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City Council Votes Against Fully Funding Portland Street Response in 2021-22 Budget

Kathleen Marie / Portland Mercury

Portland City Council voted against including funds in the 2021-22 city budget that would have allowed the city's Portland Street Response pilot program to expand citywide within the year.

Commissioners made the decision during a Thursday council meeting on Mayor Ted Wheeler's $5.7 billion proposed city budget, which Wheeler initially released on April 29. The Thursday meeting focused on amendments city commissioners want to see added to Wheeler's proposed budget. One of those amendments, proposed by City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, focused on putting $3.6 million towards Portland Street Response, a program housed within Portland Fire and Rescue that provides non-police emergency response to 911 calls related to mental health crises or regarding unhoused people. The program is currently operating as a pilot confined to a one-van team of four people, made up of mental health clinicians and emergency medical technicians, in Southeast Portland's Lents Neighborhood. The year-long pilot, which was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic's hiring delays, began in mid-February.

During the city's last budget cycle, City Council voted to move $4.8 million from the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) into a reserve fund for Portland Street Response. Wheeler's proposed budget suggests allocating just under $1 million of that fund to Portland Street Response, to allow the program to complete the year-long pilot in Lents. Hardesty's $3.6 million boost would have used those reserve funds to allow the pilot to expand to a citywide program with six teams starting in March 2022, a month after the pilot concludes. City Commissioner Carmen Rubio voted in support of the plan.

Wheeler and city commissioners Mingus Mapps and Dan Ryan voted against Hardesty's amendment out of concern that the pilot needs to be evaluated by City Council before ramping up to cover the entire city.

"We are completely committed to expanding this program as soon as possible, but I can tell you there are pieces of this program that we have not figured out yet," said Mapps, whose office oversees the Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC), which manages the city's 911 call center. "It is possible for government programs to fail... and if it does, I think we will have lost one of the most exciting policy opportunities of a generation."

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The Best Things To Do from Home in Portland This Week: May 13-19, 2021

Hollywood Theatre will show Melvin Van Peebless 1968 film The Story of a Three-Day Pass in their virtual screening room starting Friday.
Hollywood Theatre will show Melvin Van Peebles's 1968 film The Story of a Three-Day Pass in their virtual screening room starting Friday. Everett Collection

Portland will soon graduate to the Oregon Health Authority's "Lower Risk" tier on its path to reopening, but in the meantime, we've got another roundup of online events to keep you entertained at home. Read on for the crème de la crème of options this week, from a reading with Yaa Gyasi to Hollywood Theatre screenings of the '60s classic The Story of A Three-Day Pass. Plus, look ahead to the best things to do in Portland all month long.


Learn how Portland's Freshwater Trust is working to improve the quality of rivers and aquifers in the Northwest and beyond at this virtual fundraiser, which centers a panel discussion with Freshwater Trust President Joe Whitworth, Salt & Straw co-founder Kim Malek, and entrepreneur Kevin Surace.

Read on EverOut »


30% off storewide* Thu May 13 + Fri May 14th at our new Holgate Lettuce

FRIDAY BONUS: 100% of gross profits go to Outside In. Vendor pop-ups from LOWD, LTRMN, Happy Cabbage, Funk, and more 4-8pm.

*accessories excluded, discounts non-stackable.

Fully Vaccinated Oregonians Can Stop Wearing Masks in Most Public Spaces, Governor Brown Announces

Six different types of masks laying on a flat surface.
Fully vaccinated people can stop wearing masks in most public spaces. Kilito Chan

Governor Kate Brown announced Thursday that, starting immediately, fully vaccinated Oregonians can stop wearing masks in most public spaces, both inside and outside, in accordance with new US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

The exceptions include public transportation, hospitals, correctional facilities, public schools, and long-term care facilities. Shortly after the CDC’s announcement earlier today, TriMet shared on social media that it will require riders to wear masks until September 13 at the earliest, in alignment with US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) guidelines.

In a press statement, Brown said that the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) “will be providing updated guidance for businesses, employers, and others” in the coming days to allow for the option of lifting mask and distancing requirements after verifying customers’ vaccination status.

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Good Afternoon, News: KOIN's Terrible "Portland is Over" Story, Republicans are B-Holes, and CDC Says Vaxxed Can Go Maskless

CDC says, If youre fully vaxxed, you can take off your mask.
CDC says, "If you're fully vaxxed, you can take off your mask." But will Gov. Brown lift the mask mandate? Marina123 / 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'!)


