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Willamette Week NOVEMBER 3, 2021 wweek.com
SPEED-O CAPPUCCINO, PAGE 24
WHAT WE LEARNED FROM READING THIS WEEK’S PAPER VOL. 48, ISSUE 1 Gravel was a dealbreaker for Dan Ryan’s car-camping plan. 6
Oregon’s only olive mill is in Dayton. 23
Sleeping pods have lower radon risk than school buildings. 8
Speed-o Cappuccino is named for timeliness, not fashion. 24
Requests for aid with rental debt are triple what Multnomah County can pay. 10
Rider-Waite is the most easily recognized tarot deck . 27
A courtyard acclaimed for its sustainability is now used as Grubhub parking. 12 Thallium sulfate is known as “the poisoner’s poison.” 16
A man once charged with placing packages of raw chicken in the air vents of his estranged wife’s home is again a criminal suspect. 17
Oaks Parks’ roller rink stays open year round. 20
Brought to this country in 1834, Afong Moy is believed to be the first Chinese woman to set foot on U.S. soil. 28 If you pull a Game Boy Advance cartridge out midgame, it makes a pretty cool sound. 29 Grace Dillon consulted Antlers filmmakers about the Wendigo, a horned deer-man from First Nations lore. 31 There is now a biopic about Louis Wain, who became world-famous for painting psychedelic cats. 32
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Willamette Week NOVEMBER 3, 2021 wweek.com
• •••• • • • •
TA R E B A LRO S ER E T A •••• E H T NOV 3
LAST WEEK, WW revealed court documents showing that before settling a battery lawsuit filed against Portland police by a protester, the City Attorney’s Office floated a remarkable argument (“Identity Crisis,” Oct. 27, 2021). It said a judge should dismiss the case because the injured woman couldn’t say with certainty whether the officer who fired a projectile at her chest worked for the Portland Police Bureau or another law enforcement agency. That argument was especially galling to some observers because the plaintiff was shot the same day Portland police officers were authorized to cover their name tags. Here’s what our readers had to say:
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SAFESPACER, VIA WWEEK.COM: “This case exemplifies the relationship between Portland’s far left and governing left. Brat riots and sues city when caught in crossfire; city tries to weasel out of situation with weaselly
WILLIAM HERBERT, VIA FACEBOOK: “Considering you used a picture of two State Police officers and one Portland officer, and most wouldn’t know the difference, I’d say there’s somewhat of a point… but of course Portland will pay out, even though it could have been any of the goons.” PAUL MEYER, VIA WWEEK.COM: “The city attorneys are making contradictory legal arguments simultaneously in a desperate effort to protect police who
PATRICK BOWEN, VIA WWEEK.COM: “The plaintiff in this claim believed that Portland police wear all black, which they don’t, they wear navy blue, and drive black cars, which they don’t, the cars are blue and white. Doesn’t mean she isn’t entitled to compensation, but it’s fair for the city to ask her what actually happened.” REP. JANELLE BYNUM, VIA TWITTER: “I do wonder if the mayor and City Council approve of this line of questioning. It’s unethical and disgusting to me. Reminds me of the Quanice Hayes case where they tried to dog whistle the inept Black mother trope and blame his death on her.” 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.
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KEN KILLAM, VIA FACEBOOK: “In the dark, the police can’t tell the the black bloc apart either.”
lawyer. I’m not surprised the local Bolshevik brats despise the Wheeler administration as much as they do.”
JAMIE REDBEARD, VIA WWEEK.COM: “You can’t have your cake and eat it too. If this is the case, their name needs to be on their uniform and clearly visible and legible or their conduct as a police officer is invalid. Period.”
ignore the law. “I wonder who’s in charge of the city attorney? As usual, all roads lead to Ted Wheeler. Local journalists don’t even bother trying to get a comment from him because he’s assumed to be MIA on this and every other issue in the city.”
Willamette Week NOVEMBER 3, 2021 wweek.com
BY MARTY SMITH @martysmithxxx
You know those curbside dining platforms all over the city? I cringe to think what lives under their wooden decks, no doubt thanking their rat/ insect gods for the tidbits falling through the cracks. Will this ever become a health and safety issue? —Steve A. You’re not crazy, Steve. Actually, scratch that; you’re clearly a deeply twisted person. What I mean is, the problem you describe isn’t a figment of your imagination. (Also, anyone whose imaginary rats are so advanced they’ve actually developed a primitive religion deserves bonus points for creativity on their psych evaluation.) You will probably not be surprised to learn that the metropolis whose outdoor under-deck rat population has gotten the most attention is New York City. Just last month, the crusading journalists of the Inside Edition Rat Patrol (I didn’t make this up; apparently it’s a regular feature) regaled viewers with rat-infested B-roll of outdoor dining areas after hours. Of course, they did a virtually identical piece using nighttime footage of indoor dining areas four years ago. Moral: You can look pretty much
anywhere in New York and find a shit-ton of rats. But does the same thing hold true in Portland? We have yet to see enterprising local journalists shining a light on the coming murine invasion. (That’s “murine,” the adjective for rodents, not Murine, the eye drop company that should have paid more attention in biology class.) It’s true that journalists looking to trash Portland haven’t exactly been starved for material lately, but a canvass of restaurant workers also turned up no obvious infestations. Perhaps that’s because New York rats have an advantage Portland rats lack: New York garbage. We have garbage, too—God knows—but in Portland, we’re required to keep it in a can with a tight-fitting lid. New York used to have that rule, but now New Yorkers are allowed to put their garbage on the curb in nothing but a plastic bag. I don’t know how many New York politicians Big Rat had to pay off to get this law passed, but it was worth it: It turned the city into a nonstop rat buffet, capable of sustaining a massive rat population. Compared with this bounty, a few meager scraps of tempeh dropped through the floorboards is nothing. You hear that, rats? Where is your god now? Questions? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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PORTLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS IS NOW HIRING SMALL SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS for the 2021/2022 School Year and Beyond At PPS, we believe that every human has intrinsic value and everyone has the ability to learn. At Student Transportation, our mission is to enable safe, equitable and efficient access to education. We all share and take pride in that responsibility. Adult behavior is a powerful teacher for young people. Who will you inspire today? No Experience is needed. We will offer support while you study for your CDL and you will even be paid during your ‘Behind the Wheel’ training hours. We offer full-time trainers on site to help you realize your goals and provide ongoing training. This is a classified position with union support.
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Willamette Week NOVEMBER 3, 2021 wweek.com
CITY TO METRO: GIVE US PAVEMENT OR NOTHING: Portland city officials tell WW that plans for a safe car camping site at the Expo Center are dead, unless regional planning agency Metro offers up a paved lot. The site in North Portland was a leading candidate in the city’s vision for a parking lot where people could live in their cars. For months, Metro offered a gravel lot that the city estimated in October would cost $1.5 million to make usable. “We haven’t been talking to them for several weeks, given they were not able to offer us any of the acres of paved parking for this use,” says Bryan Aptekar, communications liaison for the safe rest villages. “Instead, we were offered a grassy ditch that would cost $1.5 million to develop for our Safe Park needs. If Metro were to come back with an offer of use of a paved parking lot, we’d be happy to talk to them further.” Metro spokesman Nick Christensen tells WW that Metro is open to discussions, but “any solution must work with our existing clients at the recently reopened Expo.” So far, City Commissioner Dan Ryan’s office has only selected two of six planned safe rest village locations; however, those leases aren’t yet inked. None of the 70 sites first identified by the city are still under consideration. ENVIRONMENTAL COMMISSION NOMINEE FACES INDUSTRY BLOWBACK: A prominent business group is objecting to a nominee for the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission. Gov. Kate Brown nominated Amy Schlusser, a staff attorney with the Green Energy Institute, to replace a more industry-friendly commissioner, Wade Mosby, a retired forest products executive. “There is no question she would frequently be in the position of being asked to make decisions as a commissioner that are directly related to the advocacy work she currently engages in,” says Preston Mann of Oregon Manufacturers and Commerce. “Ultimately, that level of conflict would undermine public trust in the EQC as a whole.” Brown’s office defended the nomination. “Amy Schlusser brings experience in energy and climate policy, regulatory processes, and community engagement to the commission,” says Brown spokesman Charles Boyle. “She has also served on DEQ’s rulemaking advisory committee for Oregon’s Climate Protection Program. Having deep experience in climate policy and a history of effective public service is not a conflict of interest.”
FEDS SENTENCE MAN WITH QANON TIES TO FIVE YEARS’ PROBATION: U.S. District Judge Karin Immergut sentenced 40-year-old Cody Melby on Monday to five years of probation for firing a gun at the façade of the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse in downtown Portland on Jan. 8. The reason Melby—who served in Kosovo followed by three tours in Iraq for the U.S. Army—fired the weapon: “He wanted to get in front of the court for political and patriotic reasons,” says Melby’s attorney Bryan Francesconi. “He is an intensely patriotic person.” As WW reported in January, federal prosecutors alleged Melby fired several rounds from a 9 mm handgun into the courthouse’s exterior on the evening of Jan. 8. Two days prior, on Jan. 6, police cited Melby for criminal trespass while in possession of a firearm after he allegedly sought entry into the Oregon State Capitol during a far-right rally. Federal prosecutor Paul Maloney said during sentencing that Melby fired at the courthouse to get the attention of a federal judge because he felt compelled to express his political views. “He became fixated on the civil discourse surrounding the 2020 protests, as well as the presidential election,” Maloney said. Melby still faces charges in Marion County for the Jan. 6 incident, as well as in Multnomah County for the federal courthouse shooting. He is currently being held in the county’s Inverness Jail. UNHEALTHY CARE PROVIDER CAN’T EXPAND: The Oregon Health Authority has slapped the hands of Trillium Community Health Plan, a Eugene-based for-profit coordinated care organization that’s fought hard to break into the metro-area market for the Oregon Health Plan. Trillium won a hardfought, four-year contract with OHA to serve the local market last year, over the objections of powerful Portland-area hospital systems. But shortfalls in Trillium’s network of hospitals, home care, mental health services and foreign language services prompted OHA to issue a notice of noncompliance last September. On Nov. 1, OHA told Trillium it hadn’t fixed the shortcomings and banned the company from adding to its 57,000 customers in the metro area until it does. OHA chief Pat Allen gave Trillium three months to fix the problems. In a statement, Trillium promised to comply.
