Five warming shelters will open in the Portland area Sunday night, expanding capacity to 400 beds amid life-threatening winter weather. More than 220 people sought shelter Saturday night, exceeding the original capacity of the county- and city-run emergency shelters.

The five shelters will open at 8 pm January 29 and close at 8 am January 30. The shelters may reopen nightly as long as below-freezing conditions persist. The National Weather Service is forecasting a high of 37 degrees and overnight low of 24 degrees Sunday, with the possible return of below-freezing temperatures Monday night. While severe weather shelters are not open during the day time, anyone seeking refuge indoors can go to a Multnomah County library.

No one will be turned away from severe weather shelters, even if capacity is reached. Anyone seeking a ride to a shelter can call 2-1-1 for assistance. 

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GOOD MORNING, SUNDAY! It's the perfect time to catch up on some of the great reporting and stories the Mercury churned out this week! (PRO TIP: If you despise being "the last to know," then be one of the first to know by signing up for Mercury newsletters! All the latest stories shipped directly to your email's in-box... and then... YOUR HEAD.)

Portland Moves a Step Closer to Overhauling Government with a New Voting District Commission

Portland City Council appointed the first of three key government transition committees (pledged with dividing the city into four voting districts), bringing the city one step closer to implementing a new form of government by 2025.



Let's go, brainiacs! It's time to play another super fun edition of our local trivia quiz! This week: local kangaroo bans, your choice for what disgusting term to put on your license plate, and LEAVE OUR DOGS ALONE, THIEVES!!   

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Eating Alone on Lunar New Year

Rose Wong on celebrating Lunar New Year by eating alone. "Since moving to the United States, in 2009, I’ve lived in cities that became home and found friends who love me almost like family... but on days like Lunar New Year, I feel very far away from home...."

Rose Wong
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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!

GOOD AFTERNOON, PORTLAND! Our first story is a rough one, so let's ease into it with some WEATHER. Expect rain tonight, showers tomorrow, and thanks to a cold blast sweeping through the region, possible snow (!) on Saturday night and sunny skies Sunday. And now, grit your teeth for some NEWS.


• Police in Memphis, as well as the family of the victim, have been repeatedly pleading for peace (i.e. no riots, please) ahead of this afternoon's release of video that shows the absolutely brutal beating death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of cops. (WARNING, EXTREMELY GRAPHIC VIDEO LINKED AHEAD.) And it's just as horrifying and gut churning as we were told. Despite their pleas, protests across the nation are already planned... yes, including right here in Portland. Mayor Wheeler (along with Chief Lovell, members of City Council, and others) held a press conference at the very moment the video was released to denounce police violence and try to quell any potential public outbursts. Good luck with that. 


• Following frantic cries from Salt & Straw businesses in Portland’s Central Eastside, Mayor Wheeler announced the city will be rushing to their rescue! (Because... you know, squeaky wheel businesses are much more important than people.) Anyway, the plan is to increase police presence in the area, clean up trash, and... oh, here it comes... remove homeless people—something even the mayor admits will only push them to some other neighborhood in the city... maybe yours! (Hope your neighbors are nicer than Salt & Straw.) Our Isabella Garcia has the story.

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EverOut Fri 1:16 PM

Your Guide to February 2023 Events in Portland

Portland Winter Light Festival, Bruce Springsteen, and More

It may be the shortest month of the year, but thankfully, February isn't short on superb things to do. There's still plenty going on in every category of events, plus big dates like Valentine's Day and the Super Bowl. Find all of February's highlights below, with events from Bruce Springsteen to the 2023 Biamp Portland Jazz Festival and from Portland Winter Light Festival to The Portland Mercury's Highball 2023.


