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NEWS

Portland Schools Need Airing Out. P. 9

DRINKS

A Taxonomy of Cocktail Containers. P. 28

WILLAMETTE WEEK PORTLAND’S NEWSWEEKLY

"$300: I T'S T HE N EW $600!" P. 4 VOL 47/16 02.17.2021

Exploding young Hearts. P. 32

Knocked

Down TOWn The obituaries for Portland are premature. But what will become of its most important neighborhood? By Aaron mesh & nigel jaquiss Page 12

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Willamette Week FEBRUARY 17, 2021 wweek.com


CHRIS NESSETH

FINDINGS

THE STUMPTOWN BIRKEBEINER, PAGE 18

WHAT WE LEARNED FROM READING THIS WEEK’S PAPER VOL. 47, ISSUE 16 Some houseless Portlanders slept outside in the snowstorm because they didn’t want to take a COVID test . 7 Thirty percent of Portland General Electric customers lost power over the weekend. 7 Rufio Panman got arrested. 8

Repairing or replacing the old ventilation systems in Portland

The Stumptown Birkebeiner returned during last week’s snowstorm. 18 Want to go on an Italian vacation with Stanley Tucci? There is a show. 22 Ever since Oregon legalized cocktails to go, it’s been hard to find Mason jars anywhere. 28

Public Schools buildings would cost $203 million. 9

If you want an IPA at new brewery Hammer & Stitch, you order The IPA . 29

A Portland plywood installer worked enough overtime this summer to buy a truck. 13

An inordinate amount of weed strains are named after Girl Scout Cookies. 30

Businesses have fled Denver at a greater rate than Portland. 13

Oregon has attracted so many communes there’s a play about it. 31

Portland dining reservations are down 91% from this time last year. 16 A nonprofit picked up 70,000 bags of trash in downtown Portland in the past year. 17

ON THE COVER: Where all the windows are plywood, downtown. Photo by Brian Burk.

SUPPORT LOCAL BRANDS

Sometimes shooting a film in your old high school is as simple as asking a former teacher for permission. 32

OUR MOST TRAFFICKED STORY ONLINE THIS WEEK: Hey, Midwestern transplants: You can’t drive in this snow, either.

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DIALOGUE

WHO WILL WHO WILL TAKE HOME THE TAKE HOME THE CROWN? CROWN?

Last week, WW published an op-ed on wweek.com titled “Hey, Midwestern Transplants: You Can’t Drive in Portland Snow, Either.” In the article, the author wrote that it’s the city’s small fleet of snow plows and road salters, steep topography and often icy conditions—not bad Portland drivers—responsible for shutting down Portland every time it snows. Here’s what our readers had to say:

Russ Gorsline, via email: “I do have to say I expect a higher degree of journalism from WW than what I found in ‘Hey, Midwestern Transplants: You Can’t Drive in Portland Snow, Either.’ ‘On a fucking ice rink’ seems much more like what I would expect from the comments section, not from a professional writer for a mass publication newspaper.”

Cher Mikkola, via Facebook: “Minnesota born and raised, in Oregon for 45 years, and I live in a tiny backwater in the Cascade foothills. I go nowhere if it begins to snow here—NOWHERE! It’s exactly as this article describes: either an ice rink sometimes camouflaged with snow or inches-thick frozen slush—all a nightmare.”

@MirandizeMe, via Twitter: “This article is condescending crap, maybe some facts would help: Rain, sleet and snow often mix in wintry conditions, literally everywhere it snows, even on nonflat terrain. SAND on roads creates friction for safe driving/walking in winter and is environmentally safe. Do better.”

Edward Drescher, via Facebook: “No, normal people can’t drive in Portland snow because we are trying to get around the stupid Portlanders who put their chains on the back tires of HONDA FREAKING FRONT-WHEEL-DRIVE ACCORDS!!!!”

@marziah, via Twitter: “Moved here from the Midwest and most definitely do not even try to drive in Portland snow. We had flat landscapes, wide roads without cars double-parked everywhere, and more snow-removal infrastructure. And, yes, even we stayed home when there was a layer of ice. Sheesh.”

Ben, via wweek.com: “The author seems to not realize that other parts of the nation also get a mix of ice and snow. It’s true that it’s physics. Minimize acceleration and you’ll be fine (look up the term acceleration when it comes to velocity and direction if you need help). But there are skills in dealing with ice and snow that those living in colder climates than Portland acquire. Four-wheel drive has little to do with it. Experience and skill do.” Mary Rzany, via Facebook: “I’m from Chicago originally, and this is my first Portland snowstorm. I was shocked people were panic buying at the grocery store on Wednesday. But I totally get it. Ice sucks. And I will no longer scoff at it here.” Sharon Teel Wynde via Facebook: “Growing up in Colorado, I thought, ‘I can drive in anything.’ Then I experienced my first freezing rain in the early ’90s here. No, not drivable.”

Dr. Know VOTING NOW OPEN! PETS.WWEEK.COM

pets.wweek.com 4

Willamette Week FEBRUARY 17, 2021 wweek.com

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR must include the author's street address and phone number for verification. Letters must be 250 or fewer words. Submit to: 2220 NW Quimby St., Portland, OR 97210. Email: mzusman@wweek.com

BY MART Y SMITH @martysmithxxx

The restaurant where I work was closed a lot last year due to COVID-19. I did collect unemployment, though (eventually). We’ve since reopened—but now I’m losing a bunch of hours because of the snowstorm. Can I collect for this time also? —Baker’s Treat I’ve long maintained that, over the long haul, you’ll never go broke betting against predictions of snowpocalypse in Portland. However, as I dictate this column into my phone on a hill 25 blocks from my house—the house where, after 24 hours, there is still no electricity or cell service—I’m forced to admit that even a blind hog finds an acorn once in a while. For most service workers, a snow day is just an unpaid holiday—one that you can’t even enjoy, because the weather is too lousy. You’re out of work through no fault of your own: It seems only fair that you should be able to collect unemployment insurance, right? Of course, we all know the world is full of things that are “only fair”—retirement plans, health insurance—that restaurant workers don’t get. In this case, however, you may be in luck. “If someone were experiencing a layoff due to weather conditions, they could be eligible for benefits,” says Oregon Employment Department

TING NOW OPEN!

Bruce Murray, via email: “I grew up in the Motor City and moved to Oregon 49 years ago. I laughed at Willamette Valley drivers who I judged to be too cowardly to drive on a mere inch or two of snow. Fine, we Midwest drivers can now own the road…I then realized, duh, it wasn’t just the snow or lack of salt and sand. The entire road structure of Western Oregon is not built with snow and ice in mind. Admonished, I took another step toward becoming a real Duck, and no longer drive in the snow. Quack, Midwesterners! Lose that I’m-better-than-you attitude and stay off the snowy streets.”

economist Gail Krumenauer, whom I’m quoting by name so you won’t think I’m making this up. In normal times, it might not be worth opening an unemployment claim over a few missed snow days, since you don’t collect for the first week you’re unemployed anyway—the so-called waiting week. However, folks (like you) who already have an open UI claim have already served their waiting week. You should be able to reopen your claim and collect your standard benefit amount, plus that additional $300 ($300: It’s the new $600!) that Congress approved back in December. If you missed work but don’t have an existing UI claim, don’t despair: The waiting-week requirement is currently waived through March 13. (Act now!) If you like money more than you hate paperwork, it’s probably worth your while to open a claim for your weather-related furlough, brief though it was. You see, Treat, snowpocalypse really does have an upside! Even so, as far as I’m concerned every Californian who spent last week praying for snow—because they think it’s so goddamn pretty— can go fuck themselves right into the ground. QUESTIONS? Send them to dr.know@wweek.com.


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BIKETOWN? MORE LIKE SNOW CITY.

BIDEN BUNDLER LIST DOESN’T INCLUDE ANY LIKELY AMBASSADORS: As President Joe Biden’s administration begins filling political appointments, The Washington Post this week speculated on whom he might name to ambassadorships, noting that big donors often get prime posts. (One recent example: Portland hotelier Gordon Sondland, a Trump donor appointed ambassador to the European Union. Sondland’s now working on a tell-all book.) Just four Oregonians made the list of the 800 individuals or couples who raised $100,000 or more for Biden: Columbia Sportswear general counsel Peter Bragdon, Portland General Electric executive Nidhi J. Thakar, and The New Republic publisher Win McCormack and his partner, political consultant Carol Butler. The first two declined to comment. Butler says the only thing she and McCormick wanted was a Biden victory. “It really felt like American democracy was at stake,” Butler says. VAXX BILL SPIKED WITHOUT A FIGHT: Advocates for increasing Oregon’s childhood vaccination rates have opted not to push a bill this year to remove the philosophical exemption for parents who don’t want their children vaccinated for school. “Oregon is at a critical moment with the implementation of vaccinations for COVID-19, and we have determined this does not make it possible to have the engaged, thoughtful conversation we need about childhood vaccination requirements in our schools,” the Healthy Kids, Safe Schools coalition wrote to its partners in an email obtained by WW. “We remain committed to bringing back this legislation in a future session.” Two years ago, Democratic lawmakers killed a bill to end Oregon’s philosophical exemption to school vaccination requirements, as part of a compromise to end a Republican walkout (though more walkouts followed). This year’s Senate Bill 254 would also have ended the philosophical exemption. The political minefield that vaccines represent, along with the focus of public health officials on addressing the pandemic, appears to have been too complicated for advocates to traverse this year. Oregon, along with Idaho, has the highest philosophical exemption rate in the country.

HERNANDEZ EXPULSION VOTE DELAYED: The ongoing saga of third-term state Rep. Diego Hernandez (D-East Portland) took two twists this week. Facing an expulsion vote for violating House rules on sexual harassment and creating a hostile workplace, Hernandez filed a lawsuit Feb. 12 in Marion County Circuit Court seeking a temporary injunction to block the vote. He’s also seeking $1 million in damages from the Legislature for the infliction of “emotional distress” and the loss of his legislative pay—which Hernandez reckons to be $60,000 a year, including per diem allowances—and benefits. Due to a pandemic-affected schedule, the House only meets in floor sessions on Tuesdays. House leadership announced the Feb. 16 session, where a vote on Hernandez’s fate had been contemplated, would be canceled because of weather. Meanwhile, the state requested that Hernandez’s lawsuit be moved to federal court, where it will be heard in front of U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken at 1 pm on Feb. 18. BLUMENAUER WANTS TAX CREDIT FOR E-BIKES: Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Portland) has introduced a bill to give up to $1,500 in tax credits to anyone buying an electric bicycle. The Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment, or E-BIKE, Act would cover 30% of the cost of e-bikes with a sticker price up to $8,000. “One of the few positive developments of the last year has been the surge in biking,” said Blumenauer, founder and co-chair of the Congressional Bike Caucus. “Communities large and small are driving a bike boom. Notably, electric bicycles are expanding the range of people who can participate and making bike commuting even easier.” WYDEN DESCRIBES INSURRECTION: In the latest episode of Dive, a podcast by Willamette Week, U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) describes the failed insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and the acquittal of former President Donald Trump in another impeachment trial. “You really felt our very Capitol was at risk,” he says. “Because Donald Trump in effect invited this mob from practically everywhere.” The exclusive interview streams Feb. 20 wherever you get your podcasts.

STAY SAFE, STAY INFORMED. WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER. WWEEK.COM Willamette Week FEBRUARY 17, 2021 wweek.com

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FULL HEARTS SIX FEET APART Make a plan to stay safe.

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Willamette Week FEBRUARY 17, 2021 wweek.com


FACES

Shelter From the Storm

J U S I N YA U

NEWS

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS WEEK

GOT A LIGHT: A man warms his hands outside the Left Bank Annex on Valentine’s Day weekend.

Talking to Portland’s most vulnerable residents about severe winter shelters—including a man with a blowtorch who didn’t want to go to one. BY JU ST I N YAU

and

S UZ E TTE S M I TH

During the four days of winter storm that dropped 10 inches of snow on Portland, then a layer of tree-snapping ice, Multnomah County opened severe weather shelters to keep houseless people and campers out of potentially lethal temperatures. Two of the shelters—one in North Portland and one at the Oregon Convention Center—were indoor shelters with social distance protocols in place and rapid-response COVID tests administered at the door. A third, an open-air shelter in a Lloyd Center parking garage, didn’t require a COVID test to enter and furnished people with warm weather buffering items like tents, sleeping bags, hot cider and soup. The parking structure shelter—which smelled of new tent and pumped warm air into the space through a series of long plastic tubes—was open 24 hours a day. The other two indoor shelters were meant to close during the day and reopen at 8 pm. But the storm’s alternating inches of snow and freezing rain prompted the county to keep people indoors—if they wanted to stay. How people arrived at the severe weather shelters varied. Some heard about them at hospitals, others by calling 211—the local information number. Portland Fire & Rescue shuttled people to the shelters in red sprinter vans. PF&R also ran the rapid-response COVID testing. Those COVID tests were one of the main reasons people gave for staying away from the severe weather shelters. Others said they were worried about losing their tents and belongings, which they couldn’t carry across the river. Addictions couldn’t be fed inside the shelters. Some said they did badly among large groups of people. Throughout the winter storm, we walked around Portland and talked to people inside and outside the shelters to get a view of how they were keeping warm. Here are four. Mindy, Downtown Portland Lifelong Portlander Mindy stayed at the Oregon Convention Center shelter on Friday night (she showed off the yellow wristband that meant she’d been COVID-tested), but came back during the day to check on her camp and

the friends in nearby tents who were watching her belongings. Her stuff was still there, but her tent had collapsed under layers of snow and ice. Mindy tried to explain why her friends stayed away from the shelters. “When I’m inside, I feel trapped,” she said. “Or we’re just lazy!” a laughing voice shouted from inside a nearby tent. On Saturday, TriMet’s canceled service left Mindy stranded outside again, after she tried and failed to walk back across the Steel Bridge through the high drifts of snow. At night, she and her fellow campers burned wood and ethanol in a metal fire pit between their tents. When asked how she was keeping warm during the day, Mindy replied, “I’m not.” Shawn, Downtown Portland A recent Arkansas transplant who came to Portland as a self-directed Christian missionary, Shawn said he worried that the COVID nose swab might tear the delicate scar tissue in his sinuses—the result of an old injury. He said he’d been sleeping outdoors with a good tent and sleeping bag, and keeping warm with a lighter. And he seemed jovial to receive an additional tarp from Potluck in the Park on Sunday afternoon. Sunday is a day when many charity and social service meal sites close, but PIP is closing in on 30 years of afternoon outdoor meals, without a single missed Sunday. Andrea, Oregon Convention Center Severe Weather Shelter “About 7 am is the coldest part,” Andrea said, over a cigarette. She and her 25-year-old son had been in and out of shelters since March 2020, when they lost their jobs working security at University of Oregon events in Eugene. The shelters generally kicked them out first thing in the morning, she said. “We stand close to buildings, out of the rain, or head over to the Lloyd Center”—where there’s a houseless encampment. “Eugene has absolutely zero jobs,” Andrea said, explaining what brought them to Portland. “But we made good money, at first, working DoorDash up here.” Then their car broke down and became so moldy they could no longer sleep in it. “We’ve been doing DoorDash on the bus,” she said, “but staying in shelters—they’re not set up for working people. You spend so much time standing in lines, and you have to show up at 8 pm when we could be working.” On Saturday night, she and her son were staying at the Oregon Convention Center, taking turns watching their possessions. “I’m so bored!” Andrea shouted, but she was happy to be out of the snow and raved about the food

donated by local restaurants. She’d delivered Elephants Deli on DoorDash, but had never actually tried it before. But uncertainty loomed. TriMet’s unprecedented shutdown boded poorly for her gig job work, when the severe weather shelter closed. “I have no plans,” she said, squaring her jaw. “There doesn’t seem to be a program set up for someone like me.” Unnamed Man With Blowtorch, Northeast Portland “This lighter thing is great, man.” A pair of men stood beneath the closed Left Bank Annex entrance, showing off a small blowtorch. “You can light a smoke in the wind, no problem.” They didn’t want to give their names but had no problem talking about staying warm. Both wore multiple layers of hoodies. One stood far back in the covered doorway of a building, smoking a bent cigarette, determined to take advantage of what little shelter he could from the wind. The other adjusted the gas setting on the torch and began warming his hands. Both men stayed in shelters the first two nights but needed to leave to find drugs outside. TriMet’s suspended and limited services stranded them too far away to carry their possessions on foot. “You see any buses running? Because I don’t,” the man with the blowtorch said. Like others, the two men felt forced to make a decision: either stay in their tents overnight during the storm or walk to the nearest shelter, leaving their possessions vulnerable to theft. The man with the blowtorch motioned to the two tiny tents on the sidewalk, under several layers of tarps, snow and ice. “I don’t need no shelter,” he said. “This is shelter right here.”

