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Good Morning, News: Portland Fails to Hold Police Accountable, Gov Brown Sued Over Commutation, and the Voting Rights Bill is Officially Dead

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!

Congressional representative Terri Sewell, a Black woman, wearing a face mask that says VOTE in white writing.
RIP to filibuster reform and comprehensive voting rights. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

GUESS WHAT, PORTLAND? Sunset is at 5 pm today, which also means that sunsets will continue to be after 5 pm for several months. What a beautiful time to be alive!

In local news:

• Portland police used force (shooting tear gas, baton strikes, shoving, etc) an estimated 6,000 times while responding to the racial justice protests in 2020. Despite the injuries caused by the force and over 100 public complaints, none of those forceful incidents broke city policy according to Portland’s Independent Police Review (IPR). Seems statistically unlikely, right? According to the IPR director, the Portland police’s directives make it impossible for the city to hold individual officers accountable for using riot control weapons against the public.

• The Portland Expo Center COVID-19 testing site is closed until January 24 as the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) passes the reins to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). According to OHA, the trade off of temporarily closing a popular testing site amidst an unprecedented surge in COVID cases is worth being able to reopen the Expo site with higher capacity under OHA’s control. Additionally, OHSU opened a new appointment-only testing site at its Marquam Hill campus Wednesday.

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Good Afternoon, News: Charges Against Bean Dropped, Wheeler Nominated for "Clown of the Year," and Voting Rights Bills Expected to Fail

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!

And now may I introduce my fellow DESTROYER OF DEMOCRACY, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.
"And now may I introduce my fellow DESTROYER OF DEMOCRACY, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema." Alex Wong / Getty News

Good afternoon, Portland! The rain is expected to resume this evening, so get comfortable (or not) with the day's headlines.

IN LOCAL NEWS:

• The Lane County District Attorney has dropped sexual abuse charges against Portland real estate investor and major Democratic Party fundraiser and activist Terry Bean, who was accused of abusing a 15-year-old boy.

• The Center for Covid Control is under investigation in multiple states, including Oregon, for deceptive and fraudulent practices relating to their COVID-19 testing services. Here's a look at the scope of the company's operations in Portland.

• An important development at city council:

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NewsCops

Most Officers Who Used Force During 2020 Protests Have Been Cleared By the City of Misconduct. Here’s Why.

Portland police officers approach protesters on May 30, 2020.
Portland police officers approach protesters on May 30, 2020. MATHIEU LEWIS-ROLLAND

The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) estimated that, in 2020, its officers used force more than 6,000 times against members of the public participating in racial justice protests. This force came in the form of tear gas canisters shot into crowds of people, baton strikes, stun grenades filled with rubber bullets shot from an officer's gun, and forceful shoves. These actions resulted in countless injuries amongst members of the public, several lawsuits, one officer arrest, and more than one hundred public complaints filed against the bureau.

Yet, according to the Independent Police Review (IPR), the city department that investigates officer misconduct complaints, none of those forceful incidents violated city policy. In a recent deposition interview with lawyers involved in one protest-related lawsuit against the city, IPR Director Ross Caldwell explained how PPB's directives make it impossible for the city to hold individual officers accountable for using riot control weapons against the public.

"...The directives make it really challenging for us to find something out of policy for the use of tear gas on unintended people," Caldwell said in the deposition by Ashlee Albies, one of several attorneys representing plaintiffs in the Don't Shoot Portland v City of Portland case.

The lawsuit accuses the city of indiscriminately using tear gas and munitions against members of the public during Portland's 2020 protests. On Wednesday, plaintiffs' attorneys filed a motion asking that a federal judge grant them permission to treat the lawsuit as a class action case. The 83-page document relied on interviews with Caldwell and others to explain how there are a sufficient number of people with common legal claims against the city to qualify for class action certification. Attorneys used the faults of the IPR process to illustrate how the city has a pattern of failing to hold officers accountable for misconduct.

