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Good Afternoon, News: Tinned Tuna is Trendy, FCC Considers Spam Text Restrictions, and the New Concert Normal

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!

A computer cursor hovers over the spam folder
Spam text reports increased by 146 percent in 2020. Devonyu / Getty Images

In local news:

• The latest food trend for resident hotties? Canned seafood. Not the fishy, suspiciously gray stuff from your childhood, but briny, tastefully-spiced seafood in well-designed tins. Check out how you can jump on the trend sustainably in this story from the Mercury’s 2021 Food & Drink Guide.

• Rapper Nas and the Oregon Symphony are teaming up this November for a classical interpretation of some of Nas’s greatest records. Read the preview from Ray Gills Jr!

• Duncan Hwang, community advocate and interim co-director of the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) launched a campaign Tuesday to fill Metro Council’s District 6 seat. The seat was vacated mid-term by former Metro councilor Bob Stacey, who officially resigned last week amid growing health issues. The current councilors have until mid-January to appoint a replacement.

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Mayor Wheeler's Office Considers Banning Homeless Camping Downtown

Scene from a downtown Portland sidewalk.
Scene from a downtown Portland sidewalk. Doug Brown

Mayor Ted Wheeler's office has been discussing a strategy to ban homeless camping from areas of downtown Portland—and to move those campers into a "high-population outdoor camping zone." The plan, which has been largely discussed in closed-door conversations with city staff, has drawn alarm from homeless advocates and politicians alike.

"I believe that the creation of these zones would quickly lead to extremely detrimental outcomes for people experiencing houselessness," wrote City Commissioner Dan Ryan to Wheeler in an October 7 email. "These are our most vulnerable community members, and requiring them to move out of certain parts of the city and into large encampments with little to no social services is a recipe for disaster."

Ryan is the commissioner assigned to oversee the Portland Housing Bureau and the Joint Office of Homeless Services (JOHS).

Neither Wheeler nor Ryan shared details of this strategy with the Mercury, but Ryan's email offers several hints. With the subject line reading, "My position on Villages beyond 60, Hard NO," it's clear that the message is in response to an earlier proposal to create a mass outdoor shelter (or village) for homeless Portlanders. City zoning codes currently disallow for any outdoor shelters to house more than 60 individual sleeping shelters. Ryan notes that a June City Council vote clarified that any large homeless encampments would be considered "high impact" by the city department that analyzes and removes homeless camps on public land based on their impact to the surrounding environment.

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APANO Director Duncan Hwang Seeks Vacant Metro Council Seat

A photo of Duncan Hwang smiling
Duncan Hwang Maddie Maschger

Duncan Hwang, a transportation and housing justice advocate and interim co-director of the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), announced his run for the recently-vacated Metro Council District 6 seat Tuesday.

Hwang is aiming to fill former Metro Councilor Bob Stacey’s seat, who resigned from his position mid-term amid growing health issues. Stacey’s resignation went into effect October 15 and the Metro councilors have until January 13, 2022 to vote to appoint a replacement councilor.

“I’m running for Metro Council because I intimately understand the ways our regional government can empower frontline communities to solve our overlapping problems,” Hwang said in a press release.

Hwang cites his experience working with community members and regional agencies to secure investments for the city’s Jade District through APANO as an example of his leadership ability. APANO was a key player in pressuring regional transportation agencies to fund safety improvements along 82nd Avenue following a series of pedestrian deaths. Hwang also coordinated the organization’s vaccination campaigns and rental assistance through the pandemic, and has served on several Metro equity, housing, and grant committees.

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Faced With Heat, Smoke, and Ice, Portland’s Urban Farmers Are Resilient to Climate Change

Side Yard Farm is in Northeast Portland’s Cully neighborhood.
Side Yard Farm is in Northeast Portland’s Cully neighborhood. SHAWN LINEHAN

When Stacey Givens awoke to find her house without electricity in February 2021, she pulled her boots on over her pajamas and ran to her barn, which shares the same power source as her home.

“I remember the floor [of the barn] was like an ice skating rink,” recalls Givens, who runs Side Yard Farm out of her Northeast Portland property. “Everything was frozen over.”

Givens was focused on one thing: The survival of the hundreds of tiny vegetable seedlings she had planted in potting soil just weeks before. The trays of seedlings had been placed on heating mats to counter the cold weather, but the power outage had turned the mats cold—and she didn’t have a generator to keep them running. Instead, she gathered heaps of white fabric usually used to prevent weeds from growing on garden beds, and gently tucked the sheets around the seedlings like a blanket.

