A new swingers club plans to open in June in the old Fernando's Hideaway building on SW 1st. The club may or may not have porn star Ron Jeremy's name attached. Club owner Paul Smith, who used to be a part owner of the Ace of Hearts swingers club in Southeast Portland, leased the property from Old Town landlord John Beardsley in February.

"It's going to be called Club Sesso," says Smith. "We've been in this business a long time, this is a new location." The average customer, Smith says, is 35, above average income, married, with above average education. Smith estimates there are 35,000 such people who engage in swinging within a 50-mile radius of Portland. The club will be members only, and private, with no sign outside advertising its nature.

"People seek us out," says Smith, adding that the club is a "good neighbor, with no problems with drugs, fights, or prostitution. I'd challenge any other club owner to say that," he says. MATT DAVIS


The Portland theater community was embroiled in a special kind of drama this week when the city's flagship theater company, Portland Center Stage (PCS), made a surprise round of staff cuts. Among the five staff members that were given the ax: Artistic/Literary Assistant Megan Ward, and Literary Director Mead Hunter, who chalked up his dismissal to "a series of disastrous budgeting miscalculations paired with the moribund global economy."

PCS is still struggling to raise $9 million to pay for its Pearl District Armory digs. STEPHEN MARC BEAUDOIN


US Senator Jeff Merkley wants your money. After spending millions to defeat Republican incumbent Gordon Smith last fall, Merkley now has to get back on the fundraising kick to pay off $514,000 in campaign debt. In a press release sent out on Friday, March 27, Merkley blamed the debt on having to fight "attack ads that my opponent and right-wing outside groups ran against me."

"Debt is common for statewide campaigns," says Merkley's deputy communications director, Marc Siegel, who is not officially affiliated with the campaign. "Senator Merkley has been working off the debt and his campaign will report a few hundred thousand less than [$500,000] soon," Siegel says. SARAH MIRK