THE BIG NUMBERS

Ice Index Measuring the worst power outage in Oregon history. 330,000

Oregonians left without power Feb. 15 following an ice storm across the Willamette Valley

30%

The statewide share of Portland General Electric customers without power Feb. 15

12,000

Pacific Power customers in Portland who lost power between 3 and 5 am on Feb. 15

6,711

PGE power lines down as of Feb. 16

563

Portland emergency calls reporting downed power lines between Feb. 12-15

275

Portland 911 calls asking to check on the welfare of people Feb. 12-14—a 58% increase from the same period in 2020. Sources: Office of the Governor, Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, Portland Fire & Rescue, Portland Bureau of Emergency Communications

Compiled by Shannon Gormley and Tess Riski

Willamette Week FEBRUARY 17, 2021 wweek.com

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NEWS CHRIS NESSETH

TIMELINE

loyalists to storm the building during a Stop the Steal rally. Angelita Sanchez, a Timber Unity spokeswoman, livestreams the event on her Facebook page. Jan. 6, 2021: Trump acolytes storm the U.S. Capitol as Congress meets to certify the results of the presidential election. Oregon attendees include Jo Rae Perkins, a prominent QAnon adherent and unsuccessful nominee for the U.S. Senate; Angelita Sanchez, spokeswoman for the conservative lobbying group Timber Unity; Kristina Malimon, a conservative influencer who posted support on her Instagram for QAnon and who was a member of both Oregon Young Republicans and the Multnomah County Republican Party; and Ethan Nordean, aka Rufio Panman. Nordean is charged in federal court after video footage captures him leading a mob to the Capitol. TESS RISKI.

BLACK AND WHITE IN OREGON A MAN, A PAN: Ethan Nordean in downtown Portland for a Proud Boys rally in August 2020.

Dress Rehearsals Before storming the Capitol, Trump loyalists practiced by invading Portland. For the past four years, far-right groups, accompanied by members of paramilitary organizations, have led scheduled incursions into Portland, often wearing body armor and carrying weapons. Repeatedly, the stated objective was to conquer the city and its progressives—or, more precisely, to reclaim it for the so-called silent majority of Americans. It was sometimes hard to see the point of these exercises. But as elected officials laid out a case last week for impeaching former President Donald Trump for inciting an armed insurrection against Congress, one explanation emerged: The Portland rallies were practice. Trump was narrowly acquitted Feb. 13. But the footage of the deadly attack on the Capitol, and the use of Oregon headlines by both impeachment managers and Trump’s lawyers, got us to thinking: How much of what happened in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 was foreshadowed by the actions of Trumpists in Oregon? Quite a bit, as this timeline shows. Jan. 20, 2017: Donald J. Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. March 2017: Right-wing figures, including a Vancouver, Wash., protest group of Trump loyalists called Patriot Prayer, begin meeting in downtown Portland parks for scheduled showdowns with anti-fascists. Fistfights break out. A Portland State University professor tells WW: “They see it as a civil war.” May 26, 2017: Jeremy Christian murders two men and critically wounds another after they interrupted his racist tirade directed at two Black teenage girls. Nine days later, as the city grieves, far-right groups, including the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, gather in downtown Portland for a “free speech” rally. June 30, 2018: Clashes between anti-fascists and Patriot Prayer escalate into unhinged mayhem, with right-wing brawlers using flag poles to beat their adversaries. An anti-fascist protester requires surgery after a right-wing brawler hits him so hard he suffers a minor brain hemorrhage. At this event, a Washington state Proud Boy named Ethan Nordean is filmed knocking an anti-fascist combatant out cold. Nordean becomes a national celebrity under the name “Rufio Panman.” 8

Willamette Week FEBRUARY 17, 2021 wweek.com

Aug. 4, 2018: Patriot Prayer returns to Portland and celebrates the sight of police deploying stun grenades against anti-fascists. Tusitala “Tiny” Toese, a Samoan brawler with Patriot Prayer, arrives wearing a T-shirt that reads, “Pinochet did nothing wrong.” He explains the day’s objective: power. “Today, we have proven to Portland that no matter what kind of threat they send our way, they are not gonna stop us. They are not gonna make us bend the knee.” Aug. 17, 2019: Proud Boys roll into Portland from across the country, led by a Floridian named Joe Biggs, echoing Trump’s demand that antifa be declared a domestic terrorist group. The Proud Boys are allowed to exit the waterfront via the Hawthorne Bridge, a photo op that critics say looks like the city deferred to them. May 19, 2020: A new element is added to the mix. The QAnon conspiracy theory, at its core, contends that a group of Satan-worshipping elites are involved in a cover-up of child sex trafficking, weilding control over the media and politicians. Jo Rae Perkins wins the Republican nomination for a U.S. Senate seat in Oregon and posts a video to Twitter expressing explicit support for QAnon. Aug. 29, 2020: Aaron “Jay” Danielson, affiliated with Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson, is fatally shot, allegedly by antifascist Michael Reinoehl, after a pro-Trump truck caravan drives into downtown Portland from Clackamas County. Deputy U.S. marshals later kill Reinoehl. Sept. 13, 2020: Perkins hosts a fundraiser that doubles as a rally for QAnon at the Volcano Stadium in Keizer, Ore. At the event, prominent QAnon activists allude to an impending civil war and claim two months in advance of the election that, if Trump loses, it will be because Democrats rigged the election. “These people [Democrats] are planning a coup,” says Oregon-based QAnon activist Scott Kesterson. “And they intend to do everything in their power to cheat and steal to take this election away from the people.” Dec. 21, 2020: The marches in Oregon evolve into “Stop the Steal” rallies, asserting the election results must be overturned. State Rep. Mike Nearman opens a door of the Capitol building in Salem, allowing a mob of Trump

Who Can’t Pay Their Back Rent? When the eviction moratorium ends, the toll on Black households will be extraordinary. Oregon renters owe more than $378 million in back rent that’s accumulated since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when thousands lost their jobs. But based on their take-home pay before the state shuttered, it will take Black residents of Multnomah County the most time to pay back this debt. For the average Black household to pay just one month’s back rent by saving 10% of its earnings would take 5.7 months—longer than any other racial or ethnic group, according to a Portland Housing Bureau survey from May 2020. For white households, it’s the flipside. It would take them the shortest amount of time to pay back rent: 2.5 months to save up one month of missed rent. While both numbers are alarming, considering the new eviction moratorium gives renters one month to pay all back rent owed—which could be well over a year’s worth— this crisis disproportionately impacts Black Oregonians. Lisa Bates, an associate professor at Portland State University’s Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning, says that even before the pandemic, Black folks were set up to fail. Pre-pandemic data shows that 74% of Black people are renters compared with 44% of white people who rent. To afford the average price of a Portland one-bedroom rental apartment, a household must bring home an annual salary of $60,000 or more. Yet 72% of Black households make less than that and for white households it’s 44%. “Black folks in Oregon are much more likely to be renters than homeowners. There’s a certain amount of control and financial stability that comes with homeownership that then persists into the pandemic as well,” Bates says. “That gap is significant.” Even before the pandemic worsened financial strains, Black households were spending 57% of their income on rent and white households had to spend only 26% of their income on housing, an extreme disparity. The Housing Bureau survey also notes that people of color are more likely to work in service industries, which correlates with higher rates of unemployment filings. “With this lack of built-up savings,” Bates says, “when your income is lower and your housing is less affordable, over time you don’t have as much savings. So the impacts of missing a month of rent is going to last much longer for Black people than other groups.” LATISHA JENSEN.


NEWS CHRIS NESSETH

the Environmental Protection Agency, and Oregon Occupational Safety and Health. “ We h a v e m e t all guidance for reopening schools and are prepared to do so safely,” says PPS spokeswoman Karen Werstein. But the district declined to provide WW with results of CLEVELAND ROCKED: any recent air quality Cleveland High School and other Portland testing. “Air quality Public Schools testing is not part of the buildings have outof-date ventilation [CDC] guidance,” says systems, an issue the Werstein. “We do air district faces as it quality testing as part starts to reopen. of our normal practice, but I do not have the results of each test we do as part of our normal practice to share at this moment.” “The academic, social, and emotional damage to our kids during this pandemic is unprecedented,” says PPS board member Andrew Scott. “The CDC says it is safe to reopen schools, so we need to quickly address the concerns of our teachers, staff, and students so that everyone feels safe returning to the classroom.” But state and national support for fixing buildings has been absent for generations, local leaders say. “Just as the COVID pandemic has revealed all the many ways this country is broken, this is yet one more— that we have fundamentally failed to safeguard national infrastructure, schools being one of them,” says PPS Board member Rita Moore. “I think PPS is doing everything humanly possible to mitigate the reality of old buildings.”

Dead Air

Portland Public Schools has 38 buildings over 90 years old, and many need new ventilation systems. That might be a problem in a pandemic. BY R AC H E L M O N A H A N

rmonahan@wweek.com

Portland Public Schools hopes to reopen in April but more than 40 percent of its 94 school buildings are 90 years old— and many have questions surrounding their ventilation. Clean air is a key way to prevent COVID -19 from spreading. Just as the coronavirus is less likely to spread outdoors, it’s less likely to spread when fresh air is regularly brought inside and old air is blown out. There is reason to think PPS buildings will have problems doing that. An analysis conducted last year to assess needs for the latest PPS school bond found a significant challenge for a district looking to reopen at least its elementary schools in early April after a yearlong closure. The 2020 analysis found $203 million in needed HVAC repairs, of which $34 million worth were considered a matter of “health and life safety.” At 26 buildings with health and life safety problems, boilers, piping, ductwork or other parts of the HVAC systems had exceeded their natural life span. Those buildings included Bridlemile and King elementary schools, as well as Cleveland High School. (Read the full list at wweek.com.) That PPS has aging buildings is not a startling revelation—not to the district, which a decade ago embarked on a 30-year plan to overhaul its buildings, or even to taxpayers, who have so far agreed to finance three major school bonds totaling $2.5 billion. The health risks of old buildings aren’t a revelation either. The district’s superintendent resigned five years ago after WW revealed elevated lead levels had been discovered in water coming from the district’s drinking fountains and faucets. But in the middle of the pandemic, the old buildings present a new risk. For students and teachers to return safely, PPS will need to ensure that ventilation systems are in working order. A district official did not answer repeated inquiries from WW about how much of the work identified in the 2020 analysis had been completed. Instead, the district cited its work specific to the pandemic in getting existing HVAC systems running, including hiring a “certified industrial hygienist to create a building ventilation plan specific to PPS that complies with the guidance of these public health agencies”—specifically, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,

Whether the district can provide sufficient ventilation in schools appears central to the question of whether they can reopen safely—a matter of concern shared by teachers, parents and students whose interests have at times diverged as school reopenings begin. Some parents have been clamoring for schools to reopen even before Gov. Kate Brown gave teachers priority to get vaccinated, and teachers have still not reached an agreement with the district over their return to school. (Disclosure: This reporter is the parent of a PPS elementary school student.) Fixes to a ventilation system are perhaps the most expensive element of plans to reopen. And part of the difficulty for PPS and other districts is that state and federal governments have not set a specific air quality standard for reopening buildings during the pandemic. When Gov. Brown renewed her push last month for elementary schools to reopen by Feb. 15, the Oregon Department of Education said Jan. 19 the agency was providing “updated advisory metrics aligned to the Harvard Global Health Institute recommendations.” Ha rva rd G l ob a l He a l th I nstitute ha s s e ve n recommendations for infection control, including mask wearing and social distancing but also “achieving four to six air changes per hour of ‘clean’ air through any combination of ventilation and filtration (or outdoor classrooms)”— meaning air in the room is replenished four to six times each hour by air from the ventilation system or a window. But ODE acknowledged to WW last week that its guidance to schools did not include that piece of the Harvard recommendations—and, in fact, includes no recommended number of air changes. Nor does the CDC guidance on school reopening issued Friday by the Biden administration. “Why the hell did the CDC not weigh on ventilation, given everything we know about this disease?” Moore says. “What the fuck is that? I think this a complete abdication of the CDC’s responsibility. And it’s requiring individual school districts that are not public health entities to make their own plans regarding public health. I mean what the fuck?”

Without specific state or federal guidelines, Portland Public Schools is left to negotiate the matter with its teachers’ union. In other districts across the country, negotiations with unions have delayed or blocked school reopenings. And the Portland Association of Teachers has asked the district for a ventilation standard higher than Harvard’s—nine air changes an hour—as well as evidence of air quality standards being met. “Adequate ventilation in any space that would be used for instruction or for people to meet is crucial and cannot go on guesswork or assumptions,” says PAT president Elizabeth Thiel. The school district has not agreed to those demands. And it hasn’t shown the union the results of its air quality tests, either. “That’s probably been one of the biggest sticking points— adequate ventilation,” says Thiel. “Portland public schools are very old. Sometimes we’ve been told that mitigating the airflow is too expensive to ask for, but if it’s the most important thing in not spreading COVID, we’ve got to address it in order to make our environment safe.” To be sure, other school districts face the same problem. As the Washington Post reported Feb. 16, 40% of school districts “need to update or replace HVAC systems in at least half of their school buildings, affecting 36,000 school buildings nationwide,” according to a June 2020 Government Accountability Office report. The preponderance of scientific evidence suggests schools can be reopened without further spreading the virus in the community. And keeping schools shuttered comes with clear costs to children, not all of whom can get online or stay engaged with online-only instruction. Children have so far shown less risk of getting the disease or its serious complications and less risk of spreading it. And there is a documented cost for children being out of school. “The teachers seem to be irrationally afraid of COVID, and they seem immune to [the fact] that we have a great deal of data at this point about how safe it is,” says Kim McGair, a PPS mother who helped launch ED300, a group lobbying for faster school reopenings. “The American Academy of Pediatrics has been out front on this issue. They are the ones that see kids and know kids, and they are [saying] get kids in school.” At the same time, it’s not clear that PPS’s plans for reopening will be successful. A new and more contagious variant of the coronavirus has arrived in Oregon. And countries that have kept their schools open and their case counts down have responded to the new variant by closing schools again. PPS is trying to reassure parents and teachers that it has done enough to circulate healthy air through its classrooms. According to a document provided to WW, the outside consultant hired by the district looked at whether each HVAC system was operating; the “area around the HVAC system was clear of potential contaminants”; the filters fit and were clean; and the air intake for the system was functioning. Not all of the fixes have been made, but the district says they will be by the time schools reopen. And the district says every school has a functioning damper—the intake where the school’s ventilation system admits air from outside. The district also plans to run its ventilation systems about four hours longer per day, for two hours before and after the buildings open and close. The district hasn’t said how much it’s spending, or how much of the $203 million in ventilation upgrades still need to be addressed. But PPS officials are all too aware that air quality is not the only health and safety risk the district’s aging buildings face—or the most expensive. Portland Publics Schools estimates it has a billion dollars in seismic upgrades to bring its buildings up to safety standards for life in an earthquake zone. “We have old buildings. Our buildings need a lot of work,” says Werstein. “We are constantly doing HVAC and other repairs, and so are very appreciative of the voters supporting the bonds so we can continue to do these kinds of repairs.”