“I stayed out there all night babysitting them,” Givens says. “And thankfully, they survived.”

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Watch SLAY, Our Horror Film Fest Online THIS WEEKEND (Or In-Person on Oct 29-30)!

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Get ready for a screaming good time... the terrifying fun of SLAY—our scary short film fest made by horror lovers like YOU—returns STARTING THIS WEEKEND (October 22) and through October 31, streaming online AND at the Clinton Street Theater!

Earlier this year, we asked filmmakers to send in their homemade short horror films (eight minutes or less) capturing whatever it is that scares them most—from classic ghost stories and slasher films to dystopian cults and political nightmares. AND BOY, DID YOU DELIVER! For the 2021 version of SLAY we have 18 frightening, freaky, and fun films that are guaranteed to scare the poop directly into your pants!

GET YOUR TICKETS HERE for the LIVE and in-person screenings at Clinton Street Theater on Friday, October 29 and Saturday, October 30, and if you'd rather stay home and watch it online, we have FIVE opportunities to do just that on October 22-31, and you can GET LIVESTREAM TICKETS HERE!

Want a sneaky peek at what you can expect from SLAY 2021? Then grab a spare pair of undies (just in case!) and read the descriptions and watch the new SLAY trailer below!


SLAY 2021 Trailer - PDX from Index Media on Vimeo.

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Dispatch from an Indoor Concert During a Pandemic

Yo La Tengos Ira Kaplan shredding the guitar as his wife, Georgia Hubley smashes the drums behind him.
Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan shredding the guitar as his wife, Georgia Hubley smashes the drums behind him. Alex Zielinski

There have been moments in the past year and a half of the COVID-19 pandemic where it’s felt like some societal customs would never return. Handshakes: Over. Salad bars: Done. Karaoke: Seems risky.

Every time I’d get an alert that a concert I was looking forward to had been delayed, cancelled, or indefinitely postponed, I would jump to the catastrophic conclusion that live music, as we knew it, was over. As it turns out, that’s not the case.

On Monday evening, I cautiously attended my first indoor concert in 669 days. The Yo La Tengo tickets had been purchased during that brief window of hope and possibility in the beginning of July, when Oregon’s mask requirement was lifted and for a moment, we considered the future. The idea of activities beyond COVID were dashed by the arrival of the delta variant, but we still kept the tickets, holding onto the future promise of a familiar social gathering.

The evening began on what felt like a sidewalk conveyor belt outside the Wonder Ballroom, a mixture of old and new routines. Bag check, security pat-down, ID check, vaccine card check, ticket scan, and a reminder to keep masks on throughout the evening. I smiled at the woman who checked my ID when she held up the card and glanced at the top half of my face. “Thank you for smiling,” she tells me.

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Rapper Nas and the Oregon Symphony Create Something New From Something Classic

Nas performing at the 2020 Grammys.
Nas performing at the 2020 Grammys. Kevork Djansezian / getty images

In the pantheon of musicians celebrating iconic anniversaries in their careers, it’s common to hear remastered releases and even cover albums. Yet when you’re not only paying homage to yourself but to an album that changed the music landscape, it seems only appropriate to take things to another level—which is exactly what we are getting from rapper Nas.

His 1994 album, Illmatic (recently selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Recording Registry), was gifted to us 25 years ago, and hip-hop music and its fans have never been the same. He has continued to curate a library of music that’s the envy of fellow artisst and justifiably garnered him a legion of loyal fans. Just as Bob Dylan, another American musical giant, eventually went electric, we now get Nas going classical.

A performance with Nas and the Oregon Symphony will be held at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall on November 10, led by Music Director David Danzmayr. They will be highlighting over a quarter-century’s worth of Nas’ greatest records, utilizing instrumentals from the full orchestra. We don’t know exactly which tracks Nas will be performing with the Oregon Symphony—but we do know there’s plenty of material to work with.

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Tinned Fish Is Trendy and Delicious—Here’s Where to Get It Sustainably in Portland

A plus to tinned fish is that the packaging is often adorable.
A plus to tinned fish is that the packaging is often adorable. Blair Stenvick

Canned seafood has been having a moment. It’s the current darling of food media and lifestyle Instagram, and was even dubbed “hot girl food” by Vice earlier this year. If you’ve yet to hop on the tinned fish train, you need to understand that we aren’t talking about the grocery store cans of tuna that stunk up your middle school lunch table—we’re talking smoked oysters, briny sardines, mackerel packed in olive oil with whole lemon slices and garlic cloves. Tinned fish is the flavors of a Mediterranean vacation in shelf-stable form; something you can slap on a piece of toast and convincingly call a gourmet meal.