Caldwell points to PPB's crowd control directive as reason his office can't hold individual officers accountable for their forceful actions during protests.

According to that directive, riot control agents can only be used by officers if they get authorization to do so by their manager, or "incident commander." This distinction effectively removes all responsibility from the officer who fired a munition. Even if city policy allowed IPR to hold an individual officer responsible for shooting a tear gas canister into a crowd, Caldwell said that it would be difficult to identify which particular officer fired the canister—let alone expect the person who made the complaint to know the officer's name.

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Film Review: Drive My Car Deserves All the Praise

Dont walk... run (or drive) to see Drive My Car.
Don't walk... run (or drive) to see Drive My Car. Drive My Car © DR

It has been awarded the top prize by Los Angeles, New York, and the National Society of Film Critics. It was named one of the best films of 2021 by the Seattle Film Critics Society and is Japan's entry to the Academy Awards.

This is all because the sublime and understated Drive My Car, directed with a masterful hand by Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, is something truly special. It's an abundantly patient and deceptively quiet work, the type of film that comes along only ever so often. The praise can't prepare you for the experience of watching it gently unravel in front of you.

Loosely based on a short story of the same name by Haruki Murakami from the 2014 collection Men Without Women, the film remains something all its own. It places us in the meditative mind of the middle-aged Tokyo stage actor and widower Kafuku. Played with grace and kindness by Hidetoshi Nishijima, he is grappling with the unexpected loss of his wife, Oto, and trying to find a way forward in his life. Early scenes show the two shared a deep bond that felt as natural as it did all-encompassing. However, a painful deception, as well as the loss of a child, complicated their decades-long marriage.

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Savage Love: Fast and Furious

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Joe Newton

I’m a straight guy but my whole life I have wanted to be spanked by older men. Does this make any sense? Because I’m confused. I don't like or want penis. Yet I want to be spanked as a punishment by men. I don't understand myself sometimes.

Sincerely Pondering And Not Knowing

The truly important question here isn’t why you want this, SPANK, but how much more time you’re gonna waste sitting on your ass wondering why you want this when you could be out there getting that ass spanked? And even if you came up with a neat and tidy answer, you’re still gonna want older men to spank you. Because getting to the bottom of a kink—identifying some childhood trauma that explains everything—isn’t a cure. Instead of seeing the spankings you want as a riddle you need to solve you should see them as a reward for all the wondering you’ve had to do. If you need a label, SPANK, just say you’re bisexual for spankings. Not bi for blowjobs, not bi for anal, not bi for JO or mutual masturbation. Just bi for spankings.


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Good Morning, News: More Trouble for Toese, Grant High Walkout, and Evidence of Trump Fraud Emerges

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!

Tusitala Tiny Toese, one of the Proud Boys responsible for the August 22 riot in the Parkrose neighborhood, has been arrested.
Tusitala "Tiny" Toese, one of the Proud Boys responsible for the August 22 riot in the Parkrose neighborhood, has been arrested. Sean Bascom

GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND! Bus stop... bus stop. Are you ready? To do the bus stop. LET'S GO TO PRESS.

IN LOCAL NEWS:

• Proud Boy member Tusitala "Tiny" Toese—who has caused trouble on several occasions in Portland—has been arrested on a warrant for his violent actions during this past summer's protest in the Parkrose neighborhood (that one where police refused to interfere). He's currently facing eleven criminal charges. Get all the details from our Alex Zielinski!

• The number of positive daily COVID cases appear to be holding steady with an average of 7,900 new infections reported per day over the last week... but it's still too early to call it a "plateau."

• Students at Portland's Grant High School have walked out over complaints that the institution isn't doing enough to protect them from COVID-19, and are demanding more N-95 masks and contact tracing.

