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The Best Things To Do from Home in Portland This Week: May 6-12, 2021

Noah Huttons neuroscience documentary In Silico is now available to watch via the Northwest Film Centers virtual screening room.
Noah Hutton's neuroscience documentary In Silico is now available to watch via the Northwest Film Center's virtual screening room. Northwest Film Center

We're here to guide you through a new week on the internet, from the virtual grand opening of the Japanese American Museum of Oregon to a reading with Oregon Poet Laureate Anis Mojgani to the final season of the Portland-set comedy Shrill. See those and more of our picks below, and plan ahead with our guide to the best things to do in Portland all month long.

THURSDAY

READINGS & TALKS
Larissa Pham in Conversation With Mary H.K. Choi
Drawing on everything from Agnes Martin’s abstract paintings to James Turrell’s transcendent light works to Frank Ocean's Blonde, Larissa Pham's debut nonfiction novel, Pop Song, is a reflection on falling in love. She'll be joined in conversation by Mary H.K. Choi (author of Emergency Contact, Permanent Record, and Yolk) for this Powell's event.

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Good Afternoon, News: Vaccines for All, a New Anti-Voting Law, and Out-of-Control Rocket Probably Won't Hit Tucker Carlson

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis: For all of you who hate Democracy and voting, have I got a new law for you!
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis: "For all of you who hate Democracy and voting, have I got a new law for you!" Joe Raedle / Getty News

Here's your daily roundup of all the latest local and national news. (Like our coverage? Please consider making a recurring contribution to the Mercury to keep it comin'!)

IN LOCAL NEWS:

• Good news: Oregon currently has a surplus of COVID-19 vaccines, meaning if you want one (and you should) you can get one very easily! In fact, the vaccine clinic at the bustling Oregon Convention Center will be accepting walk-ins without an appointment starting tomorrow.

• The members of around 40 organizations—including Chelsea Clinton!—are calling for Oregon's Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to grant relief to prisoners who were convicted in the state by non-unanimous juries... an old-timey, racist practice that has been overturned by the Supreme Court. So is Rosenblum gonna do it or what? Our Blair Stenvick has a great explainer about what's involved.

• New Portland DA Mike Schmidt—voted in on a promise of justice reform—has appointed an outside lawyer to review the death investigation of Israel Berry, a man killed by a Gresham police officer nearly a year ago, in order to provide "an outside set of eyes to challenge potential bias" within the DA's office. Our Alex Zielinski has more!

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Campaign to Overturn Split-Jury Convictions Keeps Pressure on Oregon Legal System

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A new coalition of more than 40 organizations is calling for progress on Oregon’s long history with non-unanimous jury convictions.

Between 1934 until 2020, split-jury convictions—in which only 10 out of 12 jurors’ “guilty” vote is required to convict someone of a felony, rather than a unanimous vote—were permissible in Oregon courtrooms. That changed last April, when the United States Supreme Court ruled the practice was unconstitutional. Oregon, the only remaining state in the country to allow non-unanimous convictions, was forced to change course moving forward after that ruling in Ramos v. Louisiana. But the majority of Oregonians who had already been convicted by a split jury faced an uncertain future, unsure if the Ramos ruling would be applied to their cases as well.

That question is still up in the air. While split-jury defendants who were still in the formal appeals process during the time of the Ramos ruling have been granted a new trial, those who had already completed their appeals were left to request post-conviction relief, meaning they are petitioning the state to have their cases reversed—or at least retried—after the fact. Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, who heads the state’s Department of Justice, has said she wants the state courts to decide the issue. That means she won’t use her authority as the state’s top lawyer to push for those Oregonians to receive post-conviction relief.

In the meantime, at least hundreds of Oregonians remain in prison on a non-unanimous conviction, despite the Supreme Court’s finding that their convictions were inherently unconstitutional. Hundreds more have served their time and left prison, but still face the challenges that come with having a felony record.