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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. Willamette Week NOVEMBER 3, 2021 wweek.com
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS WEEK
COURTESY OF CASEY KULLA
and addiction, but when we don’t bring the whole state along with us, we’re not going to have effective solutions. I’m a progressive Democrat in a purple, rural and exurban county. And so, every day, I work with people who have different values than me, because we all have to get to yes. If you were elected, what would your top three issues be?
First, really addressing climate change in a comprehensive manner that’s equitable across the state. Second, addressing political violence, intimidation and bullying that’s being used to undermine democracy. And the cost of housing. Homelessness looks different in every community, but it’s there all across Oregon.
Casey Kulla Two Yamhill County farmers are running for governor. One wonders where the other has been. BY N I G E L JAQ U I SS A ND AARO N M E S H 503 - 24 3 - 2122
Back in July, Yamhill County Commissioner Casey Kulla became the first elected official to jump into the 2022 Democratic Party primary for Oregon governor. House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) and State Treasurer Tobias Read followed. But it’s the latest entrant, his fellow Yamhill County farmer Nicholas Kristof, who gets the biggest rise out of Kulla. A fifth-generation Oregonian, Kulla is a homeschooling dad and cancer survivor who, along with his wife, Katie, grows a variety of crops on 17.5 acres on a Willamette River island in Dayton. He’s probably the first candidate for statewide office to film a campaign ad on a surfboard (he grew up in Newport). Outnumbered by two conservatives on the three-member Yamhill County Board of Commissioners, Kulla has
found ways to be effective. “Casey is really smart, incredibly optimistic and really dedicated to constituent services,” says Sal Peralta, a McMinnville city commissioner and co-founder of the Independent Party of Oregon. “Yamhill County can be a difficult place,” adds state Rep. Ron Noble (R-McMinnville). “Even if we have different political ideologies, he’s still willing engage. He’s got a big heart and always follows through.” We asked Kulla about his accomplishments, his ambitions—and his better-known neighbor. WW: Why do you want to be governor?
Casey Kulla: Democrats work very hard to enact policies on things like climate change, housing, homelessness
You’re probably aware of the Newberg School Board situation. That’s one of the versions of political intimidation. It’s part of the agenda of tearing down free public education. We have a high percentage of militia members, 3 Percenters, and Proud Boys. I had a meeting with one Proud Boy in McMinnville recently—he wanted to present his side of things about antifa and Portland. Tell us about the Yamhelas Westsider Trail controversy.
It’s a proposal to convert an abandoned rail line into a walking and foot bicycle path between the outskirts of McMinnville and the YamhillWashington county boundary at Gaston. Farmers along the trail don’t want to have people adjacent to their farms. That’s the short, neutral version of a 12-year story. It’s become a political litmus test and a lightning rod in the community, and my two colleagues oppose it. So you’re on the wrong side of perhaps the biggest, most visible issue within the county.
Well, I like to think I’m on the right side. As a county commissioner, how would you assess Gov. Kate Brown’s handling of the pandemic?
When you look at her immediate response to COVID, we are healthier because of it. But when Gov. Brown invited feedback, rarely did elected leaders see their feedback incorporated
Give us an example.
One was around the closing of restaurants and bars and tasting rooms. Around Thanksgiving last year, a lot us said, “We need to know that there is true data showing transmission, because we want to be on your side.” We never got that data. Tell us about your farm.
We’re on sabbatical right now, so my wife can write more and so that I can do commissioner work and campaign on a full-time basis. We still grow apples, pears, plums, cherries, and raspberries and strawberries and an array of vegetables. We have a relatively young hazelnut orchard as well. But we sold our commercial cannabis license in March. Why should Democratic primary voters choose a newish county commissioner over Tina Kotek or Tobias Read?
When I travel around the state, I find people are looking for somebody who is out of the line of succession. Your Yamhill County neighbor Nick Kristof fits that description. Does it bother you at all to see him steal your thunder?
Nick and I talk pretty regularly. I don’t think our state needs to have somebody who hasn’t been around a lot as governor. I encouraged him to consider running for the [new] 6th Congressional District because his ideas about the world and his global vision seem better suited to Congress. I don’t like talking ill about other people, and I really like Nick, but none of us who interacted with him on a regular basis in the past knew he was living here. Really?
I reached out to Nick earlier this year when I learned that a mutual friend, Mike Stepp, who features prominently in his new book [Tightrope] had died. I wanted to make sure that Nick knew there was a memorial service at the bus stop where Mike spent most of his days with his friends and family from the houseless community. Nick wasn’t anywhere around.
With no answers in sight, we count the days Portland probes a police leak. BY TESS RISKI
That’s how long it’s been since the Portland Police Bureau opened an internal affairs investigation into the leak of information that wrongly implicated Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty in a March 3 hit-and-run. It has released no results of its inquiry. 8
Political violence is well-publicized in the streets of Portland. What’s the situation in Yamhill County?
into final policies. When you are asked for feedback and then you don’t see it incorporated into something that you have to implement in your community, that is really hard.
Willamette Week NOVEMBER 3, 2021 wweek.com
That’s how long ago Officer Brian Hunzeker resigned from his role as president of the Portland Police Association due to what the union described as a “serious, isolated mistake related to the Police Bureau’s investigation into the alleged hit-and-run by Commissioner Hardesty.” We still don’t know what he did. The mayor’s office says it doesn’t know what he did.
That’s how long it’s been since the city signed a contract with an outside investigative firm to probe the leak.
Fruit of the Poisonous School
That date marks one year since the Multnomah County DA referred a criminal investigation of a prominent riot cop to Oregon’s attorney general.
Whitaker Middle School was torn down for containing radon. Can it safely host a homeless rest village? AARON MESH
On Oct. 28, WW and other news outlets learned that City Commissioner Dan Ryan had discussed using the onetime site of Whitaker Middle School in Northeast Portland as a “safe rest village” for houseless Portlanders. For Portlanders with long memories, the news spurred some questions.
Why is the Whitaker property notorious? In 2001, WW published a story about dangerous levels of mold and radon gas at Whitaker Middle School (“The Poisoning of Whitaker,” May 22, 2001). Documents obtained by WW at the time showed that the school, located at the corner of Northeast Killingsworth Street and 42nd Avenue, contained two to three times the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “action level” for radon, a colorless, highly toxic gas that seeps from underground rock and causes lung cancer. One of the reasons Whitaker had such high radon levels is that the school was built on Alameda Ridge, a geological feature that contains the highest levels of radon in Portland. And the Whitaker building lacked adequate ventilation. (The more ventilation a building has, the more the radon can cycle out and disperse into outdoor air.) Health officials at Portland Public Schools knew about the dangers, WW learned, but failed to disclose them to the School Board, district administration, school faculty or the families of students for 10 years. Though the district did take some measures to reduce radon and increase ventilation in the school, it failed to make a difference. The school was shut down the week WW’s story ran, the building was demolished, and the plot of land has lain unused ever since.
What do city officials want to do with it now? The city wants to place one of its six safe rest villages at
PHOTO: Caption tktktk
the site of the former school. Housing Commissioner Dan Ryan’s office tells WW that he’s approached five of the seven members of the Portland School Board about the idea. It’s the city’s latest attempt to secure a patch of land to place pods to house people who are currently living on Portland’s streets. That mission, initially expected to be up and running by 2022, has proven more difficult than expected. The city has identified only two places to put the villages, and no locations on the city’s initial list of 70 potential sites are still being considered. It’s the city’s latest desperate attempt to nab a property that is flat, at least 2 acres in size, and close to essential services. The city proposes using just a 2-acre strip of the lot along 42nd Avenue, amounting to about one-fifth of the total site, according to documents on the proposal shared with WW.
Is the property actually safe?
Mold won’t be a problem in new structures. But the underlying soil still has high levels of radon. Dr. Scott Burns, a geologist and professor emeritus at Portland State University who’s
studied radon for decades, says the safety of any future development is entirely dependent on the types of structures built. Burns says tiny houses, or pods, would be safe. Why? Because they’re small and cycle out air quickly. “You’re changing the air in the little pods faster. You’re changing the air if you’re in and out all day,” Burns says. “In big buildings, every time you’re opening a door, you’re only changing 0.001% of the air, but in a small pod, you open it for two to three minutes and you’ve changed quite a bit of the air.” A decade ago, Oregon lawmakers passed a bill that required any new residential and commercial buildings built in Multnomah County, as well as in six other counties, to install radon mitigation systems. That does not include pods. The school district says it has made no decisions about the parcel. “An environmental assessment would be part of any long-term or permanent plan to develop the site,” says Jonathan Garcia, chief of staff to Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero. “Staff is still reviewing the city’s proposal to build a safe rest village on the site.” SOPHIE PEEL.
