First up is this week's feature (pick up a print copy, too) by Megan Burbank. It's tremendous story about the Northwest Abortion Access Fund:

... Unless something drastically changes, this will be the reality for women in the Pacific Northwest and across the country: If they can’t afford an abortion, they will need to call someone they don’t know, at a phone number they don’t recognize, to ask for help—all this, for a medical procedure that typically lasts only five to 10 minutes, and is constitutionally protected, medically uncomplicated, and incredibly common. Women like Carly and Alisha will call and hope that someone will pick up the phone—someone like Jeanie Schauerman. Someone who will listen, make a decision about how much funding to pull from the weekly budget, and arrange to fax a payment voucher to the clinic—or promise to follow up if the week’s funding’s already run out.

Thacher Schmid reports for the Mercury on how homeless folks have to rely on dangerous methods to keep themselves warm. It's heartbreaking.

Affordable housing could be decimated under the Republican tax plan, Dirk VanderHart reports. Congressman Greg Walden isn't saying anything.

A rendering of the Block 45 project (center), a massive affordable housing development set to rise in the Lloyd District
A rendering of the Block 45 project (center), a massive affordable housing development set to rise in the Lloyd District City of Portland

Speaking of affordable housing: "Portland City Council today approved the largest affordable housing project the city's seen in five decades, a 12-story, 240-unit development in one of Portland's most desirable areas," we reported yesterday. "It was far more tense than you would expect."

Sad news: "Embers Avenue, the Old Town-China Town gay bar/drag show/dancing mecca, will close its doors after nearly 50 years in business this week."

Oregon State has a new football coach: Washington offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith. Smith, 38, played quarterback for the Beavers from 1998-2001. Welcome, Jon Smith.

The Modest Mouse singer is facing a large lawsuit. The Oregonian: "A 41-year-old Portland city employee struck by the SUV of local rock star Isaac Brock — who said he fell asleep at the wheel — filed an $865,000 lawsuit Wednesday against the Modest Mouse lead singer."

More turmoil at PPS. The O's Bethany Barnes: "The firing of Portland Public Schools' second-in-command will be followed by the departure of the district's director of financial services, with whom he has a romantic relationship."

A mural painted in 1940 at Abernethy Elementary School has been hidden since 1950. The Portland Tribune: "Efforts by Portland's Heritage Conservation Group and the Abernethy Elementary School PTA to fund the $71,274 restoration project for artist Erich Lamade's 1940 "Pageant of Oregon History" mural on four walls of Abernethy School's library got a boost in early November from a $20,000 Oregon Heritage Commission grant. It was the largest single contribution to the project, matching $20,000 in PTA funds, which include a $15,000 planning grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and $5,000 from the Autzen Foundation."

Matt Lauer: big creep.


Al Franken: big creep, too.