Sam Morril: The Class Act Tour
Meteoric NYC funnyman Sam Morril will visit Portland on his Class Act tour, where he's sure to encounter some skinny jean-wearin’ disciplinarians.
Revolution Hall, Buckman (Feb 4-5)

David Nihill
Irish-born comic Dave Nihill draws from his vast international experiences—he's been to 70 countries, and lived in 12—to reflect on cultural norms, drinking sessions, and his life as a slightly confused US immigrant. Nihill's unconventional rise to comedy fame began when he crashed festivals and comedy clubs, pretending to be a successful comic named "Irish Dave." We hope to see more of Nihill's enterprising spirit, and hear that cool accent, in this performance.
Helium Comedy Club, Hosford-Abernethy (Wed Feb 8)

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EverOut Fri 10:59 AM

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Portland This Weekend: Jan 27-29, 2023

Lunar New Year Dragon Dance Parade, Portland Fine Print Fair, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15

Get into this weekend's events for free or an otherwise small chunk of change, from the PDX Motorcycle Film Festival 2023 to Lunar New Year Dragon Dance Parade and Celebration and from Flowers for Black Elders to the Portland Fine Print Fair. For more ideas, check out our top picks of the week.



Butter: The Comedy Show
The silliness continues! This edition of Butter, a recurring comedy show that brings open-minded laughs to Funhouse Lounge all year long, features gag lovers Nariko Ott, Devi Kirsch, Adam Tiller, Ryan Danley, Dylan Jones, and James Hartenfeld. Portland-grown comic Cam Strong will host, and Brett "Breadstick" Sisun will turn up for some groovy tunes, too.
(Funhouse Lounge, Hosford-Abernethy, $5)

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That's right: the Mercury is hiring a news reporter! Could this person be you (or someone you know)? Read the job listing below, and if you know a good candidate, please help spread the word! (But hurry, hurry! The application deadline is this Tuesday, January 31!)

Now Hiring: News Reporter

The Portland Mercury is looking to add a full-time news reporter to our small, dynamic team—known locally for smart, deep, and accessible journalism and culture writing. This position will be primarily focused on short-form reporting, breaking news, and news roundups, but would also provide opportunities for more in-depth reporting as well as culture writing.

The Mercury is seeking applicants who can keep up with the quick pace of digital reporting. We want to hire someone with a natural curiosity that drives their reporting on virtually any subject—including but not limited to environmental justice, protests, racial inequity, labor, and local angles on national news stories.

We also want someone who strives to cover how different issues affect all Portlanders, and who can bring their own lived experiences to their reporting.

Ideally, we’d like applicants to possess the following:

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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!

Good Morning, Portland! I saw Infinity Pool last night and LET ME TELL YOU, portraying wealthy villains as murderous hedonists is just a smoke screen for the real shit people do like abusing nonprofit status to make money. Let's get furious. It's time for THE NEWS.


• Yesterday Mercury News Editor Isabella Garcia broke down an announcement from Portland City Laborers, warning that the union workers—who run much of city’s wastewater treatment, sewer line repair, parks maintenance, and snow/ice transportation maintenance—may need to strike, starting Feb 2, if the City of Portland cannot come to a contract agreement. They have been trying to reach an agreement for 10 months. Late in the day, following the announcement, Mayor Wheeler issued an emergency declaration—which might make it easier for him to cover the services shortage in the event of such a strike. Take note: There's a PCL rally in front of City Hall this Saturday, January 28, at noon.

Wheeler acknowledged that sweeps aren't a solution to homelessness, but he's going to do this anyway:

• Today in CRAB NEWS: Around 200 miles of Oregon coast has been open for commercial crabbin' since Jan 15, and the rest will open for the season by Feb 4. You can recreationally crab pretty much year round, but don't fuck up and keep the egg-laying female crabs. Keep your eyes peeled for mounds / balls of dude crabs bro-ing down together. Definitely get pinched; it's tradition.