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Your Complete Guide to Mother's Day 2021 in Portland

Treat your mother figure to a luxurious chocolate and wine flight from Stem Wine Bar for Mothers Day.
Treat your mother figure to a luxurious chocolate and wine flight from Stem Wine Bar for Mother's Day. Stem Wine Bar

While indoor dining may be very limited right now, you can still treat your mother figure to a festive Mother's Day safely. We've rounded up takeout and outdoor dining specials from local restaurants, gift ideas, and socially distanced events around town, like Mother's Day in the Garden at Luscher Farm City Park and the Mother's Day Bird Walk, so that you can still celebrate in style. Whether you want to lavish your mom with cakes from Papa Haydn or gift packages from Tender Loving Empire, you'll find something here to suit her tastes. For more ideas, check out our food and drink guide.

FOOD SPECIALS


Aimsir Distilling Company
The recently opened distillery has a five-course Mother's Day menu with scones with butter and jam, a spring salad, tomato-braised rockfish on polenta, house-made potato gnocchi with nettle pesto, and strawberry shortcake, as well as a mint julep cocktail and a bottle of Pinot Noir Rosé. Pre-orders must be placed by May 6 for pickup from 4-8 pm on May 8.
Northeast
Pickup

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Takeout Club: Ice Queen Is Spicing Up the World of Vegan Popsicles

Tickle My Pickle popsicle from Ice Queen
Tickle My Pickle popsicle from Ice Queen Suzette Smith

Record scratch. Yeah, that's a pickle popsicle—Tickle My Pickle, to name it correctly. It's vegan, as are all the popsicles and paletas from southeast Portland's inventive icy treat shoppe Ice Queen.

After running a series of successful pop-ups for years, vegan ice cream maker Rebecca Smith arrived at the vegan mini mall on SE Stark mid-summer of 2020. She took over Scapegoat Tattoo's storefront, just as Food Fight closed their southeast location and left the neighborhood with a frozen vegan soft serve power vacuum.

Ice Queen pops are much better than soft serve, and contain worlds of variety. Smith makes her treats with an assortment of non-dairy milks. Her She's In Parties birthday cake bar uses soymilk to creamy up its base. The Rocky Road mixes chocolate, almonds, and marshmallow into oat milk to achieve a rich approximation of the famous ice cream flavor. And the piña colada is, of course, made with pineapple juice and coconut cream.

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Shrill Finds Its Footing in Third and Final Season

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Allyson Riggs/Hulu

There were a lot of things to like about the first two seasons of Shrill. From the start, the show had a winning and diverse cast led by Aidy Bryant, and funny dialogue peppered with zingers in the tone of Lindy West, the writer who penned the memoir Shrill and co-created the show. It also took an honest point of view about the shit fat people have to deal with—a rarity in pop culture and an admirable mission, if a bit clumsily handled at times. It even managed to do the seemingly impossible in portraying Portland in a way that, while obviously not entirely accurate, felt mostly true and un-cringey.

But while there were plenty of promising elements that kept me watching, Shrill never quite managed to tie them together into a complete, satisfying package. Few characters other than Annie (Bryant) got fully fleshed-out, plotlines would be hinted at in one episode then dropped for the rest of the season, and the show perpetually felt like a proof-of-concept project—see, this show about a fat woman is funny and smart—rather than a TV show you could just put on and enjoy. Hulu’s super-short seasons (seven or eight episodes in the 25-minute range) probably didn’t help in that department, though plenty of other shows have done more with similar runtime constraints.

Happily, the third and final season of Shrill, which drops Friday on Hulu, is its strongest yet. Much of the criticism of past seasons centered on Annie’s roommate and best friend Fran (played by the delightful Lolly Adefope), a witty Black lesbian who’s also plus-size, and yet mostly served as a comedic sounding board for Annie’s journey of self-acceptance and finding her voice. Season three disrupts that format by giving Annie’s and Fran’s romantic and career-focused storylines near-equal runtime, and making their complicated friendship a central plot driver, especially in the season’s second half.

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Strut Your Stuff This Summer with One of the New Mercury T-Shirts!

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James Douglas Mitchell

The sun is out, the weather's warming, and it's time for you to start flashing that hot bod. And now you can make that bod even more attractive—while supporting local journalism—by snapping up the new Mercury T-shirts! CHECK 'EM OUT!

