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PORTLAND STATE VANGUARD

VOLUME 74 • ISSUE 14 • DECEMBER 3, 2019

LOSING

CHINA TOWN NEWS ACTIVISTS PROTEST AGAINST TRIMET FARE ENFORCEMENT GARBAGE DAY ONE LAST RIDE—NINJAGEDDON OPINION AMERICA NEEDS TO STOP ARMING TERRORISTS


CRIME BLOTTER

Nov. 25–30

TERI WALTERS NOV. 25 Theft Between 10:10 a.m. and 1:50 p.m. there were two reports of theft on campus. A Portland State employee reported theft of property at Parking Structure 3. The other was a PSU student who had lost their credit cards. Burglary At 11:30 p.m. there was a report of burglary at a University Pointe apartment that was left unlocked. Property was taken. NOV. 26 Vehicle Break-Ins Between midnight and 1:40 p.m. there were three reports of vehicle break-ins. Two occured at Parking Structure 1, both with property taken. The third occurred at Parking Structure 3 with property also taken.

Fire Alarm At 9:45 p.m. Campus Public Safety officers and Portland Fire Bureau responded to a fire alarm at Broadway Residence Hall. The alarm was set off by burning food. There was no smoke or flames. NOV. 27 Assault At 4 a.m. a non-student was assaulted by another non-student at the University Place Hotel. The individual assaulted was treated by medical.

NOV. 30 Vandalism At 4:40 p.m. a PSU student reported their vehicle was damaged at Blumel Residence Hall Parking. Vehicle Break-In At 8:20 p.m. CPSO and Portland Fire Bureau responded to a fire alarm at Montgomery Residence Hall. There was no smoke or flames.

Road Rage At 2:40 p.m. a PSU student was involved in a road rage incident where the other driver displayed a firearm at the corner of SW College and SW 6th.

CONTENTS COVER BY BRANDON PAHNISH NEWS HILL TO HALL

P. 3

INTERNATIONAL TOURISM AFFECTING SCOTTISH ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT

P. 10

NON-TUITION ATHLETICS SCHOLARSHIPS DECLINE

P. 3

DEATH TOLL OF IRAQI PROTESTS RISING

P. 10

PSU RESIDENCE HALLS ‘VULNERABLE TO COLLAPSE’ DURING EARTHQUAKE

P. 4

‘NO FARE IS FAIR’

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OPINION U.S. INTERVENTIONISM SUPPORTS TERROR AROUND THE WORLD

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RECESSION BUILT INTO THE SYSTEM

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INTERNATIONAL INTERNATIONAL: THIS WEEK AROUND THE WORLD

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AUSTRALIAN WOMEN WIN LAWSUIT AGAINST JOHNSON & JOHNSON

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ARTS & CULTURE OREGON SYMPHONY PERFORMS SHAKESPEARE’S ‘THE TEMPEST’

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THE FINAL GARBAGE DAY: NINJAGEDDON

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CENTER OUR CHANGING CITY: LOSING CHINATOWN

P. 8–9

COMICS

P. 15

EVENTS CALENDAR

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STAFF

EDIT ORI A L EDITOR IN CHIEF Nada Sewidan MANAGING EDITOR Marta Yousif

ONLINE EDITOR Sangi Lama COPY CHIEF Hannah Welbourn

INTERNATIONAL EDITOR Madison Cecil

CONTRIBUTORS Hanna Anderson Kameel Assad Christina Casanova Andrew Gaines Justin Grinnell Teri Walters

ARTS & CULTURE EDITOR Nick Townsend

FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS Chloe Dysart—Scotland

OPINION EDITOR Anthony Montes

PHO T O & MULTIMEDI A PHOTO EDITOR Alex Wittwer

NEWS EDITORS Sophie Concannon Dylan Jefferies

SPORTS EDITOR Rich Rigney

MULTIMEDIA EDITOR Owen Demetre

PRODUC TION & DE SIGN CREATIVE DIRECTOR John Rojas

A DV ISING & ACCOUN TING COORDINATOR OF STUDENT MEDIA Reaz Mahmood

LEAD DESIGNER Sam Person

STUDENT MEDIA TECHNOLOGY ADVISOR Corrine Nightingale

DESIGNERS Brandon Pahnish Dana Townsend DIS T RIBU TION & M A R K E TING DISTRIBUTION & MARKETING MANAGER Dylan Jefferies T ECHNOL OGY & W EB SIT E TECHNOLOGY ASSISTANTS Juliana Bigelow George Olson Tien Pham John Rojas

STUDENT MEDIA ACCOUNTANT Sheri Pitcher To contact Portland State Vanguard, email info@psuvanguard.com

MIS SION S TAT EMEN T Vanguard ’s mission is to serve the Portland State community with timely, accurate, comprehensive and critical content while upholding high journalistic standards. In the process, we aim to enrich our staff with quality, hands-on journalism education and a number of skills highly valued in today’s job market.

A BOU T Vanguard, established in 1946, is published weekly as an independent student newspaper governed by the PSU Student Media Board. Views and editorial content expressed herein are those of the staff, contributors and readers and do not necessarily represent the PSU student body, faculty, staff or administration. Find us in print Tuesdays and online 24/7 at psuvanguard.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @psuvanguard for multimedia content and breaking news.


NEWS

NON-TUITION ATHLETICS SCHOLARSHIPS DECLINE

SPORTS REVENUE HASN’T GONE UP IN A DECADE

NOV. 25–27 HANNA ANDERSON

NOV. 25: SUPPORTERS OF HIGHER OREGON CIGARETTE TAX RAISE $9 MILLION IN CONTRIBUTIONS

A campaign to raise taxes on packs of cigarettes by $2 has garnered over $9 million in contributions, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting. Various hospital systems, including Providence Health & Services, Legacy Health System and Peacehealth provided the majority of contributions. According to Willamette Week, tobacco companies have not created an opposing Political Action Committee yet, but are expected to. The last time a measure on the ballot proposed increasing taxes on cigarettes in 2007, the tobacco industry outspent opponents with $12.1 million and won. The proposed measure, which was approved by Oregon’s State Legislature to be on the 2020 ballot, would raise the tax on a pack of cigarettes from $1.33 to $3.33. In comparison, Washington and California charge $3.53 and $3.46 per pack, respectively.

NOV. 26: OREGON BILL DELISTING GREY WOLVES UPHELD BY OREGON COURT OF APPEALS

Oregon’s Court of Appeals dismissed a lawsuit filed by environmentalist groups that oppose the Oregon State Legislature’s decision to remove grey wolves from Oregon’s endangered species list. The groups—Cascadia Wildlands, Center for Biological Diversity and Oregon Wild—claimed the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife did not use flawed science to make their decision, according to OPB. The dismissal cited legislation from 2016, House Bill 4040, to delist grey wolves, which was signed into law by Oregon Governor Kate Brown in March.

NOV. 26: CASCADE-SISKIYOU EXPANSION RULED ILLEGAL BY FEDERAL JUDGE

A federal judge ruled that the majority of the expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in 2017 was illegal, according to OPB. The expansion was originally issued by President Barack Obama in an executive order signed near the end of his term in 2017. It was challenged by timber companies, along with the Bureau of Land Management policy that reduced the amount of Oregon and California Railroad Land could be used for commercial logging. O&C Land made up 80% of the land in the expanded monument. BLM has not yet responded to the decision.