• Whimsical graphic artist Mike Bennet has a lot of Portland fans, so I will be interested in whether Portland police actually investigate his burglary complaint

Portland-based journalist Rose Wong wrote a smart, evocative essay about her experience(s), celebrating Lunar New Year alone. It opens with a grandmother, holding her one-year-old grandson on her hip—"giving the chunky boy a boost when he began to slide"—and asking Wong, "Why are you eating by yourself?"

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Following outcry from businesses in Portland’s Central Eastside Industrial District, city leaders have partnered with neighborhood representatives to develop a 90-day plan to improve perceptions of public safety in the district. The plan, unveiled during a press conference Thursday, aims to increase police presence in the district, improve lighting, remove graffiti, clean up trash, and remove homeless people from the neighborhood’s streets—despite evidence that those same people will just be displaced to another part of the city instead of connected to long term housing services.

“To those that call the Central Eastside home, it is time to turn a page and start a new chapter,” said Claire Briglio, Executive Director of the Central Eastside Industrial Council, during a press conference Thursday. “It must change because the old ways are not working and we know that so very clearly now.”

In November, about 140 business owners in Portland’s Central Eastside met with Mayor Ted Wheeler, Police Chief Chuck Lovell, and other regional leaders to raise concerns about safety in the district. The listening session followed news of Salt and Straw CEO Kim Malek saying she would consider moving the ice cream headquarters out of Portland if city leaders did not do more to address drug use, street camping, and crime in the city. Several business representatives at the forum said that their employees felt unsafe coming to work, with Malek noting that one of her employees had been held at gunpoint in the Central Eastside.

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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!

Good afternoon, Portland! Yes, you're almost to the weekend. First, however, may we present for your informative enjoyment... the THURSDAY AFTERNOON NEWS?


• The Portland Timbers (and Thorns, for the time being) have a new CEO. Heather Davis was introduced in a press conference today at Providence Park, and... well, you're going to love this...

• A trio of progressive state legislators are attempting to pass a bill to force the Oregon State Treasury to divest from select fossil fuel investments, but Treasurer Tobias Reed isn't having it. Hopefully his opposition to the bill is as successful as his gubernatorial campaign. 

• The city's leaders would like you to know that they are still very much concerned about the charter reform changes that threaten to break their stranglehold on power, but do not yet have a clear means of stopping them as they appoint the city’s new geographic district-drawing commission

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You know she’s just a flight away, so Latin pop gem Kali Uchis will take a private plane to Portland this spring in support of her newly announced album, Red Moon in Venus. Plus, it’s a good week for indie rock fans with perennial favorites Beck & Phoenix revealing co-headlined dates along with a tour announcement from Ohio natives The National. Acclaimed folk-rock band Big Thief has also dropped new dates with prolific troubadour Lucinda Williams. Read on for details on those and other newly announced events, plus some news you can use.



100 gecs
Crystal Ballroom (Sat Apr 8)

Roseland Theater (Thurs May 18)

Beck & Phoenix
Hayden Homes Amphitheater, Bend (Thurs Aug 3)

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Food and Drink Thu 11:30 AM

Eating Alone on Lunar New Year

So long, Tiger, and all your chaos energy!

“Why are you eating by yourself?” 

The woman held her one-year-old grandson on her right hip, giving the chunky boy a boost when he began to slide. Her name is Lai Szee, but she also goes by Nancy. A claw clip pulled back her gray and black hair, showing off glasses and a sweet, round face. 

I told Lai Szee I moved to Portland in the summer and haven’t met other Chinese people with whom to celebrate Lunar New Year, a 15-day East Asian festival marking the arrival of spring and the first new moon in the lunisolar calendar.

I did not want to drag my white friends into celebrating a holiday they do not understand, either. I’ve watched them visibly step out of their comfort zone to eat my comfort food with me, maneuvering their chopsticks with resilience and taking their first bites slowly, with seeming caution. They ask me what each dish is. I wonder why none of my English descriptions of my favorite foods—“um, it’s turnip cake mixed with dried shrimp and dried sausage”—sound all that appetizing.