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This shirt is perfect for your post-pandemic jaunts around town—especially if you like doing it on two wheels. This fun design was illustrated by the great James Douglas Mitchellcheck out his other endeavors here on Insta. By the way, this shirt is designed for lots of bodies, with sizes from XS up to 3XL, and they're only 25 bucks, so... GET YOURS NOW AND HERE!

And due to popular demand, we're also bringing back the now famous Mercury TP Tee!

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Originally offered during the early days of the pandemic, this shirt has been popular with both friends and enemies alike. (Doesn't matter why you like it, as long as you're supporting the Mercury!) Same deal with sizes: XS up to 3XL, and they're only $25. GET YOURS NOW AND HERE!

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By buying and proudly wearing your Mercury tee, you're saying to the world, "HEY WORLD! I support local progressive journalism that helps the marginalized and sticks it to the man!" Terrific investigative reporting is not free, and in order for us to keep bringing you the high quality work you depend on, we depend on your help—whether it's buying our tees, watching our streaming shows, or (best case scenario) making a small monthly contribution. So please help out however you can!

If you want one of these wicked hot tees, ya gotta move fast—these shirts will only be available until May 23! So order your Mercury tees now! As always, thanks and WE APPRECIATE YOU!


Good Morning, News: Outside Attorney Reviews Gresham Police Killing, US Sees COVID-19 Drop, and Florida's Shitty New Voting Law

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Gresham police department

Good morning, Portland! Have you gotten your vaccine yet?

Here are the headlines.

• Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced yesterday that he's hiring an outside prosecutor to review the death investigation of Israel Berry, who was killed by a Gresham police officer last year. Schmidt told the Mercury that because his office often works with police officers when prosecuting other cases, it makes sense to bring in a lawyer with fewer ties to police to work on this case.

• While Oregon still isn't in a great spot regarding our COVID-19 spike, there is good news: The country as a whole is seeing cases drop significantly, and hospitalizations are going down even in the worst-hit places.

• The wave of anti-Asian hate in the United States continues:

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Good Afternoon, News: Possible Political Arson in Portland, Biden Supports Lifting Vaccine Patents, and Fans Allowed at Blazers Games

The Moda Center will soon be empty no more.
The Moda Center will soon be empty no more. Abbie parr / Getty images

Here's your daily roundup of all the latest local and national news. (Like our coverage? Please consider making a recurring contribution to the Mercury to keep it comin'!)

In local news:

• A string of fires lit in Portland's Piedmont neighborhood appear to be politically motivated acts of arson, leaving neighbors feeling nervous. Several of the targeted homes displayed lawn signs with progressive and anti-racist messages.

• The Oregon Senate passed a bill today that will require gun owners to use safe storage techniques, and ban guns from the Oregon Capitol. The bill now goes to Gov. Kate Brown to be signed into law. The law is intended to make it harder for kids to access their parents' firearms and use them, either accidentally or on purpose.

• Good news for all you Blazer fans: The Moda Center is allowing fans again starting this weekend! Attendance will be limited to 10 percent capacity to start, but a few lucky fans will get to see the Blazers play the Lakers this Friday. This makes the Blazers the last team in the NBA to allow fans at games following the pandemic. The only time I went to a Blazers game I had an anxiety attack, but I'm genuinely happy for all you Portland sports fans!

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DA Schmidt Hires Outside Attorney to Investigate Gresham Officer Shooting

DA Mike Schmidt at a 2020 press conference in Portland City Hall.
DA Mike Schmidt at a 2020 press conference in Portland City Hall. Nathan Howard / Getty Images

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt has hired a private practice attorney to review the death investigation of Israel Berry, a man killed by a Gresham police officer nearly a year ago.

Berry, 49, was killed by Gresham police officer James Doyle on May 31 in Southeast Portland. Almost a year after his death, the details surrounding the incident remain hazy. What we do know: Doyle and other Gresham officers were assisting Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers that Sunday evening due to PPB's preoccupation with racial justice protests occurring at the same time. Around 9:30 pm, Doyle and several Portland officers responded to a 911 call of a disturbance near SE Powell and 122 Ave.