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The Top 32 Events in Portland This Week: Jan 18-23, 2022

Portland Center Stage will thrill audiences once again with a remount of their popular production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
Portland Center Stage will thrill audiences once again with a remount of their popular production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
There’s no shortage of things to do on this short work week, from the opening weekend of Hedwig and the Angry Inch to a chat between Nom Nom Paleo author Michelle Tam and local celebrity chef Gregory Gourdet and national tour stops from the Harlem Globetrotters and the Sundance Film Festival's shorts program. Read on for other highlights happening this week. 

TUESDAY


COMEDY


Bert Kreischer: The Berty Boy Relapse Tour
It may be cold outside, but award-winning comedian and podcaster Bert Kreischer will likely be performing shirtless (as he is wont to do) for his latest tour. Watch with mirth as the notorious party animal, also known as "The Machine," relays exceedingly funny anecdotes about his family, fatherhood, and more.
(Keller Auditorium, Downtown)

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Good Afternoon, News: Unions File Complaint Against City, Proud Boy Toese Arrested, and COVID Numbers Fall in Northeast

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!

Proud Boy Tusitala “Tiny” Toese has been arrested for his violent actions during a protest in the Parkrose neighborhood.
Proud Boy Tusitala “Tiny” Toese has been arrested for his violent actions during a protest in the Parkrose neighborhood. Nathan Howard / Getty News

Good afternoon, Portland! The U.S. Department of Justice and local unions are upset with our city government, but the good news is that our state government is making headlines for the wrong reasons too! Here's the news.

IN LOCAL NEWS:

Tusitala "Tiny" Toese, a member of the far-right Proud Boys, has been arrested and is facing eleven criminal counts for his actions at an August protest in Parkrose. It's been a tough week for major alt-right figures, with Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman also being placed under arrest in Idaho. Too bad, so sad! Alex Zielinski has more on Toese.

• A coalition of local unions are accusing city officials of illegally interfering with their efforts to organize a city worker strike that could begin as soon as Thursday. They've also filed an unfair labor practice complaint. Alex Zielinski has more.

• A new report in The Guardian claims that officials managing Oregon's public pension fund privately gave their approval in 2019 for an investment group to acquire NSO Software—an Israel-based spyware company accused of enabling widespread human rights violations that was also blacklisted by the Biden administration. An Oregon treasury spokesperson has declined to comment on the report.

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Union Accuses City Managers of Interfering with Strike Vote

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COSMONAUT / GETTY IMAGES

A union representing some 1,200 city of Portland employees has accused city mangers of interfering with the current union-wide vote, which will determine whether or not the city employees go on strike.

The District Council of Trade Unions (DCTU) is a conglomeration of several unions representing city staff, including AFSCME Local 189, IBEW Local 48, Plumbers Local 290, Painters and Allied Trades District Council 5, Machinists District Lodge 24, Auto Mechanics District Lodge 24, and Operating Engineers Local 701. In December, DCTU declared an impasse in contract negotiations after the city refused to budge on the union's requests for equitable cost of living wage increases. In hopes of moving the negotiations forward, DCTU threatened a strike earlier this month. Union members began voting on whether or not to hold a strike last week, and the results of that vote are expected to be announced after Wednesday.

DCTU's members work in nearly all city departments, and their absence would cause disruption in critical city functions. The city has continued to meet with the DCTU's bargaining team during the vote in hopes of coming to an agreement before the strike is approved—but no progress has been announced yet. Instead, DCTU has accused city managers of illegally interfering with the vote.

In a press release sent Tuesday morning, DCTU President Rob Martineau said that city managers were misleading their workers by telling employees represented by DCTU that they aren't part of the union, by denying vacation request prior to the vote, and by conducting staff polls about how members plan on voting.

"It seems city managers are trying to create confusion and intimidate people," said Martineau. "It won’t work."

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Portland Music Month Preview: A Night of Reggae... and Introspection

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Bumpin Uglies Facebook

[For the entire month of January, Portland Music Month features 100+ musical acts designed to get you into our city's great clubs and venues, and $1 from each ticket goes to support individual music artists and their professional needs. Find out a lot more here, and enjoy the following preview of an upcoming Portland Music Month pick!—eds.]