• The CDC announced today that those who have been double-vaxxed can go maskless inside and out (with caveats, of course). More on that in our National News section... BUT WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR OREGON, who is still under mask mandates? Gov. Brown is expected to issue a decision about that later this afternoon, so stand by.


• KOIN News recently wrote another super tiresome and wrong-headed "Portland is Dying" story that is somehow worse than the ones that've come before. Our Wm. Steven Humphrey (hey, that's me!) takes it apart in his usual surgical, smart-assy style.

• Following on the heels of the FDA and CDC's recommendation, both Oregon and Washington state have approved the safety of the Pfizer vaccine for kids 12- to 15-years-of age.

• Spicy City Hall Goss: Suk Rhee, the director of the Office of Community & Civic Life, abruptly announced today she was stepping down from the beleaguered bureau which has had multiple complaints from employees about its "culture of fear." Rhee leaves on the heels of an announcement from the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office that the bureau must release an outside consultant's report that looked into the bureau’s very dicey workplace culture.

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Portland Slam Poet Jordan Wolmut on Trauma, Performance, and Her Poem Trigger Warning

Jordan Wolmut performing <i>Trigger Warning</i>.
Jordan Wolmut performing Trigger Warning. Virtualandia! recording screen grab, via Literary Arts.

In Trigger Warning, her award-winning poem, Portland poet Jordan Wolmut dissects the concept of a slam poetry competition while taking part in one.

In the poem, Benson High School senior Wolmut recounts the traumas she’s experienced in her life—childhood abuse, and the death of her mother at 14—while weaving in observations about how slam poetry sometimes requires poets to retraumatize themselves on the stage. In Trigger Warning, she calls this “Reliving every pain possible to get all 10s” from the judges.

“Don’t you see me breaking?” the poem continues. “Don’t you see me shaking? The judges love that shit.”

Earlier this month, Trigger Warning earned Wolmut the top prize in the #Virtualandia! Youth Poetry Slam, a virtual version of Literary Arts’ annual Verselandia! competition for Portland high schoolers. It was Wolmut’s second time winning the competition; she first won in 2019. Wolmut has also competed as part of the Oregon team in Brave New Voices, an annual international youth slam poetry festival.

In fact, it was the Brave New Voices final competition in 2019 that inspired Wolmut to pen Trigger Warning. Wolmut tells the Mercury in a recent interview that while Brave New Voices typically includes trigger warnings for sensitive subjects before poems begin, some trigger warnings were accidentally omitted in 2019, prompting anger and hurt from some attendees. For Wolmut, the incident brought up ambivalent feelings about trigger warnings, and about how trauma functions in slam poetry in general.

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Takeout Club: Tope's Rooftop Tacos and Spicy Margaritas Are Back!

Pescado Frito Tacos at Tope
Pescado Frito Tacos at Tope Suzette Smith

Taco bar on a downtown rooftop sort of reviews itself. Yes, of course you want that. But then you find out there's vodka in the fish fry batter and the Spicy Margaritas come with a ring of salt and dehydrated chili peppers. Hold up. There's chocolate in there!? Lets get into why I think the Hoxton hotel roof restaurant Tope should probably start taking reservations.

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New Savage Lovecast: Wait. Bill and Melinda??


My, what a fetish-y show we have for you this week!

Genital stretching? Check. Chastity belts? Sure. Piss play? Why not? Gainer/Feeder? Let's go!

In a more wholesome turn, Dan welcomes Dr. Debby Herbenick back to the show. The sex educator answers a question about the nature of multiple orgasms for women and the unwelcome phenomenon of sex headaches.

And finally, Dan gets into some complex thermodynamics as he explains how to keep your dildo nice and cold. But not too cold.

Listen here:

The 7 Most Terrible Lines from KOIN's "Is Portland Over?" Article

Screenshot from KOIN News

Citizens of Portland: I regret to inform you that the internet has given birth to yet another tiring, thoughtless “Portland is dying” think piece—this one courtesy of KOIN news.

I can’t imagine that viewers were clamoring for such a story, since it’s been done (so terribly) before, but KOIN’s recent article “From Wonderful to War Zone: Portland’s Reputation Transformation”—posing the unasked-for question, “Is Portland Over?”—takes the trope to new and dizzying heights.