When it comes to seafood, sustainability can vary wildly, and it’s sometimes difficult to decipher the different environmental buzzwords and labelling iconography. But I did some research and tried my best to find tinned seafood in Portland that isn’t overfished, unethically obtained, or otherwise problematic. The results were something to savor.

If you’re looking for no-stress sustainable seafood, it’s best to go for oysters, mussels, or clams—otherwise known as bivalves. They’re the easiest seafood to farm or fish sustainably, and there’s even an argument to be made that bivalves can technically be considered vegan food. I’m not wading into the rocky waters of that conversation, but I will say that there are some divine canned bivalve options out there for those who wish to partake

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Good Morning, News: Small Group of Portland Teachers Refuse Vaccination, Oregon Vineyards Grapple With Climate Change, and Iraqis Remember Colin Powell

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!

jameszandecki.jpg
James Zandecki / getty images

Good morning, Portland! And good morning to this too-hot-for-TikTok inanimate object:

Anyway, here are the headlines.

• Yesterday was the deadline for many public workers in Portland to be vaccinated against COVID-19. It turns out that 91 percent of City of Portland workers are fully vaccinated, and nearly 350 workers got "medical or religious exemptions." At Portland Public Schools, 96 percent of employees are vaccinated. The district will lose about nine in-classroom teachers who declined to get their shots.

• We all know the frustration cause by a fucked-up supply chain right now. In addition to screwing up the national economy, these supply chain issues are also leaving small Oregon businesses in the lurch—from olive oil purveyors to whiskey distillers.

• Wine grapes are one of Oregon's top ten most lucrative crops. So how is climate change—including wildfire smoke and the heat dome—impacting the state's wine industry? Read about how industry experts are surprisingly optimistic, and why pinot noir may be on its way out, in this fascinating Mercury Food & Drink Guide piece by writer Janey Wong.

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These Are the Top 32 Events Happening in Portland This Week: Oct 18-24, 2021

The Oregon Symphony will take you on a musical journey to Halloween Town during their live performance of The Nightmare Before Christmas.
The Oregon Symphony will take you on a musical journey to Halloween Town during their live performance of The Nightmare Before Christmas.
This week brings a wide-ranging host of popular bands through town, from Death Cab For Cutie to Bleachers and Jungle to Rebirth Brass Band. Plus, get in the Halloween spirit at the Neon Rose Fest 2021 or The Nightmare Before Christmas with the Oregon Symphony. For more ideas, check out our guide to Halloween events or our complete food and drink guide

MONDAY


PERFORMANCE

Alyssa Edwards: Memoirs of a Traveling Queen
This autobiographical show will shine a spotlight on tongue poppin’ drag legend Alyssa Edwards as you’ve never seen her. Expect costume changes, wigs aplenty, and stunning choreography while the dancing queen divulges stories from her childhood, her appearances on Drag Race, and more.
Aladdin Theater, Brooklyn

Read on EverOut »

Good Afternoon, News: Eating Sustainably, Oregon's Extremist Cops, and Trump's Attempts to Hide the Truth About Jan 6

Trump sues to block January 6 documents from getting into the hands of congressional investigators—you know... like innocent people do.
Trump sues to block January 6 documents from getting into the hands of congressional investigators—you know... like innocent people do. Brent Stirton / Getty Images News

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:

• If climate change is getting you spooked because you feel like no one is doing anything about it, then by all means check out the "Mercury's Food & Drink Guide: Eating Sustainably" which has a poop-ton of super-smart, interesting stories about local restaurateurs, farmers, brewers, and more who are making the world a much better (and tastier) place!

• According to a new forecast from OHSU, they have some promising news for the COVID-weary: Our drop in virus-related hospitalizations will continue, and that by around December 26, Oregon could reach the fabled "herd immunity," in which 85 percent of the state's population are either vaccinated or become immune after catching and recovering from it. (Be the former, not the latter.)

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Naked Oscar Isaac Is But One of the Many Pleasant Visuals in Dune

A family outing.
A family outing. Dune
I did not go to see Dune for the laughs, which is why I was startled to find that the movie ends with one of the funniest cinematic jokes I’ve ever seen.

After two and a half hours of slow, sweeping shots and poetic dialogue about power and prophecy, it becomes apparent that the entire experience has been foundation-pouring for a sequel. (Or two sequels, if director Denis Villeneuve has his way.) The last thirty minutes are a real slog as the audience waits for the inevitable “to be continued” to appear on screen.