Willamette Week FEBRUARY 17, 2021 wweek.com

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NEWS WESLEY LAPOINTE

AT RISK: Beverly and Philip Smith stand in front of the home they purchased nearly a decade ago, soon after their marriage. Now, they’re at risk of losing it.

Move Your Home Residents of an East Portland mobile home park were told to get lost, in the middle of a pandemic. BY L ATI SH A J E N S E N

ljensen@wweek.com

It was only after inquiries by WW that the city canceled the permits to redevelop Kelly Butte Park. On Jan. 19, Matt Tschabold, policy and planning manager with the Portland Housing Bureau, told two residents who addressed the bureau’s Rental Services Commission that since permit applications were submitted before the ordinance went into effect, it could still be approved. “A property owner is subject to the land use and zoning code that is in effect when they submit an application, and unfortunately the city does not have the discretion to change that state law,” Tschabold said at the January commission meeting. “Their application is subject to the laws that were in effect when they submitted that application.” WW contacted City Commissioner Dan Ryan’s office on Feb. 8 and the Portland Bureau of Development Services on Feb. 10, inquiring whether the city would in fact approve the application. (Ryan oversees BDS as well as the Housing

WESLEY LAPOINTE

Across the country, particularly in Portland and Oregon, elected officials have tried to ward off evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 pandemic—sometimes by banning them outright. But in one low-income community in East Portland, the holes in several layers in the social safety net became evident when a letter arrived in mailboxes. Last October, residents of 11 homes in a mobile home park along Southeast Powell Boulevard received notice they’d have to move out. The owner of Kelly Butte Park, on Southeast 112th Avenue, wanted to redevelop the property. For Beverly Smith, 74, the bad news seemed to defy logic. First, the notice arrived in the middle of a pandemic and amid a thicket of new rules designed to prevent people from being displaced. Second, Smith and her husband, Philip, own their home. “We’re looking for somebody to assist us. We need help, that’s what it boils down to,” Beverly Smith says. “They’ve got all these plans about how they’re shuffling us around like domino chips.” Mobile home parks offer a form of homeownership often within reach of low-income buyers—but it means owning only the structure, not the land under it. So it’s housing that comes with the added insecurity of losing an investment if the homes, sometimes old, can’t be moved or the cost of moving, sometimes upward of $40,000, proves prohibitive. The state has long recognized the need to protect mobile home park residents, requiring long notice periods before closure. In August 2018, Portland took the added step of zoning existing locations specifically as mobile home parks, so that they could not be closed and rezoned without significant review. The difference for Kelly Butte Park was that the owner, Adam Hoesly, had applied to redevelop the property less than two months before the city changed the zoning. Hoesly sought to build 26 “affordable” single-family homes. To do this, he’d likely have to demolish any homes that the owners left behind. He tells WW he plans to move forward. “As it currently stands, tenants have been given more than a years notice as well as relocation fees to aid in their transition,” Hoesly says. “The plan is to replace the 11 mobile homes with 26 affordable homes, as defined by the City of Portland.” If the Kelly Butte development were to proceed, it would

do exactly what the Portland City Council is actively working to avoid, says Cameron Herrington, a program manager with the nonprofit Living Cully, which helped advocate for the mobile home park ordinance. “It’s blatantly against the spirit of what the City Council was trying to do.” Tenants rights advocate Margot Black has been organizing the residents of Kelly Butte Park throughout the winter. “The city knew in 2018 that these tenants were going to be displaced and did nothing,” Black says. “They had no plan.”

Bureau.) On Feb. 14, David Kuhnhausen, BDS’s permitting services manager, told WW the permits had been canceled, saying the property owner had failed to request the necessary permit extensions to keep the application valid. “The permits were canceled on Feb. 8, 2021,” Kuhnhausen wrote to WW. “Any future development permits at this site will be reviewed to comply with current zoning regulations.” The permits expired more than seven months ago, on June 30. It’s not clear why the permits weren’t canceled then. Hoesly says he received no notice the permits had expired. “The city at times has an antiquated system for alerting the status of permits and I was not notified that the permit had expired in June until late last week,” he says. The permit cancellation is good news for Lucenda and Joe Brisack, who bought the home they share with their 8-year-old daughter on Dec. 30, 2018. That was nearly six months after the application for redevelopment was submitted. “It’s the worst feeling in the world that someone looked into our face, knowing that we were giving every cent we had to bu y this place to give our daughter a home and stability, and they never said anything,” Lucenda Brisack says. In this small cul-de-sac, with bright, pastel-colored homes and neatly decorated front porches, resides a tightknit community that considers itself a family. When residents received letters telling them the mobile home park, developed in 1997, would close and they had to be off the property by Oct. 20, 2021, community members feared for their futures but decided to put up a fight by writing letters to public officials and testifying at the Rental Services Commission meeting. Black, the tenants rights organizer, says the city’s decision to cancel the permits is significant but the owner could still kick residents off the land even if he can’t redevelop the property. “The city knows when displacement occurs or is about to,” Black adds. “It needs to start providing meaningful and proactive resources to prevent and mitigate it.” Most of the residents could not afford to relocate their homes. Sandra Lovingier bought hers in 2009 and wrote in a handwritten letter to WW that she’s confident she’d end up homeless if she had to vacate the property since she can no longer work because she has multiple sclerosis. “I put all my retirement money into buying my home,” she wrote. “I’ve invested every dime to make this my forever home.” Families still paying off their homes will have to continue paying their mortgages regardless of whether they can afford to move them. Collectively, the residents offered the landowner $1.1 million to buy the land themselves but never received a response, Beverly Smith says. “It’s really frustrating to be blatantly treated like you don’t matter,” Smith says. “The city is supposed to be empathetic to the homeless. They’re everywhere in this city. If they’re having difficulty, what’s going to happen to us? We’re seniors.”

HUDDLE UP: The residents of Kelly Butte Park are fighting to stay on the property. Willamette Week FEBRUARY 17, 2021 wweek.com

11


CHRIS NESETH

Knocked Down Town The obituaries for Portland are premature. But what will become of its most important neighborhood?

BY NIG E L JAQ UI SS

and

AARO N M E S H

503-243-2122

The image of downtown Portland is painted on plywood. The murals on boarded-up shop windows portray the kind of city Portland wants to be: just, equitable, harmonious. The need for those boards reveals who we are now: acrimonious, divided, fearful of each other and our future. Portland is nearing the one-year anniversary of the COVID -19 pandemic descending on the city. It is also engaged in an increasingly desperate conversation about whether, even after the plywood comes down, downtown can thrive again. No other part of Portland has been so obviously altered. In March, most of the city’s largest employers sent their office workers home, leaving towers empty. Few of them have asked employees to return. Other workers lost their jobs entirely—and people already living on the precipice of poverty fell in. Their tents line the streets of downtown, replacing pedestrians and food vendors on the sidewalks. Then, in late May, the downtown filled up again—with heartbroken and enraged people grieving the death of George Floyd and demanding reform and the defunding of the Portland Police Bureau. The most strident of these protesters have repeatedly turned to vandalism. The damage to shops and Portland’s reputation made recovery that much harder. Lately, the naysayers are dancing on downtown’s grave. A Lake Oswego economist named Bill Conerly asked in a Forbes.com essay last month whether Portland would join the ranks of once-thriving cities that are now empty husks. He even compared Portland to Pompeii, fitting the apocalyptic tone of recent media coverage—much of it, to be clear, promoted by Fox News and its brethren who delight in Portland’s struggles. 12

Willamette Week FEBRUARY 17, 2021 wweek.com

STORMY WEATHER: Downtown Portland has endured a series of blows.

The paralysis and fracturing of downtown Portland is now a national story, even if only parts of the myth are true. When Portland’s racial justice protests continued long after other cities quieted, President Trump sent in federal police, and right-wing pundits recycled explosive images. None of this was new, but it stuck—thanks to images of tear gas wafting through the streets and protesters trying to tear down federal fencing. To cable news junkies, the city was a war zone and a meme. But the story of Portland’s downtown is not just a battle about who gets to define the city. It’s a neighborhood story. One of the decisions that defined modern Portland was the choice by city leaders in the 1970s to treat downtown as a neighborhood—not just a center for commerce that emptied out each night, but a place where people lived. That vision inspired Pioneer Courthouse Square, “the city’s living room.” Downtown is so central to our civic identity that it is hard to accept that its recovery may not be linked as closely to the city’s reputation as we think. Even as downtown has suffered in 2020, residential real estate prices are soaring and inventory has never been lower. Data shows that the in-migration that drove the city’s growth is continuing, even amid a homeless crisis that predated the pandemic, tax increases and tear gas.

The qualities that made Portland attractive before the pandemic and civil unrest still exist. John Tapogna, president of the consulting firm ECONorthwest, notes that many of Portland’s peers also are struggling, and acknowledges that restoring Portland to health will require skillful guidance by state and local leaders. But he says the outcome of the pandemic—fewer hospitalizations and deaths than nearly any other state or city—demonstrates our officials can tackle daunting challenges. “We’ve got an awful lot of advantages over cities that have failed in the past,” Tapogna says. “Our foundational capital is still there.” So what remains? Over the past week, WW did what pundits won’t: We spent our days and nights in downtown Portland. We trudged through snow and ice to visit Plaid Pantrys, got on the phone with the people who know the neighborhood best, and pored through public records. In the following pages, we show you what we found. We encountered a place that is reeling but resilient. And we met people who are tired of being used as fodder for outsiders’ narratives. To them, downtown isn’t a stage to score political points—it’s their home. They want the city to work. And behind the plywood, they are keeping downtown alive.


BRIAN BURK

NO VISITORS Parking data shows Portlanders are staying out of downtown. The city of Portland’s SmartPark garages are the cheapest off-street parking downtown and a key indicator of how many motorists are traveling to the central city. Smart Park volume shrank dramatically in the past year. Number of parking spot rented in SmartPark garages: Fiscal Year 2018-19: 1,678,131 Fiscal Year 2019-20: 1,277,537 Fiscal year 2020-21: 1,100,000 (projected) Source: Portland Bureau of Transportation

BOARD MAN: Covering broken windows is a cottage industry.

Put a Board on It

One night with the man who puts plywood on Portland’s smashed windows. BY AA R O N M E S H

amesh @wweek.com

On Feb. 12, Portland protesters held a snowball fight. About 75 people—some dressed in black bloc, others wearing ’80s-style ski suits—gathered in Director Park for what was cheekily billed as “Antifa Snow Day.” Tamales were served; so was beer. Around 10 pm, a smaller group set out for the Portland Police Bureau’s Central Precinct. Not long after, somebody started shattering windows: at a ZoomCare clinic, then a Starbucks. That’s when Starbucks summoned help. John, 42, drove in from his home in Oregon City in a used Toyota 4X4. He bought that rig for $11,000 this summer. He paid cash, from overtime in one of the few businesses that got better over the past year. He’s in the plywood installation business. Starting May 29, the night Portlanders protesting the death of George Floyd shattered windows, John worked 76 consecutive days, at least 15 hours a day. “Our calls went through the roof,” John says, navigating the ice-slick streets. “We had the whole Target. That was a shitshow. We had one call come in for 45 windows right there on Yamhill. Just one call.” Some facts you won’t find in this story: John’s last name, the name of his company, or who the company contracts with. Those were the conditions John established for getting a firsthand view of his work. John says his company’s office has been “doxxed” several times this summer. Internet bullying isn’t an idle threat: Some city contractors saw their windows shattered in 2020 for working with the police or on homeless sweeps. John describes himself as conservative, a churchgoing man among the socialists, with no love for window-breakers. “The most jacked-up part of this is seeing families sobbing,” he says. “It’s hard to be there for them emotionally when they’ve lost everything. First because of COVID, then all their inventory’s been taken. They’re crying, sobbing. It’s heartbreaking, dude. That’s where I got turned off toward some of these groups that are doing this in the name of justice.” When glass shatters onto snow, it gleams a vivid blue. John’s co-worker, whom we’ll call Harold, uses a broom handle to clear the glass out of a broken window at the Starbucks at Southwest Jefferson Street and 3rd Avenue. That’s the first step of boarding up a window: You knock out what’s left of it.

Harold, a slightly built Latinx man, has set up two sawhorses on the sidewalk along Jefferson amid biting pellets of frozen rain. The company keeps 20 sheets of CDX plywood in each of its vans. Harold cuts a sheet to size with a circular saw. Harold places a wooden 2-by-4 behind the window’s metal frame and eases the plywood into the window. He sandwiches the plywood to the 2-by-4 with a cordless drill.

“AFTER YOU’VE BEEN OUT HERE DOING BOARD-UP FOR A WHILE, YOU SEE PORTLAND DIFFERENTLY. I WOULDN’T HAVE TOO MANY POSITIVE THINGS TO SAY. IT’S SAD TO ME, MAN. YOU SEE PEOPLE OUT HERE, COLD AND CONFUSED AND HIGH.”

OFFICE SPACE Portland’s commercial spaces are emptying out—but not at the rate of other cities. Commercial realtors say the key measure of a city’s strength is “net absorption”—an industry term that measures whether office space is filling up or emptying out. By that measure, Portland did better than many peer cities. Here are the percentage changes for 2020: 2.5 0.8

0 -0.7

-1.1

-2.5

-1.8

-2.3

-2.9

-3

-3.1

-5

“That’s called tension fitting,” says John. He sings Harold’s praises. “When it comes to speed and quality,” says John, “this guy’s your man.” What he did is called a board-up. John is the boardup manager, which means he takes the calls from distraught business owners, assigns the labor, and guards the job. Typically, the work starts minutes after a window is shattered. “We show up and the cops are gone,” John says. John’s arrival can cause tension with protesters. But he declines to discuss his security measures. Another call comes in: A man shot out windows at a Plaid Pantry at Northeast 140th Avenue and Sandy Boulevard (police arrested him). The board-up is already finished, but John wants to inspect the work. It’s now past 2 am. A snow-choked Interstate 84 looks surreal. A dozen cars are abandoned on the shoulders; a semi-trailer has jackknifed on an exit ramp. John talks politics. He’s not yet sure what to make of Joe Biden. What about Portland? “After you’ve been out here doing board-up for a while, you see Portland differently,” John says. “I wouldn’t have too many positive things to say. It’s sad to me, man. You see people out here, cold and confused and high.” John’s dashboard-mounted cellphone blares an alarm: beauty shop burglary on Hayden Island. The manager can’t get there in the snow. Security guards are waiting for someone to arrive. John calls her back: A member of his team is on the way. “Might as well cruise up there,” John says. “I’m not going to freakin’ sleep anytime soon.”

-4.5

-7.5 -7.8

-10

SALT AUSTIN SAN LAKE DIEGO CITY

PORT- LOS DENVER BOSTON SEATTLE NEW LAND ANGELES YORK

SAN FRANCISCO

And here’s where downtown office vacancy rates stood at 2020’s end:

NEW YORK

12.1

SALT LAKE CITY

12.1

AUSTIN

13

SAN DIEGO

13.4

SAN FRANCISCO

13.6

SEATTLE

14.7

BOSTON

14.9

PORTLAND

15.3

LOS ANGELES

16.3

DENVER

17.2

Source: Jones Lang LaSalle

Willamette Week FEBRUARY 17, 2021 wweek.com

13


BRIAN BURK

EVERYTHING MUST GO: Some business owners won’t wait to see if downtown rebounds.