Within the beautiful collage of live music options descending upon our city during week four of Portland Music Month is the sweet reggae sounds of Bumpin Uglies. This group consists of founding member, guitarist, and lead vocalist Brandon Hardesty, and is rounded out by Bassist Dave “Wolfie” Wolf and drummer TJ Haslett. These musicians embody a funky rhythm that's authentic and passionate, providing the sound that makes reggae so universally beloved.

They’ll be joined by Artiskal Sound System and singer/songwriter Joey Harkum who are the Uglies' support acts during the group's “Slow Burn Winter Tour." Their spring tour was cancelled due to safety issues stemming from (you guessed it) COVID, as has been the case with acts across the country. During the time in-between, the boys have remained busy focusing on their music which, if all goes well, will be shared with crowds like those attending their Star Theater show on January 22.

"For the last ten years, we’ve been on what feels like the never-ending tour," Hardesty explains. "So in a year where the tour is forced to stop, we decided to double down on the music-making portion of our job description."

A product of this effort is their new track and the tour name, "Slow Burn." This single captures so many classic elements of a soulful reggae song with some modern edge that include a subtle scratch that no self-respecting fan of late-90’s Ska-Rock will miss. The tranquility, mixed with fun, repeatable lyrics, makes it a song designed to stir a live audience.

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Proud Boy "Tiny" Toese Jailed for August 22 Actions

Tusitala Tiny Toese aims a paintball gun at counter protesters on August 22, 2021 in Portland.
Tusitala "Tiny" Toese aims a paintball gun at counter protesters on August 22, 2021 in Portland. NATHAN HOWARD / GETTY IMAGES

Tusitala "Tiny" Toese, a member of the far-right group Proud Boys, has been arrested on a Multnomah County warrant for his actions during an August 22, 2021 protest in Portland, according to sources familiar with the case. Toese is facing a total of eleven criminal charges.

Toese was one of many members of the Proud Boys and other far-right organizations who showed up in Northeast Portland on Sunday, August 22 with paintball guns and bear mace, looking for a confrontation with antifascist Portlanders. The so-called "Summer of Love" rally marked the one-year anniversary of a similar right-wing demonstration in downtown Portland, which was defined by its lack of police response. The 2021 event, held in an abandoned Kmart parking lot in the Parkrose neighborhood, was no different. Right-wing activists violently clashed with antifascists that afternoon in a haze of smoke bombs and white paint with no police intervention. Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said that officers were monitoring the situation from afar and would make arrests at a later date.

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Good Morning, News: Tsunami Warnings in Oregon, Earthquakes in Afghanistan, and a Volcanic Eruption in Tonga

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 plume of smoke and ash from a volcanic eruption
A volcano in Tonga erupted for several days this weekend, cutting the nation's communication lines. Tonga Geological Services

Good morning, Portland! Fog season continues today, so keep your eyes extra peeled for pedestrians if you’re driving. Now, on to the headlines!

In local news:

• The Center for Covid Control—the COVID testing company currently under investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice—received $123 million dollars from the federal government, a USA Today investigation found. The money was supposed reimburse the company for the COVID rapid and PCR tests it distributed at over 300 testing sites nationally. However, many state health departments—including the Oregon Health Authority—have not received the results of any of the tests the company was reimbursed for. (If you hit paywall on the USA Today story, WW has the highlights.)

• Six people were shot outside of WOW Hall, a popular music venue in Eugene, Friday following a concert. The mass shooting is the “highest profile shooting” the city has ever seen, according to Eugene Police Chief Chris Skinner. As of Saturday, one of the shooting victims is in critical condition and five are in stable condition.

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46 Cheap & Easy Things To Do in Portland This MLK Day Weekend: Jan 14-17, 2022

The immersive multimedia installation Walking the World with this Fire is a call for social transformation.
The immersive multimedia installation Walking the World with this Fire is a call for social transformation.
There's plenty to watch, see, and do this long weekend—and better yet, there's plenty of things to do under $15. If we're speaking your language, read on for all of your options, from dance party Keep it Tight, Betty White to multimedia installation Walking the World with this Fire. For more weekend ideas, see yourself over to our guide to MLK Day events.