NOV. 27: OREGON JUDGE RULES IN FAVOR OF REJECTED BALLOT PETITIONS

A Marion County judge has ruled in favor of Secretary of State Beverly Clarno after her decision to reject three proposed initiative ballots to expand Oregon forestry laws. The initiatives—35, 36 and 37—were originally rejected in September for not following a constitutional single subject requirement for ballot initiatives. However, the decision drew criticism from environmental advocates, who later sued Clarno over her decision, according to The Oregonian. Critics insisted Clarno was too strict in her application of the single-subject rule, as well as citing heavy contributions from the timber industry over Clarno’s career.

BRANDON PAHNISH SOPHIE CONCANNON According to Portland State Athletics Fiscal Officer Kati Falger, the amount of athletics scholarship money for non-tuition expenses has gone down in the past years. Falger cited the reason for decreasing scholarship money is there has been no substantial increase in revenue for athletics in the past 10 years, despite cost of living consistently going up. “14.2 million was our revenue 10 years ago,” Falger said. “Today, it’s still [approximately] 14.3 million.” Falger said trying to live within the number for over a decade despite general costs and tuition going up means the student athlete experience gets smaller. “We’re still funding cash scholarships on the tuition rate from 10 years ago, so that means less athletes get aid or travel,” Falger said. “We’re still trying to travel on this dollar, so that means we’re saying no to pre-season.” Falger also said there isn’t much movement on the revenue side regarding a cost of living increase. “We can fundraise [and] we can sell more tickets,” Falger said, but the options for fundraising within athletics beyond what is already being done is limited. Falger said money for scholarships comes primarily from fundraising. Fundraising events like the Wine and Roses dinner and auction, which occur annually, are used for funding cash scholarships. According to Vice President of Finance and Administration Kevin Reynolds, the athletics department had an approximately $4.2 million cash

loss in the 2019 fiscal year, and this structural problem will likely cause athletics to go negative again in the 2020 fiscal year. Falger said this is a result of rollover from not balancing the budget for the past few years. She also attributed the lack of increase in revenue to the decrease of SFC funding over the past years and declining enrollment, leading to a decreased budget—approximately 2 million— from PSU. “It’s striking that add all the tuition and fees in the resident and...unless you’re living with your family, tuition and fees are considerably less than half of the total cost,” said PSU Board of Trustees member Irving Levin at a Finance and Administration Committee meeting. Reynolds agreed, saying the predominant driver of cost of attendance is housing and food. “Our cash money that we can offer for room, books and board, the non-tuition expenses for attending school, which are a lot, has stayed the same,” Falger said. Falger said while the number of student athletes has stayed the same and roster sizes will continue to stay constant, being able to offer less money for non-tuition expenses could potentially limit the number of athletes who want to come to PSU. “If you have a basketball player who’s getting a couple offers, and they’re getting a bigger offer from someone else in the conference, they’re gonna probably go where the money is greater if they weren’t committed to PSU for another reason,” Falger said.

PSU Vanguard • DECEMBER 3, 2019 • psuvanguard.com

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NEWS

PSU RESIDENCE HALLS ‘VULNERABLE TO COLLAPSE’ DURING EARTHQUAKE 1,600 BUILDINGS IN PORTLAND CONSTRUCTED OF UNREINFORCED MASONRY

PSU'S KING ALBERT RESIDENCE HALL, ONE OF THE 1,600 UNREINFORCED MASONRY BUILDINGS IN PORTLAND. ALEX WITTWER/PSU VANGUARD

JUSTIN GRINNELL Five of Portland State’s residence halls are constructed of unreinforced masonry, building materials vulnerable to collapse during an earthquake. According to Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, “FEMA considers [URMs] the most dangerous buildings when the ground shakes.” Portland City Council unanimously repealed an ordinance on Oct. 23 that mandated private building owners to notify prospective tenants if their buildings were constructed of URM. The ordinance also mandated the display of cautionary placards at the entrance of these buildings. A district court ruled that the city ordinance used private citizens and private property to voice the government’s intent and, therefore, the ordinance violated the First Amendment. The district court ordered that Portland could not enforce the URM placards or prospective tenant information on Feb. 14, which went into effect on Feb. 27. According to district court documents, the validity of the information used to classify structures as URM buildings and to compile them into Portland’s database was also called into question by opponents of the ordinance, such as Masonry Building Owners of Oregon and Fountain Village Development LLC. The initial information for the URM database was gathered from 1994–96 by Portland’s structural engineer, Michael Hagerty, along with PSU engineering students who Hagerty trained.

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The students were broken up into small groups to inspect different areas of buildings and Hagerty did random quality control checks of their work. The PSU students did not keep any documentation of their determination that a building was in fact constructed of URM. The court came to the conclusion it was unclear how the PSU students determined a building to be made of URM. Hagerty and his team inventoried approximately 2,100 URM buildings in Portland, but since the initial inventory, 250 buildings were found not to have been constructed of URM. City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly said the issue of the legality of the ordinance was distracting from a much larger concern—the safety of the people. “As a public council, we have to place public safety and human life before all other considerations,” Eudaly said. “Any life lost [due to URM building collapse] is too much,” Hardesty—who sat on the committee overseeing the process of repealing the ordinance—added. The URM database is available online to the public. The disclaimer reads “The City of Portland makes no representations, expressed or implied as to the accuracy of this database. There are no assurances as to whether the information presented is correct or comprehensive.” About 1,600 URM buildings remain in Portland, one of which is PSU’s King Albert Residence Hall. Executive Director of Housing and Residence Life Mike Walsh agreed with the ex-

PSU Vanguard • DECEMBER 3, 2019 • psuvanguard.com

isting URM database about King Albert’s URM status. PSU senior and King Albert resident Hannah Morris had never heard of URM buildings nor did she recall seeing a placard on her building. Walsh said the St. Helens, Montgomery, Blackstone and Parkway residence buildings are of the same construction. The buildings will either be retrofitted to withstand seismic activity up to the city’s standards or demolished, but the process is in its early stages. According to Walsh, it will be about a year before either action is taken and there are additional processes if PSU chooses to demolish the buildings. As an auxiliary branch of PSU, Housing and Residence Life doesn’t receive money from the university and will have to cover any repairs or demolitions. Walsh explained that Ondine—though not constructed of URM—is only rated to withstand seismic activity up to the third floor, and it would cost about $50 million to retrofit the rest of the building. Before the close of the October ordinance meeting, Jonna Papaefthimiou from the Bureau of Emergency Management and head of a newly-created committee to address the issues of URM buildings said Portland has a 22–26% chance for a major earthquake in the next 50 years. Steve Carlson, adjunct professor of volcanology and field science at PSU, agreed with Papaefthimiou’s statistic. “The last major earthquake [in the Portland area] happened around the 1700s, and we’re long overdue,” Carlson said.