The Next Detroit? Forget Pompeii. Is Portland fated to follow the trajectory of other once-great American cities? BY NIG E L JAQ UI SS

njaquiss@wweek.com

14

Willamette Week FEBRUARY 17, 2021 wweek.com

THE POMPEII COMPARISON IS HYPERBOLIC, OF COURSE. BUT CITIES DO REACH TIPPING POINTS, AND SOME DON’T TIP BACK. DETROIT, FAMOUSLY. BUFFALO ONCE HOSTED A WORLD’S FAIR. SO DID ST. LOUIS. MANY RUST BELT CITIES, FROM CLEVELAND TO BALTIMORE, HAVE DECLINED IN POPULATION AND ECONOMIC HEFT. The Pompeii comparison is hyperbolic, of course. But cities do reach tipping points, and some don’t tip back. Detroit, famously. Buffalo once hosted a World’s Fair. So did St. Louis. Many Rust Belt cities, from Cleveland to Baltimore, have declined in population and economic heft. Is Portland next? John Tapogna, president of ECONorthwest, a Portland economic consulting firm, says that unlike many cities, Portland felt the impact of both wildfires and protracted protests, so things may well be worse here than in peer cities recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have been through more than other places have, and so the road to recovery will have more challenges

BRIAN BURK

A couple of weeks ago, Mike Holzgang sat down for lunch with a client he was showing downtown Portland office space. “There’s no way in hell we’re renting here,” the client told Holzgang, a commercial real estate broker for Colliers. As they entered the building Holzgang was showing, the client explained, somebody reached out from a tent on the sidewalk and tried to grab the client’s ankle. That was a deal breaker. The incident might have cost Holzgang a commission. But he remains pretty upbeat about the Portland market. On one hand, he says he and his partners have helped seven or eight clients leave downtown since the pandemic began. Holzgang, who’s been a broker downtown for 40 years, says many clients think they’ll need 20% less space post-pandemic because of remote workers. Others are concerned about the “lawlessness” of protests and riots downtown. Still others are fleeing the personal income taxes voters passed last year. “All those factors make the decision-makers scratch their heads,” Holzgang says. But he notes that Portland office space ($35 a square foot) remains significantly cheaper than Seattle’s ($50) or San Francisco’s ($70), both of which saw a larger percentage of their office tenants skip town last year than did Portland (see chart, page 13). “What’s been driving the market downtown is tech companies, mostly from California,” Holzgang says. “What they often do is give their teams the option of where they want to live. Portland has been and will continue to be a choice.” Doug Bean, who’s also been brokering commercial property downtown for 40 years, says he thinks a lot of tenants downtown are weighing their options and waiting to see what the city looks like post-pandemic. Like Holzgang, he sees current tenants seeking short-term renewals or seeking lease terms shorter than normal.

Both men see the demand for space stronger in Portland’s suburban areas—a trend that worries Bean. “Portland is the heart of the region,” says Bean, who runs a brokerage firm that bears his name. “And to me, if we want to have a healthy region, we have to have a healthy heart.” The question of whether the pandemic, prolonged protests and wildfires could have permanently altered Portland’s desirability is much on the minds not just of downtown property owners but those who agree with Bean that the center of the metro area’s biggest city is of paramount importance. Those worries were presented in their most provocative form by Lake Oswego economist Bill Conerly in a Jan. 28 essay for Forbes.com. That op-ed, titled “Death of a City: The Portland Story?” compared Portland to Pompeii before the volcano erupted, and suggested that the Rose City could join a laundry list of once-great American metropolises that saw their downtown opera houses and banks turn into empty caverns as anyone who could afford to flee did.

when we try to come out than others,” Tapogna says. He adds that the paucity of people downtown is also a function of Oregon having among the tightest COVID-19 restrictions in the nation and a largely compliant population. Tapogna notes, for instance that restaurants here suffered far more than in peer cities (see chart, page 16). But Tapogna believes the region’s natural capital—including Oregon’s beauty and Portland’s compact design—will continue to draw the newcomers who fuel the state’s economy. “Mount Hood is still out there and so are all the other natural amenities that have attracted in-migration. And the blocks downtown are small and the streets are narrow,” he says. “Other cities don’t have that.” Tim Duy, director of the Oregon Economic Forum at the University of Oregon, agrees with that assessment. He notes that Portland’s economy is far more diverse than those in cities such as Detroit that have experienced longterm decline. Those cities were often dependent on a single industry, relied on low-skilled workers, and were highly vulnerable to jobs moving to lower-wage parts of the world. They have, for many years, failed to attract the young, well-educated newcomers who have fueled Portland since the 1980s. Duy notes that doomsayers ignore Portland’s red-hot residential market. Even last year, in-migration continued to be strong, and data gathered from online real estate services like Redfin and United Van Lines (see chart, page 16) shows that Portland and Oregon remain highly favored destinations for people from other states. “The housing market is really strong,” Duy says. “Millennials are aging into the homebuying years, and interest rates are low.” Tapogna warns there are still plenty of reasons to be worried. “There is reputational damage from national news cycles,” he says, “and that’s going to take authentic public policy responses to fix.” But there are just as many reasons for optimism, as Seattle showed when it rebounded after the 1999 World Trade Organization protests. Those protests—which introduced national television audiences to riot police deploying tear gas on marchers, and irate Seattleites smashing Starbucks windows—might have marked the end of the city’s status as a grungy national media darling. But they didn’t discourage a tech and construction boom fueled by the rise of Amazon. Big business and radical politics coexist in Seattle, like a hippie bumper sticker on a BMW. Tapogna sees a similar path ahead for Portland. “We are still the most affordable major housing market on one of the most enviable coasts in the world,” he says. “We should not take that for granted but we’ve got an awful lot of advantages over the cities that have failed in the past.”

CLOSED FOR BUSINESS: Downtown property owners are praying for the end of the pandemic.


BRIAN BURK

Clerks

Who knows what downtown Portland is really like? The people working the cash registers. BY AA R O N M E S H

amesh @wweek.com

Store clerks can’t work from home. Through the pandemic, tear gas, choking wildfire smoke and, most recently, ice, they’ve put in lonely hours behind mostly empty cash registers. What’s it been like for them? A clerk at a smoke shop on Southwest Burnside Street gave a concise answer: “Hell,” he said. He declined to elaborate. On a frigid Saturday afternoon, WW dropped into stores in the city’s core to hear more. We hit gas stations, boutiques and convenience stores. Here’s what we learned, edited for length and clarity. Danny Thomas Chevron, Southwest 4th Avenue and Burnside Street “Third-world country. War zone. “It’s definitely gotten so you got to watch your back all the time. You’ve got to grow eyes in all sides of your head. “We had a guy trying to rob an elderly lady. He pulled a machete out and threatened us with it. Then he smashed out the big windows [of the Chevron] with the butt of the machete. The boss said, ‘I’m done. I’m just boarding ’em all up.’ “Three days later, a dude pulled a butcher knife on me. He just came in and started swinging it around. I said, ‘Dude, you can’t do that in here.’ So he threatened me with it. Then I picked up my baseball bat. “The police let him go. The police are just saying it’s all right. There’s no consequences for this bullshit. When I’m working, I’m representing my boss, I’m representing Chevron. So I gotta keep my cool. I live just down the street, at 4th and Alder. So they call me in all the time. “The stress level has gone through the roof. Back in the day, downtown Portland used to be a beautiful place. Now it’s hard to find anything that’s open. Can’t eat indoors. Nobody will eat outside in this stuff. [Gestures at snow.] My cheeseburger will get cold too fast. “The rioting ’s got everybody stressed out, but the COVID’s been going on the longest. It’s causing us to live a lifestyle that’s barely making it. And I don’t like that feeling. My shifts got reduced. Right now, I can’t just buy a new pair of shoes. I have to save up for them.” Chris Holmquist Plaid Pantry, Southwest Mill Street and Park Avenue “On the street, there’s been like a lot of stress—like audible, visual, fresh from people. You can sense it. But for me, as a born and raised Portlander, it’s like second nature working down here. I’m equipped to deal with downtown. “People long for the old days of Portland. They keep saying, ‘I wish for the old days.’ But OK, which part? The violence and the racism? Which is a fact, that actually happened. You don’t want that coming back. Northwest 23rd, Nob Hill area, that used to be a drug den. You don’t want that back. “I don’t feel endangered at all. I’m obviously a big guy. So I’m always going to feel safe. Animals just love me. A lot of people bring their dogs in here. I can memorize people by their dogs. We have one guy who regularly comes in to buy jerky for his dog. That dog is so excited to see me. “I’ve never actually seen anything bad here at this store. The protesters come by to buy stuff after the protest. I’ve always viewed stores that sell food as a melting pot. I feel like people don’t want to mess with us during a riot. Because they need drinks and food from us. If you think about it, why would you bite the hand that feeds you?” Katherine Sealy Owner, Event Cosmetics, Southwest Taylor Street and 10th Avenue “There are literally zero-dollar days. I try to make them

STILL WORKING: Store clerks can’t use Zoom.

as productive as possible. We’ve been very creative, but numbers are nowhere near what they need to be. “Most of the office buildings around here have relocated their staff. And they’re not in a hurry to bring people back in. “I am one of very few in my area that threw caution to the wind and took the boards down. It was getting closer to Christmas. It got darker earlier, which made this area look very unsafe. I have higher-income-bracket, middleaged-to-older clients. Everyone was saying that they felt unsafe. “I was also really strategic on when I took the boards down. I was fortunate because, what are they going to steal? Makeup? It’s not something that’s easy to hawk, like liquor. I did empty a lot of my store out to make it less attractive. “The retailers that are here, we all talked, and we all have similar affinity for the center of the city. I’m a city girl. I just wasn’t ready to give up and let this become a run-down wasteland of forgottenness. It just didn’t feel right to throw your hands up in the air and say, ‘I’m going to move somewhere else.’ “It all sounds dire, but I think we are coming out of the worst. I really do.” Claudiu Viorel Ciocanen Natural Mart, Southwest 4th Avenue and Mill Street “I’ve lived a block from here since ’99, and I’ve seen a lot of changes. And I don’t think the changes that are happening now are necessarily bad. Shit’s been boiling up and it was bound to happen. “Hopefully, all the protests will be for a good cause. I was out there six nights in a row. I got gassed six nights in a row. One time after working a 13-hour shift, I went out there and got gassed. I was born in Romania, where unmarked cars picking people up under communism was a common thing. My dad escaped. That’s how I ended up here. So, yeah: Trump got me out there really quick. ‘Trumpski’ got me out there. “I see a lot more homeless people, but I don’t see crime going up. Green Zebra, they’ve closed down, so that did help us out a little bit. Plaid Pantry closed a store. I don’t mind seeing Plaid Pantry gone. “The silliest thing about the pandemic is how people keep acting—like there’s no pandemic. They will come in for one soft drink and, a half an hour later, come back

in for one candy bar. I don’t understand that. Two people have come in with face shields but no mask. And they’re the ones that got attitude. There’s a lot of people that feel really privileged and feel like they should be able to get away with shit. But I have to tell them, ‘Hey, two new strains going around, you know. Even easier to catch.’ It’s just sad, having to educate grown-ups.”

BLANK CANVAS: Plywood is great for muralists.

Willamette Week FEBRUARY 17, 2021 wweek.com

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BRIAN BURK

STILL GOT IT People are still moving to Portland… Portland remained a popular city for in-migration in 2020. Based on an analysis by United Van Lines of about 125 metropolitan areas, Portland ranked 18th as a moving destination in 2020. That’s down from ninth in 2019, and just behind cities such as

Charlotte and Phoenix, but still ahead of regional magnets such as Denver and Salt Lake City. Meanwhile, Oregon as a whole remained the third-most popular state to move to, trailing just South Carolina and Idaho.

Percentage of moves in 2020 that were inbound in selected cities:

BOISE

78

AUSTIN

COLD FOOD: Gov. Kate Brown reopened indoor dining Feb. 12. It snowed.

65

PORTLAND

61

SEATTLE

61

ORLANDO

FROZEN DINNERS

SALT LAKE CITY

Patrons stayed away from Portland restaurants as peer cities reopened. One reason downtown Portland feels so deserted: Its renowned dining scene remains largely shuttered by COVID-19 rules and patrons who take the virus seriously. Portland is heavily dependent on the restaurant industry, both for jobs and for its reputation around the country. Data from the online

Denver

reservation site Open Table shows Portland has been far slower to reopen than peer cities. Here’s how a selection of cities compare on Feb. 13. The percentage drop is from the number of table reservations made the same week last year.

Indianapolis

Minneapolis

Portland

53

DENVER

49

SAN FRANCISCO 01

41

02

03

04

05

…but demand for downtown apartments has slackened. Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment has remained flat over the course of the pandemic across the Portland metro region. In the suburbs, rents have actually increased. But in Portland’s

Open Table Reservations Year over Year Change Austin

57

Seattle

06

07

08

09

central city, average rents are dropping. Perhaps we’re seeing the first effects of a construction boom that started four years ago. But here’s another theory: People are still moving to Portland from out of state, but they’d rather not live too close to the tear gas.

0 -10 -20

Portland Metro 1 Bedroom Apartment Rent

-30

Area Average Compared to January 2020

-34

-40

3.0%

-50 -60

2.0%

-80

1.0%

-90

-91

0.0% Ja n

De c

No v

Oc t

Sep

Au g

Ju l

Ju n

Ma y

-100

Rest of Region

-58

-70

Metro Average

-1.0%

Source: Open Table -2.0%

Another key indicator of how hard the industry has been hit can be found in liquor sales. Restaurants and bars make much of their money from sales of hard liquor, particularly in December. Here’s one indicator: In Multnomah County, sales to licensees, i.e., bars and restaurants, plummeted 86% from December 2019 to December 2020.

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Willamette Week FEBRUARY 17, 2021 wweek.com

December 2019: $5.8 million December 2020: $810,000

City of Portland Urban Core

-3.0% -4.0% -5.0%

JAN

FEB

MAR

Source: CoStar/EcoNorthwest Source: Oregon Liquor Control Commission

APRM

AY

JUNJ

0

Source: United Van Lines

UL

AUG

SEP

OCTN

OV

DECJ AN


BRIAN BURK

Cleaning Bill A controversial private cleaning and security nonprofit is supposed to make downtown sparkle. But where is the money really going? BY NIG E L JAQ UI SS

njaquiss@wweek.com

When Jessie Burke and her business partners opened the Society Hotel in Portland’s Chinatown in 2015, Burke knew the neighborhood would present challenges: fights, people sleeping on the sidewalks, and lots of trash. Burke persevered, although she sometimes grew frustrated when she called Downtown Clean & Safe, the privately funded nonprofit that provides security and hygiene services to 213 square blocks downtown. Every property owner in the district pays an annual fee, collected by the city—for the Society Hotel, it’s about $800. But when Burke joined Clean & Safe’s board last year, what she learned alarmed her. Burke found that a significant portion of the money that goes into Clean & Safe actually pays salaries and overhead for a legally separate entity, the Portland Business Alliance. She says that was news to her and many other business owners she’s shared that information with. “It just doesn’t make sense,” Burke says. “It’s not efficient.” Demands on Clean & Safe have exploded. In 2012, its crews picked up 3,000 bags of trash downtown. Over the past year, amid a city paralyzed by the COVID -19 pandemic, that number soared to 70,000 bags—not to mention tens of thousands of hypodermic needles and other “biohazards.” Clean & Safe, founded in 1988, operates under a 10-year contract with the city of Portland, which collects taxes from property owners in the district—$5.4 million this year—and allows it to operate in public spaces. The contract is up for renewal this year. That decision will be contentious. Some advocates believe Clean & Safe mistreats the homeless, a concern highlighted in a critical city audit last year. And at least two city commissioners, Jo Ann Hardesty and Carmen Rubio, bristle at some of Clean & Safe’s security guards carrying guns. All of which raises the stakes for a little-known organization that plays an enormous role in the public perception of the city’s most important neighborhood. Behind the scenes, WW has learned, some businesses that pay into the district may be even more alarmed than homeless advocates and city commissioners. Their concern is different: Burke and some other business owners don’t think they’re getting their money’s worth. Internal documents, including emails and correspondence, and interviews with current and former board members show they’re airing frustrations about the district’s convoluted financial relationship with the PBA. “Clean & Safe’s model could be good,” Burke says, “but a separate organization is sucking all of the resources away.” Burke voices a concern of other downtown property owners, particularly those in Old Town: Even with the extra money they pay for private cleaning and security, the city is dirtier and more dangerous than they can remember. Their frustration echoes that of regular taxpayers who wonder if government is doing all it can to return Portland to health. Except in the case of businesses paying a supplemental tax, their questions are aimed at whether the Portland Business Alliance, the city’s largest advocacy group, is using too much of their money to pay its own expenses—a concern that PBA CEO Andrew Hoan says is without merit. When Burke joined the board of Downtown Clean & Safe last fall, she discovered nonprofit was paying about 45% of the salaries of the top officials and support staff at the Portland Business Alliance, a 501(c)(6) nonprofit that

