Cops Tue 10:00 AM

Auditor Finds Police Lack Data to Judge Effectiveness in Curbing Gun Violence

A follow-up report says the police bureau still has work to do to implement audit recommendations from 2018.

The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) still doesn’t track enough data to evaluate whether its gun violence intervention tactics are effective at measurably reducing gun violence, a report from the city auditor found. 

The report, released Tuesday, is a follow-up to a larger audit published in 2018 that evaluated the PPB’s Gang Enforcement Team—a group that aimed to target gang members by pulling them over for minor traffic violations in order to search their car. The audit found the Gang Enforcement Team disproportionally initiated traffic stops with Black drivers, citing the unsubstantiated claim that “most gang shootings in Portland [are] committed by African American gangs.” The audit also cited concerns with the team’s documentation of people they believed to be gang affiliated, noting that the bureau lacked policies that would protect those people’s civil liberties. 

After the team openly admitted to racial profiling, the Gang Enforcement Team was renamed the Gun Violence Reduction Team in 2019, with a focus on reducing gun violence generally. Following the police murder of George Floyd in 2020, City Council voted to dissolve the specialized team.

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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 Tuesday, March 21, and as of yesterday it’s officially spring!  That means we can expect cherry blossoms soon, but first... allergies. 🤧

IN LOCAL NEWS:

• Speaking of sneezing, researchers say allergy season could be worse this year, but don’t worry, Portland doesn’t even rank in the top 20 worst cities for pollen allergies, according to a new report from the Asthma & Allergy Foundation.

• Apparently Oregonians are still luddites when it comes to fueling up. That’s why some are decrying a move by state legislators to allow you to pump your own gas. Only Oregon and New Jersey have laws restricting self-service gas, but recently, Oregon eased up on its rules in some rural areas. Now, a bill would allow up to half of a gas station’s pumps to be self-service. Prepare to get yer mitts dirty!

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Books Mon 3:00 PM

The Crying in H Mart Paperback Release Will Be Author Michelle Zauner's First Book Tour

A  Q & A with the author and musician on growing up in Oregon, moving to South Korea, and writing a screenplay based on her memoir.

“I think it’s almost too meta to cry in H Mart now,” said Michelle Zauner, author of memoir Crying in H Mart and lead vocalist of indie pop band Japanese Breakfast. 

Released in April 2021, Crying in H Mart tells the story of Zauner growing up in Eugene with a Korean immigrant mother whose love manifested in unyielding expectations, knife-like criticism, and the most delicious and attentively-prepared meals. In her mother’s final months with pancreatic cancer, Zauner once again used food to show love and process grief. 

After delaying promoting the book in-person due to the pandemic, the 33-year-old musician will begin her first book tour at the end of the month to promote the book’s paperback release. Ahead of her Portland stop on March 31, the Mercury spoke with Zauner about going on a different kind of tour, getting ready to write her second book, and mostly, being shaped by the places where we live and go. 

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EverOut Mon 12:00 PM

The Top 59 Events in Portland This Week: March 20-26, 2023

Queensrÿche, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and More Top Picks

It's official: Spring is finally here! To celebrate, head out for any number of fabulous events happening this week, from Queensrÿche to Unknown Mortal Orchestra and from Small Town Murder to PassinArt: A Theatre Company Presents August Wilson's Seven Guitars.

MONDAY

LIVE MUSIC

Macie Stewart with Lia Kohl and Moss Wand
Stranger writer Dave Segal wrote: "Chicago-based cellist and performance artist Lia Kohl subverts conventional notions about how her instrument should sound. On 2022's Too Small to Be a Plain, she weaves field recordings (birdsong, burbling water, people's voices, crickets, etc.) into spare, methodical improvisations and introspective, sonorous drones that nibble at the peripheries of your consciousness like playful rodents. Kohl's new album, The Ceiling Reposes, deploys live radio samples captured primarily during a trip to Vashon Island. These lend a gently disorienting effect to the mutedly radiant and electronically glitched drones Kohl produces on her cello, as well as on kazoo, bells, synths, and other instruments. It's an engrossing headphone listen, and it'll be interesting to see if it translates to the stage. Kohl cut a record with tonight's headliner, Macie Stewart, Recipe for a Boiled Egg, that's even weirder and more jagged than her solo stuff." They will be joined by the ambient electronic duo Moss Wand.
(Mississippi Studios, Boise)

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Theater & Performance Mon 11:00 AM

Theater Review: The Value of Forbidden Fruit

Shaking the Tree celebrates its 20th anniversary and raises the bar with a masterful hybrid play.