NEWS

‘NO FARE IS FAIR’ ACTIVISTS PROTEST AGAINST TRIMET FARE ENFORCEMENT SOPHIE CONCANNON Activists held a rally for fare enforcement justice on Nov. 27 in Pioneer Courthouse Square to protest against punitive measures for fare violations after TriMet’s recent expansion of security on transportation lines. Demonstrators argued fare evasion enforcement targets disenfranchised communities and that TriMet is a public good that should be free to use. “We think it’s incredibly anti-poverty to make people struggling enough economically pay ridiculous amounts of money to use something that should be a public good,” said Jake Henceroth, a protester with the rally for fare enforcement justice, according to KOIN. According to a list of demands printed on a flyer passed out at the rally, the hosts of the rally—The PNW Youth Liberation Front—wants to eliminate fares and divert resources from fare enforcement officers to hiring unionized transit workers. In response to antifa demands on the abolition of fare inspectors, a spokesperson for the PNW Youth Liberation Front—under the pseudonym of Anthemis—said on KBOO community radio the opposite of their goal was to force employees into poverty. “We aren’t here to take anyone’s jobs...we want them reallocated to other in-need jobs that TriMet has,” Anthemis said. The PNW Youth Liberation Front also wants “frequent, reliable 24/7 service” and to improve transit service coverage and options in historically excluded communities of color. “Previously disenfranchised neighborhoods, like Black, brown, working class neighborhoods that historically haven’t had access to nearly as much access to public transit compared to other more white, more rich neighborhoods [should have service],” Anthemis said. The protest was sparked in part by an incident that occurred on Nov. 8 when a houseless individual was fined $175 after failing to identify

A FULL TRAIN OF PASSENGERS DURING RUSH HOUR IN DOWNTOWN PORTLAND. ALEX WITTWER/PSU VANGUARD his fare properly despite having paid his fare, as reported by Street Roots. “It’s unfortunate that [the individual] misunderstood how the Hop card works and as a result was cited,” said TriMet spokesperson Tia York via the Willamette Week. TriMet responded to the protest by saying they support protester’s right to lawful protest, as long as it does not interfere with their service. “TriMet does dispute many inaccurate claims made by protesters, as we work daily to provide transit service that is safe, equitable and affordable,” the statement read. On fare inspectors and random fare checks, TriMet said they “bring equity and fairness” to the system. “We made improvements in July 2018 to decriminalize fare evasion and make penalties less punitive.” However, according to a statement after an independent analysis of TriMet, those caught riding TriMet buses or trains without a valid fare can be subject to a $175 fine. “Fare evasion is a violation under [Oregon State Legislature] Chapter 153,” the TriMet

statement reads, listing fines, community service and registration for the Honored Citizen program as possible penalties for fare evasion. Portland Mayoral Candidate Sarah Iannarone stated the people need to elect the TriMet board—currently appointed by the Oregon governor—and hold a discussion about moving the agency to regional jurisdiction.” “TriMet is out of control and needs to be brought in line [with] climate action and equity goals, period,” Iannarone stated in a tweet regarding alleged poor fare enforcement tactics on the TriMet MAX. “Weekly, we’re learning about our neighbors just trying to go about their day being harassed and criminalized by fare enforcers,” Iannarone stated. “It’s unacceptable. This is not the transit system Portlanders want; this is not keeping Portlanders healthy or safe.” For the 2020 fiscal year, revenue from passenger fare is projected at just over $110 million, approximately 16% of all revenue collected by TriMet. Roughly $228 million in expenses is projected from salaries and wages of TriMet employees, with a projection of approximately

$348 million in total personnel expenses. “Only about 15% of revenue comes from fare, and that is canceled out by all of the money spent on date enforcement and collection,” the PNW Youth Liberation Front stated in a tweet. “Getting rid of fare would pretty much pay for itself.” TriMet has said that fares are essential to service and are continually required and enforced for a number of reasons, including an increased security presence requested by riders in recent surveys. “Fare checks encourage people to pay for their rides, and this revenue ultimately helps us fund service, including expansions and improvements,” TriMet stated. Beyond eliminating a penalty for disenfranchised transit users, activists promoted the benefits of free public transit, including social and economic justice. “Employment, housing, education, social services, cultural activities and leisure will become more accessible to everyone, particularly benefiting marginalized and low-income riders,” stated the flyer dispersed at the rally.

PSU Vanguard • DECEMBER 3, 2019 • psuvanguard.com

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INTERNATIONAL

THIS WEEK 4

around the

WORLD

Nov. 24–Dec. 1

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Nov. 24–29

THE BLACK SEA

A cargo ship carrying 14,600 sheep toward Saudi Arabia overturned on Nov. 24. The 21 crew members were rescued with no serious injuries, and a rescue operation involving over 100 people per day continued until Nov. 29 to search for the sheep. Officials do not know what caused the ship to capsize, but Gabriel Paun of Animals International, a non-governmental organization dedicated to protecting animals, believes the ship was overloaded. Of the 14,600 sheep onboard the cargo ship at the time of the accident, 256 were rescued alive by the end of the search and rescue mission, according to The New York Times. 2

Nov. 25

MENDOZA, ARGENTINA

An Argentine court sentenced two priests and a gardener to prison for the sexual assault of students at the Catholic churchowned Antonio Provolo Institute for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children. After the allegations surfaced in 2016, the 10 known survivors of the sexual assaults, both men and women

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who attended the school between 2005 and 2016, testified in court against the priests and the gardener. Reverend Nicola Bruno Corradi Soliman, an Italian priest, will serve 42 years in prison while Reverend Horacio Hugo Corbacho Blanck from Argentina, who had photographs of a naked student on his computer in addition to the sexual assault allegations, will be in prison for 45 years. The gardener, Armando Ramón Gómez Bravo, will serve 18 years for his involvement in the crimes. 3

Nov. 27

KINGSTON, CANADA

A Piper PA-32 plane crashed and killed all seven passengers on board. It is unknown what caused the plane to crash, but investigators suspect extreme weather conditions were a contributing factor. The plane crashed a few miles from the Kingston airport, according to AP News. Aboard the plane was a family from Texas, including the husband, wife and their three children. A couple living in Toronto at the time also died in the crash. The New York Times reported the plane was registered in

PSU Vanguard • DECEMBER 3, 2019 • psuvanguard.com

the United States, so Canadian authorities are working with the U.S. to determine the cause of the crash. 4

Nov. 29

THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS

A man stabbed three teenagers on Grote Markt Street while they were participating in Black Friday shopping. The teenagers were two 15-year-old girls and one 13-year-old boy; all three received treatment at the hospital and were later released. After the incident, police officers blocked off the surrounding area and discovered the knife used in the stabbing. A 35-year-old man was arrested on Nov. 30 for the crime, but his motive remains unknown. 5

Nov. 30

VILLA UNION, MEXICO

Police officers and several trucks full of armed gunmen exchanged gunfire on Nov. 30 for over an hour. Among the dead are 10 gunmen and four police officers. An additional six police officers were injured in the incident, according to The New York Times.

The gunmen are suspected to be members of the Cartel of the Northeast, which primarily operates in the neighboring state of Tamaulipas. The gunmen drove through the town in pick-up trucks before raiding several public buildings, including the mayor’s office. Officials have reported that several people are missing from the raided public buildings, but have not specified how many. 6

Dec. 1

ZABAIKALSKY, RUSSIA

A passenger bus carrying 44 people, including the driver, fell from a bridge into a frozen river after one of the vehicle’s tires popped while it was crossing the bridge. At least 19 people, including two young children, died, and 21 received treatment at the hospital, including a 12-year-old girl. According to Voice of America, a rescue team of over 70 people and two helicopters with medics were involved in the recovery of victims of the accident. Russia’s Investigative Committee announced it would be opening a criminal investigation into the crash, believing traffic safety laws could have been violated by the driver.