CLEAN AND SAFE: Property owners want their old downtown back.

advocates for nearly 1,900 member businesses. (Disclosure: Those members include WW’s parent company.) PBA holds long-standing contracts with Portland Patrol Inc. for security and Central City Concern for street cleaning. Yet the money for those contracts comes from Clean & Safe. That means PBA is by far Clean & Safe’s largest contractor (and takes a 3% cut from the contracts). Yet Clean & Safe’s executive director, Maureen Fisher, reports to the PBA. Fisher, whose total compensation will top $200,000 this year, reports not to the Clean & Safe board but instead to Hoan. “How is she supposed to hold him accountable for the contracts when she reports to him?” Burke asks. “That’s unusual,” says Beatrice Dohrn, director of the nonprofit clinic at the University of Oregon School of Law. “The executive director of a 501(c)(3) should report to the board of the (c)(3), period.” Clean & Safe funds also pay a share of PBA’s rent at the World Trade Center—and $26,000 for a spot on the PBA board. So why does any of that matter? An email from Matthew Goodman, whose family is one of the largest downtown property owners, spells it out. “As a significant rate payer, I’m uncomfortable being obligated to funding Clean & Safe long term unless we have significant and sustained improvement in our services,” Goodman wrote to fellow Clean & Safe board members in an email Jan. 13, 2021. Every dollar spent on administration, of course, is a dollar not spent on direct services. Of the $5.4 million Clean & Safe will collect this year, about 72% will go directly to cleaning, security and lighting contracts. The rest goes to overhead. Goodman, who did not share the email with WW, declined to comment for this story, but he sits on the boards of both Clean & Safe and PBA. Many business owners who pay into Clean & Safe have another issue as well: Their payments to the business improvement district cover administrative costs for an organization—the PBA—to which they don’t belong. And many of PBA’s largest members, such as Intel and Precision Castparts, don’t have offices downtown—and so aren’t part of Clean & Safe. Dan Lenzen, who has run and owned a variety of properties, bars and nightclubs—most recently, the Dixie Tavern, in Old Town since 1985—wants every possible dollar funding Clean & Safe’s services. “I don’t feel downtown is clean or safe,” Lenzen says. He doesn’t know all the details of how Clean & Safe spends its money, he says, but would like to see the organization focus on being as efficient as possible with the money it has. “Any business that is not successful needs to be nimble enough to change its course,” Lenzen adds. David Gold, an Old Town property owner, says he was

unaware until Burke told him that his payments to Clean & Safe subsidize the PBA. Gold says that for the first time, he’s had to hire his own additional private security. “Conditions on the street are by far the worst I’ve seen in the 16 years I’ve been in Old Town,” Gold says. Tension over the relationship between Clean & Safe and PBA has been bubbling for a while. In September 2019, the Clean & Safe executive board wrote to Hoan, the PBA’s CEO, expressing a desire for more separation between the organizations and for Fisher to report to it, instead of him to “better follow the bylaws and to avoid placing our 501(c)(3) status at risk.” After much back and forth, no change. Representatives of four of the largest downtown property owners, each of whom sits on the board of both organizations, prefer the status quo. “The current Downtown Portland Clean & Safe model is highly efficient. Shared resources allow the nonprofit to redirect funds from staffing and administration to direct street-level services,” said Vanessa Sturgeon of TMT Development, Jim Mark of the Melvin Mark Companies, Justin Delaney of The Standard, and Patrick Gilligan of Lincoln Property Company in a joint statement. “Both organizations benefit from this arrangement. It’s important to revisit partnerships regularly, but during a crisis is the wrong time.” Hoan agrees and says critics such as Burke are missing the point: Clean & Safe benefits from PBA’s advocacy and communications work while the alliance picks up more than 55% of staff costs. He acknowledges the organizations are legally separate, but he says that their shared interests in a thriving downtown make a partnership the best way to serve their constituents. “It’s better for both organizations,” Hoan says. Audit results show that he and other administrative staff spend more than 50% of their time on Clean & Safe issues and that administrative spending has declined under his leadership, leaving more money for direct services. “What the ratepayers want to see is a combination of the cleanup and security and advocacy,” Hoan says. “We are doing exactly what they want.” Not all of them. Frustrated by pushback from longtime board members for her demands for greater transparency and accountability, Burke resigned from the Clean & Safe board in late January. “After I joined, I told the board we can clean this up now or I’ll resign and tell the press,” she says. “Because no one knows about this.”

Willamette Week FEBRUARY 17, 2021 wweek.com

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STREET

We sledded in Overlook Park, shredded Mount Tabor, and skied downtown.

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Willamette Week FEBRUARY 17, 2021 wweek.com

CHRIS NESSETH

HOW PORTLAND SPENT ITS SNOW DAYS


STREET WESLEY LAPOINTE

Willamette Week FEBRUARY 17, 2021 wweek.com

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STREET

CHRIS NESSETH

WESLEY LAPOINTE

CHRIS NESSETH

WESLEY LAPOINTE

WESLEY LAPOINTE

CHRIS NESSETH

CHRIS NESSETH

WESLEY LAPOINTE

Willamette Week FEBRUARY 17, 2021 wweek.com

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STARTERS

THE MOST IMPORTANT PORT L AND C U LT U RE STORI E S OF THE WEEK—GRAPHED.

otion M l a n i g i r O : Zappa track d n u o S e r u t c Pi

RIDICULOUS Portland movie theaters can reopen…

…but many are not, in part because they can’t sell concessions. WESLEY LAPOINTE DAN DZURISIN

ROCKY BURNSIDE

B R AV O

The owners of Medella Bison Ranch in Ashland are excused of “extortion” by their neighbors for asking them to help pay to rehabilitate their property, in a story too weird and complicated to fully explain here.

AWESOME

A A R O N S C H WA R T Z

The first trailer for Top Chef is out…

The soundtrack is a perfect complement to the film available on 3 CDs or 5LPs for the Zappa completist. Showcasing 69 total songs, with 12 previously unreleased recordings from archive along with the 1978 Saturday Night Live performance; 24 additional Zappa songs from the catalog spanning 4 decades; songs from Zappa's labels Straight / Bizarre Records; 2 classical compositions by Edgard Varese and Igor Stravinsky; and 26 Original Score cues newly composed by John Frizzell for the documentary.

3 CD set: Out 2/19/2021

LP Sets: Out 5/7/2021

AWFUL

Gordon Sondland is reportedly writing a tell-all book about his time in the Trump administration.

ry!! tary meennta indd ddooccuum kkin a a f f o o e e n n o o e e th m th sicc frfroom muusi thee m GGeett th

…unfortunately, Fred and Carrie are in it.

LEAH MALDONADO

LIZ ALLAN

CHRIS NESSETH

For more than four decades, Willamette Week has made a difference in Portland.

A customer at Bargarten in Beaverton left a $2,000 tip for a beer and schnitzel on the restaurant’s first day back open. Snow and ice caused TriMet to suspend all service over the weekend.

SERIOUS

Our reporting has changed lives for the better, held the powerful accountable, removed a few people from elected office and, along the way, made hundreds of thousands of Portlanders aware of the best in this city's culture. Quality local journalism takes time and talent and resources. You can help by becoming a Friend of Willamette Week.

wweek.com/support Willamette Week FEBRUARY 17, 2021 wweek.com

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STREAM: Blue Lab Beats at PDX Jazz Festival PDX Jazz Festival is still happening this year—and you don’t have to leave the safety of your home to participate. The 10 days of virtual concerts and movie screenings kicks off Feb. 18, and in the first few days alone, you can catch performances streaming from Portland, Havana and London. This workshop-performance-Q&A hybrid with Blue Lab Beats is sure to be a highlight. The U.K. duo blend smooth jazz with futuristic hip-hop and are at the forefront of a rising generation of genre-fusing jazz musicians. 5 pm Saturday, Feb. 20. pdxjazz.com. Free.

HEAR: The Berlin Diaries “He who forgets what he cannot change is happy.” Those words are spoken multiple times in Andrea Stolowitz’s The Berlin Diaries, but not because she believes them. The play is about Stolowitz’s fraught relationship with the journal of her great-grandfather, Max Cohnreich, a Jewish doctor who escaped Berlin during the Holocaust. It has been reconfigured as an audio drama by Artists Repertory Theatre, a transformation that hasn’t diminished either its intense compassion or its offbeat wit. Stream at artistsrep.org.

STREAM: Medicare for All Rave If anyone’s going to get you hype about improving America’s depressing health care system, it’s Maarquii. The Portland rapper and voguer has spent the past year forming the House of Juju, working on community aid and brewing spiritual oils. This week, they’re performing a rare virtual set as the headliner at Rhythm Nation’s Medicare for All Rave. The Twitch stream will kick off with a local panel discussion of a campaign to achieve universal health care by 2022 followed by live performances: Maarquii, a whomping beat set by J.Phlip and a set by local producer-rapper Theory Hazit. 8 pm Saturday, Feb. 20. twitch.tv/holoceneportland.

LISTEN: Sun Kin’s After the House L.A.’s Sun Kin (aka Mumbai-born Kabir Kumar) hits a fearsome stride on After the House, whose title gives away its genre allegiance. Dignified and hard-hitting, its seven-track structure as redolent of Gaucho as its gloss, After the House starts with the sound of classic Chicago house producers like Frankie Knuckles and Larry Heard and blesses it with yacht-rock pixie dust. Kumar’s disarmingly angelic voice isn’t the focus this time around, but they’re at least as fearsome as a producer as they are a singer. Stream on Spotify.

ZADI DIAZ

Willamette Week FEBRUARY 17, 2021 wweek.com

T H E AT R E

COURTESY OF PDX JAZZ

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WATCH: Little Miss Sunshine Chloé Zhao’s masterful drama Nomadland is getting a lot of awards buzz and will debut Feb. 19 on Hulu. If streaming that film sparks a desire to watch some other tales of the open road, you can’t go wrong with Little Miss Sunshine. The Oscar-nominated 2006 indie dramedy follows a dysfunctional family traveling from New Mexico to California in their rundown VW van to escort 7-year-old Olive (Abigail Bresline) to a beauty pageant. The all-star ensemble of Steve Carell, Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Paul Dano and Alan Arkin delivers stellar performances. Amazon Prime, Google Play, Hulu and other streaming platforms.

STREAM: An Evening With Robert Michael Pyle and David Cross In last year’s The Dark Divide, comedian David Cross played Robert Michael Pyle, a bereaved lepidopterist chasing butterflies through the Pacific Northwest wilderness while mourning his late wife and wearing a vintage Lewis & Clark College sweatshirt. It’s an account of the nature writer’s trek through the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, captured in his 1995 book, Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide. (Yes, there is a Sasquatch element.) Tonight, the real Pyle—who did teach at L&C for a time—and the fictionalized one come together for a conversation moderated by author Kathleen Dean Moore, whose book Wild Comfort also explores the intersection of grief and nature. 6 pm Friday, Feb. 19. $5. Go to powells.com/eventsupdate for tickets and streaming information.

IS

E

STREAM: WW’s Funniest Five Showcase Every year, Willamette Week surveys the local comedy community to find the city’s best comics. Usually, that leads to a live standup showcase held in a packed theater somewhere in town. Of course, that can’t happen this year. But in Portland, funny never stops. So we’re going digital. Bri Pruett, herself a finalist in the poll’s inaugural 2013 edition, hosts the Funniest Five Class of 2021, who’ll come to you live from their living rooms and do some show-and-tell with their various quarantine projects. It’s the live incarnation of the “Could a depressed person make this?” meme, except funny. Mostly funny. 6 pm Thursday, Feb. 18. $5-$15. Go to eventbrite.com and search “Willamette Week Funniest Five” to buy tickets. WATCH: Young Hearts As much a tribute to the beauty of our fair city as a ballad to the seismic feels sparked by first love, just-released high school rom-com Young Hearts might seem the sort of slice-of-life story to have sprung from the mind of an exceptionally talented Portland teen. But Sarah and Zachary Ray Sherman, the locally raised brother-sister team behind the film, are well past adolescence. Still, the two manage to capture the essence of a coming-of-age romance. Originally premiering at the Slamdance Film Festival as Thunderbolt in Mine Eye, the movie stars two of Zachary Ray Sherman’s Everything Sucks! castmates: Anjini Taneja Azhar as a high school freshman, and Quinn Liebling as her older brother’s best friend in whom she’s taken a love interest. Shot in just 15 days on a shoestring budget, Young Hearts managed to secure the support of the Duplass brothers, who came on as executive producers and just saw its widespread release last Friday. On Demand.

T

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WHAT TO DO WHILE YOU’RE STUCK AT HOME THIS WEEK.

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GET INSIDE

A

WATCH: Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy Actor Stanley Tucci, aka the Tooch, became everyone’s mature COVID boyfriend during the first wave of quarantine via his Instagram cocktail-making tutorials. (He was making them for his wife, but she was behind the camera, so it was easy to pretend she didn’t exist.) Now, CNN is harnessing his Big Zaddy Energy for this six-part documentary series, filmed in the major food regions of Italy between the country’s coronavirus surges last summer. It’s a mix of travel and food porn and several other fetishes, which at this stage of self-isolation will either be torturous or rapturous to experience vicariously, depending on how desperately you want to be whisked off on an international vacation by a charming middle-aged bald man who knows how to make a mean Negroni. New episodes Sunday at 9 pm on CNN.


FLASHBACK

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Willamette Week OCTOBER 21, 2020 wweek.com

THIS MONTH IN 2013


Funniest Five Showcase Portland’s five funniest comics are back and live from their living rooms

g

nnin a M Lydia

eed r t S ey n t i h W

en y u g N Katie

s

llin o C e Tyron

rd a W Tory

Thu, February 18 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm Live on Zoom | Hosted by Bri Pruett tickets on sale now via eventbrite

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Willamette Week FEBRUARY 17, 2021 wweek.com


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You can now shop online, or book an appointment to visit for fine antique and custom jewelry, or for repair work. We also buy.

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FOOD & DRINK

FEATURE

A Brief Taxonomy of Takeout Cocktail Containers In this new era of mixed drinks to go, what you drink out of is almost as important as what you’re drinking. BY M AT T H E W S I N G E R

m s i n g e r @ w we e k .co m

When Oregon finally approved sales of takeout cocktails last December, it threw a lifeline to desperate bars and restaurants who’d spent the pandemic clamoring to sell mixed alcoholic beverages to go. But the swift, sudden rule change left many of them with another quandary: What do you put them in? Over the past two months, the container a cocktail comes in has become almost as much a part of a business’s branding as the drink itself. Here, we present a brief survey of some of the most common receptacles you’ll find around Portland—along with a few of the least common.

The Sealed Bottle “We selected these tiny, 6-ish-ounce champagne bottles because they’re handsome, and we’re a wine-focused restaurant. Additionally, we feel glass is more mindful of the environment and feels better in one’s hand as our cocktails are mixed, chilled and ready to drink straight from the bottle. And on a personal note, I think a strong move is using them around the house as bud vases.” —Natalia Toral, Nostrana See also: Expatriate (expatriatepdx.com).

The Can “I knew Mason jars wouldn’t be affordable and were becoming increasingly hard to find. The pouches and plastic bottles weren’t aesthetically pleasing, and I didn’t feel like they gave the security that our community deserves. With the Little Hands Stiff Drinks and Wedgehead cocktail collaboration, they are sealed for safety and freshness, they travel easily, and are recyclable. Not to mention the labels are beautiful.” —KaCee Solis-Robertson, Wedgehead (wedgeheadpdx.com) See also: Tulip Shop Tavern (tulipshoptavern.com).

