christian on May 25, the day before the fatal MAX encounter, after she confronted him for spouting yet another racist rant on a MAX train.

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New Savage Lovecast: Happy Poly Homes With Dr. Elisabeth Sheff


Have you ever experienced conflict during a family vacation? The first call on this show might put it all in perspective for you.

A protective big sister can't stand that her 17-year-old sis is dating a 21-year-old man. Their parents don't mind. Should big sister give the guy a chance, or is the age difference unacceptable?

On the Magnum, Dan chats with Dr. Elisabeth Sheff from Psychology Today about raising children within a polyamorous household.

And finally, a woman is considering becoming a fin-dom, with the power to financially ruin her client. But she doesn't want to ruin anyone. Is there a way to ethically do this?

A snippet:

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Amazon Employees Speak Out About Climate Change and Internal Censorship

Theres conflict brewing in Bezos Balls.
There's conflict brewing in Bezos's Balls. DAVID RYDER/GETTY IMAGES

Originally published in our sister paper, The Stranger.—eds.

Hundreds of Amazon employees risked their jobs this week to speak out against climate change and their employer’s role in it.

The employees, who are calling themselves Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, released statements and a video calling out both Amazon’s contributions to carbon emissions in the global economy and a company policy that bans employees from publicly speaking about their protest. As the Washington Post reported earlier this month, after Amazon employees started talking with the press about their concerns, the company advised them to cut it the fuck out or risk termination.

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Food News: The Death of Stoopid Burger, New Retro Sandwiches, and Delish Jewish Bites!

RIP Stoopid Burger
RIP Stoopid Burger Aaron Lee

Sure, this unceasing rainy weather is a true Debbie Downer—but damp skies signals the perfect time to stuff your gut with delicious food... and stuff your brain with the latest FOOD AND DRINK NEWS. So let's do this!


The nationally famous Stoopid Burger—home to obscenely large, creative sandwiches—announced they will be closing forever this Sunday, according to Eater. Here's the Mercury review from 2018 which stated, "For $40 and served with a basket of fries, for three or four people, it’s kind of a perfect meal." RIP Stoopid Burger: You will be missed.

ICYMI, the beloved Shirley’s Tippy Canoe along the Sandy river in Troutdale burned to the ground, according to the Oregonian.


Those in desperate search of a quick sandwich will celebrate the opening of Snappy's on SE Ankeny and 6th (right next to Nong’s Khao Man Gai), which will serve retro grab-and-go sandwiches and snacks, decked out in a '90s vibe, Eater reports.

Speaking of sandwiches, casual sammy shop The Bakers Mark has opened up a second location, according to Eater, this time at NW 10th & Everett in the Pearl District.

You former Seattleites will be happy to learn that Ezell's Fried Chicken will be opening up their newest satellite restaurant in Tigard's Washington Square on February 4, the O reports.

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New Bill Would Allow Oregon Pharmacists to Prescribe HIV-Prevention Drugs

Tinpixels/ Getty images

On average, between 210 and 230 Oregonians are diagnosed with HIV each year. A new bill for the upcoming 2020 Oregon legislative session aims to lower that number, by allowing pharmacists to prescribe HIV prevention drugs.

If passed, House Bill 4116 will make Oregon just the second state in the country in which pharmacists can prescribe PrEP—a daily pill that greatly reduces a person’s risk of contracting HIV—to people who test negative for HIV. (California lawmakers passed a similar bill last year.) The bill will also allow pharmacists to prescribe PEP, a course of drugs people can use after they have been exposed to HIV.

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Savage Love: Straight Guy Desperate to Know What He's Doing Wrong

TL;DR: 30-something guy recently out of a longterm relationship is trying to find a wife and start a family, but I feel like a creep every time I do anything. What should I do?

Alright, the details. This is gonna be a long one, Dan.

About a year ago, my longtime girlfriend and I broke up. It was mutual, no ill feelings. We just realized that we wanted different things. I've been back out in the field for a while now, and it's like... indescribable. I used to have confidence and I'd be able to talk to anyone. Now I see everything I do as creepy and weird. Some of that is due to feedback, some of that is just due to me.

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Send Us Your “Online Dating War Story”—and Win Big Bucks! (Deadline Friday!)


We’ve all been there—an online date that goes horribly, hilariously wrong or starts so badly it never gets off the ground in the first place. Don’t just tell your friends... TELL IT TO THE WORLD!

Now you can turn your dreadfully funny experience into COLD HARD CASH with the Mercury’s “Online Dating War Stories” Essay Contest! We’ll print the most entertaining true tales in an upcoming issue of the Mercury, and the best of the best will win $300 cash!

Here are the rules:

• Write your TRUE story describing an online date that went terribly wrong (or flopped even before it began) in 500 words or less, leaving out the names of the guilty and innocent. (Your story can be anonymous, but if you want to be eligible for the prize, please include your name in your email. We won’t print your name, we promise!)