INTERNATIONAL

AUSTRALIAN WOMEN WIN LAWSUIT AGAINST JOHNSON & JOHNSON PELVIC IMPLANT SIDE EFFECTS CAUSE LIFELONG PAIN VAGINAL MESH IMPLANT USED IN PELVIC SURGERY. COURTESY OF BOSTON SCIENTIFIC

TERI WALTERS Over 1,350 women in Australia won a seven-year-long court case against pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson regarding pelvic mesh implants that caused long-term pain in some patients. The implants were supposed to resolve pelvic floor damage typically seen during childbirth, but the victims suffered debilitating side effects as a result of the default mesh or tape implants. While removing the pelvic implants is possible, it does require surgery. The surgery could result in further damage or worsening of the pain, TeleSUR reported. “They have treated women essentially like guinea pigs, lied about it and done nothing to help,” the original claimant Julie Davis said in a media conference outside of the court in Sydney, according to Reuters. Kathryn Gill, Diane Dawson and Ann Sanders brought the class action to The Federal Court of Australia in 2012. The court found on Nov. 21 that J&J was negligent and responsible for the women’s side effects. “The risks were known, not insignificant, and on the respondents’ own admission, could cause significant and serious harm if they eventuated,” The Federal Court of Australia said in an official statement on Nov. 21, according to TeleSUR. Gill, Dawson and Sanders all described the effects of the faulty mesh implants as extremely painful. Pain “so bad she struggles to breathe,” one explained. The other two described “excruciating

pain across her buttocks, pain deep inside her vagina and pain that radiates down her leg” and “chronic pain and multiple other symptoms.” The women described being “frightened about what the future holds” due to the pain they now face, according to TeleSUR. The Federal Court of Australia Judge Anna Katzmann believes J&J made “false representations” and provided “inaccurate” information about the pelvic implants and how safe they were. “The question is whether this conduct considered as a whole was misleading or likely to mislead,” Katzmann said in her judgement, according to TeleSUR. “I believe it was.” Subsidiary Ethicon, which worked with J&J on the pelvic mesh implant product, is being held responsible alongside J&J in the lawsuit. “The post-market evaluation of all the Ethicon devices was deficient,” Katzmann said in her judgement, according to TeleSUR. “It fell well below the level of care required of a reasonably prudent manufacturer. The risks were known, not insignificant and on Ethicon’s own admission, serious harm could ensue if they eventuated.” In an official statement, Ethicon claimed to have acted responsibly and said they did properly test and evaluate the mesh implants before they were provided to the public. “Ethicon believes that the company acted ethically and responsibly in the research, development and supply of these products,” the statement said,

according to Reuters. Ethicon’s statement went on to say the company would be looking to appeal the case. Shine Law Firm has been leading the case since 2012. “It has been a long journey to get here through this legal process,” commented Shine Lawyers’ Special Council for Class Actions Rebecca Jancauskas, according to Reuters. “We have fought hard to have these women’s voices heard as they’ve struggled with the chronic pain and complications from their mesh and tape implants.” Including the women in the United States, Canada and Europe who have also filed lawsuits in relation to the pelvic mesh or tape implants, the number of women affected is above 8,000. While no final settlement has been reached, J&J and Ethicon will most likely pay out millions of dollars, according to TeleSUR. According to Al Jazeera, 41 claims throughout the U.S., especially the District of Columbia, were awarded nearly $117 million in Oct. 2019. J&J has been involved in over 50,000 lawsuits over the past few years for several of their pharma products, including hip implants, talc and blood thinners. Forbes estimates the lawsuits cost J&J approximately $6 billion. The New York Times reported there is also expected to be a number of new lawsuits filed against J&J in relation to the U.S. opioid crisis after a $572 million lawsuit was settled in Oklahoma in 2019. The Oklahoma lawsuit decided J&J had undersold the dangers of opioids.

PSU Vanguard • DECEMBER 3, 2019 • psuvanguard.com

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COVER

NICK TOWNSEND AND ALEX WITTWER Decades of neglect and mismanagement by the city’s government has left Portland’s historic Chinatown district a ghost of its former self. Historically a center for the marginalized ChineseAmerican community in Oregon, downtown’s Chinatown district has been neglected by development authorities for the past several decades. Facing increasing crime, decreasing levels of foot traffic and tourism, and increasing rents, the neighborhood has lost almost all of its long-standing businesses, and the immigrant community has been forced to relocate.

The city government adopted the CCBA plan in 1984 as a city agenda. In 1989, the city officially designated the zone north of W. Burnside as a protected historical landmark. In 2000, the Lan Su Chinese Garden opened. Lan Su hosts over 800 events throughout the year to foster and preserve the tradition and culture of Chinatown. The Annual Chinese New Years celebration, as well as the Grand Floral Parade and Starlight Parade celebrate Chinese culture with colorfully decorated dragons and floats.

History of Chinatown

The Changing Landscape

Chinatown dates back to the 1860s, when Chinese immigrants began to settle in Portland along the Willamette River, a spot ignored by white Americans due to constant flooding. Over the next several decades, Chinatown developed into a 14-block area concentrated around the waterfront north of West Burnside Street. Chinatown isn’t new to being a site of change and contention. When Congress passed the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, the area became a site for Japanese immigrants moving to Oregon as a new source of cheap labor for burgeoning industrial sectors. The Chinese immigrant community continued to reside in Chinatown through the 20th century, establishing the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association in 1900 and constructing the CCBA building on the corner of NW 3rd and Davis St. as a center of advocacy for the Chinese community. Today, the building is the site of the Portland Chinatown Museum. Efforts to redevelop and recognize the history of Chinatown date back to the 1970s, when the CCBA established the Chinatown development committee. The Republic of China, the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office and private donors contributed hundreds of dollars to rebuild the CCBA building and create a plan to redevelop the area of New Chinatown.

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PSU Vanguard • DECEMBER 3, 2019 • psuvanguard.com

Despite Lan Su’s efforts to cultivate interest in the community, the past two decades have seen a decrease of money and public interest in the preservation and development of Chinatown. Zoning violations, increasing downtown rents and a lack of concerted effort from development authorities have left Chinatown dilapidated. “It was different 20 years ago...we were full, always busy,” said Sophie Li of Golden Horse Restaurant on SW 4th and Everett St. “Now, not so much.” “We have 165,000 visitors, and it’s amazing how many of those visitors come down, visit us, and then go right back out of this neighborhood,” said Gary Wilson, director of events and planning for Lan Su Garden. “We need a more vibrant economic base to support that tourism in this pocket. It will help change this neighborhood, and it’s coming, but it’s coming so slow.” Businesses point toward crime, houselessness and illicit drug use as factors for decreased foot traffic in the district. Compound Gallery, a high-end shoe store, moved out of the neighborhood to a new space on NW 10th and Yamhill, citing crime and break-ins as primary reasons.

House of Louie, a 30-year-old dim sum restaurant, ended its lease Jan. 2, 2018—noting houselessness, increased rents and lack of foot traffic as primary reasons for its closure. Only a handful of long-standing Chinatown restaurants and businesses remain open. The buildings themselves are seen as code nightmares by city officials. Many of the old businesses were targets of former city commissioner Randy Leonard’s “HIT squad”, an unofficial committee made up of police and fire inspectors that would selectively target businesses and find 50 or more code violations at once, until the business owners and landlords brought the building up to code or shut down permanently, according to Willamette Week. Led by former Mayor Charlie Hale, the city proposed a five-year, $57 million action plan in 2014 to renovate the historic district. The plan went unused, and nearly all of its objectives were not met. Of the proposed budget, only $3.6 million was spent. More than $50 million remain in the budget of the city’s development corporation, Prosper Portland, filed under a “Parking & Investment” fund. Prosper helped fund Compound Gallery’s move out of the area, raising questions about their commitment to redeveloping the neighborhood.

Today’s Chinatown

Today, much of Portland’s Chinese-American community resides along SE 82nd Ave., in the socalled Jade District and in Beaverton and Tigard. But many wish for a return to a centrally located Chinatown in the heart of downtown. “[Chinese] people don’t even know this is Chinatown.” said Li. “They think the Jade District...no, this is Chinatown.” Chinatown’s future is uncertain, but any future development would require larger action from the city government.


COVER DRAGON DANCERS JOIN THE STARLIGHT PARADE ON JUNE 1, 2019.