While each paragraph of “From Wonderful to War Zone” contains at least one problematic phrase—that title for starters!—I’m a busy guy, and I’ve got more important things to do than constantly swatting down wildly inaccurate opinion pieces from every uninformed ding-dong that comes down the pike. But to give you a quick idea of the pro-business slant this article takes, the story contains quotes from 14 people, 7 of whom are business owners (!!), four out-of-towners, two misinformed people, and one local mayor—whether he knows what he's talking about is for you to decide. Interestingly not a single local homeless or social justice advocate was interviewed, even though the story hinges on homeless and social justice issues.

As you can guess, there's A LOT of ridiculousness here—which is why I’m limiting this rebuttal to only 7 of the most egregiously stupid statements in KOIN's article (of which there are oh-so-many). Buckle up! It’s gonna be fun.

1) “Everywhere you look, the City of Roses has become the city of trash and filth.”

This is THE VERY FIRST SENTENCE. Now if this story was clearly labeled as an "opinion piece” from yet another know-nothing, white business dude shaking his fist at the clouds while cursing the rising cost of potatoes… who would care? We'd all roll our eyes and move on with our lives. But nope! KOIN's article is presented as actual “news,” which means they presumably believe that this wild first statement is solidly based in fact.

So let’s break it down, shall we?

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Good Morning, News: Oregon Okays Vaccines for 12-15 Year Olds, McDonald's Forced to Raise Wages, and a New Oregon Trail

Absolutely cursed image.
Absolutely cursed image. Eugene Gologursky / Getty images

Good morning, Portland! The weather's great—here are some patios where you can enjoy the sunshine this weekend.

Here are the headlines.

• The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup—which includes both Oregon and Washington—officially approved the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for 12-15 year-olds yesterday, shortly after the CDC recommended the shots for that age group. That means that if you're a parent of a 12-15 year-old, you can get your kid vaccinated against COVID now.

• Meanwhile, Oregon hit another big vaccine milestone yesterday: Over two million state residents 16 and older have received at least one COVID vaccine dose. Daily case counts have been declining after the fourth wave surge hit its peak last month.

• In Israel and Palestine, reprehensible violence continues:

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20 Patios in Portland to Visit This Spring

Admire the view from Revolution Halls spacious rooftop deck.
Admire the view from Revolution Hall's spacious rooftop deck. Revolution Hall

As the weather warms up and restaurants continue to offer socially distanced outdoor seating, there's never been a better time to dine al fresco. We've rounded up 20 patios in Portland where you can soak up the sun, from the party vibes at Tropicale to rooftop margaritas and tacos at Tope. For more ideas, check out our food and drink guide.


The celebrated craft cocktail bar's capacious rooftop deck has plenty of room to spread out while sipping excellent gimlets and Negronis.
Pickup, delivery, or outdoor seating

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Good Afternoon, News: Relief for Oregon Renters, CDC Recommends 12-15 Year Olds Get Vaxed, and the Used Car Price Surge

Cavan Images / 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:

• The Oregon Legislature has advanced a bill that would lessen the expected impact of the looming June 30 termination of the statewide COVID-19 eviction moratorium. Once this bill is signed into law, renters who missed payments because of the pandemic will have until February 28, 2022 to pay that rent back to their landlords before risking eviction. But renter advocates say the bill is "just scratching the surface" of the help tenants will need coming out of the pandemic.

• In case you missed it yesterday: Once 70 percent of Oregonians 16 and older have received at least one COVID vaccine dose, Gov. Kate Brown plans to ease most the statewide pandemic restrictions. And Multnomah County is on track to move into "low risk" mode by as early as May 21. There are now plenty of walk-in vaccine clinics open in the Portland area, so if this news doesn't motivate you to get your shot, I don't know what will!

• More than a hundred businesses on SE Hawthorne are asking the Portland Bureau of Transportation to include protected bike lanes in revamp plans for the street, per BikePortland.

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Oregon Legislature Extends Missed Rent Repayment Period to February


The Oregon Legislature has advanced a bill that would lessen the expected impact of the looming June 30 termination of the statewide COVID-19 eviction moratorium.

