EverOut Yesterday 5:04 PM

This Week In Portland Food News

Mezcal, Chilorio, and Sicilian Pizza

This week, we're celebrating the arrival of the new Tamale Boy sibling Colibri and XO Bar's new mezcal and tequila bar The High Ground. Plus, read about the impending return of Bark City and Pizza Thief's upcoming takeover of the Great Notion Brewing kitchen. For more ideas, check out our food and drink guide.

NEW OPENINGS 

Colibri by Tamale Boy
Tamale Boy owner Jaime Soltero soft opened this Sinoloan-inspired spinoff (named for the Spanish word for "hummingbird") in the Pearl District at the end of March. The menu features dishes like birria and grits, tacos gobernador, and the famed specialty chilorio (slow-cooked pork fried in chili sauce)—as well as Soltero's signature tamales.
Pearl District

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News Yesterday 2:03 PM

Public Pleas to Save Portland Street Response Dominate City Budget Session

As Portland prepares to slash bureau budgets ahead of 2024-25 fiscal year, residents make their case for investments in alternative response programs and gun violence reduction.

As the city of Portland prepares to make deep cuts to avoid a projected budget deficit for the 2024-25 fiscal year, Portlanders are pressuring city council to keep Portland Street Response off the chopping block.

Residents showed up in force during a budget listening session Wednesday, April 10, insisting the non-police, alternative response program not only be safe from budget cuts, but be expanded to a 24/7 service. 

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EverOut Yesterday 1:00 PM

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Portland This Weekend: Apr 12-14 2024

Paris, Texas, Cherry Blossom Bazaar, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15

Take a break from doing your taxes and go have some thrifty fun this weekend. We've gathered all the best events under $15, from Sci-Fi Film Festival 2024 to Cherry Blossom Bazaar and from Paris, Texas to Piano Queen. For more ideas, check out our guide to the top events of the week.

FRIDAY

FILM

Mean Girls (2004) with Kickstand Comedy Improv
Tina Fey tried to make "fetch" happen again in this year's musical "twist on a modern classic," a phrase that made me feel irreparably old. (Pack it up, fellow millennials—our journey to cultural obsolescence is complete, I guess.) However, you can't improve upon perfection, so 2024's Mean Girls sorta Shein-ified the original. I recommend reliving the fanatical chokehold on teen society of Mean Girls (2004) at this screening, during which Kickstand Comedy's improvisers will devise scenes based on the film. LC
(Tomorrow Theater, Richmond, $15)

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Let the bells ring and the confetti fall: PIZZA WEEK IS BACK, BAY-BEE! And the best pizza pie makers in Portland are ready to strut their pizza stuff! 

So starting MONDAY April 15 until SUNDAY April 21, the Portland Mercury's Pizza Week will make its long-awaited return, giving pizza-loving Mercury readers the chance to get special slices from some of Portland's finest purveyors of pizza pies... for a mere three dollars each! That's right: Each slice is just THREE MEASLY DOLLARS or, at participating venues, a WHOLE PIE for $24. (You heard correctly: Once again this year certain Pizza Week participants may also be offering $24 whole pies along with slices—or whole pies alone!)

And with big thanks and a howdy-do to our pizza-loving pals at Jim Beam and Mule Extracts, the Mercury is proud to present what might be our greatest Pizza Week lineup ever—one that features wildly creative slices from more than a whopping 50 (!!) Portland locations, available across the city and lovingly crafted by your favorite pizza masterminds. Where are they? Check out the official Pizza Week map here!

WANT A PEEK AT THE PIZZA WEEK 2024 SLICES AND PIES? You can find them all right here! (Dear god, they look delicious. You should totally share a pic of your slice and tag it #portlandpizzaweek!)

WANT THE LATEST PIZZA WEEK 2024 INFO? Sign up for Mercury newsletters for the latest live updates and follow along on Mercury Instagram and Facebook. These are great resources for everyone who intends on sampling every slice!

Remember, our participating pizza places will be trying their best to deliver great slices and pies while KEEPING YOU AND THEIR EMPLOYEES SANE. Please be patient, tip well, and follow their wise advice!

 Before digging in, here are a few things to keep in mind:

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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! It's Friday. And looking at the weather, it's just gonna be nice forever now. High of 66-degrees today. 72 on Saturday!  Mid-50s to 70s all next week. Remember, don't let your drunk bros swim in lakes and rivers just yet. Our mountain-fed streams are just too cold, no matter how tough and brave they feel. Enough with the PSA, let's hit the NEWS.