IN THIS 1939 PHOTOGRAPH, CHINESE DRAGON DANCERS PERFORM IN THE CHINESE NEW YEARS CELEBRATION. COURTESY OF OREGON HISTORICAL SOCIETY

A MAN SITS ATOP THE LION STATUE AT CHINATOWN’S GATE AND WATCHES THE STARLIGHT PARADE ON JUNE 1, 2019.

A MAN AND THEIR CHILD STAND BEYOND A CIRCULAR DOORWAY AT LAN SU CHINESE GARDEN.

LOOKING THROUGH THE CHINATOWN GATE AS SEEN FROM NW 4TH AND BURNSIDE STREET.

BOARDED UP AND IN DESPERATE NEED OF RENOVATION, HOUSE OF LOUIE’S FORMER LOCATION LIES IN THE HEART OF CHINATOWN.

DANCERS WITH FLAGS AND BRIGHTLY COLORED OUTFITS JOIN IN THE GRAND FLORAL PARADE WHERE OLD CHINATOWN ONCE STOOD OVER A CENTURY AGO.

ALEX WITTWER/PSU VANGUARD

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INTERNATIONAL

TOURISM AFFECTING SCOTTISH ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT CHLOE DYSART New concerns have arisen that tourism, a main force in the Scottish economy, may have unintended consequences on the country and environment, according to the Scottish Tourism Alliance. New statistics from tourism agency VisitScotland reveal that in 2018, there were approximately 15.5 million overnight tourism trips and about 153 million day trips throughout Scotland. These numbers are part of a bigger spike that reveals gross added value has increased by £234 million, or roughly $257 million, since 2016 from tourism. The Scottish Tourism Alliance recently addressed climate concerns at a summit in Edinburgh. “We know that the global climate emergency agenda has shifted the way we think about where we travel and stay, how we get there,” said STA chief executive Marc Crothall at the summit. “The impact

VICTORIA STREET, ONE OF SCOTLAND’S ICONIC TOURIST DESTINATIONS. COURTESY OF SHIVA SHENOY we ourselves have on our global environment and our destinations, we are being much more conscious in making our leisure and food choices.” According to STA, they hope to encourage visitors to “live like a local” and decrease the number of short-term stays in Scotland. Their hope is that this will lower the environmental impact of tourism. “Scotland has for the first time in the last few years experienced what some refer to as ‘over tourism’ in certain areas, creating pressure on infrastructure, with negative impacts on local communities and widespread reporting of that in the media,” Crothall said in his speech. Worldwide, modern tourism has left its imprint on climate change. According to World Atlas, tourists account for approximately 60% of air travel, a major contributor to transportation pollution.

DEATH TOLL OF IRAQI PROTESTS RISING DEMONSTRATORS CALLING FOR POLITICAL, SOCIOECONOMIC REFORM

A YOUNG MAN STANDS ATOP DEBRIS WHILE TEAR GAS AND SPARKS FILL THE AIR IN BAGHDAD, IRAQ. HADI MIZBAN/AP IMAGES

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Tourism can also lead to noise and light pollution to areas that can distress wildlife. Physical pollution is also a concern, World Atlas estimates “cruise ships in the Caribbean produce over 70,000 tons of waste annually.” However, the increase in tourism has many positive effects for those in the industry. David “Nory” Hope, owner of the tour company Heartland Travel has been in the Scottish tourism industry for eight years. “Since I’ve been in this business I’ve seen a huge shift in numbers,” Hope told Vanguard. “Right now, we’re benefiting hugely from a couple of things that have happened, through a TV show called Outlander and also through the film Outlaw King.” While TV and movies may present a version of Scotland, Hope said she feels that tourists come to Scotland because they

“want to walk away understanding the real story, which is brilliant for tourism and brilliant for Scotland.” Hope said the popularity of the vacation rental company Airbnb is partially responsible for the increased numbers of tourism, especially on the Isle of Skye. “There has always been a limit to the amount of people who could get a bed on that island, but with the rise of Airbnb there’s always beds, and that means everything is busier,” Hope said. Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland announced the future industry strategy would be a “combined effort,” which will be developed with its own representatives, tourism businesses, local authorities, the Scottish Government and agencies like Scottish Enterprise and Historic Environment Scotland to ensure future protection of Scotland’s natural resources.

CHRISTINA CASANOVA Iraqi protesters who took to the streets on Oct. 1 are demanding political and socioeconomic reform throughout the country. Many Iraqi citizens believe the ruling class is failing to rule fairly and have accused them of siphoning the country’s oil riches. Thousands of people have joined together throughout Iraq in protest to demand the government address corruption, high unemployment rates and other faults such as the lack of electricity and clean water. Many have called for the resignation of several high-profile politicians as well. “When we are protesting, we don’t aim to dirty or destroy streets,” one unnamed protester told Democracy Now! “Our goal is to achieve our demands and to live in a homeland with peace and security. God willing and with the determination of our brothers, the protesters, we will achieve our aspirations. We are university students. We left college and joined the protesters. God willing, we will have success.” Security forces have used tear gas, live ammunition and grenades against protesters. “It is hard for us, like it’s hard for everyone to see how the security forces are dealing with us, how they’re killing us by tear gas, live ammunition,” one protester, who requested to remain anonymous, told BBC. “And it’s tearing us apart, but we are strong, and we’re going to stand still and demand what’s right for us.” Hospitals have reported that at least 339 protesters have died as a result of the

demonstrations since they began on Oct. 1. An additional 15,000 people have been injured. The death and injury toll is expected to rise in the coming days as the protests continue. At least 25 demonstrators were killed in the city of Najaf on Nov. 28 when security forces fired guns and tear gas into crowds of protesters staging sit-ins on two bridges. The city held a funeral for those who had died on the bridges on Nov. 30. “This man was protesting holding an Iraqi flag and a flower,” one person in mourning told Reuters. “He was shot dead. He’s a sacrifice for the nation.” In addition to using live ammunition and tear gas, the Iraqi government has also cut off internet access to certain areas of the country, according to Democracy Now! Officials are also monitoring Facebook pages for any possible posts calling for action against the government. Abel Abdul Mahdi gave in to one of the protesters’ many demands on Nov. 29 when he announced his resignation. Despite his announcement, however, the resignation will not be deemed official until it is voted on and approved by the Iraqi Parliament. While many protesters celebrated Mahdi’s resignation, they also claim it is not enough to stop protesting. “It is our first demand,” a protester known only as Hejar told BBC. “That will change something. Then our second demand is to shut down parliament. We’re hoping it’s going to happen because our young guys are very strong and they have their words, we say that we’re going to stay here.”


OPINION

ANTHONY MONTES

JOHN ROJAS

The United States needs to stop its long history of aiding, funding and arming terrorist organizations and their partners, giving them the very resources they can use against us. The U.S., through the CIA and an interventionist foreign policy, has funded and armed extremist organizations and governments all across the globe to calcify its dominance on the world stage. This rogue behavior helped destabilize the Middle East, stunt the global consolidation of democracy and bring pain and suffering to millions. In the late ‘70s, after Afghanistan established a secular, Marxist government that allied with the Soviet Union, the CIA conducted “Operation Cyclone,” which provided aid and weapons to jihadi rebels, most prominently the Mujahideen, infamously led by a young revolutionary from Saudi Arabia: Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden would later found the al-Qaida organization in the ‘90s and orchestrate the horrific attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. All said and done, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia provided $60 billion in today’s dollars between 1979-89 to assist the Mujahideen, arguably providing the resources and experience needed to create his infamous terrorist group. Moreover, the Mujahideen later fragmented and evolved into the Taliban, a jihadi organization we are fighting to this very day. The term “blowback” is commonly used to describe these types of situations; according to Webster’s dictionary, it means an “unforeseen and unwanted effect, result or set of repercussions.” However, calling the decision to arm militant jihadi “unforeseen” or “unwanted” is too charitable and insinuates a certain passivity that takes the onus away from the supposed foreign policy experts in the Pentagon and White House. The U.S. did foresee this outcome. They made a simple calculation—they would rather ally with nefarious, extremist elements and topple a pluralist government that introduced equal rights for women and universal education if it meant the Soviet Union would lose a resourcerich and geopolitical ally in the region. After all, they had just seen their puppet government fall in Iran during the Islamic Revolution in 1979, and the U.S. was desperate to maintain its influence in the region. Who cares if the Mujahideen believes in a draconic set of Islamic Laws—that would later lead to horrific violence against women—as long as we stick it to those stinking commies, right? An analysis of U.S. foreign policy time again reveals our short-sided strategy that exports violence, weapons and despair to countries experimenting with democracy and/or alternative economic systems. Look no further than the myriad of coups the U.S. supported, including the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Guatemala in 1954, sparking a 36-year long civil war, killing 200,000 and displacing half a million people. This is just a tiny tip of a very large iceberg.