The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office referred a criminal investigation of Portland Police Bureau Detective Erik Kammerer to the Oregon Department of Justice nearly a year ago. A DA’s office spokesman confirmed the referral to WW in June, saying that District Attorney Mike Schmidt asked the DOJ on Nov. 7 to investigate the case due to a “potential conflict of interest.” Otherwise, both agencies have remained tight-lipped about the nature of the investigation and when it’s expected to conclude. (Disclosure: Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum is married to the co-owner of WW’s parent company.) That said, it is likely the DOJ is investigating allegations that Kammerer, also known as “Officer 67” for his helmet number, used excessive force against protesters. For much of the 2020 protests, Kammerer—who works as a Portland Police Bureau homicide detective for his day job—served as a leader of the Delta Squad for the bureau’s now-dissolved mass demonstration unit called the Rapid Response Team. Kammerer has continued to investigate homicides during the criminal inquiry. “A year feels like a long time for an investigation,” says state Rep. Janelle Bynum (D-Clackamas), who chairs the House Judiciary Committee and the House Subcommittee on Equitable Policing. “We should have some answers by now. Regardless of the outcome, I think that the [Police] Bureau should have learned that accountability serves the best interest of the public and the department as a whole. If nothing happens to officers who commit egregious acts, the bureau and the city are sending the wrong message.” Some of those allegations have been made in civil complaints against Kammerer. And the state’s criminal investigation has paused at least one civil action against the 27-year PPB veteran. In May, a Portland father named Elijah Warren filed a civil complaint against Kammerer in Multnomah County Circuit Court. The $400,000 lawsuit accuses the city and Kammerer of negligence and battery. It alleges that, during a September 2020 protest, Kammerer struck Warren in the back of the head with his baton as Warren—who was not a part of the protest—spoke to officers outside his home because tear gas had seeped inside, where his son and son’s friend were “screaming and trying to wash out their eyes in the sink.” But Warren’s legal team has not been allowed to depose Kammerer under oath. They must wait for the conclusion of the DOJ’s criminal investigation, according to Warren’s attorney Jason Kafoury. “We’re all on hold,” Kafoury says. “It’s kind of like the Jo Ann Hardesty leak case: Time goes on and no answers ever come out.” And in an unusual move, the city has hired outside legal counsel to defend Kammerer against Warren’s lawsuit: Court records show Kammerer is represented by Karen O’Kasey and Carey Caldwell, both attorneys with Hart Wagner LLP. Reached by phone Monday, Caldwell declined to comment on the case. Typically, the City Attorney’s Office defends Police Bureau officers in civil matters. City Attorney Robert Taylor tells WW the city has retained the outside law firm to defend Kammerer in three pending cases related to use of force. “Under the Oregon Tort Claims Act, the city is required in most instances to defend and indemnify city employees in tort cases arising out of their work for the city,” Taylor says. “The City Attorney’s Office determined that outside counsel was appropriate in these cases.” He declined further comment on the pending litigation. “As usual, the city of Portland—no matter how much outrage there is for one of its officer’s conduct—has no power to remove bad officers from the force,” Kafoury says. “I hope the citizen[-led] independent review board will be empowered to do that in the coming years.” TESS RISKI. Willamette Week NOVEMBER 3, 2021 wweek.com
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NEWS MICK HANGLAND-SKILL
What Landlords Want
PAPER CHASE: Anna Zamarripa works for landlords, but right now her job has been trying to get money for tenants—from the state.
Oregon property managers tell state lawmakers: Pay the rent. BY R AC H E L M O N A H A N
Anna Zamarripa has worked for Capital Property Management for six years, keeping track of what each of the company’s 2,100 tenants owe in rent at the dozens of apartment complexes it manages. But since September, her job has taken a different turn: For 75 of those tenants who cannot afford rent, she has spent half her working hours trying to collect from the state of Oregon—and its struggling program to pay emergency rental assistance. “I’m going to go to the mattress,” she says. “I’m going to do everything I can for this resident, but it does infuriate me that whoever put this system in place and the powers that be don’t seem to be interested in helping me do their job.” Her key demand—that the state do its job—reflects what landlords across Oregon have been demanding: on-time payment of rent. In May, the state agency Oregon Housing & Community Services set up software called Allita 360 so tenants who couldn’t pay rent could apply for federal relief. That money was supposed to be mailed to landlords within 60 days of tenants applying. Instead, Zamarippa has found a slew of technical problems that impede her ability to access the money using Allita. She doesn’t know why a tenant who applied in May and has been approved for payment since August still hasn’t gotten any money. She’s had to chase down applications for tenants who provided the wrong contact emails. And she can’t figure out why the software keeps auto-filling incorrect information onto Capital Property Management’s forms. OHCS estimates 11,200 renters have
applied for relief checks and have not received any funds for more than 60 days. Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) has solution for the snafu: call a special session of the Legislature to further extend the safe harbor that banned evictions of tenants who had applied for rental assistance. But that’s one extension too many for landlords. Property owners like those who employ Zamarippa want their money. They want the state to fix the technical problems and speed up rent payments. And after 20 months without payments, some landlords are finished waiting for a check that may or may not be in the mail. Their objections, along with those of moderates in the Democratic caucus, including Sen. Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose), may foreclose the option of a special session. More Housing Now, a political action committee that represents large landlords, opposes a special session and is instead seeking to have Oregon Housing & Community Services show up at every county eviction court and cut checks on the spot, says lawyer John DiLorenzo. (Other landlord groups, including Multifamily NW, oppose a special session.) The problem with extending the safe harbor, DiLorenzo says, “is that it will place even more pressure on housing providers who need revenue in order to, in turn, satisfy mortgage, payroll, utility, insurance and property tax obligations.” But as proof a deal is still possible, Rep. Julie Fahey (D-West Eugene), chair of the House’s Housing Committee, points to three occasions since the pandemic began
when the Legislature reached bipartisan agreements to keep tenants in their homes and get landlords paid, including a $150 million landlord compensation fund. “There’s no reason why we can’t do it again, especially given that thousands of households are now in danger of eviction,” she says. “We have to come together to protect these Oregonians.” And the issue has become a first key division in the 2022 governor’s race, where Kotek is the woman to beat for the Democratic nomination. One of Kotek’s rivals in the Democratic primary, Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read, blasted the Legislature last month for bureaucratic failures (even though he supports extending the moratorium). “Thousands of Oregonians are in danger of eviction because the Legislature and governor haven’t been able to ensure that their rent relief payments are processed quickly,” says Read. “The money is there.”
“ It does infuriate me that whoever put this system in place and the powers that be don’t seem to be interested in helping me do their job.” Sen. Johnson, who’s running as an independent for governor, has long been a stalwart ally of landlords as Kotek has pushed renter protection. “The state doesn’t need a special session,” Johnson says. “Ninety politicians in Salem aren’t going to solve the problem. The governor needs to get the money out the door and into the hands of the people who need it.” And Republican House Minority Leader Christine Drazan, who’s eyeing a run, openly opposes a special session. “Our state has the funds to help Oregonians,” says Drazan in a statement. “We need the agency to do its job of getting this money out the door. We don’t need a special session.” The political rivalry may make a compromise more fraught—especially because
Gov. Kate Brown says she won’t convene a special session unless she knows the votes for an extension are solid. Speaker Kotek says she supports the work of Fahey and her senate counterpart “to help households that are on the brink of eviction.” She adds: “No Oregonian should be evicted for nonpayment while money is on the way.” State officials acknowledge their system has left tenants vulnerable. “We know that time is of the essence for Oregon families who are waiting for their rental assistance applications to be processed,” says OHCS spokeswoman Delia Hernández. She notes that Oregon ranks sixth in the nation for the percentage of federal rent relief money it has approved or distributed, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. In Multnomah County, where county commissioners gave tenants an extra 30 days of safe harbor, officials haven’t pursued an extension, deferring the matter to state lawmakers. “We are in an unprecedented time where there are millions of dollars of resources available for tenants,” says the Oregon Law Center’s Becky Straus. “No tenant should experience displacement right now because the system failed to process on time. We need the Legislature and the governor to take action. Tenant advocates are grateful for landlords who are being patient with the obstacles in the system. That said, relying on the good graces of landlords to hold off is not good public policy.” Some landlords are being gracious—in part because they see the self-interest in waiting for the government money. Sue Shimada runs another Portland company, Mainlander Property Management, which handles mostly single-family homes. Only eight of the company’s 50 renters who have applied for rental assistance still have safe harbor, says Shimada. She’s advising property owners whose portfolios she manages to sit tight. “We would just want to get the money,” says Shimada. “So I’m telling owners, ‘I know that your time is up, but it appears to be coming soon. So let’s just continue to wait.’” Shimada admits a certain pessimism in dealing with state assistance. “I wasn’t surprised,” she says. “My husband was laid off due to COVID, and I know the struggles we had with the state bureaucracy for unemployment. It seems to be along those same lines, where the software is difficult. One hand isn’t talking to the other, and it was to be expected that a moratorium of 60 or 90 days was really optimistic.” If you think landlords are fed up now, just wait. The current fight may pale in comparison to the evictions that come after February, when landlords can file evictions for pandemic rental debt—the unpaid rent that stacked up between April 2020 and June 2021. And, at least in Multnomah County, $93 million in applications for rental debt assistance already exceed the $39 million in current funding available, though more may be forthcoming from the federal government. Willamette Week NOVEMBER 3, 2021 wweek.com
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NEWS NORA LEHMANN
“The intent was to really be a public courtyard, more or less park space. It’s definitely disappointing. I’m a big proponent of green spaces, so I think public spaces should remain public spaces.” CAR COURTYARD: Vehicles parked in the One North plaza.