Currently, Oregonians who've been unable to pay rent due to the pandemic's financial toll are required to pay back any missed rent payments on July 1, the day after the moratorium lifts. Senate Bill 282, introduced by Portland Senator Kayse Jama, expands the grace period to repay skipped rent until February 28, 2022.

Eugene Representative Julie Fahey introduced the bill on the House floor Tuesday, where she described the legislation as a "compromise bill," acknowledging that it had the support of both landlord and tenant groups. While she underscored the fact that the bill does not extend the current eviction moratorium, Fahey said that this delay would allow more time for expected federal aid to reach Oregon renters.

"By passing this bill, we can ensure that Oregon tenants and landlords can get the full benefit of rental assistance coming to our state and help prevent the fallout from the pandemic following the most vulnerable Oregonians for years to come," Fahey said.

Oregon is in line to receive $222.5 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act for emergency rental assistance, but it's not yet clear when the state and other jurisdictions will see the funds.

The bill includes a few other protections for Oregon tenants impacted by the pandemic. Specifically, SB 282 bars landlords from rejecting rental applications due to a prospective tenant not paying rent or being evicted during the COVID pandemic. It also prevents a tenant's credit score from being impacted by non-payment of rent during the pandemic and prevents landlords from evicting tenants for allowing guests to stay in their home due to COVID or wildfire-related hardships.

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Savage Love: Dramatis Personae

Joe Newton

I'm someone who does gay porn for a living. How do people who do gay porn meet someone who doesn’t just sexualize or fetishize them? I can’t eat, sleep, and breathe my work constantly but the guys I meet want me to live out the “porn persona” version of myself all the time. How does someone who does porn know who you can be yourself with?

Aiden Ward


"Living with two identities is definitely a balancing act," said Devin Franco, an award-winning gay porn performer. "Being in porn means juggling the 'real world' person I actually am—a person who has to navigate rent, healthcare, bills, and a social life—and a porn star alter ego. And these days our porn alter egos don't just have to perform. We also have to do a lot of our own shooting and our own PR while maintaining our images. It's a lot. And reality always comes knocking no matter how much fun you're having. The bills always come due."

Franco's first bit of advice is to remember that you are not your alter ego.

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Good Morning, News: Good COVID News for Oregon, Gas Panic-Buying, and GOP Ousts Cheney for Refusing to Kiss Trump's Rump

We need your help. The economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis is threatening our ability to keep producing the quality reporting you've come to love. If you’re able, please consider making a monthly contribution to the Mercury.

House Republicans cancel Liz Cheney for refusing to lie about Trump.
House Republicans cancel Liz Cheney for refusing to lie about Trump. Chip Somodevilla / Staff / Getty

GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND! Senses telling me you're looking, I can feel it on my skin. Boy, I wonder what would happen if I trip and let you in. LET'S GO TO PRESS.


• Yesterday Gov. Kate Brown announced some heartening news: As soon as 70 percent of Oregonians 16 and over receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the statewide safety restrictions will be lifted. What's more, starting May 21 counties will be moved into the "Lower Risk" tier—meaning that most food and entertainment establishments can operate at 50 percent capacity—after 65 percent of the county's residents have received at least one dose. Our Isabella Garcia has the details.

• Many people of color cannot afford to either rent or buy homes in just about any neighborhood in Portland, according to a new housing report, since the price of having a place to live has outpaced actual income growth.

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Good Afternoon, News: Restrictions Will Lift When Oregon is 70% Vaxxed, NRA Thwarted, and Trump's Failed Blog

NRAs attempt to declare bankruptcy shot down by judge. (Get it?)
NRA's attempt to declare bankruptcy shot down by judge. (Get it?) Scott Olson / 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'!)


• Statewide COVID-19 safety restrictions will be lifted once 70 percent of Oregonians have received their first dose of the vaccine, which will probably be in mid- to late-June. Plus, Multnomah County is projected to move to "Lower Risk" level as soon as May 21.

Employers offering minimum wage jobs in Oregon are struggling to find workers willing to fill them. Maybe it has something to do with minimum wage not being a livable wage... but what do I know?

• OMG, have you heard the news? Everywhere you look, the City of Roses has become "the city of trash and filth," according to KOIN News’ most recent story on Portland’s reputation. Well, maybe this means trying to buy a house in Portland will become less like The Hunger Games.

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