The Pouch “ We do Mason jars for beer growlers to go, but they’ve been in and out of stock, so for cocktails we had to go a different route. These pouches we just sourced from a couple of different places on the internet—we bought them as soon as the state to-go rules changed to try to avoid more supply-chain issues. Mainly, they’re just supposed to be fun, like a Capri Sun for adults. Plus, they open wide enough to use a spoon for our slushie drinks—even more fun!” —Justin Youngers, Binks See also: Deadshot via Ping (pingportland.com).

The Mason Jar “Donnie’s uses 16- and 32-ounce Mason jars as they are—or at least used to be—easy to procure and are reusable. As more and more businesses got into the to-go beverage game, they have become increasingly difficult to locate. We purchase them from Bi-Mart—I have driven to Hillsboro, Vancouver, Gresham and Woodburn to purchase them, depending on which location has them in stock.” —Benjamin Artaiz, Donnie Vegas (donnie.vegas) See also: Rally Pizza (rallypizza.com).

The Tiny Glass Bottle “While plastic packaging is omnipresent, we really wanted to house our mobile drinks in something less expendable that wouldn’t end up in a landfill after use. We found these small glass bottles, which make handsome vessels for the drinks, plus they can be repurposed after use. They make us feel like we’re running a boozy apothecary.” —Ezra Ace Caraeff, The Old Gold (drinkinoregon.com)

See also: Blank Slate (blankslatepdx.com). 28

Willamette Week FEBRUARY 17, 2021 wweek.com

The Faux-Juice Bottle “We get our bottles online from Good Start Packaging. We chose these particular bottles because they are made from the most recyclable plastic on the market. They also come with lids that seal, which is very important for to-go drinks. We thought about using glass, but the square footage storage would require is crazy.” —Eric Nelson, Eem

The Plastic Cup “Our decision on to-go cups boiled down to size, cost and availability. There has been a severe shortage of Mason jars these last few months, and we’ve had a hard time keeping ourselves in stock for on-premises use. This meant offering them to go for one-time use just didn’t make sense. Our signature cocktails are bigger than most, so the cute and fun medicine bottles and pouches that I’ve been enjoying from other bars and restaurants also wouldn’t cut it. That really left us with large plastic to-go cups. It’s not the most elegant vessel, but it gets the job done, and people enjoy walking them out in carriers like a fistful of Big Gulps.” —Paul Francis, Swift Lounge See also: Buddy’s Lounge (buddys-lounge.business. site).

The Color-Changing Cup “We are packaging our to-go cocktails in tamper-evident bottles we source from Uline per state regulation, and also send the color-changing cups as a thank-you for the support from our customers. Growing up in New Orleans, the style cup is a traditional Mardi Gras throw that is unique in design to the parade, and sometimes even a specific float in the parade. I’ve always wanted to have one of these made for Palomar, and color-changing felt the most appropriate with our cocktail menu of frozen and blended drinks, along with drinks on crushed ice. The wildfires cut the use of our rooftop short after just doing a large reorder, so when cocktails to go were finally approved, it was a perfect fit to send them out with orders.” —Ricky Gomez, Palomar


FOOD & DRINK ADAM BABKES

TOP 5

CHRIS NESSETH

BAR FEATURE

BUZZ LIST

Where to get drinks this week, one way or another.

1. Tulip Shop Tavern

825 N Killingsworth St., 503-206-8483, tulipshoptavern.com. Noon-10 pm daily. While the building has seen quick turnover in recent years, Tulip Shop Tavern feels like a neighborhood staple that’s been around far longer than not even three years. It’s achieved that by hitting the deceptively simple trifecta that many nouveau Portland bars struggle with: good vibes, good food and damn good drinks. You can now get those drinks to go—from wellmade standards to house cocktails such as the fruit-forward Paper Tiger—and pair them with the under-the-radar burger. The vibes, though? Those are up to you for now.

2. Botanist House

Back to Basics

1300 NW Lovejoy St., 971-533-8064, botanisthouse.com. 4-10 pm Tuesday-Saturday. In November, the Pearl District gin bar threatened to go rogue and start selling mixed drinks to go as an act of “civil disobedience” but called off the protest once legislators announced a special session to consider changing the law. So how much credit can we give it for the takeout cocktail revolution? Hard to say, but it deserves some patronage just for sticking its neck out.

Hammer & Stitch is a throwback to a simpler time in Portland beer. BY AN D I P R E W I T T

aprewitt@wweek.com

PATIO SPECS Number of tables: Eight Distance between tables: 6 feet Safety precautions: Menus available via QR code, hand sanitizer pumps at the bar, employees clean surfaces after every use. Peak hours: 12:30-1:30 pm Wednesday-Saturday, 5-7 pm Friday-Saturday

3. Wedgehead

3728 NE Sandy Blvd., 503-477-7637, wedgeheadpdx.com. 4-10 pm WednesdaySunday. Surrounded by pinball tables, KaCee SolisRobertson swizzles and shakes double-batch cocktails behind the bar at Wedgehead. Hers are the self-described “freakishly small hands” seen clutching rosary beads on the logo of her new canned cocktail brand, Little Hands Stiff Drinks. The Sleep Witch, a tart, neon-fuchsia-colored drink, features local Dogwood Distilling vodka infused with Washington-based Tea Hunter’s Blue Valentine lemon-ginger tea, while the Cha Cha is made with homemade vegan horchata.

TOP 5

HOT PLATES Where to get food this week.

2025 N Lombard St., 503-208-2660, tinybubbleroom.com. 3-10 pm daily. Growing up in Northeast Portland, Jeremy Lewis remembers family dinners at the Lung Fung Chinese restaurant. Now, the place is his. His new bar, Tiny Bubble Room, is named for Lung Fung’s adjoining old-school lounge and gives Arbor Lodge and Kenton a “not-so-divey dive” similar to Roscoe’s in Montavilla, which Lewis also owns.

5. Palomar

959 SE Division St., No. 100, 971-266-8276, barpalomar.com. 4-10 pm Wednesday-Saturday. By reservation only. A reflection of owner Ricky Gomez’s Cuban American heritage and his hometown of New Orleans, the drink menu at Palomar is just as colorful as the décor, full of piña coladas, daiquiris and all things slushy and beachy—and apparently, to-go orders come with cups that change colors when cold.

hood spent in the kitchen with her Jamaican grandmother. The menu includes jerk chicken, curry shrimp and stewed pumpkin. But the food is only one part of the experience: expect to be ensconced in reggae and incense when picking up your order.

3. Ping

CHRISTINE DONG

Ben Dobler has some pretty strong opinions about pale ales. Nearly 30 years of experience in Portland’s craft brewing industry, working for big names like Widmer and BridgePort, certainly gives him the right. Dobler’s firm conviction that a pale must exhibit a perfect balance of malts and hops doesn’t sound particularly controversial. But in recent years, more brewers have rejected the equilibrium found in classics like Deschutes’ Mirror Pond in favor of ramping up the levels of palate-buckling bitterness. It’s a bandwagon he refuses to jump on. “One of my biggest eye-opening experiences was last year judging the [Oregon Beer Awards], and I was in the medal round of pale ales,” Dobler says. “Those, to me, were not pale ales. They were all IPA or IPA-lite.” Call it stubbornness or simple loyalty, but Dobler’s approach to the pale ale is consistent with all of the beers at Hammer & Stitch, the brewery he co-founded with two brothers, Adam and Jacob Babkes, on the northernmost edge of Slabtown. The five core offerings on tap since last October’s opening are all true to form and don’t rely on gimmicks to win drinkers over. Even the names of the beers are straightforward—if you want an IPA, you order The IPA. “One of our mantras is, ‘Keep it simple, stupid,”’ Dobler says. “With our standards, it was producing beers that are just right down the fairway—that you know what it is, it’s a pale ale, it’s a lager. I think by keeping them simple, the consumer has responded really well.” That’s not to say simple equates to dull. The Lager stands out for its bracing minimalism—each straw yellow sip is light, crisp and offers a quick burst of bubbles, like a champagne cork popping against the tongue, that ends with just a whisper of bitterness. It’s the kind of beverage that can go the distance to help you get the job done: the lawnmower beer, the shower beer, the “power through a lousy four-hour Super Bowl” beer. While it might be tempting to stick with

The Lager, heed the advice emblazoned on the wall in red neon at the brewery: “Love all styles.” It’s a slogan Dobler and his head brewer, Cam Murphy, abide by. They can knock out a traditional, caramel-forward amber just as deftly as they can produce a crowd-pleasing IPA. The latter, which tastes as though a pine bough were wrung of its juices, will take you back to the craft beer scene of about a dozen years ago, long before the tropical punch and hazy takes on the style were ubiquitous. In fact, a visit to the taproom on Northwest Wilson Street will remind you of that earlier era, when breweries often popped up on the industrial fringes and tracking down those old warehouses and repurposed auto garages felt like a scavenger hunt only beer nerds knew about. Hammer & Stitch’s 6,000-square-foot space, which sits in the factory-dotted shadow of the Montgomery Park building, used to house Clear Creek Distillery. A wide-open design scheme provides an unobstructed view of the 15-barrel Agile Stainless-built brewhouse, now situated in the stills’ footprint. Opening in the former Clear Creek building brings Dobler’s career full circle in a way: Years ago, while working for Kurt and Rob Widmer, he helped make a whiskey wash for the distiller. He is also, coincidentally, in the beer business with a pair of siblings once again. “Ironically enough,” Dobler says, “I’m working with two brothers now instead of for two brothers.”

4. Tiny Bubble Room

2131 SE 11th Ave., 503-875-0527, pingportland.com. 11:30 am-8:30 pm ThursdayTuesday. Available for pickup by phone or ordering directly from the website. Delivery by Caviar. At Pok Pok, Ricker produced a string of regional Thai food hits never before seen in American restaurants. But the breadth of his culinary mastery was never more in evidence than at Ping, his short-lived Old Town spinoff. Now, Pok Pok is gone, but his former partner, Kurt Huffman, is bringing Ping back in a delivery-only format. The laksa ($17) still wows: bits of chicken breast, slices of fish cake, clams, prawns and boiled egg join rice noodles in the mild curry coconut milk base pepped up with a bit of sambal.

4. Gumba 1. Langbaan 6 SE 28th Ave., 971-344-2564, langbaanpdx.com. 3-9 pm Wednesday-Sunday. Once the most inaccessible restaurant in Portland—literally, you would have to make reservations months in advance—Langbaan has gone the takeout route, pivoting to Thai drinking snacks and noodle soup, including a hearty beef noodle curry topped with grilled short rib. The beef perches above thick egg noodles like a ship adrift on the tastiest ocean, and you will wind up very full if you try and eat it all in one go. Which, you know, go for it—YOLO and all that stuff.

2. Miss Winnie’s Kitchen At River Pig Saloon, 529 NW 13th Ave., 971-266-8897. Thursday, Feb. 18. Order for pickup in advance at cheflexgrant.com. Alexia Grant is the personal chef to basketball legend and current Portland Trail Blazer Carmelo Anthony—but this month, she’s cooking for you, too. This month, she launched a weekly pop-up at River Pig Saloon in the Pearl, where she’ll serve Caribbean cuisine learned from her child-

1733 NE Alberta St., 503-975-5951, gumba-pdx.com. 4:30-8 pm Wednesday, 4:30-8:30 pm Thursday-Monday. As a food cart, Gumba punched above its weight, serving fresh pastas, handmade burrata and ambitious snacks that made you want to linger at an outdoor table. Now it’s a brick-and-mortar in a time of takeout only—but you’ll still want to break out the candles, placemats and cloth napkins once you get the food home: No meal in 2020 provided more of a “this feels like we are in a restaurant” frisson than Gumba’s beet, cabbage and endive salad, pappardelle with braised beef sugo, pan-roasted steelhead trout, and eggplant olive oil cake.

5. Prey + Tell Preyandtell.com. Delivery available through Uber Eats and Grubhub. 4 pm-2 am WednesdaySunday. Diane Lam’s Sunshine Noodles pop-up was one of the breakout successes of the quarantined summer, but the buzziest item wasn’t a noodle dish—it was the lime pepper wings. So while Sunshine is on a break, Lam is returning to her roots as the chef at dearly departed Korean cocktail bar Revelry, with a delivery-only project focused entirely on fried chicken, with Cambodianinspired sauces and leaf-wrapped rice packs.

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POTLANDER

Scouting Report For stoners, it’s the most wonderful time of the year: Girl Scout Cookie season. We reviewed cookies of a different sort. BY BRIA N N A W H E E L E R

Girl Scout Cookie season is the stoner equinox. For potheads, the passing from clammy Northwest winter to cherry-blossoms-on-the-riverfront springtime is marked not by a celestial passage but by the sudden availability of Tagalongs, Thin Mints and Samoas. Just ask your budtender—there are multiple cannabis strains named in tribute to cookie season. As stoner holidays go, the arrival of cookie season ranks right up there with 4/20. Or at least Oil Day. In honor of Girl Scout Cookie Season 2021, WW tried out five local cannabis cookies. While not quite the infused communion wafers the Girl Scouts are known for, each of these cookies could be paired with a classic Scout box—that way, you can eat your delicious, locally made cookie edible then redirect that cookie-mouth energy right into a box of Trefoils or Do-si-dos just as the canna gods intended.

Junk’s Holy Moly-O’s! Ju n k ’s c h o c o l a t e - c ove r e d creme sandwich cookies are not Oreos, but the reference is obvious. Each box contains two cookies that are visually similar to the aforementioned cookie classic, save for a constellation of silver and gold sprinkles decorating their tops. The flavors are expectedly nostalgic, especially it’s been a while since you demolished a family-size package of milk’s favorite cookie, but the soft tang of cannabis flower punctuates each chew, propelling this modern edible to a higher cookie echelon. The package contains 50 mg of THC between two cookies, but one was enough to impart even my high-toleranced self with enough tranquil vibes to add some sparkle to an otherwise mellow afternoon. Best Scout Cookie Pairing: Tagalongs are an appealing addition to any chocolate-covered cookie club.

Tasty’s 1:1 Chocolate Crinkle Tasty’s Chocolate Crinkle Cookie is just as crinkly as one would expect considering the name, but thankfully most of the crinkle ended up in my mouth and not my hands. It is a dense chocolate chunk of a biscuit dusted with confectioner’s sugar and spiked with 50 mg of both THC and CBD. Folks with lower tolerances can attempt to cut the confection in half, but anything smaller will take deliberate patience—this cookie is a touch too fragile for sharing between more than two. The cannabinoid balance, however, more than makes up for this baked good’s unwillingness to neatly bend and snap. As a high-dose hybrid, the high felt elated and therapeutic rather than space-cadet topsy-turvy: Anxiety, stress and superficial aches were all extinguished. Share one with a pal for a mild euphoria that lingers for a few hours, or ride this magic carpet alone for something relatively more intense and long lasting. Best Scout Cookie Pairing: The Thin Mints experience is going to be so gratifying when you’re already high on a chocolate cookie.

Hapy Kitchen’s Chocolate Chip The one cookie in the baked goods section of Hapy Kitchen’s product line is an enthusiastic homage to the classic, no-frills chocolate chip baked by generations of American grandmothers. Except these cookies have dense, soft centers, a lace of buttery crispness on the edge, and the tangy aftertaste of gassy terpenes. These cookies may look relatively harmless, but be advised: Their 50 mg of THC packs a psychotropic wallop geared more toward getting the consumer decidedly baked than manageably buzzed, at least when eaten all at once. Pro tip: Nibble one throughout the day to soften and prolong what is otherwise an aggressively mollifying high. Best Scout Cookie Pairing: Samoas, for maximum indulgence.

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Fire Dept. Peanut Butter Fire Dept.’s entry in the peanut butter cookie sphere may lack the malleability of a bakery version—this cookie is such a dry affair that it was SOA, shattered on arrival. But the flavors deliver as expected. The cookie’s skunky cannabis undertones are evenly balanced against the salty-sweet peanut butter, and the result is a satisfying mouthful overall. The cookie is too small and fragile to accurately dose out its 50 mg of THC into even portions, but when eaten whole the high is surprisingly mild and responsive. Work calls were made, chores were run, and even some relatively successful parenting happened during the course of this high. Those with lower tolerance, exercise caution if you’re preparing to eat the whole thing. Even though the effects are less chaotic than other high-dose edibles, you’ll still likely need several hours to devote to this high, so plan accordingly. Best Scout Cookie Pairing: Do-si-dos, because peanut butter is not a trend, it’s a lifestyle.