At the Drive-In A North Portland courtyard funded with greenspace bond dollars is being used as Uber Eats parking. BY TO R I L I E B E R M A N
In June 2016, Noah Dunham threw a party. It was a block party at a newly renovated urban courtyard along North Fremont Street. Artists displayed their paintings. A church choir sang gospel songs. Gov. Kate Brown showed up in a bright pink jacket. The object of all the fanfare? The courtyard itself, paved with cobblestones and sandwiched between the three buildings of the One North office and retail complex, a 1-acre, 85,000-square-foot development with little on-site parking. The regional planning agency Metro spent $420,313 on the Courtyard at One North, promising a spot where residents could gather amid the rise of the Williams Avenue apartment canyon. Developer and vintner Eric Lemelson, who co-owns the One North site, was so tickled with the courtyard that he hired Dunham to organize the block party—complete with wine from Lemelson’s vineyards. Fast forward to a fall afternoon in late October 2021, and the courtyard now serves another purpose: It’s a parking lot. At one point last week, six cars were parked on the cobblestones. WW spoke to operators and employees at eight businesses lining the courtyard. Many blamed drivers for the food delivery apps Uber Eats and Grubhub, who they say commonly treat the plaza as parking. Others blamed restaurant patrons. Still
others blame government agencies for not enforcing the “no parking” policy, while those same agencies deferred questions to other agencies. Dunham doesn’t care who’s to blame. He just doesn’t want cars in his urban park. “The intent was to really be a public courtyard, more or less park space,” Dunham says. “It’s definitely disappointing. I’m a big proponent of green spaces, so I think public spaces should remain public spaces.” For Dunham, the encroachment of cars into the One North plaza is a betrayal. Other neighbors agree, posting photos of vehicles to Twitter in displeasure. But the conflict also demonstrates how car culture has slid back into Portlanders’ daily routines during the pandemic. Social distancing inspired local governments to try out new outdoor dining plazas and promenades. But it also spurred a revival of activities in which people remain safely enclosed in their cars, from drive-in theaters to drive-thru strip clubs (“Cabin Fever,” WW, May 6, 2020). And perhaps no vehicular business has boomed like delivery apps, whose drivers commonly use the One North courtyard to pick up meals from Better Half PDX, according to an employee at nearby Bread & Honey Cafe.
“If the management really hates [the cars],” says Trevor Rhoads, who works at Bread & Honey, “they should put up signs.” Kelly Haarsager, an owner of Better Half, says she supports blocking off the street and putting up no parking signs— but she says no one enforces such a policy. She concedes that third-party delivery drivers do park there for food pickups. She later sent WW an email saying the property manager is looking to install no parking signs and that “there are times that people park in the courtyard and walk off, and we don’t always see where they go.” And the delivery drivers? “There is no place else to go,” says driver Austin McCullough, who was delivering fiber lasers on a Monday morning. That’s not what two local governments had in mind in 2015, when the two biggest office buildings of One North—known as Karuna East and West—were built.
In awarding a $420,313 grant to the project, Metro cited the courtyard as a green space for a neighborhood with a shortage. “The courtyard’s design subordinates the automobile and, instead of surface parking, provides a public courtyard with vegetation and open space,” the agency wrote. “In addition to serving as a hub for the neighborhood, the courtyard will provide many additional public benefits, including natural cooling, reduced emissions and a reduction in energy demand for air conditioning.” Yet the developers didn’t block cars from entering the courtyard, because a neighboring property owner on the block wanted to maintain an alleyway—for access to an existing parking lot. The two biggest buildings in the office park are owned by Eric Lemelson, whose company did not return multiple calls and voicemails from WW asking about the parked vehicles. Neither did the building’s manager, Pingree Northwest. Metro spokeswoman Carrie Belding told WW on Nov. 1 that agency officials “visited the courtyard today…and are working to ensure that the courtyard is enjoyed as it was always intended,” but she deferred questions about the parked cars to PBOT. Belding added that the developers “set aside a significant amount of land for public space rather than additional building or parking.” But PBOT couldn’t definitively say what is or is not allowed in the courtyard, including parking: “We are investigating the terms of our easement and what is allowed in that space,” says bureau spokesman Dylan Rivera. Meanwhile, neighbors just want the cars gone. “The courtyard is a car-free oasis in an otherwise very busy neighborhood,” says local resident Michelle DuBarry, who takes her kids there frequently. “I’m sad that the space has been turned over to cars and parking—a spot once welcoming to families and children now feels dangerous.” Sophie Peel contributed reporting to this story. Willamette Week NOVEMBER 3, 2021 wweek.com
O H W
D E N O S I O P
… M A I L L I G E JO
? E C I TW
THE ENFORCER FOR OREGON’S GROCERY INDUSTRY MADE ENEMIES. ONE TRIED TO KILL HIM WITH THALLIUM. BY NI GE L JAQ UI SS
Willamette Week NOVEMBER 3, 2021 wweek.com
oe Gilliam, one of the most influential voices in Oregon politics, has been silenced. For more than two decades, Gilliam, 59, served as president of the Northwest Grocery Association, which counts Fred Meyer, Safeway and Costco among its members. He represented their interests in Salem, battled competitors and earned a reputation as a punishing opponent and loyal friend. But for the past nine months, WW recently learned, Gilliam has been lying in a vegetative state at an undisclosed care facility in Clark County, Wash. Vigorous and athletic as recently as May 2020, he can now neither move nor speak. It wasn’t COVID-19 that laid him low. Nor was it heart disease or a car crash. It was poison. Two criminal investigations are pending into Gilliam’s attempted murder, one in Lake Oswego and another in Arizona. Police in both jurisdictions declined to comment. Both agencies believe, however, that someone close to Gilliam tried to kill him last year with a toxic metal called thallium. And they did so not once, but twice. His guardian and the judge overseeing his custody are concerned enough that someone will try again that they will not reveal his exact location. Gilliam’s plight has not previously been reported. A review of documents and interviews with Gilliam’s family, friends and associates yield a tale of a prominent Oregon family beset by tragedy, secrets, broken trust, financial manipulation—and on, two occasions, attempts to kill its most prominent member. The story would be extraordinary under any circumstances, but the attack on Gilliam comes at a pivotal time—when his organization is trying to pry open Oregon’s tightly controlled market for alcoholic beverages. It’s a crusade Gilliam hoped would be the crowning achievement of his career, and that public employee unions, governments dependent on liquor revenue, and beer and wine distributors all vehemently oppose.
“I DON’T THINK THIS WAS ABOUT POLITICS. JOE’S POISONING WAS A VERY PERSONAL CRIME.” —LISA GILLIAM
JOE GILLIAM BECAME a leader at an early age— but friends say he could also be difficult. “His personality was always to take things farther than the rest of us,” says his Lake Oswego neighbor Rich Kokesh, who met Gilliam in middle school. “Joe is a really loyal friend,” says the retired Salem lobbyist Brian Boe, “but he also has a way of really pissing people off.” A faithful congregant at River West Church in Lake Oswego, Gilliam also loved to spend his evenings in Lake Oswego watering holes like the Dullahan Irish Pub, where his winning smile and considerable charm were on full display. Gilliam grew up in Happy Valley, the son of Earl “Joe” Gilliam, an Assembly of God preacher and president of Warner Pacific College. The senior Gilliam was also a friend and spiritual adviser to the late Sen. Mark Hatfield (R-Ore.). When Joe Gilliam wanted to work in Hawaii during his high school years, friends say, longtime Hatfield chief of staff Gerry Frank arranged a job there. (Frank says he doesn’t recall that.) A basketball player and standout high jumper at Clackamas High School, Gilliam
went on to George Fox, a Christian college in Yamhill County. Not long after graduating, he landed in Salem, lobbying for the National Federation of Independent Business. A big presence—he was 6-foot-2, 215 pounds—Gilliam was also a quick study, says former state Sen. Jason Atkinson (R-Central Point), able to read people and figure out how to get them what they wanted. Gilliam’s older brother Vic served five years as a Hatfield aide and later joined Joe in Salem, but not as a lobbyist. Vic Gilliam served five terms in the Oregon House representing Silverton. In 1999, Joe Gilliam took over leadership of the Northwest Grocery Association, which represents most of the region’s largest grocers. He grew his organization across state lines, into Washington and Idaho, and has efficiently pursued his members’ interests: low taxes, modest wages and minimal regulation. In 2011, Gilliam leveraged an effort to expand Oregon’s Bottle Bill to get what his members wanted: moving the redemption of deposits on beverage containers outside of stores. It saved stores space, improved san-
itation and “was a huge win for the grocery industry,” says Dan Floyd, a former Safeway lobbyist and protégé of Gilliam’s. Gilliam also helped shape Oregon’s minimum wage law, ensuring that stores in rural areas could pay employees less than stores in the Portland metro area. But his biggest victory came with the defeat of Measure 97, an effort in 2016 by Oregon’s public employee unions to raise billions of dollars in new corporate sales taxes. Gilliam’s clients were the largest contributors on the “no” side of the most expensive ballot measure campaign in Oregon history. The measure failed, giving the public employee unions their most painful defeat in decades. “He was very involved in beating Measure 97,” says former Sen. Mark Hass (D-Beaverton), an architect of the tax. Gilliam subsequently won an exemption for grocers from the massive corporate tax that lawmakers passed in 2019. Gilliam’s bare-knuckled style won him great admirers and some enemies. “Sure, Joe’s made some people mad,” says Shawn Miller, a Salem lobbyist who worked with Gilliam for 25 years. Gilliam’s second ex-wife, Lisa Gilliam, who met him when they were both young lobbyists, says he knew his style and the political positions he took made some people angry. “But I don’t think this was about politics,” she says. “Joe’s poisoning was a very personal crime.”