“Chinese New Year is supposed to be celebrated with other people,” Lai Szee said. 

In the modest-sized dining room of Powell’s Seafood Restaurant, the 60-year-old grandmother was celebrating with a party of 20 given and chosen family, split between two round tables. 

The full dining room of Powell's Seafood - PHOTO BY ROSE WONG

Lai Szee said she immigrated with her family to Portland, from Hong Kong, as a teenager, and I told her I’m also from Hong Kong. She said she hadn’t been back in “oh god, many years,” but she hopes to visit soon with a travel group of other elderly widows. 

The waiter arrived with my dishes: Long stir-fry noodles for a long life. Half a roast duck—meat symbolizes health and prosperity. Chinese broccoli stir-fried with garlic and oyster sauce, because mother said every meal needs a vegetable. 

Lai Szee said she had to leave me then or my food would get cold. “If we had more room, I would say you should sit with us.” 

With my chopsticks, I reached for the duck leg, the part of a poultry dish an elder would put on a child’s plate as a gesture of affection. 

In the Wong family group chat all members are in Hong Kong except myself. Shared photos show a Lunar New Year's Eve dinner in my aunt’s apartment and a celebration the next morning at my grandpa’s. Chinese families traditionally visit their elders' homes on Lunar New Year's Day to collect red envelopes of cash and eat nin go: a pan-fried sweet and sticky rice cake. 

In the photos, my grandpa looks older than I remember. He tells me he mostly stays home these days because he can’t walk much anymore. 

Since moving to the United States, in 2009, I’ve lived in cities that became home and found friends who love me almost like family—and whom I certainly get along with better than my family. 

But on days like Lunar New Year, I feel very far away from home and my family. 

I’m visiting Hong Kong soon, where I will eat home-cooked meals and street food I cannot find in Portland and feel my body relax to the sound of my first language. I will also feel out of place, struggling to articulate complex thoughts in my rusted Cantonese or flinching when I hear a comment that grates against the progressive values I adopted in the US. 

An immigrant eventually becomes an amalgamation of identities and cultures, never belonging to one place, always yearning for the familiarity of somewhere else. 

I refilled my cup with hot tea, the bitterness cuts the greasiness of the food. 

 Orange slices at the end of the meal - PHOTO BY ROSE WONG

2023 welcomes the Year of the Rabbit. While on vacation last month, my mother put her hand on my hand, at the breakfast table, and told me I have a better year ahead. 

“I didn’t tell you this, but the Year of the Tiger was supposed to be a hard year for you,” she said, eyebrows raised. 

The Year of the Rabbit is expected to be a time of rest and introspection, following the Tiger’s period of action (I started a new job!), courage (I quit my job!), and impulse (NSFW!). 

Folklore binds generations individually shaped by time and innovation, offering a shared identity rooted in agrarian culture. Farmers used the Chinese lunisolar calendar, which accounts for both the moon’s orbit around earth and earth’s orbit around the sun, to determine planting and harvesting. Each month begins with a new moon. 

Seeing that I was putting on my jacket, Lai Szee reminded me not to forget my leftovers. She ate beside her grandson, who sat in a high chair between his two grandmas. Lucky baby. 

News Thu 10:11 AM

More Than 600 City Workers are Poised to Strike Over Cost of Living Concerns

Organizers say the strike could have immediate impacts on wastewater treatment and freezing weather road maintenance.

More than 600 City of Portland employees are planning to go on strike February 2 as contract negotiations between the city and their union, Portland City Laborers (PCL), have dragged on for nearly 10 months. Union members say the city has not kept their wages in step with inflation, effectively giving pay cuts to hundreds of operations and maintenance workers.

“They are the workers who showed up, in person, throughout the pandemic to keep our City running,” said a PCL press release Wednesday. “In response, City decision makers have treated their safety and financial security as a low priority.”