IN LOCAL NEWS:
• The second issue of Say Nice Things About Portland—our guide to great things in this city—hit stands this week. Find it inside coffee shops, bookstores, bars, et al. You can also read the web version of the guide. 

• Breaking: New Job Day Bob Day is here to stay.

• Earlier in the week, I was leaning back in my chair, cynically musing that while I had been walking past the downtown Buffalo Wild Wings semi-daily since the mid-20teens, I couldn't remember it ever looking busy in there. I'll tell you what. The restaurant had a vent that all but submerged those passing by in hot chicken vapor, so I noticed the place. However, I didn't remember what Oregonian food world reporter Michael Russell noted in his piece: "The downtown Portland bar was the second sports bar opened by World Wide Wings," and "for its first five years, its corporate offices were located behind the bar." At some point, Buffalo Wild Wings became a joke about consumerism, loud places where no one can actually talk to one another, and locations uncles wants to take their vegetarian nieces for lunch. But at one point it was just a fledgling franchise owner, keeping offices in a parking garage. I'm not sure if I'm being serious either, but I was interested to learn this.

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Say Nice Things 2024 Yesterday 4:00 AM

Say Nice Things About Portland… Again!

It’s time to take Portland back from the buttholes. Here’s how.

[Welcome to our second annual "SAY NICE THINGS ABOUT PORTLAND" issue! Read it online here, or if you like physical, paper-y things, you can find it in more than 50 locations all around the city!—eds]

First of all, thanks to everyone who’s been saying nice things about Portland! And to those who’ve been spreading all those bad vibes? Hello… YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.

(Don’t worry, I’ll get to the identities of these “problem people” in just a minute. But first, let’s recap!)

Last year the Mercury introduced the “Say Nice Things About Portland” concept as a direct response to the wealthy, cynical conservatives who took advantage of the pandemic to gain political power and cram even more money into their bottomless pockets. And full disclosure, the “Say Nice Things” tagline was directly lifted from Emily Gail of Detroit, who in the 1970s was so sick of people crap-talking her hometown that she started a “Say Nice Things About Detroit” campaign which went a long way toward restoring that city’s damaged reputation. (You can read much more about this in my Say Nice Things About Portland manifesto from 2023, which I must humbly admit was a certified banger.)

But Portland isn’t Detroit, because we have our own host of challenges. Homelessness is real, drug addiction is real, and the devastating effects of the wealthy trying to desperately hang on to their money and privilege as capitalism slowly bleeds to death is OH. SO. REAL. For decades conservatives have been trying to squirm their way into Portland’s progressive politics with minimal success… that is, until the pandemic hit. That’s when they decided to go all in on pushing the narrative that the successful, and nationally adored Portland of 2015 had been brutally murdered by an explosion of homelessness, drug addiction, crime, and so-called rioters (in actuality mostly peaceful demonstrators asking for a bare minimum of racial justice). 

Facing what they laughably considered to be an existential crisis, a patchwork of downtown commercial real estate brokers, developers, and our local business association (formerly known as the Portland Business Alliance until they changed their name to Portland Metro Chamber to mask their terrible rep) formed a loose coalition of assholes who sprang into action. They wrote negative opinion pieces, commissioned slanted polls, erected laughably awful anti-Portland billboards, and issued warnings that if their business concerns weren’t immediately addressed, coddled, and enabled by the city, Portland would collapse in on itself like the haunted house at the end of Poltergeist. They used fear and intimidation (and MONEY, baby!) to convince Portlanders that only they could solve our problems—many of which were caused by their own greed and neglect. 

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Say Nice Things 2024 Yesterday 3:58 AM

Why I (Still) Love Portland

A former Portlander returns to survey the city’s damage—and rebirth.

[Welcome to our second annual "SAY NICE THINGS ABOUT PORTLAND" issue! Read it online here, or if you like physical, paper-y things, you can find it in more than 50 locations all around the city!—eds]

I sat in my car outside of the Mercury offices. It was the beginning of March and I was afraid to open my door. It was raining—the kind of rain that’s hard to be romantic about even when you’re perpetually homesick. The drops hit your windshield in a way that’s meditative when you’re in park and horrifying when you’re in drive. It’s that sort of sustained, battering, ever-present rain that Portland gets every so often that lets people say “it’s so green here!” when they visit in August. It’s the kind of rain that native Oregonians, for whatever dumb reason, insist on braving without an umbrella.