CAVE CREEK, ARIZ., is an Old West town of
about 6,000 in the Sonoran Desert 45 minutes northeast of Phoenix. Locals ride their horses to bars in what’s been called a “drinking town with a cowboy problem.” In 2019, Gilliam, a Lake Oswego resident, paid $625,000 for a single-story tan brick house in Cave Creek with a swimming pool and casita on the property. He hoped it would be his retirement home. He earned $400,000 in annual compensation at the grocery association, with regular bonuses on top of that. In early June 2020, Amanda Dalton, Gilliam’s second-in-command at the grocery association, says Gilliam called her just after Willamette Week NOVEMBER 3, 2021 wweek.com
WINNING SMILES: Vic Gilliam (left) lost a 1986 House race despite help from his younger brother Joe (right). Vic was later appointed to the House in 2007.
DESERT HIDEWAY: Joe Gilliam told friends he would retire to his Cave Creek, Ariz., home.
“HE LOST 40 OR 50 POUNDS WITHIN A MATTER OF A COUPLE OF MONTHS.” returning from Cave Creek. “He said his legs were numb, he was in tremendous pain—and he was really scared,” Dalton recalls. Gilliam went first to St. Vincent’s Hospital and then to Legacy Meridian Park as doctors struggled to determine what ailed him. His symptoms worsened, recalls his girlfriend, Christina Marini, 47, and he remained hospitalized for 10 days. Doctors 16
Willamette Week NOVEMBER 3, 2021 wweek.com
finally diagnosed him with Guillain-Barré syndrome, which causes the body’s immune system to attack the nervous system. He began plasma therapy and medication. On June 17, Dalton notified the members of the Northwest Grocery Association of Gilliam’s diagnosis. That same week, Gilliam’s brother Vic died at 66 after a long battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. Joe Gilliam made his first public appearance since being struck down by the mysterious illness, attending his brother’s funeral. In a wheelchair. Over the summer of 2020, Gilliam convalesced. Kokesh, his neighbor, says he and Gilliam used to work out twice a week in Gilliam’s home gym. Now, Gilliam was weak as a kitten. “He lost 40 or 50 pounds within a matter of a couple of months,” Kokesh says. By the end of October, Gilliam felt well enough to travel with Marini, to Arizona. Dan Floyd joined them there for Election Day. “Joe was looking a lot better,” recalls Floyd, who is executive director of the Hood to Coast Relay, a race Gilliam completed four times. “We played golf and I think he was able to walk as much as 2 miles.” Gilliam’s return to health wouldn’t last. In mid-November, Gilliam again fell desperately ill. Marini says his condition was worse than before. The pain in his legs and feet prevented him from walking, his gastro-
intestinal system stopped working, and he vomited frequently. He resumed plasma therapy. But on Nov. 28, Marini rushed him to the Mayo Clinic hospital in Scottsdale. Gilliam lapsed into a coma and went on life support, she says, and hasn’t spoken since. On Nov. 30, Dalton notified the Northwest Grocery board that Gilliam was in intensive care. One week later, Mayo doctors told Marini that Gilliam had a different diagnosis: He was not suffering from Guillain-Barré syndrome—but from thallium poisoning. The news stunned her. “I remember saying to the doctor, what the hell is thallium?” Marini recalls. “I Googled it and called [Gilliam’s son] Joey right away.”
THALLIUM SULFATE IS colorless, odorless
and easily dissolved in water. Because it’s extremely rare and difficult to detect, it’s often called “the poisoner’s poison.” The late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein reportedly used it to eliminate enemies. Ingesting thallium causes gastrointestinal distress: often vomiting and constipation. Within a day or two, nerve pain in the feet and hands becomes “exquisitely painful,” according to the textbook Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose. A victim’s hair begins falling out after about 10 days and is usually gone after a month. American farmers used thallium to kill rats beginning in the 1920s. In the ’70s, the U.S. banned it altogether, though the sub-
J U S T I N YA U
THE BALLOT MEASURES IN OCTOBER, THE Northwest Grocery Association filed three ballot initiatives for 2022, in an attempt to break the state’s monopoly on hard liquor and distributors’ stranglehold on wine and beer. Oregon retains some of the tightest controls on alcoholic beverages in the country. In 2011, Joe Gilliam’s Northwest Grocery Association (which also represents grocers in Washington and Idaho) rode Costco’s checkbook to a new law privatizing liquor sales in Washington. Efforts in Oregon—which drew stiff opposition from wine and beer distributors—failed in 2014 and 2016. “It’s a huge, huge issue for the state of Oregon,” says Danelle Romain, executive director of the Oregon Beer & Wine Distributors Association. “It would hurt many thousands of Oregonians and small businesses, and it will disrupt the third-largest source of revenue for the state, which helps support our schools, our health care and our public safety.” Even from his sickbed last summer, Gilliam was itching for a third shot at grabbing liquor sales for his members in 2022. He joined his deputy Amanda Dalton and others on regular Zoom calls. “Joe really wanted to get liquor on grocery store shelves,” Dalton says. —Nigel Jaquiss POWERFUL PARTNER: In 2011, Gilliam’s association leveraged nearly $23 million from Costco to privatize the Washington State Liquor Control Board.
stance is still available on the internet from China and India. Dr. Robert Hendrickson of the Oregon Poison Center at Oregon Health & Science University says thallium poisoning is vanishingly rare: There were just 49 cases in the whole country in 2019, according to federal figures. Hendrickson says he wouldn’t expect ER doctors to test for it. “Thallium would be so far down on any list it’s not something anyone would consider,” he says. “Usually the diagnosis is made when all the pieces fit: peripheral neuropathy and people start losing their hair.” After diagnosing thallium poisoning, Mayo doctors put Gilliam on dialysis to cleanse his blood and prescribed a drug called Prussian blue to help rid his body of the toxic metal. Joe’s son Joey Gilliam, 32, flew to Arizona and reported the poisoning to police. “I drove over to Cave Creek and said I just want an officer to take my story down,” he recalls. “A patrol officer was dispatched; at first, he said, ‘This guy’s crazy.’ But he filed his report and that’s when things started to happen.”
AFTER THE MAYO Clinic diagnosed thallium
poisoning (WW has reviewed records confirming the diagnosis), detectives in Maricopa County identified an initial suspect. A search warrant served by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office at Gilliam’s Arizona home in January said deputies were looking for “any container that may contain trace
evidence such as a solid, liquid, powder, which may contain a poison, particularly thallium” and “any items of personal property belonging to the suspect, Ronald Smith.” Marini says police believe she, Smith and another Cave Creek resident and longtime friend of Gilliam’s, the political consultant Tim Mooney, were probably present both times Gilliam was poisoned. (Mooney declined to comment.) Police aren’t saying why they identified Smith as a suspect, but there are at least a couple of potentially relevant facts: The first is, he has a previous felony conviction for a bizarre crime. A decade ago, according to Colorado news accounts, Smith was working as a lobbyist in Denver. Police charged him with placing packages of raw chicken in the air vents of his estranged wife’s home, destroying her piano with a caustic liquid, and taping a mock death notice to her front door. His ex-wife said he’d sent her threatening texts, including one that said, “I will ruin my life to ruin yours.” Smith, now 68, pleaded guilty to a felony and a misdemeanor and was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years’ probation. Not long after, Gilliam came to Smith’s rescue and brought him to Oregon to work on ballot measure campaigns for the Northwest Grocery Association and later invited him to invest in Gilliam’s Arizona home. It was in Arizona that three witnesses say Smith and Gilliam clashed bitterly at a restaurant four months before the first
alleged poisoning. Documents WW obtained show Smith had loaned Gilliam $71,000 toward the purchase of Gilliam’s Cave Creek home, in what some observers felt was a deal unfair to Smith. Smith would get to live in the casita on Gilliam’s property for 10 years and would manage the property in Gilliam’s absence. “The contract was hideous,” says Fred Speck, a longtime friend who was Gilliam’s first boss after college. “I’ve read it. Ron felt it wasn’t fair, but he also felt so beholden to Joe for rescuing him that I think Ron was willing to loan Joe the only money he had left.” On Jan. 27, 2020, Gilliam, Floyd, Smith, Marini, Mooney and another Portland friend, former AM Northwest host Ken Ackerman, went to a Cave Creek restaurant called Giordano’s Trattoria Romana. Three of the guests who attended the dinner say Smith and Gilliam argued. The disagreement escalated. “Ron and Joe were screaming at each other across the table,” Floyd says. “It got so heated, we all had to leave,” Ackerman adds. Marini and Floyd say the men argued over travel plans Smith was supposed to have made and Gilliam’s unhappiness with Smith’s management of the property. On Feb. 17, 2020, Smith emailed Gilliam, asking for his money back in a lump sum. Gilliam first took issue with Smith’s behavior. “I love you and that won’t change,” GilWillamette Week NOVEMBER 3, 2021 wweek.com
“WE’RE REALLY FRUSTRATED WITH THE LACK OF PROGRESS.” —OLIVIA GILLIAM liam emailed Smith on Feb. 18. “But since we’re not going to address the restaurant incident face-to-face as men do, we aren’t ok and we won’t be. It’s chicken shit.” Gilliam then rejected Smith’s request for his money back. Smith did not respond to requests for comment.