• Email your story to by FRIDAY, JANUARY 31.

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Good Morning, News: Christian Trial Begins, No Charges In Police Shooting, and BEARDS!

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

Accused murderer Jeremy Christian at the right-wing March for Free Speech on April 29, 2017
Accused murderer Jeremy Christian at the right-wing "March for Free Speech" on April 29, 2017 Doug brown

Good morning, Portland! Big news: You live in the water now!

Here are the headlines.

Trial Underway: A jury has been selected, and opening arguments in the Jeremy Christian MAX murder case begin today. If you don't remember the details of that awful 2017 day, or didn't live in Portland at the time, get all the basics with our primer.

No Fault: A Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officer who fatally shot a Portlander with a mental illness last year won't be held legally responsible for this death. Koben Henriksen was the 20th mentally ill person to be killed by PPB in the last decade; none of the officers responsible for these deaths have faced criminal charges.

The Final Countdown: Over in DC, today Donald Trump's lawyers will wrap-up their defense case, which in my expert legal opinion amounts to "He's corrupt, what the fuck are you going to do about it?!" But John Bolton's recent revelations might prompt enough Senate Republicans to vote in favor of having witnesses, which could extend the trial.

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Grand Jury Rules Officer Who Fatally Shot Koben Henriksen Acted in Self-Defense


The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officer who fatally shot a mentally ill homeless Portlander last December won't be held legally responsible for his death. On Monday, the Multnomah County District Attorney's office announced that a grand jury had found that Officer Justin Raphael's shooting of Koben Henriksen was "a lawful act of self-defense and/or defense of a third person," according to a press release.

Henriksen was the 5th person to be be shot and killed by PPB officers last year, making 2019 PPB's most fatal year since 2010.

He was also the 20th mentally ill person to be killed by a PPB officer in the last decade. None of the officers responsible for these deaths have faced criminal charges.

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Don't Miss the Valentine-Themed I, Anonymous Show!


Coming at you on Thursday, February 6—it's a special Valentines-themed edition of the I, Anonymous Show! As you know, the Mercury's famous I, Anonymous column and blog is the best place in the world for you to unload your most pressing rants and confessions anonymously. But the I, Anonymous Show does this one better, by reading the wildest and weirdest I, Anonymous submissions live and on stage, which are then dissected by a panel of top-notch comedians (just in case you needed even more fun).

And get ready to get excited, because this edition of the I, Anonymous Show is a pre-Valentines "all sex and relationship-based" show, where host Kate Murphy (a 2018 Mercury Genius of Comedy) will read the blog's craziest submissions all about relationships that have gone terribly (and hilariously) wrong.

And the news gets better, because Kate will be joined by a crackerjack panel of comedians who know a thing or two about wrecking relationships, including the oh-so-funny Ben Harkins, Kirsten Kuppenbender, and from the All Fantasy Everything podcast, Sean Jordan!

So don't miss Portland's funniest night of comedy, the I, Anonymous Show: Thursday, February 6, 7:30 pm, Curious Comedy Theater, tickets only $10 at!

Press Play: Music News for the Week of January 27

Stephen Malkmus, Chris Funk, and Matt Sweeney
Stephen Malkmus, Chris Funk, and Matt Sweeney Samuel Gehrke & Chris Shonting

It's Monday. It's the afternoon. You're in that warm, post-lunch glow and need a little something to help get you through the rest of the day. That's where we come in, with a heapin' helpin' of news from in and around the Portland music scene. Are you sitting comfortably? Is the water warm enough, Wendy? Then let us begin.

Just in case you were in a coma or hiding away from all media for the past 18 hours, all eyes were on the Grammy Awards last night. And all anyone can talk about (other than the pitiful "In Memoriam" segment that misspelled Ric Ocasek's name and left out a ton of amazing artists who passed away last year) is how teen pop star Billie Eilish made a clean sweep of the big categories. She walked away with statues for Record of the Year (for "bad guy"), Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist. "But wait," you may be asking right now, "weren't Lizzo and Ariana and Lil Nas X nominated for many of those same awards?" YES, THEY WERE, AND YES, WE'RE A LITTLE CONFUSED ABOUT THIS, TOO.

As for the Portland contingent of nominees, most were shut out of their respective categories. But our beloved Esperanza Spalding, the multi-instrumentalist born and raised here in the Rose City, took home the award for Best Vocal Jazz Album for her lovely 2018 record 12 Little Spells. Congrats!

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The 25 Best Things to Do in Portland This Week: Jan 27-30

Fertile Ground Festival, Thurs Jan 30-Sun Feb 9, Various Locations (Across Portland), $50-70 all access fest pass
Fertile Ground Festival, Thurs Jan 30-Sun Feb 9, Various Locations (Across Portland), $50-70 all access fest pass

The end of this week is the end of January, and if you feel like you didn't get to do as much as you'd like to have done in kicking off 2020, this very busy week is going to give you a ton of great opportunities to catch up, with live music raining down, amazing art blooming up, laughs bursting out all over the place, and much, much more: Hit the links below and plan your week accordingly.