In Portland, if you see a person dressed up as a character from Alice in Wonderland, they might just be chasing their bliss. 

However, when Rebby Yuer Foster—who plays Alice in Shaking the Tree's experimental new play Forbidden Fruit—moves through a room, they draw the audience with a presence that approaches gravitational pull. Before the show, Foster weaved through the din of a mingling pre-show crowd, intermittently pausing and holding statuesque poses. Were we not instructed to follow them, it's likely some of us would have anyway. 

Was that the beginning of Forbidden Fruit? The work feels like a constant beginning. Was it the walk from Shaking the Tree's newly acquired offices to the door of their warehouse performance space? Did it begin when we poked cautiously through a corridor of tightly packed cardboard boxes, or when we split into groups and entered one of the eight rooms that hold the play's juicer bits?

A longstanding Midgard of Portland theater, Shaking the Tree makes both boundary-pushing and wonderfully relatable projects. We expect grand things, and the company consistently delivers. With Forbidden Fruit, Shaking the Tree has raised the bar once again. 

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The Trash Report Mon 10:00 AM

Tom Cruise and Ed Begley Jr. Are Relatable, We Owe Bats an Apology, and I, Elinor Jones, am now a Sports Journalist

If you don't mind when things get "weird," you'll love this edition of THE TRASH REPORT!

Hidley ho, Trash Pandas! Welcome to The Trash Report. I'm your best friend, Elinor Jones, here with the latest in gossip, news, nonsense... kinda whatever, this column can really go off the rails sometimes. Whatever it is, it will be words. Let's go!

Trash Pandas>Raccoon Dogs

Speaking of trash pandas, more information is coming out about the origins of the coronavirus, and signs are pointing towards a raccoon dog! Without looking up what a raccoon dog is, I'm assuming it's an animal with the intelligence, memory, and charming personality of a dog, mixed with the griminess, cunning, and manual dexterity of a raccoon. Sounds like a cursed animal to me, and I feel just fine pinning the pandemic on it! Bats, which had initially been blamed for passing the virus to humans, are tapping their weird little mammalian bird legs off to the side, wondering when to expect their apology.

This is the best reaction I've seen to our current banking crisis:

Stars: They're Just Like Us! (As in, they're riding the bus, scared of their exes.)

It's been a week, but gossip from last week's Academy Awards is still trickling out. As we know, Top Gun: Maverick was nominated for Best Picture, leaving many convinced that Tom Cruise would grace the Oscars with his presence. Alas, he did not. The official reason he bailed was that he had to work on filming the new Mission: Impossible movie. As if movies can't pause production on a Sunday afternoon so its star can go do something else for a few hours? Not buying it! Others have speculated that he didn't go because he didn't want host Jimmy Kimmel to make fun of him. But the best suggestion is that Cruise didn't go because he didn't want to share the red carpet with ex-wife Nicole Kidman and her husband Keith Urban. This one I like. This makes sense to me. That they broke up 20 years ago and still can't hang is the most relatable thing I've ever heard about Tom Cruise. I still avoid grocery shopping in the neighborhoods of people I dated a decade ago. I get it!

And my favorite little morsel from the event is that actor and environmentalist Ed Begley Jr. and his 23-year-old daughter took public transportation to the ceremony. Like, "Honey, you wanna go to the Oscars?" "Sure, Dad!" "Great! We'll just take the bus, and then the subway, and then walk the last few blocks." This is just such a dad move, to make something as glamorous as getting to go to the Academy Awards, but then making it contingent on taking two different forms of mass transit to get there. I love it tremendously.

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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! While you can expect showers today (and a high of 53), the sun returns tomorrow and Wednesday as temps soar back up to 60 degrees. Now let's soar into some NEWS! ("Soar" is one of those words that looks weirder the more you type it.)

IN LOCAL NEWS:

• If you love neighborhood association DRAMA, you're gonna flip over this banger of a report from the Mercury's newest star reporter Courtney Vaughn. Even after having their funds yanked by the city for financial mismanagement, the overprivileged souls of Southwest Neighborhoods, Inc. want Portland to resume giving them free money... without showing any sign of change. Come for the eye-bulging entitlement, stay for Commish Dan Ryan bending over backwards to help these rich crybabies.

• Speaking of chattering neighborhood groups, members of the Montavilla community gathered at a church to voice their unsurprising discontent over a proposed city-run safe parking site that would allow houseless people to stay and live in their vehicles. Their complaints stayed right on brand: expressing "empathy" without being empathetic, using right-wing dog-whistle, made-up terms like "homeless industrial complex," and automatically categorizing an entire group of people as drug addicted, violent criminals... you know, the YOUZH.