When I finally succumbed to the reality of the weather, I jogged through the deluge, and into the friendly confines of the Mercury’s office, and that’s when the pitch came in. “We’re doing a whole issue about why we still love Portland. You want to write something?”

To me, this wasn’t even a question. The two things in this world I love most are Portland and attention, and this gave me an opportunity to combine them. I have an affection for this city that starts in my bones and weaves its way through my wardrobe, walls, and general sense of identity. It’s verging on obnoxious, to be honest. I’m wearing a Kacha T-shirt as I write this. My AirPods are in a Trail Blazer-themed case. A sizable banner hangs in my living room, decorated with a rose and the words “Portland, Oregon.” Not “I Heart Portland ‘’ or  “Stumptown” or something else appropriately twee for a felt flag. Just “Portland, Oregon”—a point of interest, a simple declaration of fact. Except, it isn’t even a fact, because my living room is in Los Angeles. I’m an expatriate evangelist. I grew up in Beaverton, spent my twenties in Southeast, and I’ve been gone now for just more than a decade. A lot has changed in that decade.

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Say Nice Things 2024 Yesterday 3:56 AM

(Portland Chefs) Say Nice Things About… Portland Chefs

Portland’s premier restaurant and cart owners hype up the local food and chefs they love!

[Welcome to our second annual "SAY NICE THINGS ABOUT PORTLAND" issue! Read it online here, or if you like physical, paper-y things, you can find it in more than 50 locations all around the city!—eds]

Community over competition is a phrase you hear a lot if you spend time in the Portland restaurant scene. 

For the most part, it seems to be true. Like any industry, there is some hot goss and some seriously spilled tea, but chefs are always willing to gas up their own. We reached out to five of Portland’s premier restaurant and cart owners–Earl Ninsom (Hat Yai, Langbaan, Yaowarat, etc), Gabriel Rucker (Le Pigeon, Canard), Alkebulan Moroski (Dirty Lettuce), Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton (Ox), and Peter Cho (Han Oak, Toki, Jeju)–and asked them who they’d most like to say nice things about. 

Earl Ninsom Loves Kaede

Earl Ninsom has the most impressive collection of restaurants in town (he’s behind Hat Yai, Eem, Langbaan, Yaowarat, Paadee, and Phuket Cafe), so he knows quality. Ninsom was an early ambassador for Kaede (8268 SE 13th), a tiny sushi restaurant in Sellwood that opened in late 2022 and seats only parties of one or two, with husband and wife team Shinji and Izumi Uehara making sushi and izakaya dishes meticulously. 

“Their quality exceeds the size of their restaurant,” says Ninsom, who usually goes alone and dines at the counter. “Dishes from the hot kitchen from Chef Izumi look simple but are very, very well done. I really enjoyed the chilled eggplant, chawanmushi, dessert—and even the miso soup is way above the standard I get elsewhere. The way Chef Shinji treats both rice temperature and flavor, and seasoning the fish is always very thoughtful.” 

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Say Nice Things 2024 Yesterday 3:54 AM

The Evolution of Sleater-Kinney

Indie rockers reflect on 30 years as a band, and why they still call Portland home.

[Welcome to our second annual "SAY NICE THINGS ABOUT PORTLAND" issue! Read it online here, or if you like physical, paper-y things, you can find it in more than 50 locations all around the city!—eds]

Fourteen years ago, Corin Tucker was sure her band Sleater-Kinney would never reunite. 

In 2006, the group announced an indefinite hiatus following a tour for their critically-acclaimed album, The Woods. After playing a final, sold-out show at the Crystal Ballroom that year, the trio parted ways.

Tucker spent her time away from the band raising kids, starting another band, working a traditional job, and embarking on side projects. Her bandmates, drummer Janet Weiss and guitarist Carrie Brownstein, also moved on to other music groups and creative endeavors, with Brownstein co-creating what would become the hit TV series Portlandia.

“Certainly when Carrie started Portlandia I was like, ‘Oh my god, we’re not going to be a band again. Forget it,’” Tucker recalls. “She’s amazing and she has this whole other career, you know?”