Jump to: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday

Monday, Jan 27

Xavier Omär, Parisalexa
The Pacific Northwest isn’t exactly known for being a hotbed for R&B, pop, or hip-hop, but that could change someday with the career trajectory of artists like Seattle singer/songwriter/producer Parisalexa. She first nabbed my attention (and my heart TBH) when she sang “Cashitis” in the semifinals of Sound Off! 2016, an annual music competition at the Museum of Pop Culture (formerly known as the Experience Music Project) in Seattle. She gave a pitch-perfect vocal, wielded it perfectly, and showed an obvious knack for creating organic, intuitive song structures. To this day, I still get chills. As if Parisalexa wasn’t enough of a draw, tonight’s headliner is R&B crooner Xavier Omär, whose recent album Moments Spent Loving You (a collaboration with producer Sango) is one of the best male-fronted R&B albums to come out last year. (Mon Jan 27, 8 pm, Hawthorne Theatre, $20-25, all ages) JENNI MOORE

Motion City Soundtrack, Mom Jeans., Lee Corey Oswald
Monsters of mall-core Motion City Soundtrack descend upon Portland for an amped-up night of soul-baring and pop purging, with the help of Mom Jeans and Lee Corey Oswald.(Mon Jan 27, 8 pm, Roseland, $25-30, all ages)

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Seattle’s Parisalexa Is In Full Bloom and Deserves Our Attention

Parisalexa Niko Serpanos
The Pacific Northwest isn’t exactly known for being a hotbed for R&B, pop, or hip-hop, but that could change with the career trajectory of artists like Seattle singer/songwriter/producer Parisalexa. It’s typical for Parisalexa (AKA Paris Alexa Williams) to produce herself, create beats live using a loop station, and croon along the surface.

If you’re a millennial/plant lady/person, you’re likely to enjoy the seven tracks on her critically acclaimed 2018 EP Bloom, which includes a plethora of flower metaphors about growing, evolving, and blossoming through the seasons of love. Parisalexa has since dropped another EP called Flexa (check out “Ballin’” to dip your toe), followed by a couple excellent singles: “Water Me” (Parisalexa shows she has all the vocal runs and the range), and “Hot Head.”

Parisalexa first nabbed my attention (and my heart, tbh) when she sang “Cashitis” in the semifinals of Sound Off! 2016, an annual music competition at the Museum of Pop Culture (formerly known as the Experience Music Project) in Seattle. She gave a pitch-perfect vocal, wielded it perfectly, and showed an obvious knack for creating organic, intuitive song structures. To this day, I still get chills.

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Good Morning, News: Billie Sweeps the Grammys, Trump Caught in Lies (Again), and Kobe and Daughter Die in Tragic Crash

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

Kobe Bryant with daughter Gianna during the NBA All-Star Game in 2016
Kobe Bryant with daughter Gianna during the NBA All-Star Game in 2016 Elsa / Getty Images

Good morning, Portland! Hope you enjoyed the blink of sunshine and true joy we experienced over the weekend, it's back to endless raindrops.

A Public Health Crisis: As the fatal pneumonia-like coronavirus spreads through China (and beyond), the communist country is calling it what it is: a public health crisis. Yet, Chinese citizens familiar with the secretive regime, are still questioning the full transparency of their government during this critical moment.

Kobe: Legendary NBA star Kobe Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died Sunday in a fiery helicopter crash along with seven others. The news shook the country, as Bryant had inspired millions through his career—especially those in the African American community and those living in LA, the city where Bryant spent the majority of his career. In Bryant's death, however, some are grappling with how to shine light on his 2003 rape allegations. Bryant leaves behind his wife Vanessa and three other daughters.

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After Six Years of Reforms, Feds Say Portland Police Have Adequately Addressed Officers' Mistreatment of Mentally Ill


It's official: The Department of Justice has announced that the City of Portland has met all of the 190 requirements of a legal agreement made six years ago over Portland police officers' mistreatment of people with mental illnesses.

"This accomplishment represents the city taking specific, concrete steps to address community concerns about use of force training, management, and accountability," said Mayor Ted Wheeler at an afternoon press conference. Wheeler said the city had just received a letter from the DOJ signaling this compliance.

The DOJ was first drawn to Portland in 2011, after the city witnessed an unprecedented and sustained increase in the number of mentally ill Portlanders dying at the hands of the the police. After conducting an investigation into the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) related to these deaths, the DOJ concluded that the city had violated the constitution by allowing its officers to engage in "a pattern or practice of using excessive force" against people who had (or were perceived to have) some kind of mental illness. The DOJ sued the City of Portland over these claims in September 2012.

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