One would think the U.S. learned its lessons from these interventions, but the U.S. does not see these outcomes as failures or something to learn from in a constructive way. They succeeded in their geopolitical maneuvering and the human toll was merely collateral damage. Actually, these interventions went better than planned and, of course, it was on the table in the Middle East after a Soviet-friendly government took power. What’s more demoralizing is the recent actions in the region. Even after the “blowback,” we received vis-a-vis the attacks on 9/11, the U.S. continued its policy of arming jihadis. In 2011, after a civil war broke out in Syria in an attempt to overthrow dictator Bashar al-Assad, former President Barack Obama signed a secret order in 2013 that sent the CIA to train Syrian rebels, a ragtag coalition of militant jihadis including a faction of al-Qaida, the organization responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Obama’s administration justified these actions, not only arguing against al-Assad’s despotic regime but also to create additional allies against the Islamic State, which terrorized communities by imposing the strictest form of Sharia Law; the Kurdish people, whose nationstate populates parts of Iraq, Turkey and Syria, experienced these atrocities first hand and fought ISIS along with the U.S. and the Syrian rebels. Unfortunately, once again, the U.S.’s short-sided foreign policy fell apart, and in Oct. 2019, the alliance began to fracture as Turkey’s long-standing threat to attack the Kurds came true. Turkey and the Syrian Rebels allied and began occupying parts of the Kurdish nation in Iraq and Syria, committing atrocities in the process using weapons the U.S. provided. The Trump administration continued the U.S’s long tradition of arming human rights violators when he made a $450 billion arms deal in 2017 with Saudi Arabia, a country known for supporting terrorist organizations and committing human rights violations—most recently the butchering of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia is spearheading a humanitarian crisis in Yemen, in which hundreds of thousands are dying of hunger and millions are displaced. Instead of condemning Saudi Arabia for these atrocities, Trump has doubled down on their arms deal and has continued supporting the Saudi military in Yemen; he vetoed a war powers resolution that would have ended U.S. involvement in the conflict in 2019. The U.S.’s desire for global hegemony is the biggest impediment to achieving world peace, and if we can undergo intervention after intervention, destabilizing regions and brutalizing populations in the process, maybe it’s time we took a step back and led with diplomacy. When it comes to global politics, there are no black and white scenarios; it’s a messy soup of cultures, nations, and economic and political interests, which admittedly can be contentious and dizzying. But one thing we can all agree on: We must stop arming terrorist groups and countries like Saudi Arabia.

PSU Vanguard • DECEMBER 3, 2019 • psuvanguard.com

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OPINION

RECESSION BUILT INTO THE SYSTEM KAMEEL ASSAD Economic crisis never ends for the majority of the population. A popular topic of economics is the well-known recession. A concept with a “formal” definition of “two consecutive quarters of negative Gross Domestic Product growth.” The most recent recession occurred in 2008–09, and experts say we have recovered, but if we look back to the past decade, are things better? According to politicians, we’ve never had so much wealth in the world. Since the “end” of the recession, total wages are going up, unemployment is going down and we’re producing more goods and services than ever. What politicians don’t like to discuss are the material conditions people feel outside of the economist’s bubble.

Wages have not risen to match inflation, the cost of living keeps increasing beyond our income, all forms of private debt keep increasing, the amount we save keeps declining and productivity and corporate profits continue to rise. On a larger scale, public investments and “austerity”—neoliberal economic policies intended to reduce public investments—have proceeded aggressively, forcing steep cuts to local, state and federal government budgets in response to the recession. Public spending for state governments, which are required to pass “balanced budgets,” was severely affected, leading to massive cuts in healthcare, social services and education from which we have never recovered. The end of the recession was really only an end of the struggles for “too-big-to-fail” banks and the wealthy people who stood perched, ready to buy debt-laden assets for less than anyone owed on them. Bankers who gambled and lost with other people’s assets got paid, scam-artists—AKA investors—further solidified their stranglehold on wealth, while the working class saw its buying power deteriorate. The crisis never went away. If there was never an end to the 2008 recession, there can’t really be “another” recession. A recession implies that our economy is at times “good” and at times “bad.” All people are not better off during eras of economic growth, and everyone is not worse off when the economy is bad. The working class is constantly getting screwed, while the ruling class of capitalist vultures happens to make it out just fine in good times and bad. The situation faced today is that during eras of “economic crisis” governments and media corporations have all the

JOHN ROJAS

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necessary political cover to economically attack the working class and increase profits. Jobs are outsourced or cut in the private and public sectors, workers are replaced with technological advancements and public service expenditures decline. The ruling class makes out like bandits and at times are even successful in ensuring they aren’t taxed by stressing their role as “job creators.” The Federal Reserve, the U.S. central bank, has continually injected tens of billions of dollars in bank’s coffers overnight since September 2019, because large banks don’t have enough cash in their reserves to service corporate loans, and more cash-flush banks are refusing to lend to them. The last time this occurred was during the last 2009 “recession.” The reason this is happening is partially explained in the International Monetary Fund’s 2018 Global Financial Stability Report, which wrote that the debt owed by firms that cannot be serviced with earnings—known as debt-at-risk—could rise to $19 trillion, almost 40% of total corporate debt in major economies, “above crisis levels.” At a recent IMF meeting, Mervyn King, the former governor of England’s central bank, said: “By sticking to the new orthodoxy of monetary policy and pretending that we have made the banking system safe, we are sleepwalking toward that crisis.” The above statement recognizes what common knowledge and Occupy Wall Street already knew. Mild financial regulations and massive government bailouts didn’t resolve the underlying issues that led to the 2008 crisis. If we never addressed the causes of the previous crisis, why wouldn’t history repeat itself? The only way to properly explain the recurring and never-ending series of crises is to understand the principle that governs a capitalist society: the profit motive, which drives every aspect of economic decision-making and squeezes most of the world’s population to worse material conditions. As our technological achievements continue to increase, we’re working more, for less, and exploiting the Global South at ever harsher and faster speeds. Every smartphone that reaches our hands is built with African minerals, southeast Asian labor and meanwhile, hasn’t reduced any of our workloads or consciences. Current economics is a complete and utter lie. It remains unscientific, obfuscating its purely ideological nature with mathematics and pseudoscience. Consider it astrology for capitalists: Economics has an aesthetic relation to reality, and unlike astrology, is solely peddled by those who are interested in maintaining an oppressive and exploitative world.