Sure enough, as the music swells, a character played by Zendaya — who has served as a mostly silent figure signaling mystical visions and pronouncements, turns to the camera and says, “this is only the beginning.”

I bark-laughed. No shit, Zendaya. It was a moment nearly as hilariously wall-breaking as the final shot of the doomed '80s sitcom I Married Dora, when the entire cast interrupts the story to announce, “We’ve been canceled. Adios!” Fade to black.

But I wasn’t mad. All right, Dune, you got me. I’m hooked. Can’t wait for part 2.

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As Oregon's Wine Industry Adapts to Changing Climate, Imbibers May Need to Adapt Too

As wine grape harvest season grows warmer in Oregon, its imperative that vineyard workers stay hydrated.
As wine grape harvest season grows warmer in Oregon, it's imperative that vineyard workers stay hydrated. COURTESY OF ELK COVE VINEYARDS

Whether atmospheric or human-caused, Oregon has become adept at mixing the perfect cocktail for a growing wildfire problem. So what’s in store for wine grapes, one of the state’s ten most lucrative crops?

I lean towards pessimism (although I like to call it realism), so after choking on smoke for a couple of summers and seeing grim climate report after grim climate report, my inclination was to say WE’RE ALL DOOMED. Two industry experts, however, have a surprisingly positive outlook when it comes to the future of Oregon wine.

Greg Jones examines the intersection of viticulture and climatology, and is one of the country’s leading minds in the field. Jones was formerly the director of the Evenstad Center for Wine Education at Linfield University, and was instrumental in its launch. He was appointed CEO of his family’s winery Abacela in August 2021.

Jones points out that folks in other parts of the world have dealt with wildfires causing impact on wine grapes and other agricultural crops, so there are examples we can learn from. “The Aussies have done a lot of the baseline research to try to better understand, if you have smoke from a fire, what are all the characteristics that potentially challenge growing grapes and making wine,” says Jones in a phone interview with the Mercury.

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It’s the Portland Mercury’s 2021 Food & Drink Guide: Eating Sustainably!

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anthony keo

You won’t find any red meat in the Mercury’s new Food & Drink Guide, which hinges on the theme of “eating sustainably.”

But you will find a lot of meaty stories about the restaurateurs, farmers, food service workers, and organizations fighting to make Portland’s food world more sustainable—and more delicious.

The last two years have seen ice, heat, and smoke in Oregon. We spoke with local urban farmers, restaurant owners and workers, and wine industry experts about what the rapidly changing climate means for them, and for all of us. Because Portland is a veritable Garden of Eden when it comes to plant-based eating, we profiled the chefs of color who are decolonizing the local vegan dining scene, and spotlight some of the tastiest vegan bites you can find in the city. We also touched on how to make sure your trendy seafood dishes are sustainable, the hard cider that’s eliminating food waste, and the meals local chefs count on to sustain themselves through hectic schedules.

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Good Morning, News: Employee Vaccine Mandate Kicks In, Arbery Murder Trial Begins, Herd Immunity on the Horizon

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!

Wanda Cooper-Jones, mother of Ahmaud Arbery, at a vigil for her son in February 2021.
Wanda Cooper-Jones, mother of Ahmaud Arbery, at a vigil for her son in February 2021. Sean Rayford / Getty Images)

Good morning, Portland! I hope you had a lovely fall weekend. Make time for a mid-day walk today and tomorrow, since the tail end of the week is going to be soggy. Now, for the news:

- Researchers at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) predict that by December 26, Oregon will reach herd immunity from the delta variant of COVID-19. Working slogan for this news: “COVID: Box it up by Boxing Day!”

- A plan to add tolling to Portland-area freeways is starting to take shape through the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) tolling program. The Mercury’s Isabella Garcia unpacks which questions still need answering before the new system falls into place.

- City Commissioner Mingus Mapps wants to use excess city funds to double the size of the Portland Police Bureau’s behavioral health unit. Here's how he described the plan to OPB: “It sounds like expanding the police department. But what we’re really doing is expanding the resources that the police department taps into to help people who are going through a mental health crisis. So it’s part of an effort to rebuild that new social safety net.”

- The police bureau, meanwhile, is using Twitter to whine about its budget:

- Today is the last day of work for more than 200 people employed by Multnomah County and the City of Portland, due to their decision not to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Put in a more positive way: 92 percent of the county’s employees and 92 of the city’s employees have received the vaccine.

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