At the scene, they discovered Berry driving up and down the street, honking his car horn. According to witnesses, police used their vehicles to block the street, preventing Berry's driving. Not long after, officers pointed their weapons at Berry in his car, and Doyle pulled the trigger. Berry was pronounced dead at the scene. It's still unknown if Berry had a weapon on him at the time, or what other information prompted Doyle to fire. Doyle has been on paid administrative leave since the shooting, and Multnomah County has yet to convene a grand jury to determine whether Doyle was within his legal rights to use force against Berry.

Schmidt has appointed local criminal defense attorney Samuel Kauffman to serve as a "co-lead prosecutor" in collaboration with Multnomah County prosecutors in reviewing Berry's death investigation and presenting the case to a grand jury within the next month.

In an interview with the Mercury, Schmidt said that he was briefed on the Doyle case shortly after entering the DA's office in August 2020.

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Savage Love: Switched On

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Joe Newton

You’ve said that everyone is entitled to a “zone of erotic autonomy.” I was wondering if you thought that "zone" extends to sending thousands of dollars to a "FinDom." I'm a 33-year-old straight woman and I love my husband and we have a great (or so I thought) sex life. He's very dominant and controlling in bed and I'm very submissive and I thought we were well-matched sexually. So it was a shock for more than one reason when I stumbled over evidence that he's been sending money to a female sex worker who calls herself a FinDom. This has been going on for nearly three years! It seems clear from their messages (I have read them all) that they've never met in person (she clearly states that she never meets in person with her subs) but she sends him degrading personalized videos after he sends her money roughly once every other month. The amounts are small but they add up. We are more than comfortable so the issue isn't the money. And while my husband has never complained about what I spend on a personal trainer or my hair or body treatments (admittedly a lot), this is obviously different because he's masturbating over these videos. I don't really want to degrade him and I obviously couldn't dominate him financially as our finances are shared. My husband says he doesn't want to be degraded by me but he was nevertheless willing to pay a complete stranger to heap insults on him?!? I don't understand. I thought we had a great sexual connection. I also thought I knew who he was erotically. I'm confused and don't know what to do.


Feeling Insecure Necessarily, Doubts About Marriage Now

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Where to Get Food & Drink Specials for Cinco de Mayo 2021 in Portland

For Portland Margarita Week, the self-proclaimed Michelin-starred dive bar Bit House Collective is featuring the Wasabi Rocket-ita (Patron Silver, Damiana Liqueur, arugula, wasabi, citrus, and nori).
For Portland Margarita Week, the self-proclaimed "Michelin-starred dive bar" Bit House Collective is featuring the "Wasabi Rocket-ita" (Patron Silver, Damiana Liqueur, arugula, wasabi, citrus, and nori). Bit House Collectve

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Technically, the holiday commemorates the Mexican Army's victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza. In the United States, it's also a day to celebrate Mexican American culture. Although indoor dining is still closed in Portland, many restaurants are still offering specials available for takeout, delivery, and outdoor dining. We've rounded up some of the most festive offerings in town, from taco and drink combos at Tropicale to special margaritas for a good cause from Portland Margarita Week. Read on for more delicious ways to fête the holiday. For more ideas, check out our food and drink guide.

Botanist
The quintet Son de Cuba will regale guests on the cocktail bar's outdoor patio with classic and modern Latin music. Reservations are recommended to ensure entry, though not required.
Northwest
Outdoor seating

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TONIGHT! Watch the Hilarious I, Anonymous Show (for FREEEE)!

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HEAR YE! HEAR YE! Do you miss live comedy? ("YES!") Do you want to support the Mercury AND laugh your buttz off in the process? ("YES! YES!") Then TONIGHT'S (Wednesday May 5) I, Anonymous Show (Livestream Edition) is for you! And because we adore ya, we've included a special "FREE" option if you're currently short on funds. YOU DESERVE NICE THINGS, TOO!