ARTS & CULTURE

OREGON SYMPHONY PERFORMS SHAKESPEARE’S ‘THE TEMPEST’

SYMPHONY’S LATEST PRODUCTION MIXED VISUAL AND AUDITORY GENRES

PROSPERO, PLAYED BY TYRONE WILSON, LOOKS OVER HIS SLEEPING DAUGHTER, PLAYED BY EMILY OTA. COURTESY OF ARLENE SCHNITZER CONCERT HALL

NICK TOWNSEND Not quite opera, not quite play, not quite a typical symphony; the Oregon Symphony’s production of The Tempest defied simple categorization and played with the idea of what to expect at a classical music performance. The production, which ran Nov. 23–25, was in fact a performance of two works created 300 years apart. Actors and opera singers, many veterans of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, performed a trimmed-down version of Shakespeare’s late romance The Tempest. They joined the Oregon Symphony Orchestra and the Portland State Chamber Choir, which performed Jean Sibelius’ incidental music setting for The Tempest, which Sibelius had composed to be performed with the original play. The complex performance involved a large number of musicians and actors. The 75-piece Oregon Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Carlos Kalmar, was joined by six actors, five solo singers and the PSU Chamber Choir. The orchestra was staged as they always are at the Arlene Schnitzer concert hall, taking up almost all of the mainstage. The PSU choir sang on a balcony above and behind the orchestra, and the actors and singers performed on a narrow strip of stage in front of the orchestra. The performance was rehearsed in just 11 days leading up to the opening night on Nov. 23. Shakespeare’s The Tempest tells the story of Prospero, portrayed by Tyrone Wilson, and his daughter Miranda, portrayed by Emily Ota. A powerful sorcerer, Prospero holds control over the mystical spirit Ariel (Kelsey Lauritano). Sometime before the events of the play, Prospero is deposed as Duke of Milan by his brother Antonio, who is styled as Antonia

and played by Rachel Crowl in the Oregon Symphony’s production. After being deposed, Prospero and his daughter are marooned on a distant island. The play opens with Prospero using his magic to create a horrible storm—tempest means storm—to bring Antonia and her court to the island and hatching a plot to reinstate his royal legacy. The orchestra masterfully performed Sybelius’ overture, which aims to represent the titular storm. The actors flailed around the stage grabbing onto pieces of driftwood, making it clear who was about to wash up on Prospero’s island. The rest of the play follows different groupings of people that washed up on different parts of the island. Although Sibelius originally composed his setting to be performed in Danish, the Oregon Symphony performed an English language version of the play, mostly in Shakespearean English. The only exception was Kelsey Lauritano, who sang in the original Danish, which she had already learned prior to the Oregon Symphony’s production. “Kelsey plays Ariel,” said Kalmar. “Ariel is not a human, so if the non-human doesn’t speak English, it’s fine.” The decision worked well, effectively cuing the audience into who on stage was human and who was magical. The Tempest ends with Prospero renouncing magic, breaking the fourth wall and asking the audience to set him free with their applause. The applause went on for some time as singers, actors, orchestra and choir took turns standing and bowing. The Oregon Symphony Orchestra will be back at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall on Dec. 7 with Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony.

T O A P P LY, E M A I L M A N A G I N G E D I T O R @ P S U V A N G U A R D . C O M

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ARTS & CULTURE

ANDREW GAINES

THE NINJAGEDDON FINAL GARBAGE DAY

Folks, it’s come to this. I’ve covered slashers, killer animal flicks, foreign ripoffs and blind samurai played by Roy from Blade Runner. But there’s one realm of movie garbage I have yet to delve into. With this, my final column, it’s time to talk about ninjas. Sort of like Bigfoot movies, there’s an insane number of ninja films out there, and a lot of them are absolute garbage (and not in the fun way). I’m here to point you to the cream of the garbage crop.

‘PRAY FOR DEATH’ (1985)

Ninja Type: Remorseful Ninja We can’t talk the art of cinematic ninjitsu without talking about Sho Kosugi. The man played approximately 65% of all ninjas in ‘80s movies. If there were a Ninja Oscars, he’d have a lifetime achievement award. A lot of Kosugi’s credits come from Cannon films, which were a massive player in the ‘80s ninja craze. This one, however, comes not from Golan & Globus, but Gordon Hessler, the virtuoso director of Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park, legitimately one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. Unlike that movie, this isn’t a reject Scooby-Doo episode starring a band who looks like they’d rather be anywhere else. This movie, ladies and gentlemen, is NINJA DEATH WISH. Either you’re already on board, or Pray For Death isn’t for you. Kosugi stars as Akira Saito, a high-powered executive of a Japanese food company. He opens the movie by deciding to throw away his position because his wife wants to move to America and open a restaurant in Texas. This is the first of many terrible decisions made in the movie. Once the restaurant is up and running, a miscommunication makes Akira cross paths with the diabolical Limehouse Willy, a portly British gangster. Limehouse isn’t even the boss of the local crime syndicate, but he acts like he’s the Joker, more willing to kidnap and murder women and children than believe that maybe this family who just moved into town didn’t actually have anything to do with a missing necklace. Once he kidnaps one of Akira’s sons, the father must enact ninja vengeance upon the mob. Akira is secretly one of the last descendants of an ancient ninja clan, and by the end of the movie he ends up cutting, stabbing, impaling and shooting his way through an entire army’s worth of out-ofshape goons. However, it’s very important that you understand he does all of this while being very sad about it. Akira doesn’t want to have to ninja his way out of this situation, but ninja he must. The movie doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and the gore effects aren’t great, but it’s got a ton of idiotic energy, which helps a lot. At one point, Limehouse interrogated a man who looks like he’s 120 years old by threatening to beat him to death with a crowbar but immediately just does that anyway. Then he sets fire to the car the man

is sprawled out on and it blows up. Fuck that grandpa. The biggest takeaway from this movie is that Texas is basically if Gotham City was an entire state crawling with crime, and only a food magnate/family man/secret ninja can come in and save it from itself.

‘NINJA III: THE DOMINATION’ (1984)

Ninja Type: Exorcist Ninja It is a common understanding in cinema that only a ninja can kill a ninja. The average Joe just doesn’t have the nerves of steel and sick flips to do it. However, there’s a footnote to this common saying: even in death, only a ninja can kill a ninja. ONLY A NINJA CAN EXORCISE A NINJA! Ninja III is deceptively named, as there’s no Ninja 1 or 2. There’s Enter the Ninja and Revenge of the Ninja, which all share The Domination’s core themes of “being produced by Cannon” and “having Sho Kosugi do sick shit,” but there’s no lore or backstory to worry about. Ninja III: The Domination opens with one of the sickest ninja rampages in history. Some dudes are on a golf course, casually having fun. Suddenly, a ninja shows up, and he starts KILLING. ABSOLUTELY. EVERYONE. Nobody is safe. Dudes on foot? Slaughtered. Dudes in golf carts? Annihilated. Cops with guns? Fuck that, the police can’t save you from a ninja. Even when they bring the chopper in, the ninja blows that up too. Eventually, countless bodies later, the unnamed warrior gets the Sonny Corleone treatment at the hands of a firing line of cops. This is the opening of the film. It is one of the best opening scenes ever. Unfortunately, you just can’t keep an evil ninja down. Shortly after his unceremonious death, an aerobics instructor gets possessed by the vengeful spirit of the ninja, represented by a ghostly katana that flies (or dangles from a fishing line) through her window. And from this point on, Ninja III: The Domination holds the honor of being the only Exorcist ripoff to be centered around martial arts. The battle to save her soul is waged by her boyfriend and a heroic ninja (obviously played by Sho Kosugi) who has been gunning for this particular evil ninja for some time. The film also benefits from being painfully, powerfully ‘80s. Aerobics is the latest craze, the hair is big, the outfits are wild and V8 gets a product placement in an incredibly confusing sex scene. Eventually, evil is vanquished, but a big door is left open for a sequel where the undead ninja comes back again. Unfortunately, Cannon never gave us Ninja IV: Legion or anything. But if it’s the quantity, not quality, of ninjas you’re looking for…