• But wait... who organized this meeting? OHHHHHHH... now this makes sense.

• HOWEVER! Across the city, folks in the Central Eastside also held a meeting with city leaders about the first mass homeless encampment being located in their neighborhood, and expertly called out the mayor's hypocrisy for incorrectly trying to sell it as a "housing first" model. They also castigated the mayor for ignoring the concerns of local houseless nonprofits, and putting California's Urban Alchemy in charge of running the camp—even though the organization has been the subject of multiple lawsuits. (Congrats to this Central Eastside group who have done their homework and actually seem to know what they're talking about! Ahem... Montavilla.) Watch the meeting here.

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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 City Council Approves Incentives for Office-to-Apartment Building Conversions

Facing a housing crisis and a sluggish downtown economy, Portland City Council is aiming to incentivize developers to convert vacant office buildings into residential apartment complexes by waiving fees and relaxing seismic requirements. But is it enough?

FRANK OKAY

POP QUIZ PDX!

Hey brainy butt! 🤓 See how well YOU score on the latest POP QUIZ PDX! This week: famous Oregon flops, creepy bird lovers, and the eventual (and welcome) death of capitalism! 🤗

ILDAR IMASHEV / ISTOCK / GETTY IMAGES PLUS

Climate Change and the Housing Crisis are Burdening Portland’s Emergency Shelter System

As climate change increases the frequency of severe weather events and the region’s housing crisis persists, operating emergency shelters is taking an increasing toll on the county and city—as well as the community volunteers who run the shelters.

MOTOYA NAKAMURA / MULTNOMAH COUNTY
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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! *whispers* (Is it thong weather?) I do believe it's... THONG WEATHER! 💥😎😛 And here's your thong weather report: Expect sunny skies and a thong-tastic 64 degrees tomorrow... and while showers return on Sunday, the temp will still hit 56, which means you can wear your fur thong! And now, here's some thong-tha-thong-thong NEWS

IN LOCAL NEWS:

• If you love neighborhood association DRAMA, you're gonna flip over this banger of a report from the Mercury's newest star reporter Courtney Vaughn. See, even after having their funds yanked by the city for financial mismanagement, the overprivileged souls of Southwest Neighborhoods, Inc. want Portland to resume giving them free money... without showing any sign of change. Come for the eye-bulging entitlement, stay for Commish Dan Ryan bending over backwards to help these rich crybabies.

• Very much related: Building more housing is IMPERATIVE to curbing the state's homeless crisis, and while every NIMBY in the state is screaming and crying for houseless folk to disappear, according to a new poll, only a quarter of Oregonians want new construction in their neighborhood, and half don't want landlords to get any special incentives for taking in the homeless. Feel free to lose YOUR GOT-DAMNED MIND.

• Hilariously, Mayor Ted Wheeler (and fellow Portland Business Alliance employee, Commissioner Mingus Mapps) is claiming that his sweeps of houseless folk encampments near roadways has led to a dramatic decrease in the deaths of homeless people. AHEM. And now our own Isabella Garcia will handily disabuse them of that delusion:

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News Mar 17 1:43 PM

After Years of Financial Mismanagement, Embattled Neighborhood Group Is Asking Portland For More Funding

Southwest Neighborhoods, Inc. is looking to turn over a new leaf, but critics say no meaningful change has been made.

First, it was a $66,000 Paycheck Protection Program loan during the COVID-19 pandemic that raised eyebrows. Then, an audit concluded a city-funded district coalition had misspent close to $354,000 over the course of a decade. That chain of events led the Portland City Council to cut off Southwest Neighborhoods, Inc. from city funds in 2021.

Now, Southwest Neighborhoods, Inc. (SWNI), a nonprofit representing neighborhood associations in South and Southwest Portland, is coming back before city leaders, asking to be reconsidered for annual funding. Neighborhood leaders in South and Southwest Portland say the funding would be a welcome relief. Others are worried about accountability. 

SWNI is one of seven district coalitions established by the city to represent and provide services to neighborhood associations in its geographic boundaries. Neighborhood associations are intended to improve livability in the city, via increased civic engagement and communication with elected city leaders. District coalitions provide support and technical assistance to those neighborhood associations, in the form of administrative services, board training, and community outreach efforts. The city of Portland typically provides funding to coalitions that gets passed on to associations. 