Here's how the I, Anonymous Show works: We get the funniest local and national comedians to riff and heckle the wildest, jaw-droppingly wrong, and uncensored I, Anonymous submissions from the famous Mercury column, and in return you get a jam-packed evening of laughs!

The previous I, Anonymous Shows have been wildly funny and entertaining (and included some fun audience participation!), so you truly do not want to miss this one! Joining your delightful host Kate Murphy (a Mercury "Undisputable Genius of Comedy") will be the following murderers' row of hilarious comedians:

NEERAJ SRINIVASAN (Minority Retort, Pacific Crest Comedy Fest, Out Of Bounds Comedy Festival, Gilda’s Laughfest, Treefort Music Festival, Mercury Genius of Comedy)

SAM TALLENT (Comedy Central's Roast Battle, Just for Laughs Montreal Comedy FestivaL, WTF with Marc Maron, VICELAND's Flophouse)

• And returning champion STEPH TOLEV (Just For Laughs Comedy Festival, Canadian Comedy Award for Best Female Stand Up, Comedy Central's Corporate)

Dang, folks! That is one helluva lineup right there! So if you need some guaranteed laughs (and for FREE), the I, Anonymous Show is the cure you've been looking for. GET YOUR TICKETS NOW for the livestream I, Anonymous Show—coming at ya TONIGHT WEDNESDAY, MAY 5, at 8 pm! IT'S A LAFF RIOT WE'RE TELLING YA!


String of Fires Lit With Political Yard Signs Leave Piedmont Neighbors Uneasy

The remains of Alletta Brenners Black Lives Matter sign after being used to ignite a fire outside her home.
The remains of Alletta Brenner's "Black Lives Matter" sign after being used to ignite a fire outside her home. Alletta Brenner

Alletta Brenner didn't know her home had been set on fire in the early morning hours of Friday, April 30, until she heard firefighters putting out the flames outside her bedroom window.

"I was absolutely confused by what was happening," said Brenner, who lives in Northeast Portland's Piedmont neighborhood with her partner and young children, in an interview with the Mercury. "And then I was stunned."

She learned what had occurred quickly: According to the firefighters, it appeared that someone had pulled her "Black Lives Matter" yard sign out of her lawn, leaned it up against a wooden gate connected to her home, and set it on fire. It just so happened that a fire truck was responding to another call in the neighborhood around that time, and when its driver saw her gate burning, they pulled over to extinguish the flame.

Later that morning, Brenner discovered she wasn't the only one on her block who'd been targeted. At least two of her neighbors shared on the app Nextdoor that they'd also had fires set on their property before sunrise. She saw clear similarities between the incidents. One of her neighbors' fires was lit by using another yard sign reading "We believe" followed by a list of several statements, including "Black Lives Matter." That fire was set right next to another yard sign reading "Black Lives Matter." The other house, which saw its garbage can set ablaze using aerosol cans, had a "PDX Love Over Hate" sign in its yard, although it wasn't used in the fire. At least one of the neighbors who experienced arson was Black. (They declined to speak with the Mercury for this story.) All fires were extinguished before seriously damaging any property.

To Brenner and her other neighbors, this seemed like a targeted attack on homes with progressive political and anti-racist signs.

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Takeout Club: Güero Has a Beautiful Outdoor Deck and a Generous Approach to Avocado

Carnitas Bowl from Güero
Carnitas Bowl from Güero Suzette Smith

Last Friday, the square dance of COIVD risk levels had diners do-si-do-ing outside and onto the city's patios and decks. This Friday Portlanders will once again be allowed back indoors, in limited numbers, as the county moves from "extreme risk" category down to "high risk" once again. It's a little hard to keep track of, and a real obstacle for businesses struggling to reopen. But if we're eating outside until Friday and beyond (!), at least we're having the weather for it!

I've biked past Güero's streetside deck, off NE 28th, at golden hour and appraised its glory—filled to capacity with jubilant pods of people chowing down on tortas and raising mezcal margaritas. Something about Güero's design and approach feels cool, like they meant to build a big patio NE Davis, no biggie. It's such a nice place you might forget we're under restrictions at all.

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