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Say Nice Things 2024 Yesterday 3:53 AM

Say Nice Things About… Biking in Portland

Things have changed since the early 2000s (not to mention 1896), but biking in Portland is still magical.

[Welcome to our second annual "SAY NICE THINGS ABOUT PORTLAND" issue! Read it online here, or if you like physical, paper-y things, you can find it in more than 50 locations all around the city!—eds]

Portland has been a bike city since the 1890s, just after the invention of the modern bicycle. By 1896, the city’s bike culture was strong enough to warrant distribution of a map of cycling routes, which contained advertisements for bike-friendly business establishments, including places to shop for men and women’s cycling apparel. 

When I first saw the 1896 Cyclist’s Road Map to Portland, I felt a sense of reverence and awe. Here I was, a 21st century Portland bicyclist, using streets established in the Gilded Age by people who had never seen cars. A lot has changed over the last 128 years, but we still have the magic that is riding a bicycle in Portland. 

In more recent history, Portland became known as one of America’s top bike capitals in the 1990s and early aughts, with the formation of heavy-hitting advocacy groups (the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, now The Street Trust, was founded in 1990), iconic events like the annual Pedalpalooza Bike Summer festival (2002), and bike scene documentarians, most notably Jonathan Maus of BikePortland (2005). 

Going into the early 2010s, Portland seemed set to become the next Amsterdam, only quirkier— the Netherlands don’t have a Unipiper! Back then, there were bike traffic gridlocks on the Hawthorne bridge, and hundred-person pelotons commuting on North Williams Ave every morning (or so I hear). But things have slowed down since then. 

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Say Nice Things 2024 Yesterday 3:52 AM

AfroVillage Does the Real Work on Portland’s Homeless Crisis

Founder LaQuida Landford shows up for Oregon’s most vulnerable ‘round the clock.

[Welcome to our second annual "SAY NICE THINGS ABOUT PORTLAND" issue! Read it online here, or if you like physical, paper-y things, you can find it in more than 50 locations all around the city!—eds]

Before I get started, (and piss people off), I should start by saying this: “house keys not handcuffs,” “care not jail,” and “stop the sweeps”—I breathe that. 

Now, once you get past mantras, there’s some real life outside that we all have to acknowledge about the mounds of policy failure that has become Portland, and now Oregon’s massive homeless problem: our streets are wild. 

The endless needles, pipes as common as the rain, the undiagnosed person throwing a chair into a grocery store window, the trash tumbleweeding every which way—it’s a lot. 

Even when we recognize the scourge on the streets has been created by decades of government terror and disinvestment, as well as over-fidelity to the most deep-pocketed by those in power—those failures have turned into a more materially unstable and unsafe place for all of us if we’re telling the truth. 

Which, speaking of disinvestment—did you know that in Oregon, which is just 2  percent Black, the most racially diverse county in the state, Multnomah, is just 7 percent Black? Despite that fact, we Black people make up almost a quarter of the growing thousands of homeless people in Multnomah County. 

And this ironically, is where the good stuff starts to happen—at least in this story. The good stuff is in the brain and heart of LaQuida “Q” Landford, a Portland-by-way of Belize activist who embodies “the work.” She’s the founder and Executive Director of AfroVillage PDX, a non-profit on the frontlines of tackling Black homelessness in Oregon. All the aforementioned issues with our homeless problem, be it the cause or the consequence, LaQuida is well aware of and more. 

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Say Nice Things 2024 Yesterday 3:50 AM

Say Nice Things About… Portland’s Themed Bookstores!

Whether you’re into sci-fi, romance, or weirdness, Portland has a bookstore for YOU!

[Welcome to our second annual "SAY NICE THINGS ABOUT PORTLAND" issue! Read it online here, or if you like physical, paper-y things, you can find it in more than 50 locations all around the city!—eds]

As someone who briefly braved the trenches of bookstore work (I was a “generalist” at Powell’s during the pandemic), my appreciation for our city’s bookstores is unshakable. Luckily for me (and for all of us), Portland takes its bookstores seriously, and the city’s book-digging options have expanded in recent years to include genre-driven stores and rare book haunts. Here are five shops that deserve a second browse.