PCL, a subset of Laborers International Union of North America Local 483, has been in contract negotiations with the city since March 2022 and working without an agreed contract since June 2022. The main sticking point in negotiations has been the city’s wage increase offers that the union does not believe keeps up with the rising cost of living and record-high inflation. The city’s most recent offer included a 5 percent retroactive cost-of-living increase for 2022, 5 percent cost-of-living increase in July 2023, and a guaranteed 1 percent pay increase in July 2023. PCL workers are requesting a 7.9 percent cost-of-living increase for 2022—comparable to the US inflation rate—no cap for future cost-of-living increases, and wage adjustments that would keep the city’s pay competitive with private sector work.

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WELL HELLOOOOO, SMARTY PANTS! It's time once again to put your brainy-brain to the test with this week's edition of POP QUIZ PDX—our weekly, local, sassy-ass trivia quiz. And this week, you'll test your amazing knowledge on such topics as local kangaroo bans, your choice for what disgusting term to put on your license plate, and WHO DARES KIDNAP PORTLAND DOGS?? 🐶

Also, guess what? You can also enter to win FREE PIZZA from our friends at the always delicious Atlas Pizza, just for taking the quiz and signing up for our brainy newsletters during the last question!

But before we continue... HOW DID YOU DO ON THE PREVIOUS QUIZ? Not too shabby at all! And I completely agree with your choice of what to do with your dead body (i.e. "Dress you up like Jesus and catapult your body through the stained-glass window of an Evangelist church, with a loud speaker screaming SURPRISE, MOTHERFUCKERS!"). A+ choice.

OKAY, TIME FOR A NEW QUIZ! Take this week's quiz below, take our previous pop quizzes here, and come back next week for a brand spankin' new quiz! (Having a tough time answering this quiz? It's probably because you aren't getting Mercury newsletters! HINT! HINT!) Now crank up that cerebellum, because it's time to get BRAINY!

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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!

GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND!  After a mostly cloudy day, we'll be seeing showers tonight and tomorrow, and... are those snow flurries I see on Saturday? It's like it's still WINTER, or something!! Anyway, check out these flurries of NEWS.


• First things first... ummm... what time is it?

• In other sporty news: The Portland Thorns and Timbers need some good news after two years of near continuous scandals thanks to their management, and this just might be it. Former general counsel Heather Davis has been named the organization's new CEO, replacing Merritt Paulson. She is the first woman to hold the position in the history of the club.

• Yesterday City Council appointed a commission to map out the new voting districts that will help make Charter Reform possible, though there are concerns that a 2025 launch is gonna be tough to accomplish. (So let's hope certain politicians and their wealthy financiers who hated Charter Reform in the first place don't purposefully drag their feet. AND YES, we're watching you! 👀)

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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!

GOOD AFTERNOON, PORTLAND! Here's your early bird reminder that we're kicking off the free Mercury READER VALENTINES next Tuesday! (So think of something romantic to write to your sweetie-pie... unless you like sleeping in the gutter?) Now let's sleep in a gutter of NEWS.


• After being publicly called out on his bullshit, Mayor Wheeler is doing an about-face and has announced the City will accept applications from potential vendors for gunshot detection technology to fight the plague of Portland shootings. Our Isabella Garcia details what caused Wheeler to change his mind, and how the public will finally get a chance to voice their opinion this time around. 

• A Black woman from Portland has been RIGHTLY awarded $1 million by a jury, after she was refused service at a Beaverton gas station by an employee who told her “I don’t serve Black people.” OH HELL NO.

• Charter reform! It's happening, y'all! But "will it happen on time" is the question. The good news is that headway is being made on the commission that will decide how to split up the city into four voting districts. Our Isabella Garcia explains that city council has appointed the members of this commission, as well as describing what's involved in making this map—which will surely draw criticism from the usual gang of wealthy criticizers who never wanted it in the first place. (Hi to Commish Mingus Mapps! 👋)

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