SDK’s Snickerdoodle She Don’t Know—or, as it’s colloquially known, SDK—was one of Oregon’s first producers of recreational edibles. Its line has since expanded to include granola and dog treats, but it’s the cookies that are ubiquitous in local shops. The 50 mg Snickerdoodle is a standout among the product line, a crispy, blond biscuit freckled with cinnamon sugar and a strong, buttery smack of cannabis. This gluten-free cookie is crunchier than a bakery aisle version, so don’t expect a doughy doodle experience, but for whatever it lacks in pliability, it makes up for with a soft, long-lasting high that, even at 50 mg of THC, is perfectly manageable for medium- and high-tolerance day use. Best Scout Cookie Pairing: Trefoils and tea after a stoney Snickerdoodle is a superb way to spend a day.


PERFORMANCE

Editor: Andi Prewitt | Contact: aprewitt@wweek.com

MUSIC Written by: Daniel

Bromfield

| @bromf3

Now Hear This

Listening recommendations from the past, present, Portland and the periphery. SOMETHING OLD

HOT MIC: Michael Mendelson and Miriam Schwartz voiced all the characters in The Berlin Diaries.

Voices of Berlin The Holocaust is refracted through a family’s history in the audio play The Berlin Diaries. BY BE N N E T T C A M P B E LL FE RGUS O N

“He who forgets what he cannot change is happy.” Those words are spoken multiple times in Andrea Stolowitz’s play The Berlin Diaries, but not because she believes them. She repeats the quote so we’ll have time to ask whether it’s true. Does forgetting equal happiness? Or is it merely a mask that hides pain without ever healing it? The Berlin Diaries is about Stolowitz’s fraught relationship with the journal of her great-grandfather, Max Cohnreich, a Jewish doctor who escaped Berlin during the Holocaust. The play has been reconfigured as an audio drama by Artists Repertory Theatre, a transformation that hasn’t diminished either its intense compassion or its offbeat wit. The format suits Stolowitz’s writing, which zigzags through Cohnreich’s life with jazzlike grace, excavating traumas of the past to alleviate traumas of the present. Only two actors (Miriam Schwartz and Michael Mendelson) are featured, but they embody countless characters, including a version of Stolowitz (she told WW in 2017 that her alter ego is “more neurotic”), who is dismayed by the state of her extended family. They rarely speak, and when they do, they don’t get along. “It’s very strange, Andrea,” one character tells her. “It’s like we have no one.” Andrea journeys to Berlin, where she researches the people and places Max wrote about in the diary—and those he didn’t. She’s writing a play inspired by his life, but his journal becomes more than an inspiration. As Andrea retraces Max’s footsteps, she seeks to understand the scars the Holocaust left on her family tree—scars that she gradually realizes run deeper than her family has been willing to admit. ARTISTS R E P E R T O R Y T H E AT R E

Art that is about its own creation risks becoming claustrophobic, but The Berlin Diaries is expansive—and funny. There’s a hilarious joke about hemorrhoids, and when Andrea gets drunk in the snow after learning how many people in her family were dead or had vanished by the end of the Holocaust, Stolowitz makes you feel both Andrea’s agony and the absurdity of her response to the revelation: “Crazy people rationalize falling asleep in the snow when they drink too much,” she quips. It’s worth noting that The Berlin Diaries, which was directed by Dámaso Rodríguez, works beautifully as pure sound. The fact that the actors play multiple characters gives you permission to surrender to the flow of voices and accents. You don’t have to remember everyone because the true star of the play is Andrea’s perspective—Schwartz and Mendelson seem less like separate performers than two halves of the protagonist’s soul. My favorite Stolowitz play is Psychic Utopia, a work of devised theater about the history of communes in Oregon. It’s dreamier and stranger than The Berlin Diaries, but the two plays are united in their intense hunger for connection. When Andrea is aghast at Max’s failure to mention members of his family who were killed in the Holocaust in his diary, you don’t hear anger. You hear horror at the thought of lives extinguished, then hidden. “And what kind of diary is this anyway?” she wonders. In The Berlin Diaries, some of Andrea’s relatives share her great-grandfather’s desire to forget the losses their family has endured, but she persists in her research. While the play leaves you wondering whether that persistence helped close family divides, that is not the sole point of the story. If The Berlin Diaries is about anything, it is about Stolowitz’s belief that, contrary to her great-grandfather’s words, happiness born of forgetfulness can never yield true joy. Early in the play, Andrea expresses her dismay at the state of modern theater. “It feels somehow dishonest to encourage anyone to go into this line of work,” she declares. I don’t know if Stolowitz actually thought that when she wrote the script (or thinks it now), but I do know that The Berlin Diaries is the kind of play that can make a diehard-turned-nonbeliever worship theater again. SEE IT: The Berlin Diaries streams at artistsrep.org/performance/berlin-diaries-audio-drama through June 30.

Mississippi John Hurt is the warmest and most conversational of the great early blues singers, and might’ve come across as a pretty chill guy if not for the eye-for-aneye school of justice he advocates on “Frankie” and “Nobody’s Dirty Business.” Avalon Blues: The Complete 1928 Okeh Recordings is definitive, containing his best track, “Spike Driver Blues,” and 12 others that show off his influential finger-picked guitar playing—John Fahey pretty much bit this guy’s style—and his calm, soothing voice. SOMETHING NEW L.A.’s Sun Kin (aka Mumbai-born Kabir Kumar) hits a fearsome stride on After the House, whose title gives away its genre allegiance. Dignified and hard-hitting, its seven-track structure as redolent of Gaucho as its gloss, After the House starts with the sound of classic Chicago house producers like Frankie Knuckles and Larry Heard and blesses it with yachtrock pixie dust. Kumar’s disarmingly angelic voice isn’t the focus this time around, but they’re at least as fearsome as a producer as a singer. SOMETHING LOCAL Power-pop historian Mo Troper kicks off his full-album Revolver cover with a reverent version of “Rain,” which isn’t on the Beatles’ 1966 masterpiece but comes from the same transitional period. Fans of the song are probably wondering: Did he nail the drum fill, one of the only ones in rock history liable to make a sympathetic listener choke up? Yes. Yes he did. The full album drops March 12 and benefits Defense Fund PDX. SOMETHING ASKEW Pizza paradise New Haven, Conn., boasts a knotty folk scene centered on Loren Connors, a prolific and original blues guitarist. Connors’ early acoustic improvisation albums finds him mercilessly attacking a slide guitar, but by the ’90s he was making moody, feral, distortion-drenched electric albums like 9th Avenue and Hell’s Kitchen Park. His most accessible album is probably 2001’s Airs, but as his category placement here should indicate, accessibility is not this guy’s selling point.

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Editor: Andi Prewitt / Contact: aprewitt@wweek.com

SCREENER

NW FILM CENTER

MOVIES

cessful campaign on film-centric crowdfunding platform Seed&Spark. Just before the widespread release of Young Hearts on Feb. 12, WW caught up with the siblings to discuss what it’s like to shoot a film about the quintessential adolescent experience in their hometown. WW: How did this project begin? Sarah Sherman: We decided to film this movie, even though we didn’t have any money, as a response to the years spent trying to make a TV show together while working gig-to-gig jobs in Los Angeles. I’d already moved back to Portland to have kids but was down [in Southern California] to see Zach in a play, and we had this conversation. The years are passing. Nothing is happening. We just have to make a movie on our own. I had a couple of really loose ideas, and Zach was into this little teenage love story. Zachary Ray Sherman: I made a microbudget film in 10 days called Barbie’s Kenny, which will play at Portland International Film Festival next month, and told Sarah we just needed to use that as a model—go figure out a way when it’s impossible and piece things together with everything around you. That’s fundamentally what made the Duplass brothers successful and famous, and that’s why it’s really strange and serendipitous they ended up springboarding us to where we are now.

Labor of Love Young Hearts is the yearslong result of a brother-sister collaboration shot with a microbudget in Portland. BY JAY H O RTO N

@hortland

As much a tribute to the beauty of our fair city as a ballad to the seismic feels sparked by first love, just-released high school rom-com Young Hearts might seem like the sort of slice-of-life story to have sprung from the mind of an exceptionally talented Portland teen. But Sarah and Zachary Ray Sherman, the locally raised brother-sister team behind the film, are well past adolescence. Still, the two manage to capture the essence of a coming-of-age romance in what is Sarah Sherman’s screenwriting and directing debut and Zachary Ray Sherman’s second time behind the camera. Though the role of “filmmaker” may be new, the siblings have spent years in the industry. Sarah Sherman pursued dancing for a time, while Zachary Ray Sherman continues to work as an actor, appearing in everything from the Oregon-filmed Netflix series Everything Sucks! to the CW’s 90210 spinoff. Despite all of that experience, Young Hearts is their first collaboration to come to fruition. Originally premiering at the Slamdance Film Festival as Thunderbolt in Mine Eye, the movie stars two of Zachary Ray Sherman’s Everything Sucks! castmates: Anjini Taneja Azhar as a high school freshman, and Quinn Liebling, as her older brother’s best friend in whom she’s taken a love interest. Shot in just 15 days on a shoestring budget, Young Hearts managed to secure the support of the Duplass brothers, who came on as executive producers after a suc32

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Was there any trouble securing locations for filming? Zachary Ray Sherman: We escaped the whole permit game. It’s a flag of DIY filmmaking pride. Sarah Sherman: Honestly, for a film of our size this strapped for money, [permits] just wouldn’t have been possible. I guess flying under the radar felt like a necessity because we would’ve been so slowed down otherwise. Zachary Ray Sherman: When you don’t really have much money, locations are a big deal, and we got this baby going by flying by the seat of our pants, pulling every resource we could from members of the community around us willing to open their doors. Sarah and I went to the Catholic school where the film was shot. Getting a school was going to be a huge obstacle for a microbudget, so the approval of our alma mater was definitely important. Sarah Sherman: It was small, only a couple hundred kids per year, so we were close-ish with some of the faculty still around. The principal there now was a teacher when we were in school, and he was sweet as could be. Zachary Ray Sherman: Coming back, shooting here at our former school, really mattered to me. This was where I first discovered acting and fell in love with the craft. This was where I first took classes and first saw a performance of Cyrano de Bergerac and became enamored with what acting could be. We have a character doing that play on that very stage, and immortalizing the place exactly as I remembered felt pretty special. SEE IT: Young Hearts streams On Demand.

While local rep theaters are out of commission, we’ll be putting together weekly watchlists of films readily available to stream. To celebrate Hulu’s Feb. 19 release of Chloé Zhao’s masterful drama Nomadland (see review, page 32), we’ve rounded up some of the best tales of the open road.

Wendy and Lucy (2008) Michelle Williams and Lucy the dog headline auteur Kelly Reichardt’s quiet drama, filmed primarily in Portland. A penniless young vagabond (Williams) traveling to Alaska for cannery work copes with blow after blow: First her car breaks down in Oregon, then she’s caught shoplifting dog food, then her beloved Lucy is taken to the pound. It’s an 80-minute tale of desperation and resilience. Amazon Prime, Google Play Hoopla, iTunes, Kanopy, Tubi, YouTube.

The Motorcycle Diaries (2004) In 1952, a 23-year-old Che Guevara embarked on a life-changing road trip from Argentina to Venezuela. Adapted from his memoir and starring the always excellent Gael García Bernal as Guevara, this acclaimed coming-of-age biopic effectively demonstrates the awakening of a future revolutionary leader. Amazon Prime, Google Play, iTunes, Peacock, Vudu, YouTube. C O U R T E S Y O F WA R N E R B R O S .

TEEN SPIRIT: A budding high school romance is at the center of Young Hearts.

Was the story always set in Portland? Zachary Ray Sherman: Oh yeah. Portland has such a lush, green, alive feel that really translates through cinema. What the sunshine looks like, how cameras capture your streets and interiors—it’s such a different landscape than the desert in Los Angeles. It’s cliché, but the Northwest in the fall becomes a character. The simple metaphoric aspect of the beauty and the vibrance of the reds and the yellows and the trees—that setting is so complementary to the feelings of these kids. Sarah Sherman: Over the film’s first halfish, as these two young people are getting together, we mostly see them outside walking and talking and spending time in their own little world of parks and trees, which I think Portland totally enhanced. Then, the second half, they’re back at school, the real world’s coming into their relationship, and I loved contrasting that with beautiful fall Portland. Shooting somewhere else would’ve been a bit different.

GET YO UR REPS I N

Badlands (1973) Terrence Malick’s sepia-soaked, neo-noir classic is loosely based on a true story, and follows the doomed “romance” between 15-year-old Holly (Sissy Spacek) and 25-year-old James Dean-wannabe Kit (Martin Sheen). After Kit shoots Holly’s father dead, the pair careen from South Dakota to the Montana badlands, with Kit killing more along the way. Amazon Prime, Criterion Channel, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Sling TV, Vudu, YouTube.

Bonnie and Clyde (1967) Before Holly and Kit, there was Bonnie and Clyde. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway star as the titular real-life partners in crime who, spurred by the Great Depression, took to stealing cars and robbing banks. As their infamy grows, so does their penchant for violence—it all culminates in one of the bloodiest, most iconic film endings of all time. Netflix.

Little Miss Sunshine (2006) In this Oscar-nominated indie dramedy, a dysfunctional family travels from New Mexico to California in their run-down VW van to escort 7-year-old Olive (Abigail Breslin) to a beauty pageant. The all-star ensemble of Steve Carell, Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Paul Dano and Alan Arkin deliver stellar performances. Amazon Prime, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Philo, Sling TV, Starz, Vudu, YouTube.


MOVIES 20TH CENTURY STUDIOS

TOP PICK OF THE WEEK

Nomadland Filmmaker Chloé Zhao’s work has always sought to uplift voices that have been pushed to the margins. Her previous features, The Rider (2017) and Songs My Brothers Taught Me (2015), both focused on Native American reservation culture, and she now sets her sights on documenting the lives of older Americans who travel in campers across the country in search of employment. The result is an awe-inspiring, dexterous hybrid of impromptu documentary and scripted drama, of nature and nurture, of ethos and pathos. Nomadland is anchored by multi-Oscar winner Frances McDormand, here playing Fern, a widow who lost her job at a gypsum plant in Empire, Nev., two years after the Great Recession officially came to an end. With nothing left to lose, Fern decides to sell her belongings, buy a van and hit the road in search of work. Along the way, she meets a litany of real-life nomads, most playing semi-fictionalized versions of themselves. These characters ground the film in a sober reality, reminding us it’s possible to live and thrive in a community outside of traditional society. Though the story is technically manipulated for narrative purposes, it never once feels manipulative, emotionally or otherwise. It feels human. It is human. And it’s the best film of the year. R. MIA VICINO. Hulu.

OUR KEY

: T H I S M O V I E I S E XC E L L E N T, O N E O F T H E B E S T O F T H E Y E A R. : T H I S M O V I E I S G O O D. W E R E C O M M E N D YO U WATC H I T. : T H I S M O V I E I S E N T E R TA I N I N G B U T F L AW E D. : T H I S M O V I E I S A P I E C E O F S H I T.

ALSO PLAYING The White Tiger In the nastiest scene in The White Tiger, several roosters are decapitated. “The roosters in the coop smell the blood from above,” says Balram (Adarsh Gourav). “Yet they do not rebel. The very same thing is done with human beings in this country.” That may be true, but Balram—a poor man from a village in India—is determined to fly the coop. The White Tiger is the story of how he becomes a driver for a cruel and callow businessman (Rajkummar Rao) and eventually transcends poverty and notoriety to become a princely entrepreneur. Director Ramin Bahrani (who adapted the film from Aravind Adiga’s 2008 novel) has named Goodfellas as an inspiration, which might explain The White Tiger’s cynical edge. This is not a Slumdog Millionaire-style saga of instant wealth—it’s a brutal tale of a man who decides the best weapon against India’s caste system is a broken bottle slashed across the right throat at the right time. Near the film’s end, Balram declares that his face could be the face of any man in India, which sounds like an understatement. The White Tiger is a reminder that the world is filled with men like Balram— brilliant, exploited and ripe to be seduced by the gospel of greed. R. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON.