Parallel Worlds Bookshop

Parallel Worlds, a sweet, turquoise-walled shop with a kaleidoscopic quilted banner by local artist Biz Miller draped above the cash register, is also a sprawling cosmos of books to get lost in—the science fiction- and fantasy-themed store, which celebrates its second anniversary at the end of April, is thronged with spacey reads. One wall showcases covers of vintage mass-market paperbacks, complete with unicorns, martians, and breastplated women framed by chunky typefaces. Although my reading taste trends toward the earthbound end of the spectrum, I’m still a disciple of Octavia Butler and Ursula K. Le Guin, so copies of Kindred and The Lathe of Heaven stood out. (The shop is planning another Ursula birthday celebration this year, too.) Owner Sam Jones is jazzed about Parallel Worlds’s new horror writing section, which includes titles by women and LGBTQ+ authors. The store’s book club, run by shop hand Shayna Hodge, is also a hit—it’s expanded to include trivia nights, book swaps, and offshoot clubs for specific book series.

2639 NE Alberta. Open Weds-Sun 12-6 pm

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Say Nice Things 2024 Yesterday 3:48 AM

Say Nice Things About Local Drag Artists (Proudly Representing Portland All Year Long)

You might not know these performers (yet), but these drag artists consistently embody Portland’s strange and timeless beauty.

[Welcome to our second annual "SAY NICE THINGS ABOUT PORTLAND" issue! Read it online here, or if you like physical, paper-y things, you can find it in more than 50 locations all around the city!—eds]

What better cheerleaders could Portland ask for than drag artists? They gossip, they make out with guys in letterman jackets behind dumpsters, and they amp everyone up with their pep, musicality, and choreography, right when the home team looks down for the count. 

These artists show up night after night, as many have for the past decade or longer. Some will be remembered for their looks, for the ways they interpret music, for their comedy, or their consistently fresh routines. It’s tempting to say “and some will be remembered for none of these things,” but the honest truth is they work toward and realize this city’s dream: to be such a self-actualized weirdo that one can walk in the door and get handed money by strangers.

This article could easily turn into a book, considering how many high caliber drag talents Portland has, but we have to start somewhere. If you don’t already know these performers, get familiar:  

Alexis Campbell Starr

Alexis Campbell Starr’s voice is rich with the diction and conviction of a saved woman–who might eat from the offering plate. But this reigning Rose Empress doesn’t reach for easy Christian jokes, instead using proper church vocabulary to humorously address the congregated apostles and apostates. Campbell Starr regularly advocates and fundraises for HIV research and patient support. A resident cast member of Darcelle XV Showplace, Campbell Starr often performs stirring gospel hymns in her repertoire of secular pop and R&B songs—but her reads will get you right with Jesus. Campbell Starr is so charismatic, it’s a wonder RuPaul hasn’t found her yet. 

Alexis performs regularly at Darcelle XV Showplace, 208 NW 3rd

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Say Nice Things 2024 Yesterday 3:46 AM

Portland’s Cutest Creatures

Let’s say nice things about the city’s most adorable critters!

[Welcome to our second annual "SAY NICE THINGS ABOUT PORTLAND" issue! Read it online here, or if you like physical, paper-y things, you can find it in more than 50 locations all around the city!—eds]

Tired: Portland is weird. Wired: Portland is sexy! Inspired: Portland is CUTE! 

Sure, we’re a messy collection of normies, snobs, and freaks, but you better believe we’re adorable, too. Every last one of us. And some special citizens are cuter than most. They are the venerated… the squee-worthy… the very reason that the heart-eyes emoji exists. Friends, I present to you: Portland’s Cutest Creatures.*

Tamu the Baby Rhino

Tamu—whose name means sweetness—has been mostly out of public view since his birth at the zoo last December, but on the day I visited, they opened a gate to allow him space to frolic. Alas, he and his mom were afraid of the smell of their new scale used to weigh Tamu, so they stayed hidden. (Did you know rhinos are highly particular creatures? Now you do!) Zoo officials will keep letting him explore his habitat, and visitors can expect to see more and more of him as the weather warms up!

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Say Nice Things 2024 Yesterday 3:44 AM

Say Nice Things FUN PAGE: Can You Find Time-othy the Chrono Goblin?

Time-othy the Chrono Goblin is causing trouble in Portland's past, present, and future... so find the little fucker, QUICK!!

[Welcome to our second annual "SAY NICE THINGS ABOUT PORTLAND" issue! Read it online here, or if you like physical, paper-y things, you can find it in more than 50 locations all around the city!—eds]

Expand by clicking the pic or this link!