IT WOULDN’T BE long before Lake Oswego police identified another potential suspect: Gilliam’s only son. Although police won’t say why, there are a few reasons they might suspect Joey Gilliam. First, the younger Gilliam, court records show, has twice been convicted of felony assault, serving time in Oregon State Penitentiary.
C O U R T E S Y O F A M A N D A D A LT O N
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And if his father died, he also stood to inherit some of his father’s estate—estimated by Gilliam’s friends at a couple of million dollars. (Joey Gilliam confirms he is a beneficiary of one of his father’s life insurance policies.) Finally, Joey’s actions as his father lay in a vegetative state raised serious questions. In June, records show, the care facility pushed to get Joey removed as his father’s legal representative because it claimed he was failing to look out for Gilliam’s interests. Part of the court’s investigation into his fitness to serve as guardian revealed that between January and June of this year, Joey withdrew a total of about $350,000 from his father’s bank account. The withdrawals drew the attention of law enforcement. “The Lake Oswego Police Department has an open and active investigation/case in which Earl ‘Joey’ Gilliam III is suspected of criminal mistreatment I,” Lake Oswego Detective Sgt. James Peterson wrote in a July 19, 2021, statement placed in the court file. “This relates to…management of his father’s funds.” Peterson went further. “The Lake Oswego Police Department is also assisting the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office [investigation] into the two attempts
at murdering Earl ‘Joe’ Gilliam II by poisoning,” Peterson wrote. “I have confirmed that Earl ‘Joey’ Gilliam is a suspect/person of interest, according to [Maricopa Sheriff’s] Det. TJ Ward.” Joey Gilliam declined to speak to WW about his father’s bank account but flatly denied any involvement in his father’s poisoning. “Until they solve it, everybody should be a suspect,” he says. “But I had nothing to do with it.”
ON OCT. 6, a Clark County judge named a new guardian for Gilliam—his older sister Felicia. Friends left that hearing depressed. “They said Joe is never going to recover,” Floyd says. Marini, his girlfriend, retains hope. After visiting him Oct. 28, she says she thought he looked better. “I know he’s going to pull out of this,” she says. As the investigation plods along, mutual suspicions have darkened moods in the overlapping circles of friends and family. In the absence of an arrest, backbiting and recriminations have chilled communications between Marini and two groups of Gilliam’s friends: his childhood buddies and a circle of political and professional allies. Some of them feel she has prevented them from being present in his life.
COVID has made visiting him difficult, she explains, and she only wants what’s best for Gilliam. “The only thing in this for me is justice for Joe,” she adds. Marini and Joey Gilliam also no longer communicate. Gilliam’s youngest daughter, Olivia, 22, watches from her college campus in Texas with a feeling of helplessness. “We’re really frustrated about the lack of progress,” she says. Meanwhile, Gilliam, who loved climbing mountains like St. Helens, South Sister and Adams as much as he loved eating a steak washed down with an Oregon pinot noir, lies in a nursing home, his body shrunken and locked in paralysis. Although he can now breathe without a ventilator, he cannot speak and his food still comes through a tube. COVID restrictions separate him from the friends who used to surround him. Those friends are tortured by what happened to Gilliam. “All he’s doing is existing,” says Dave Martin, a longtime friend who’s still shaken from visiting Gilliam over the summer. “When I was driving away from the nursing home, I thought: ‘Someone fucking did this to him. It wasn’t an accident, it wasn’t a coronary. Some human did this to him, and I can’t live with that.’”
BETTER DAYS: Christina Marini and Joe Gilliam began dating in May 2019. She has been his caretaker since the poisonings.
A MOST VIOLENT YEAR
LAST YEAR WAS devastating for the men of the Gilliam family. Joe Gilliam’s poisonings came during a six-month period when both of his brothers and his father died. His brothers’ deaths caused Joe Gilliam great pain, while his father’s marked the end of what family and friends say was a tortured relationship. In 2016, a Clackamas County judge appointed a guardian for Earl “Joe” Gilliam, the family patriarch, after his faculties failed. Joe Gilliam’s younger brother, Steven, who lived in Joshua Tree, Calif., served as guardian, overseeing his father’s money, which court records show was about $1.4 million. (Joe told friends his father’s money came from Earl Gilliam’s cultivation of the wealthy widow of a former president of the Boeing Airplane Co. In a 2004 court battle over a $20 million trust, Seattle-area charities accused Earl Gilliam of trying to take advantage of the elderly widow.) On April 15, 2020, Steven Gilliam died of a drug overdose, on his 49th birthday. When Joe Gilliam went to California to settle his brother’s affairs, he would later tell friends, he discovered Steven had spent virtually all of their father’s money. “He told me there wasn’t enough left to make the next month’s payment for their father’s care,” Gilliam’s protégé Dan Floyd recalls. Gilliam was despondent, Floyd recalls. But not about the money Steven had squandered—Gilliam told Floyd that money was “tainted.” Instead, the normally upbeat Gilliam was grieving Steven’s death and the looming death of their brother Vic, who died from ALS on June 17, 2020. (Their father died Oct. 21, 2020, at 91.) “The three brothers were incredibly close,” Floyd says. “They shared an incredible bond.”
THE BROTHERHOOD: Joe Gilliam (left) befriended Tim Mooney (center) and Ron Smith 30 years ago, when all lobbied for the National Federation of Independent Business. Gilliam later hired both men for Oregon ballot measure work. Smith and Mooney now live in Cave Creek.
Then in robust health, Gilliam told his friend he feared suffering the same fate that had befallen his older brother, who went from being perhaps the most gregarious lawmaker in Salem to a prisoner in his own motionless body. “Joe said many times that ALS was the worst thing he could imagine,” Floyd says. “He didn’t want to end up like Vic.” —NJ Willamette Week NOVEMBER 3, 2021 wweek.com
Closing Time at Oaks Park Photos by Brian Burk On Instagram: @bpburk
No more Zoom Coaster or Cosmic Crash rides until spring 2022. Sunday, Oct. 31, concluded the 2021 Oaks Amusement Park season. The venue put on a pyrotechnics show to say thank you to all the customers and fans for supporting the historic park through an incredibly challenging 18 months. A little good news: Oaks Park Roller Rink remains open year round.
Willamette Week NOVEMBER 3, 2021 wweek.com
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THE MOST IMPORTANT PORTLAND CULTURE STORIES OF THE WEEK—GRAPHED.
READ MORE ABOUT THESE STO R I E S AT WW E E K .CO M .
2021-22 Walters Performance Series An Evening with Tony Starlight
Americana, Country, Rock
Variety | Benefit for Hillsboro Arts & Culture Endowment
COURTESY OF TUBE
Ashleigh Flynn & The Riveters
Dec 3 | $55
Nov 5 | $10/$12
Acoustic Guitar Summit Holiday Concert
Nov 19 | $10/$13 Cuban, Latin
Dec 17 | $18/$22
Purchase Tickets Online: Hillsboro-Oregon.gov/ WaltersConcerts
Acoustic & Fingerstyle Guitar
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Plant-forward, nondairy coffeehouse Honey Latte Cafe holds local shows in its parking lot. The kids continue to be alright.
Saddening witches and beer fans alike, Fort George Brewery announces it will not hold its stout-focused Festival of the Dark Arts in Astoria in 2022.
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Ecliptic Brewing will open its first spinoff taphouse, the Moon Room, in the former Base Camp Brewing building on Saturday, Nov. 6. R I C K P E AV Y H O U S E
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Following a devastating fire that consumed both businesses, Really Good Stuff owner Evan Shlaes sues Lounge Lizard, alleging it caused the blaze.
Eschewing its takeout-only ways, Kansas-style Lawless Barbecue takes over the kitchen at Little Beast Brewery.
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Beaverton and Eugene will each get their own Salt & Straw to line up in front of in 2022.
Old Town’s Tube nightclub reopens. “It’s the soft opening of a 20-year-old bar,” says owner Eric Bowler.
C O U R T E S Y O F H A L F WA I F O N FAC E B O O K
STUFF TO DO IN PORTLAND THIS WEEK, INDOORS AND OUT.