FRIDAY


FILM


Blood Simple
Blood Simple came out in 1984 and promptly reminded everybody why they liked film noir. Creepy and smart and dark and funny, it launched the career of the Coen Brothers, and featured fantastic performances from Frances McDormand and M. Emmet Walsh. ERIK HENRIKSEN
(Clinton Street Theater, Hosford-Abernethy, $6)

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Good Afternoon, News: Violent Meme Used in Cop Training, Ohio GOP Gets Court Slapped, and So You've Caught the 'Cron... Here's What to Do!

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!

Is that you, Omicron? If you think youve caught COVID (or are scared of catching it), dont miss our helpful guide!
'Is that you, Omicron?" If you think you've caught COVID (or are scared of catching it), don't miss our helpful guide! martin-dm / Getty Images

Good afternoon, friends, lovers, children, mothers, sinners, saints, etc! It's Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend and if I know anything about work it's that all of you are working your very hardest right now and I'll try to make this post very boring so you can focus on your jobs!! Ha ha.

IN LOCAL NEWS:

• Today in "COPS: WTF??" The Mercury's Alex Zielinski just reported that in 2018 Portland Police used a slide in their training materials containing a meme of what appeared to be a police officer assaulting an unarmed protester and text that read, in part: "That they may christen your heads with hickory; And anoint your faces with pepper spray." Police Chief Chuck Lovell said the meme was "contrary to their values" which is just an interesting position to take, because like, okay, whose values are they? Did somebody just sneak into the PPB's powerpoint at night to drop in that slide? Just asking!

• Schools across the state have been temporarily closing due to COVID-related staffing shortages as the Omicron variant continues its lung-thirsty voyage around the globe. (My partner teaches at one of those closed schools; he's been vacuuming ALL DAY while I am working at home.) If you know a family impacted by the closures, consider dropping a lasagna and a bottle of gin at their door tonight.

• Would you like to stay ahead of the 'cron? Our own Isabella Garcia just put together this handy-dandy guide to navigating this whole cluster. From finding a mask to finding a test to finding a place to lie down (maybe not that last part), Isabella will get you informed. READ IT, IT WILL MAKE YOU SMARTER AND FEEL BETTER.

• Speaking of public health, did you know that tomorrow is your last day to sign up for a health insurance plan through Oregon's marketplace? It is! Look, private insurance fucking sucks, but if you get COVID and need to go to the hospital (unlikely, but possible), it's expensive, and seems like most of us probably will get COVID if we haven't already, so best to be ready.

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This Week In Portland Food News: Bing Mi Opens a Dumpling and Noodle Bar, A New Winery Arrives, and Baby Blue Pizza Says Goodbye

The jianbing cart Bing Mi launched its new Bing Mi Dumpling and Noodle Bar on Tuesday.
The jianbing cart Bing Mi launched its new Bing Mi Dumpling and Noodle Bar on Tuesday. Bi Ming Dumpling and Noodle Bar

This week's edition of food news is packed with delicious morsels, including a huge new winery, a new dumpling and noodle bar from Bing Mi, a new red sauce joint, and the reopening of Sweet Lorraine's Latkes & More. Read on for all of that and more, plus two upcoming restaurants for seafood lovers to look forward to. For more ideas, check out our food and drink guide.

NEW OPENINGS AND RETURNS


Amaterra
This sweeping winery, restaurant, and 12-acre vineyard opened in the West Hills on Wednesday, just minutes from downtown Portland. With a name meaning "for the love of the earth," the destination features a tasting room with a wine-friendly food menu by executive chef Jami Flatt and a cocktail program by Robbie Wilson (the owner of the recently closed cocktail bar Botanist).
West Hills

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