Netflix.

Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar What if gal pals Romy and Michele partied at a pastel-painted

hotel in Vista Del Mar, Fla., instead of their high school reunion? What if Austin Powers was written by and starred Bridesmaids screenwriters Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo? And what if these two distinctly separate ideas combined into one whimsically absurd feelgood comedy? Barb and Star are middle-aged best friends who do everything together. So when they both lose their mundane jobs and their uptight friend group (led by a hilarious Vanessa Bayer), the pair decide to take a rejuvenating Florida vacation. Of course, they fall for the same ridiculously handsome stranger (Jamie Dornan), but little do they know he’s a secret agent working under the sinister Dr. Lady (also played by Wiig), tasked with u n l e a s h i n g a d e a d l y swa r m o f genetically modified mosquitoes against the denizens of Vista Del Mar. What follows is a whirlwind of friendship, romance, espionage and random musical numbers—in a standout solo performance, Dornan gets to shed his steely, stiff star persona and get loosy-goosy in the sand, singing about the agony of love. Though Barb & Star hits some overly familiar beats, it maintains enough originality for several laugh-out-loud moments. It’s about time we got more risk-taking studio comedies like this one. PG-13. MIA VICINO. Amazon Prime, Google Play, Vudu.

Jasper Mall Demonized by generations of filmmakers as the physical manifestation of predatory commercialism and fad-chasing consumerist vapidity, the American mall, with its newfound obsolescence, calls for a more complicated analysis. Should we cheer the extinction of a Main

Street-devouring invasive species or mourn the loss of any communal hub? Jasper Mall’s elegiac portrait of its titular shopping center’s steep decline evades easy answers. By withholding any historical details or regional context, we’re forced to walk the small-town Alabama mall alongside the unhurried pace of locals getting their exercise inside the vaguely alien architecture of its long corridors. No matter how artful their shot compositions, documentarians Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb (Lost Weekend; County Fair, Texas) hardly shy away from moments worthy of trending reality TV, but they never lean into the easy joke or sacrifice empathy for spectacle. Our de facto tour guide Mike, the mall’s security guard, facility manager and maintenance man, only reveals his Joe Exotic-esque backstory as a former private zookeeper in Australia at the film’s midpoint. When the Jewelry Doctor plugs in his electric guitar to drum up business for his struggling retail sales and repair shop, the riffs echoing through the empty concourse feel more joyous than desperate. It’s a scene that highlights Jasper Mall’s ability to showcase all that is valiantly ridiculous about the fight to keep the shopping center open in a tone that is both warm and dignified. NR. JAY HORTON. Amazon Prime, Google Play, Pluto TV, Vudu, YouTube.

Malcolm & Marie Malcolm (John David Washington) makes movies, Marie (Zendaya) is his lover/muse and they make mincemeat of each other in this slick anti-romance directed by Sam Levinson. Last summer, Levinson filmed Washington and Zendaya raging at each other inside a glass-walled house in Carmel, Calif., betting their charisma would infuse its sterile interior with life. That wager bloomed into Malcolm & Marie, which begins with the couple returning home after the premiere of Malcolm’s new movie about addiction. The audience was enraptured,

but Malcolm failed to thank Marie in a speech (his film is partly based on her life). She retaliates with scorching mind games that torment and delight her pompous paramour, making you wonder whether their relationship is a toxic mess or an idyllic union between two people who crave conflict. Levinson lets the camera dance through Malcolm and Marie’s home, capturing their tantrums with gloriously vivid blackand-white cinematography. He goes heavy on style and light on soulfulness, but who cares? The pleasure of watching godly thespians play characters who make war over everything from film to cigarettes to mac ’n’ cheese is too savory to ignore. Levinson will never stand as tall as the cinematic giants he namechecks (Malcolm is a big William Wyler fan), but he has made a beautiful-looking movie about two very entertaining assholes. R. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON. Netflix.

Saint Maud Hospice requires a special kind of caretaker. After all, the patient’s destination is set; they just need a shepherd for a diffi cult journey. Rose Glass’ new A24 horror movie is unreliably narrated by a young caretaker who elevates shepherd status to a calling. Maud (Morfydd Clark) excels at managing meds and stretching atrophying legs, but she also believes she can save the soul of her dying patient (Jennifer Ehle). Clark carries this frosty death march, seldom masking Maud’s earnest pursuit of “goodness” behind performative zealotry. With a dose of First Reformed and a dash of Black Swan, Saint Maud trades in stiff-lipped body horror where the real suffering is miles beneath the skin, but rest assured, the skin still takes a beating. Though the script is too withdrawn to maximize Maud’s recited prayers or the bland side characters in her life, Glass proves herself an immediate visual and tonal talent. Honestly, the whole English town of Coney Island appears to need palliative

care, rotting in a scheme of yellows and browns that contrast with the vibrant gothicism of Maud’s inner vision. It’s neither the most nuanced nor involving example of religious fervor as movie horror, but Saint Maud delivers—souls and all. R. CHANCE SOLEM-PFEIFER. Amazon Prime, Philo, Sling TV.

The Queen of Black Magic Of all the wonderfully nonsensical horror premises, “Let’s vacation in the haunted orphanage where Dad grew up” is a particularly silly one on its face. This Shudder original from Indonesian horror luminary Kimo Stamboel (Headshot) reimagines 1981’s The Queen of Black Magic as more about class betrayal than its predecessor’s elaborate folklore. And for about half the runtime, the visiting family’s audacity, disguised as ignorance, toward the impoverished orphanage stewards sows interesting seeds. There’s a relative innocence to their bourgeois vanity: cute kids, luxury cars, well-fitted shirts, a few too many wishes for the internet to work in the jungle. Plus, the genuine sweetness of child actor Muzakki Ramdhan (as little brother Haqi) infuses the orphanage specter’s revenge with some genuine terror. Somehow, though, The Queen of Black Magic willfully eludes its core themes of culpability on the part of father Hanif (Ario Bayu) by adding dizzying heaps of third-act plot. While Stamboel’s visions of voodoo hell are occasionally arresting, his film is too wary of its own questions about families’ protective instincts being shrouded in self-interest. Sympathy for the devil spills into sympathy for pretty much everybody, and the half-measure bloodbath proves more interested in showing guts than having them. NR. CHANCE SOLEMPFEIFER. Shudder.

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JONESIN’

Week of February 25

©2021 Rob Brezsny

by Matt Jones

"Adjusted to Fit Your Screen"

--what the flip is going on? [#590, Sept. 2012]

ARIES (March 21-April 19)

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

I invite you to think about one or two types of physical discomforts and symptoms that your body seems most susceptible to. Meditate on the possibility that there are specific moods or feelings associated with those discomforts and symptoms—perhaps either caused by them or the cause of them. The next step is to formulate an intention to monitor any interactions that might transpire between the bodily states and emotional states. Then make a plan for how you will address them both with your own healing power whenever they visit you in the future.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with your overall health, Libra. In fact, I expect it's probably quite adequate. But from an astrological point of view, now is the right time to schedule an appointment for a consultation with your favorite healer, even if just by Zoom. In addition, I urge you to consult a soul doctor for a complete metaphysical check-up. Chances are that your mental health is in fair shape, too. But right now it's not enough for your body and soul to be merely adequate; they need to receive intense doses of wellwrought love and nurturing. So I urge you to ask for omens and signs and dreams about what precisely you can do to treat yourself with exquisite care.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20) Poet Billy Collins describes "standing on the edge of a lake on a moonlit night and the light of the moon is always pointing straight at you." I have high hopes that your entire life will be like that in the coming weeks: that you'll feel as if the world is alive with special messages just for you; that every situation you're in will feel like you belong there; that every intuition welling up from your subconscious mind into your conscious awareness will be specifically what you need at the moment it arrives.

GEMINI (May 21-June20)

ACROSS

48 Coffee dispensers

1 What your answers must be written in to understand the theme

49 Cartoonist Guisewite, or her comic strip

5 Hiking path 10 "Which came first?" choice 13 Clapton or Cartman 14 Candy branded as "The Freshmaker" 16 Stuff to fix a squeaky hinge 17 Aligned correctly

51 Faith whose name comes from the Arabic for "glory" 53 Rapper _ _ _ Def 54 Walkway on an airline flight

28 Make big speeches 29 Do the "I am not a crook" thing with the V-signs, for example? 30 Three, in Germany 31 Completely devour

59 What Neil Armstrong partook in, e.g.

32 _ _ _ fatty acids

62 Homer's outburst 63 It may be tossed after a wedding

20 Stun gun relative

64 Charity benefit, maybe

21 Jewel

65 Take notice

22 Amy Winehouse hit song

66 Some religious observances

26 1980s hairstyle that may have involved a kit

27 Postpone

58 Bullfighting cheer

19 Pompous attribute

24 Complainer's sounds

26 Class warmup before a big exam

67 Stretch across DOWN

27 Donut shop quantities

1 Like some checks: Abbr.

30 Cop show with the line "Just the facts, ma'am"

2 Operatic solo 3 Sty dwellers

35 Troy's friend on "Community" 36 Under the weather 39 Activity done in heated beds 43 Well-known quotations, often 45 "Are you a man _ _ _ mouse?" 47 Warm up after being in the freezer 49 Amounts on a bill 50 Liability counterpart

4 Crafty plans

51 Physiques, in entertainment tabloids

5 Symbols after brand names

52 Lotion ingredient

37 Rowboat propeller

6 Rule over a kingdom

53 Actress Sorvino

38 Transmit electronically, in a way

7 Chilean mountain range

55 Shower gel, essentially

8 Checklist component

56 Hit for The Kinks

39 Devices that, when turned, adjust themselves (just like the theme answers)

9 Rawls of R&B

57 Actor McGregor

10 "Land sakes alive that's awesome!"

60 Clumsy sort

33 Cupid's Greek counterpart 34 Wire-_ _ _ (like some terriers' coats)

40 Greek vowel 41 Suffix form for twenty and thirty, but not ten 42 Audrey Tautou's quirky title role of 2001 43 Stay away from 44 Moved the borders to create a new area, perhaps 46 They're collected in passports

11 Prefix for byte meaning "billion" 12 Amorphous clump 15 Jam, margarine, or cream cheese, e.g. 18 Sci-fi film set inside a computer 23 Exercise machine unit 25 Makes embarrassed

©2012 ©2021 Jonesin’ Crosswords (editor@jonesincrosswords.com) For answers to this puzzle, call: 1-900-226-2800, 99 cents per minute. Must be 18+. Or to bill to your credit card, call: 1-800-655-6548. Reference puzzle #JNZ990.

61 Org. that provides W-2

last week’s answers

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) "Love commands a vast army of moods," writes author Diane Ackerman. "Frantic and serene, vigilant and calm, wrung-out and fortified, explosive and sedate." This fact of life will be prominently featured in your life during the coming weeks. Now is a fertile time to expand your understanding of how eros and romance work when they're at their best—and to expand your repertoire of responses to love's rich challenges. Don't think of it as a tough test; imagine it as an interesting research project.

You're entering a potentially heroic phase of your astrological cycle. The coming weeks will be a time when I hope you will be motivated to raise your integrity and impeccability to record levels. To inspire you, I've grabbed a few affirmations from a moral code reputed to be written by a 14th-century Samurai warrior. Try saying them, and see if they rouse you to make your good character even better. 1. "I have no divine power; I make honesty my divine power." 2. "I have no miracles; I make right action my miracle." 3. "I have no enemy; I make carelessness my enemy." 4. "I have no designs; I make 'seizing opportunity' my design." 5. "I have no magic secrets; I make character my magic secret." 6. "I have no armor; I make benevolence and righteousness my armor."

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

CANCER (June 21-July 22)

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

"The only way to live is by accepting each minute as an unrepeatable miracle," writes Cancerian author and Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield. I disagree with him. There are many other modes of awareness that can be useful as we navigate our labyrinthine path through this crazy world. Regarding each minute as an opportunity to learn something new, for instance: That's an excellent way to live. Or, for another example, treating each minute as another chance to creatively express our love. But I do acknowledge that Kornfield's approach is sublime and appealing. And I think it will be especially apropos for you during the coming weeks.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22) The coming weeks will be a poignant and healing time for you to remember the people in your life who have died—as well as ancestors whom you never met or didn't know well. They have clues to offer you, rich feelings to nourish you with, course corrections to suggest. Get in touch with them through your dreams, meditations, and reminiscences. Now read this inspiration from poet Rainer Maria Rilke: "They, who passed away long ago, still exist in us, as predisposition, as burden upon our fate, as murmuring blood, and as gesture that rises up from the depths of time." (Translation from the German by Stephen Mitchell.)

Sagittarian poet and visual artist William Blake (1757–1827) cultivated a close relationship with lofty thoughts and mystical visions. He lived with his wife Catherine for the last 45 years of his life, but there were times when he was so preoccupied with his amazing creations that he neglected his bond with her. Catherine once said, "I have very little of Mr. Blake's company. He is always in Paradise." I hope that you won't be like that in the coming weeks. Practical matters and intimate alliances need more of your attention than usual. Consider the possibility, at least for now, of spending less time in paradise and more on earth.

Poet Robert Graves regarded the ambiguity of poetry as a virtue, not a problem. In his view, poetry's inscrutability reflects life's true nature. As we read its enigmatic ideas and feelings, we may be inspired to understand that experience is too complex to be reduced to simplistic descriptions and overgeneralized beliefs. In fact, it's quite possible that if we invite poetry to retrain our perceptions, we will develop a more tolerant and inclusive perspective toward everything. I'm telling you this, Capricorn, because whether or not you read a lot of poetry in the coming weeks, it will be wise and healthy for you to celebrate, not just tolerate, how paradoxical and mysterious the world is.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) The coming weeks will be a favorable time to shed old habits that waste your energy, and create constructive new habits that will serve you well for months and years to come. To inspire and guide your efforts, I offer these thoughts from author and naturalist Henry David Thoreau: "As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives."

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) I'm fond of 18th-century Virgo painter Quentin de La Tour. Why? 1. He specialized in creating portraits that brought out his subjects' charm and intelligence. 2. As he grew wealthier, he became a philanthropist who specialized in helping poor women and artists with disabilities. 3. While most painters of his era did self-portraits that were solemn, even ponderous, de La Tour's self-portraits showed him smiling and good-humored. 4. Later in his life, when being entirely reasonable was no longer a top priority, de La Tour enjoyed conversing with trees. In accordance with the astrological omens, I propose that we make him your patron saint for now. I hope you'll be inspired to tap into your inner Quentin de la Tour.

Piscean author Anais Nin was a maestro of metamorphosis, a virtuoso of variation, an adept at alteration. She regarded her ceaseless evolution as a privilege and luxury, not an oppressive inconvenience. "I take pleasure in my transformations," she wrote. "I look quiet and consistent, but few know how many women there are in me." Her approach is a healthy model for most of you Pisceans—and will be especially worth adopting in the coming weeks. I invite you to be a Change Specialist whose nickname is Flux Mojo.

HOMEWORK: Complete this sentence: "Sooner or later the pandemic will lose its power to limit us. When it does, I will _______________." FreeWillAstrology.com

Check out Rob Brezsny’s Expanded Weekly Audio Horoscopes & Daily Text Message Horoscopes

freewillastrology.com The audio horoscopes are also available by phone at

1-877-873-4888 or 1-900-950-7700 Willamette Week FEBRUARY 17, 2021 wweek.com

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Willamette Week, February 17, 2021 - Volume 47, Issue 16 - Knocked Down Town  

The obituaries for Portland are premature. But what will become of its most important neighborhood?

Willamette Week, February 17, 2021 - Volume 47, Issue 16 - Knocked Down Town  

The obituaries for Portland are premature. But what will become of its most important neighborhood?