☛ DO | Dia de los Muertos Dinner If Halloween is about fearing the tortured souls of the departed, Dia de los Muertos is the exact opposite: The holiday that originated in Mexico is a tribute to friends and family who have passed— it’s even said to be a time when the living and the dead can briefly reunite. Zenger Farm is marking this sacred period with a multicourse take-home dinner by Paula Hernandez, a member of the nonprofit’s Community Chef program that highlights local women of color and their cooking traditions. The meal is centered on Oaxacan foods, including farm-fresh pico de gallo, chicken and nopales marinated in an adobo spice paste then steamed in banana leaves, a flourless chocolate-almond torta, and an orange-flavored pan de muerto. And in case that’s not enough food for your Dia de los Muertos table, Hernandez will be at the farm on pickup day serving tamales and champurrado (extra-thick hot chocolate). Zenger Farm, 11741 SE Foster Road, 503-282-4245, zengerfarm.org. 1-4 pm Saturday, Nov. 6. $150. � VIRTUAL |
COURTESY OF PORTLAND E X P E R I M E N TA L T H E AT E R E N S E M B L E
Fronteriza Online Beginning on and running for a week after Dia de los Muertos, Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble offers a virtual window into Fronteriza, an ongoing work the collective created together. Part podcast, part rumination on U.S.-Mexico border strife, and all conversations that ensemble member Christi Miles couldn’t bring herself to have with her parents, this recorded performance from the Portland Playhouse in June 2021 is probably not its final form. But if you didn’t get a chance to see its short run, it’s certainly worth your attention. Nov. 1-7. Tickets at petensemble.org. Free-$50, pay what you can.
� GO | Half Waif
The music of Nandi Rose Plunkett, who performs as Half Waif, is informed by equal parts Sia and Björk. She mixes dramatic, melancholic pop with experimental electronic elements to the delight of critics, garnering her 2018 album Lavender acclaim for Plunkett’s icy keyboard riffs and captivating vocals. Now touring her new album Mythopoetics, she’s taken a decidedly Kate Bush direction. Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave., 503-288-3895, mississippistudios.com. 8 pm Friday Nov. 5. $15. 21+.
� GO | Olio Nuovo Festival
The hills surrounding the hamlet of Dayton are best known as wine country, but nestled among all of those vineyards is a 17-acre olive grove producing some of the best extra virgin olive oil in the state. And starting this week, you can celebrate the delicious liquid fat made at Durant during the Olio Nuovo Festival. The event features tours of Oregon’s only olive mill, a series of cooking classes, oyster olio happy hours, and an open-air tasting bar, where you can experience the wide range of flavors in the oils: from creamy and mild to fresh, fragrant and green. And thanks to the pandemic, the festival’s normal three-day run has been extended to a month to spread out the celebration. That simply means more days of olive oil tasting for you. Durant Olive Mill, 5700 NE Breyman Orchards Road, Dayton, 503-864-2000, durantoregon.com. 10 am-4 pm daily, Nov. 1-30.
� VIRTUAL GESSEN
S CO UR
TESY OF LITERARY
� VIRTUAL & �GO | Portland Book Festival This year’s Portland Book Festival will hold in-person events on Saturday, Nov. 13, but the week preceding it, Nov. 8-12, promises a robust amount of virtual programming to warm up the literary audience and broaden the base of those who can attend. For our mileage, we’re particularly jazzed for the Tuesday, Nov. 9, powerhouse panel on freedom, with Maggie Nelson, Masha Gessen and Aminder Dhaliwal, among others. It’s impossible to imagine a lineup like that without remote programming. Register for the online festival at literary-arts.org. Nov. 8-12. Free$100 sliding scale.
| Huma Abedin Remember when we were obsessed with Hillary Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin for reasons not related to her disgraced, former New York congressman husband Anthony Weiner? In her new memoir, Both/And, you can get the full tea service on Abedin’s rise and fall. She recounts stories of her travels with her Indian and Pakistani parents as they advocated for causes and gave her a strong foundation in activism, which led her into the political sphere. Buying a copy of Both/ And at powells.com automatically registers attendees for this Zoom conversation. Register for the Zoom event at powells.com. 7 pm Tuesday, Nov. 9. $30, includes copy of the book. Willamette Week NOVEMBER 3, 2021 wweek.com
PHOTOS BY AARON LEE
FOOD & DRINK
MILLENNIAL WEAKNESS: Speed-o’s avocado toast comes with pickled asparagus, radish and shallot.
Hot Coffee Cart Speed-o Cappuccino bends the binary blazed by bikini baristas with a spicy staff of nonbinary people and trans and cisgender men. BY AN DR E W JA N KOWSK I
Speed-o Cappuccino’s bubblegum-pink coffee cart stands out against the otherwise drab strip of Southeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Oak Street. Its Progress Pride flag—a version of the Pride flag that Oregon graphic designer Daniel Quasar created to include the trans community—waves as a friendly hello or sashay away. “People can tell if it’s going to be their thing, so people don’t approach us if it’s not,” cart co-owner Dahlia Hanson tells WW. “They weed themselves out, usually.” Hanson and Joseph Miller opened Speed-o across the street from Sheridan Fruit Company in July. Their goal: To bend the binary blazed by bikini baristas before them, while holding on to bold visibility and an unapologetic commitment to nourishing LGBTQ+ and allied Portlanders. Hanson, a dancer in Portland’s strip clubs for four years, envisioned Speed-o as an accepting queer oasis where sex workers could earn extra money while perking up the Central Eastside neighborhood. “It seems like there a lot of spaces for cis women to get out there, so I wanted to create a super-queer, more inclusive space,” they say. Miller and Hanson hired nonbinary people and trans and cisgender men to staff their cart—describing the workforce as “himbos, thembos and flirts’’ on the cart’s social media pages. Speed-o prioritizes personality over physical attributes when looking for new baristas, but the owners don’t ask the flirts to act aggressively chipper, like Dutch Bros Coffee’s infamous “broistas.” “You can teach people how to make coffee,” Hanson says. “You can’t teach people to be friendly and kind. It just sort of radiates out of them.” In the summer, most Speed-o staff served drip coffee and Spanish cortados (a cappuccino that’s equal parts espresso and milk), wearing hot pink crop tops and booty shorts—staff says that there have been Speedos worn at the cart, but it isn’t common. The winter uniform is similarly on-brand skimpy: sweat shorts and a T-shirt. But the cart has the heaters cranked for employee comfort. 24
Willamette Week NOVEMBER 3, 2021 wweek.com
Speed-o’s brunch menu is bright and colorful enough to wake diners up or restore them after a long night at neighboring Coffin Club. The Glory Bowl toast plate’s smorgasbord of peanut butter, banana slices, almond granola, coconut shavings, cocoa nibs and honey are the sweetest breakfast sex pun south of Voodoo Doughnut. The cart also pays homage to gender-bending musician Lil Nas X’s genre-melting debut album with their Montero bowl: Nutella, strawberries, blueberries, honey, cocoa nibs, and sesame seeds. “We are huge fans of Lil Nas X,” Miller says. “I feel like, for me personally, growing up listening to rap, there’s so much misogyny and homophobia in rap, and then you have Lil Nas X coming out, and it’s like, ‘Oh, that’s the dopest person ever.’” Although almost every breakfast stop has some version of the tried-and-true, mortgage-wrecking avocado toast, Speed-o’s definitely seems worth the credit check. The toast comes stacked with slices of avocado, ripe marinated tomatoes, pickled asparagus, radish, shallot and lush arugula dressed with pink beet-cilantro aioli. As Speed-o’s forays into its first winter season it’s whipping up Christmas in a Cup: a peppermint-white mocha latte that gets Mariah Carey stans in the holiday mood. But when it comes to the signature Speed-o latte, opt for the coconut as syrup instead of shavings. The floating flakes give the drink a soupy texture. Asked where the cart is headed, Hanson says they have plans for a drive-thru window as Speed-o’s next evolutionary phase. Service is walk-up for now, and there’s a shared seating agreement at the nearby Asian Hispanic fusion franchise Zero Degrees. “I think that would really widen the audience, especially during fall and winter,” Hanson says of a drive-thru. “Nobody wants to get blown away.” DRINK: Speed-o Cappuccino, 402 SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 503-754-4371, speed-o-cappuccino.business.site. 7:30 am-5 pm Monday-Friday, 10 am-4 pm Saturday-Sunday.
Hot Plates WHERE TO EAT THIS WEEK.
1. PURRINGTON’S CAT LOUNGE
3529 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 503-334-3570, purringtonscatlounge.com. 9:45 am-6 pm Thursday-Sunday. Be warned that Purrington’s, Portland’s only cat cafe, regularly sells out its weekend sessions—45-minute reserved slots for an assortment of singles and small groups. However, sitting outside the cat enclosure can be almost as delightful as being inside, especially since the realities of social hierarchy dictate that all adults must take a backseat to the wonder of well-mannered kids fixed on petting all available cats. This particular incarnation of the lounge is still new—co-owners Garret Simpson and Helen Harris bought the business from the original owners in 2019 and renovated the space. You can thank Simpson’s food and wine background for the cafe’s above-average snacks, which include a vegan board of carrot hummus, sunflower seed dip and kale pesto, served with baguette and veggies for dipping as well as an indulgent cheese board sourced from local monger Cowbell.
2. AT THE GARAGES
4810 SW Western Ave., Beaverton, 503-941-9139, atthegarages.net. 11 am-1 am daily. A rock venue with a killer food cart pod, At the Garages has all the diverse food court-style offerings you want from a solid pod. It’s Love Pasta cart serves up fettuccine Bolognese that’s like an Americanized version of soffritto. Thai Lao Teriyaki’s pad thai arrives rich and sticky and just about perfect. But most famously, Ochoa’s Lupitas Tacos, prepares a torta that’s the size of a basketball, triggering heart palpitations at first glance. Five layers of beef, chicken and sausage puff this sandwich up so much, your cook will apologize that the size of the dish makes it impossible to close the box’s lid.