‘FIVE ELEMENTS NINJAS’ (1982)

Ninja Type: Multitudinous; Theme-orientedFive Elements Ninjas is what happens when Hong Kong caught the ‘80s ninja craze. It’s directed by an absolute legend of martial arts cinema, Chang Cheh, and features some glorious, ridiculous gore on top of its primo fisticuffs. The plot concerns a rapidly escalating rivalry between two martial arts schools. When the students of the kind instructor Zeng easily defeat the pupils of Chief Hong, Hong swears revenge by ordering a secret sect of foreign warriors to slaughter those who made a fool of him. The ninjas are, obviously, themed around the five elements. There’s the fire ninjas, who throw road flares in your face to distract you; the water ninjas, who can hold their breath for a long time; the earth ninjas, who can tunnel under the ground; the grass ninjas, who are very different from the ground ninjas and dress up like trees; and…the gold ninjas, who wear shiny clothing and try to blind you. You know, the five elements. After getting his ass kicked early in the film, a big chunk of the movie is spent with our hero training up to take on the evil ninjas in a final free-for-all, and the final confrontation is totally worth it, with ridiculous bloodshed and goofy gimmicks all over the place. Hong Kong martial arts movies rule, ninjas rule, obviously this is a slam dunk.

‘NINJA: SHADOW OF A TEAR’ (2013)

Ninja Type: WhiteHollywood has taught me that the white ninja is never to be underestimated. Cannon understood this when they made the American Ninja movies, and directto-video action auteur Isaac Florentine understood it in this ninjitsu slaughter-fest. The pitch: master-level white minja Casey (played by the always entertaining martial artist Scott Adkins) has his wife murdered. Who did it, and what do they want him? To find out, Casey has to beat the absolute shit out of a whole lot of dudes. He fights guys in the dojo; he gets absolutely hammered at a bar and fights guys drunk; he Macgyver’s ninja tools out of random items he finds in a Burmese market; and he even has the time to go into the jungle in a quest to find ninja buried treasure. The majority of this movie is action, and all the fight scenes absolutely rule. Florentine gets that you’re here for the fisticuffs, and all the blows look like they hurt like hell. By the time Casey is fighting guys in a burning meth lab, you’ll have seen so many high-flying kicks and insane takedowns that you’ll wonder why other action movies even try. It owns.

JOHN ROJAS

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COMICS

DANA TOWNSEND

PSU Vanguard • DECEMBER 3, 2019 • psuvanguard.com

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Nick Townsend

DEC 3–9 ART

MUSIC

FILM & THEATRE

COMMUNITY

TUE DEC 3 WED DEC 4 THU DEC 5 FRI DEC 6 SAT DEC 7 SUN DEC 8 MON DEC 9

BRIAN OASTER & ANGELITA SURMON LAN SU CHINESE GARDEN 10 A.M.–4 P.M. FREE, WITH CANNED FOOD DONATION New oil works by two artists displayed at the Chinese garden.

KENNY G ARLENE SCHNITZER HALL 7:30 P.M. $35+ This saxophonist has the Kim and Kanye stamp of approval.

‘THE STRANGE UNDOING OF PRUDENCIA HART’ TIFFANY CENTER 7:30 P.M. $35–60 The Portland debut of a raucous Scottish play.

DRAG QUEEN BINGO ROGUE EASTSIDE PUB 6 P.M. FREE Poison Waters hosts this event benefiting Animal Aid and Project POOCH.

“LOW TIDE” WATERSTONE GALLERY NOON–6 P.M. FREE A new series of paintings of the Northern California coast from artist Lisa Onstad.

BEDOUINE DOUG FIR LOUNGE 9 P.M. $15–17 Laid-back folk meets bossanova in this NPR Tiny Desk alum’s set.

‘A CHRISTMAS CAROL’ PORTLAND PLAYHOUSE 7 P.M. $36 The classic holiday story is reimagined with original music.

RUPI KAUR ARLENE SCHNITZER HALL 8 P.M. $29–65 The acclaimed Insta-poet is known for her short and stirring verses.

ELLEN LESPERANCE, STEPHEN LICHTY ADAMS AND OLLMAN 11 A.M.–5 P.M. FREE New sculptural, knitted and painted-on-paper works from two Portland artists.

CHANNEL TRES HOLOCENE 8:30 P.M. $12–15 The Compton producer is known for touring with Vince Staples.

‘MISS BENNET: CHRISTMAS AT PEMBERLEY’ PORTLAND CENTER STAGE AT THE ARMORY 7:30 P.M. $25–67 A fan-imagined sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

CELTIC MUSIC AND STORIES FOR THE SEASON CERIMON HOUSE 7 P.M. $20 Three Celtic harp musicians share their traditions for the holiday season.

HOLIDAY ART SALE PACIFIC NORTHWEST COLLEGE OF ART NOON–7 P.M. FREE Unique holiday gifts made by student artists.

VAMPIRE WEEKEND CRYSTAL BALLROOM 8 P.M. $65–70 An exclusive one-hour acoustic set.

‘MELANCHOLY PLAY: A CHAMBER MUSICAL’ COHO THEATER 7:30 P.M. $25–46 A comedy about a perpetually sad woman that discovers the feeling of happiness.

CHRISTMAS SHIP NORTH PORTLAND HARBOR 7 P.M. FREE An array of ships decked in Christmas lights patrol the Willamette/Columbia confluence.

“SHEESH” FROELICK GALLERY 10:30 A.M.–5:30 P.M. FREE New small paintings by Nat Meade exploring constructs of masculinity.

OLD GROWTH, PERFECT BUZZ, TUFF TALK’ TURN! TURN! TURN! 8 P.M. $5 A triple-header of local grunge-rock.

‘MATILDA THE MUSICAL’ NORTHWEST CHILDREN’S THEATER 4:30 P.M. $16–27 A children’s musical production of the classic movie.

CINNAMON BEAR CRUISE TOM MCCALL WATERFRONT 2 P.M. A cruise. A scented bear. A canal: Panama.

“16 CRANES” GALLERY 114 NOON–6 P.M. FREE Photography by Jon Gottshall looking at pollution on the Willamette.

A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS THE OLD CHURCH 7 P.M. $15–20 Local jazz musicians play their way through Vince Guaraldi’s classic soundtrack.

FAKE RADIO PRESENTS: ‘IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE’ VAULT THEATER 7:30 P.M. $25 A live production of the original 1947 radio broadcast of this Christmas classic.

SHE BOP’S 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION MISSISSIPPI STUDIOS 8 P.M. $15 Help celebrate a decade of the women-owned, body-positive sex store.

JEFF WHITE GALLERY 903 10 A.M.–5:30 P.M. FREE New landscape works evoking the “power of the internal and external forces” of nature.

MARK DIAMOND HOLOCENE 8 P.M. $15 Spacey indie-pop from the Seattlebased artist.

‘AND WITH HIM CAME THE WEST’ HOLLYWOOD THEATRE 7 P.M. $7 A new documentary about the reallife cowboy that helped to create the cowboy-movie genre.

SCHOOL NIGHT COMEDY BLANK SLATE 8 P.M. FREE Up-and-coming Portland comics build their chops at this new event.

Profile for Portland State Vanguard

Portland State Vanguard, Vol. 74, Issue 14  

Portland State Vanguard, Vol. 74, Issue 14  

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