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EverOut Mar 17 11:12 AM

This Week In Portland Food News

Pho Pizza, Filipino Fast Food, and An Upcoming Raw Bar

In this week's batch of food news, the Portland culinary scene welcomes some inventive flavor combos, from pho-braised brisket pizza at Hapa Pizza's new Beaverton restaurant to longanisa burgers and adobo poutine at the new Filipino fast food cart Makulít. Read on for all of that and more news, plus events happening this weekend, like Frankie & Jo's Pop-Up at Tea Bar. For more ideas, check out our food and drink guide.

NEW OPENINGS AND RETURNS

2NW5
The Hoxton's Basement Bar is back in action under the moniker "2NW5," a new speakeasy-inspired concept. The menu includes elegant bar snacks like oysters, arancini, steak tartare, and "green eggs and ham" (deviled eggs with harissa and bacon) alongside classic cocktails like Sidecars and Jungle Birds.
Old Town-Chinatown

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EverOut Mar 17 10:01 AM

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Portland This Weekend: Mar 17-19, 2023

Irish Festival, St. Patrick's Day Party with Pfriem, and More Cheap & Easy Under $15

Lucky for you, there are plenty of cheap and easy events this St. Patrick's Day weekend that won't cost you a pot o'gold. Check them all out below, from Irish Festival 2023 to St. Patrick's Day Party with Pfriem and from This Ain't No Disco: A Drag and Burlesque tribute to Talking Heads to Palestinian Art and Cultural Festival.

FRIDAY

LIVE MUSIC

Adam Melchor: Free Pizza Lunch, In-Store Performance, and Signing
Indie-folk singer-songwriter Adam Melchor will stop by Music Millennium for a free in-store performance, signing, and pizza party in support of his sophomore album, Here Goes Nothing!, which features an appearance from PNW favorites Fleet Foxes.
(Music Millennium, Kerns, free)

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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: We're looking at some nice ass weather this weekend. I wouldn't be a true midwesterner if I didn't immediately follow such a statement with a reminder to keep your drunk bros out of the fast, cold, and tricksy Oregon rivers.

IN LOCAL NEWS:
• OPB's Amelia Templeton has been writing a multi-part investigation of Oregon's mental health system. Yesterday, part one looked at the problem of not having enough facilities to house people experiencing serious mental illness. Today's part two is about rural areas, which have disproportionately higher instances of “deaths of despair.”

• If the conversations about ongoing staff shortages in Oregon's hospitals are of interest to you, the newly released study—compiled by the Oregon Longitudinal Data Collaborative—explains some of the problems and recommends solutions. By all means, read the study, but OPB's Meerah Powell summarizes it well, too.

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Pick out your most verdant outfit and pluck some three-leaf clovers: St. Patrick's Day is this Friday, March 17. Whether you'd like to mark the occasion with donuts, corned beef, soda bread, or stout, Portland bars and restaurants have you covered. We've gathered this list of places offering food and drink specials for the holiday, from Laurelhurst Market to Portland Cà Phê. Sláinte! For more ideas, check out our food and drink guide.


Bethany's Table
You'll find an Irish-inspired menu, live Irish folk songs, and plenty of Guinness at this family-owned farm-to-table bistro on St. Patrick's Day.
Bethany
Pickup, dine-in

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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 some honest news: I intend to rush through writing this so I can stand outside and get blasted with all the Vitamin D my body has been denied over the past several months, and I know it's only like 58 degrees out there, but I'm probably going to wear shorts and you can't stop me! For more news, please read on. 

IN LOCAL NEWS:

• Good news for the city center: KATU reports that downtown businesses have seen increased foot traffic in recent months, and they're crediting the return of arts programming. While the number of window shoppers still hasn't returned to pre-pandemic levels, it is up 25 percent from last year. Nice! I know I for one am pumped about the summer concert series at Pioneer Square and I can't wait to see downtown look all lively and fun again. 

• From the Willamette Week: Data Shows Fires at Homeless Camps Remained a Large Portion of Portland Blazes Last Year. You can click through to find a table breaking down the instances by month, but the gist is that many more fires happen during winter months, because it's cold, and fire is warm. Honestly, what do they expect people to do? 

• The Oregon Legislature is considering a ban on TikTok on state-issued phones, which is how I learned that state employees were putting TikTok on their state-issued phones. President Biden has even threatened to pull this whole car over and ban TikTok from all of the USA if China doesn't stop using the app for spying, and China's like "We don't! By the way, your outfit is 🔥." 

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