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Good morning, Portland! Want a weather report? That was a rhetorical question, because I'm going to give you one anyway. It's gonna be hot today and tomorrow— 90 degrees in mid-September, just in time (and quite apt) for the Portland Youth Climate Strike tomorrow!— but my obsessive forecast checking tells me that a change is on the way.
Ok: News, anyone??
IN LOCAL NEWS:
• A lot of labor activity has been happening in Portland lately, and the coalition of new union members is broadening. Of course, we have the union mainstays: teachers at Portland Public Schools (who are inching closer to a potential strike), city wastewater and maintenance laborers (who went on strike earlier this year), and health care workers (some of whom went on a weeklong strike in June). But Portland's union shops now include a wide swath of places that haven't historically been staffed by organized labor. A new Mercury story looks at the growing movement of local worker solidarity, represented by new unions at Doe Donuts, Magic Tavern Strip Club, Fang! and Salty's pet shops, and more. "Hot labor summer" may be over, but union organizers believe the movement is just beginning.
• It was the email heard 'round the world (and by "world," I mean the email inboxes of local journalists): Mayor Ted Wheeler has announced he won't be seeking another term in office after his current stint expires next year.
"Addressing our city’s critical challenges while, at the same, time, fundamentally re-shaping city government requires all of my attention over the next 15 months. As such, I will not be seeking another term as your Mayor," Wheeler wrote in a "Letter to Portlanders," the title of which did get my heart racing a bit before I clicked on the attached document in the press email and learned what it was about. (My thought process: "Is he resigning? Embracing fully automated luxury gay space communism? Ah, no, just confirming what most people already expected.")
The lack of surprise is because Wheeler has demonstrated a fair bit of disdain for the office of Portland Mayor during his tenure. To be fair, I also wouldn't like to be the target of scornful graffiti displayed on every nook and cranny of the city at one time or another. (But I also wouldn't be quite so keen to tear gas protesters, criminalize homelessness, etc.)
There are going to be a lot of retrospectives on Wheeler's time in office once he leaves City Hall for good, and he still has some time to influence what his legacy will be, so I won't do it here. For now, I'll direct my request to Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, and any of their would-be successors: if you're considering giving him the good ol' Sam Adams rehab treatment on a new TV show, don't. If any Portlander is gonna get to buddy up with Kyle MacLachlan in the years to come, allow it to be me.
• In other City Council news, the city released its draft plan for what the government structure will look like when the new charter system is implemented in 2025. There's still a lot of unknowns, but the draft plan lays out five proposed bureaus that will exist within the city: Budget & Finance (kinda what it sounds like), Community & Economic Development (permitting, planning & sustainability, the Housing Bureau, etc.), City Operations (i.e. Independent Police Review, fleet and facilities, asset management), Community Safety (cops, Fire & Rescue, emergency management, et al), and Public Works (transportation, arts, parks, and more). These bureaus will be managed by the mayor, a city administrator, and a deputy city administrator. I'm quite excited for this new structuring, but as someone who's written a lot about transportation, my main concern is what the new acronym for Portland's transportation department will be. I need an acronym. Plus, imagine all the rebranding that'll have to happen on city bureau merch! Hold on tight to your PBOT branded t-shirts—those babies will be highly valuable vintage collectables in a few years.
This column became a Wynne stan column so gradually... no, we knew. New Wynne single alert! Great experimental pop show alert! And Travis Scott added a second Moda Center show. This is the week... Hear in Portland! https://t.co/Xswx9jEEG0— Portland Mercury 🗞 (@portlandmercury) September 13, 2023
• Ok, I know I've been terribly verbose in this news roundup so far, so let's lighten things up with a reminder of our FALL ARTS GUIDE! (Available in print near you.) Today, some gallery recommendations: With the perceived hiatus of summer, and all its art fairs and group shows, it falls to galleries, museums, and unconventional art spaces to keep our cultural blood pumping. We asked Art & About's Ashley Giford Peterson for her 2023 fall gallery show picks.
• Some bendy bus news:
FX2-Division turns one with two big success stories: more riders and faster trips!— TriMet News (@trimetnews) September 13, 2023
In its first year:
* FX ridership increased by 520,000 trips over the previous Line 2 service
* Riders saved about 8 minutes roundtrip b/n Gresham and SE Portland
More: https://t.co/CH2Sgbu6QN pic.twitter.com/t5Ew8SRyOk
IN NATIONAL/WORLD NEWS:
• AND, speaking of white guys from the American West with a lot of family money making a career change...Mitt Romney has announced he won't be running for reelection to the U.S. Senate. As much as I believe Mitt Romney to be somewhat of a weasel, he did echo my own feelings about our failing American gerontocracy in a statement about his decision: "It’s time for a new generation of leaders. They’re the ones that need to make the decisions that will shape the world they will be living in.” Ok, Mitt! Also, there might be some even whackier people in Utah primed to take his place. Do you know how much Red Bull and cream they drink over there? I'm serious, it's weird. So let's just keep our eyes out.
• I have to laugh: U.S. Rep Lauren Boebert, who I can unproudly say happens to be from my home state of Colorado, was escorted out of a Denver performance of the musical "Beetlejuice" on Sunday. Her crime? Allegedly, she was vaping, singing, filming, and overall causing a ruckus. As if the presence of this gun-toting and hateful lady from Colorado's Western Slope (more favorably known for its rock formations and Palisade peaches) wasn't disturbing enough! Boebert posted through the pain, though, encouraging people to go see the show and "let her know how it ends." LOL. Gotta hand it to you, Boebert, that's a pretty good joke.
• More strike news from the United Automobile Workers:
More than 353k workers in the U.S. have walked off the job this year.— Lauren Kaori Gurley (@LaurenKGurley) September 14, 2023
Now workers are prepared to strike tonight at the Big 3 automakers for the first time.
I'll be in Detroit area covering what could be a historic moment for organized labor: https://t.co/LsfBVt3rde
• The Seattle PD is now receiving national attention for joking about a young woman, Jaahnavi Kandula, who was killed after being hit by a police officer going 74 miles per hour while she was trying to walk across the street. The situation is horrific in many ways, and I want to pay my deepest condolences to Kandula's family. In a statement to the Seattle Times, her uncle said "The family has nothing to say. Except I wonder if these men's daughters or granddaughters have value. A life is a life."
While this incident is uniquely terrible, the kind of callousness expressed by the police officers in this situation isn't only found in their department. To me, the crash also demonstrates the devil-may-care approach police officers take to traffic violence, whether or not it's perpetrated by one of their own. Perhaps this isn't the group of people we should be relying on to make sure people are able to walk in cities without being subject to brutal attacks by drivers. Rest in peace, Jaahnavi Kandula.
After spinning across the Atlantic for more than a week, Hurricane Lee is slowly nearing land and is forecast to affect the Northeast U.S. and Canada as early as Friday. Tropical storm conditions generated by Lee were reported on Bermuda.https://t.co/INf4aYdfuO— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 14, 2023
• Lastly, may we all hope to one day relax as nicely as this cat in a wheelbarrow of leaves: