Lagunatic Photo, Roy Rochlin / Getty Images, State of Oregon

Hello, Oregon! This week’s column is all about YOU, since I was inspired by local hotel magnate/GOP donor/Trump henchman Gordon Sondland. Oregon doesn’t produce a lot of national newsmakers, so there’s some real misplaced pride when a local boy makes good, or in this case, very very bad. I mean, I still tell everyone that I used to watch Tonya Harding practice skating at Clackamas Town Center ahead of the 1994 Olympics. OREGON RULES! Let’s discuss.

This Land is Your Land, This Hotel is Sondland’s

As you may know, Gordon Sondland owns a bunch of boutique hotels in downtown Portland, and he used some of our local money to buy—er, I mean donate—his way into the Trump administration and his current position as the Ambassador to the European Union. This is very exciting, and by “exciting,” I mean, “Wow, fuck this guy!” Congressman Earl Blumenauer feels the same way, and last week called for a boycott of Sondland’s properties until he fulfills his legal obligation to fork over the good stuff to the House’s impeachment inquiry. If you’d like to follow your congressman’s advice, let me make it easy for you: Sondland’s company owns The Heathman, Hotel deLuxe, Hotel Lucia, The Sentinel, Dossier, and Woodlark. Local ice cream empire Salt & Straw has already terminated their relationship with these hotels. In the fight against fascism, I will always stand with sweet treats.

“But Elinor,” you say sweetly. “Trump’s the one who made the call! Maybe Sondland’s not so bad?” Dear reader, let me assure you that Gordon Sondland is truly terrible. The New York Times reported Sondland’s “actions made him vulnerable to foreign governments who could exploit his inexperience,” that he “repeatedly told foreign officials they were welcome to come to the White House whenever they liked,” and that one time some Romanian officials showed up at the White House unannounced because Sondland told them they could. With all the doofs in Trump’s inner circle, isn’t it kind of cool that someone from here is one of the doofiest?

No Vaping! Okay, Some Vaping.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown implemented a six-month ban on flavored vaping products following a spate of deaths across the country. The Oregon Court of Appeals put a stay on the ban just two days after it went into effect, so the poor victimized tobacco industry can defend itself against all this scientific data that proves their products are bad for us. This story is developing, but I’d like to give a shout-out to local and national leaders who, upon learning that a product was dangerous, took swift action to prevent unnecessary harm. Unrelated, but worth mentioning: more people will have died from guns on the day you read this article than have ever died from vaping.

Local Animal Updates

According to KVAL, a bobcat sneaked into a rural school outside of Eugene last week. The principal was notified of the wildcat’s presence in the main office by an observant parent who said: “There’s a bobcat!” The principal reported that he then exited the office and closed the door, protecting both the cat and the dozens of nearby schoolchildren who probably would have been very delicious. A team of wildlife experts was able to safely capture the bobcat, only to euthanize it. Sorry, student bobcat! I hope that a taxidermist stuffs the bobcat’s body and then the school displays it both as a mascot and as a warning to other wild animals who might be thinking that there won’t be any consequences for sneaking into the principal’s office.

Here in town, police officers helped to rescue a li’l baby owl who was trapped on a busy East Portland street while being attacked by crows. Officers kept the hooter cozy and safe until the Audubon Society arrived to take the owl in for veterinary care and rehabilitation. The Oregonian broke this adorable story of attempted murder by murder (get it... murder? Murder of crows? Murrrrrder? Forget it), and I am happy for evidence that police officers are capable of deescalating a situation without the use of force. I also hope that officers will always treat humans as kindly as they did this sweet baby owl, who I think should be named... Officer Hoots. (Coming this fall on ABC, right after Stumptown.)

More Animal Cops, Plus an American Treasure DRAMA

Speaking of animal cops, I have the best gossip for both you and your parents (and probably also your grandparents): Happy Days actor Henry Winkler recently went on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live! and was prodded about an alleged feud with none other than America’s dad, Tom Hanks, which he all as good as confirmed. How is this possible?? Honestly, if it was anyone besides Henry Winkler, I’d take Hanks’ side in a second, but this—this is confusing. Apparently it goes all the way back to 1989, when Winkler was unceremoniously fired from the Hanks film about being co-detectives with a dog, Turner and Hooch. According to People magazine, Winkler said, “Let’s just say I got along better with Hooch than I did with Turner.” To be clear: Hooch was the dog. [Most Fonzie voice]: EEYYYY!

Crap, I said I would keep this local. Okay, remember that party game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? I’ll do that with Oregon: Tom Hanks was the voice of Woody in Toy Story, which also featured John Ratzenberger as Hamm, who was on Cheers with Kirstie Alley, who has resided in Southern Oregon for years; Henry Winkler is on Barry with Bill Hader who was on SNL with Aidy Bryant who shot Shrill here in Portland. This story is local. HAPPY?!

Rihanna Also Counts as Local News Now

Rihanna was on the cover of the November issue of Vogue to discuss her empire of fashion, makeup, and music, and to reassure her fans that there will be another album, eventually: “Me the designer, me the woman who creates makeup and lingerie—it all started with music. It was my first pen pal-ship to the world. To cut that off is to cut my communication off. All of these other things flourish on top of that foundation.” Rihanna also confirmed that the album will be “reggae-inspired” which has me feeling confused, but you know what? I will buy it. I mean, once I didn’t see the magic in a freakin’ UMBRELLA, but Rihanna has a way of making everything cool. (Rihanna was in This Is the End with Martin Starr who is on Silicon Valley with Kumail Nanjiani who has had recurring roles on Portlandia, filmed here. Local!)

The Last Word

How about that—even the stuff you didn’t think was about Oregon was actually still about Oregon! So much Oregon! We are everything! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Oregon is the sun. We light the day. We are the center of the galaxy. We’ll kill any envious moon. We may sometimes be masked by clouds and rain, but we are always there, making things happen and being extremely relevant in every national conversation and whatever Rihanna is doing. Gordon Sondland should probably be in jail, but I appreciate that, at least for now, he made Oregon a star.