3. BRASA HAYA
412 NE Beech St., 503-288-3499, brasahayapdx.com. 5:30-10 pm, Wednesday-Sunday. Indoor seating not ADA accessible, vaccination required to dine indoors. A new Spanish restaurant in a converted home that was formerly Beech Street Parlor, Brasa Haya is a fine(r) dining restaurant with textbook salt cod croquettes. The portion was too small to split effectively but this is a problem inherent to tapas, not Brasa Haya.
726 SE 6th Ave., fillspdx.com. 10 am-1 pm Sunday. A joint venture between pastry chef Katherine Benvenuti and Kurt Huffman’s omnipresent restaurant group, ChefStable, Fills introduced Portland’s culinary scene to a new style of doughnut—the Berliner—last year. Fills’ version of the traditional German pastry begins with a naturally leavened sourdough starter that’s not too sweet. It’s then fried in small batches, cooled, hand-filled with fruit, chocolate or custard, and glazed. Fills hasn’t reopened its downtown shop since the pandemic, but it runs a pop-up on Sundays.
5. BAON KAINAN
4311 NE Prescott St., baonkainan.com. 5-8 pm ThursdayMonday, 11 am-3 pm Saturday-Sunday. The biggest standout dish at this hot new Filipino food cart in the Metalwood Salvage lot is its kare kare fries. The classic braised beef peanut stew is thickened and poured over fries, aided by a dollop of shrimp paste and bright red pickled Fresno chiles. The result puts poutine to shame, but be sure to eat them as soon as they come out of the cart’s window—the fries hold up, but they’re best when eaten hyperfresh.
FOOD & DRINK Name: TOP 5
WHERE TO DRINK THIS WEEK.
Spencer B. Role:
Associate Director ALSO Employee Since:
ALSO is hiring. Are you looking for the kind of job where you can make a difference every day? Join our virtual hiring event weekly on Wednesdays, 10 AM and 3 PM. 1. LITTLE BEAST BREWING
3412 SE Division St., 503-208-2723, littlebeastbrewing.com. 1:30-10 pm Monday-Thursday, 1:30-11 pm Friday, noon-11 pm Saturday, noon-10 pm Sunday. Fans of farmhouse ales have been flocking to Little Beast’s cozy bungalow since 2018, where you’ll find some of the city’s most captivating yeast-focused beverages crafted by Charles Porter, who made a name for himself in the beer industry at Deschutes and Logsdon before starting his own brand. Now Little Beast has a new partner in the kitchen: Lawless Barbecue. Kansas transplant Kevin Koch has gifted Portlanders a taste of his home state in the form of a 13-hour smoked prime brisket, burnt ends, spare ribs and pulled pork. Don’t sleep on these meats—Koch regularly ran out of food when he launched Lawless at the beginning of the year as a
Visit heartworkoregon.com for more info.
takeout-only joint, and he promises they pair perfectly with Porter’s beer.
2. BLACK ROSE MARKET
6732 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 503-894-9698, instagram.com/blackrosemarket_woodlawn. 9 am-11 pm Monday-Wednesday, 9 am-11:30 pm Thursday, 9 am-12:30 pm Friday-Saturday, 10 am-10 pm Sunday. At North Portland’s Black Rose Market, owners Keith and Kirin Johns make shelf talkers—similar to the notes you see on the stacks at Powell’s— with handwritten information about some of the products they carry. The notes point out that a Flying Embers hard kombucha donates money to aid fire relief, that Joyroot Tea is Black-owned and brewed in the Pacific Northwest, and that Premium Northwest’s “PNW” lager is Keith Johns’ favorite, an honor given to only one beer in the shop. Brewed in Johns’ hometown of Tukwila, Wash., by a two-man team, it’s a beer Johns stakes his reputation on as “better and cheaper than Rainier.”
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6031 SE Stark St., 503-432-8121, instagram.com/bellwetherbarco. 4-11 pm daily. The climb up Southeast Stark Street to 60th Avenue is steep. But that just makes the little pub at the top of the hill tastier for the effort. From the hazy, romantic back patio to the roaring front room, Bellwether feels like a pub that fell into the world fully formed. The cocktails are named in an egalitarian manner, numbered from 1 to 8. The 1 is perfect for summer: rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, cranberry grenadine and salt, served with a curled lemon rind. Not overly sweet, the tangy little number is like a loud, talkative friend whose energy you can’t help but find cheerful.
4. RUM CLUB
720 SE Sandy Blvd., 503-265-8807, rumclubpdx.com. 3 pm-midnight daily. The now-classic Rum Club welcomes first-daters, out-of-towners and especially cocktail aficionados. Rum Club is known for some of the best bartenders in town, working from one of the best shelves in town—ask about the house rum blends. The bar will make you a mind-bending daiquiri or fruit cocktail such as the Peach Blended—an umbrella drink made with blended rum, fresh peaches, lime and sugar—that is as good as blended drinks get. But don’t overlook the mainstay Pedro Martínez, which mixes aged rum with maraschino, Torino vermouth and bitters, and is possibly perfect.
5. HOP CAPITAL BREWING
6500 S Virginia Ave., 503-206-4042, hopcapitalbrewing.com. 5-9 pm Wednesday-Thursday, 5-10 pm Friday-Saturday, 11 am-7 pm Sunday. The satellite bar of Hop Capital’s Yakima, Wash., brewery, this John’s Landing taproom, open since January, introduced local drinkers to a lineup of beers that land somewhere in the middle of the city’s worldclass and well-established scene. Head brewer Ambrose Kucharski is clearly having fun amid the hop flowers up north. His Donut Peach Raspberry Sour sounds as giddy as a Katy Perry costume and drinks just as tart and punchy.
1022 NW Marshall Street #450 Portland OR | (503) 226-6361 | paulsoncoletti.com
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PSYCHIC MARY JANE
in-store performances performance and album signing
saturday november 6 pm Portland Instrumental guitar duo
Test-driving The Psychic Mary Tarot Deck, a cannabisoriented reimagining of the Rider-Waite cards.
blending acoustic and electric guitars to create lush, melodic soundscapes.
Limited To 50 people
BY BRIA N N A W H E E L E R
Whether you consider this the age of Aquarius or nah, it’s hard to deny how powerfully mainstream both cannabis and the esoteric have become. The normalization of plant medicine, moon rituals, and the iconographic tarot have made New Bohemians out of a diverse segment of the population. We see zodiac placement on dating profiles, Major Arcana art prints in department stores and a global buzz around functional fungi, ancestral herbs, and cannabinoid wellness. Whether you call it sorcery, enlightenment or revolutionary hippie residue, tarot and cannabis have been used for generations to access and navigate intuition. Frankly, it was only a matter of time before someone married the two concepts. And while The Psychic Mary Tarot Deck may, at first blush, seem an superficial coupling of weed and woowoo, a closer inspection actually reveals an interpretation thoroughly suited to our times. WHO IS PSYCHIC MARY? The Psychic Mary Tarot Deck was created by celebrity psychic Jusstine Kenzer, aka PsychicGirl. Psychic Mary’s decks are reinterpretations of Rider-Waite cards—the best-recognized tarot iconography—and, as such, can be navigated with most contemporary tarot guidebooks. Though Psychic Mary’s deck utilizes RiderWa i t e ’s s t r u c t u r e , Ke n z e r i n t r o d u c e d a n iconography and terminology with Psychic Mary that, while potentially eliciting double takes from tarot-fluent users, will resonate clearly with varsity stoners. Kenzer’s Major Arcana cards lack expressively gendered caricatures and detailed, symbolic tableaus of its more traditional contemporaries. Instead, this deck relies on straightforward, uncluttered single images against plain, white backgrounds. Some cards are comically simplistic in their accuracy (Judgement represented by a DEA badge, The Sun represented by a fluorescent grow light), while others require a more developed comprehension of tarot (The Empress represented by a single, sprouted seed, or Temperance presented as an empty bong). Although Psychic Mary’s Minor Arcana rely on the Rider-Waite structure, they ’re much more complex in their cannabis user-oriented reimagining. Rather than suits of Staffs, Swords, Coins and Cups, Psychic Mary’s Minor Arcana are organized by Grinders, Lighters, Pipes and Papers. The face cards eschew royal terminology in favor of pothead vernacular, swapping Grower for King, Dealer for Knight, Smoker for Queen, and Tender for Page. The Minor Arcana are reliant on numerology rather than tarot’s established, highly visual folklore.
Bay Area Hip Hop emcee will perform & sign his latest album “language”.
performance and album signing
sunday november 7
3 pm TEST-DRIVING THE PSYCHIC MARY There are no fewer than five tarot decks in my house, but I’m not out here giving free readings on full moons. I just happen to appreciate small-scale works of art and guided introspection, both of which good tarot can provide. When I broke open the Psychic Mary deck, my first impression was that this particular deck wasn’t likely to deliver on either of those fronts. But on closer inspection, I saw a deck that actually felt both intentional and authentic to stoners and spiritualists alike. My first spread was a simple, three-card arrangement meant to turn my inner eye toward my past, present and future. For the past, I pulled the Eight of Pipes, for the present the Ten of Lighters, and for the future the Eight of Grinders. I was stoned to the bone as I pulled cards, so I had to consult the reference card several times before Psychic Mary’s language settled into my memory. I pulled another three cards, this time an Empress card represented by a single, dancerly splash of (bong?) water, Death represented by ashy chunks of black resin, and The Emperor represented by a chic leather couch. By my third pull, it occurred to me that seeing such elaborate icons reduced to these relatable cannabis associations would be an awesome way to introduce my less mystical-minded homies to the fun, totally subjective contemplativeness of the tarot. This deck may appear superficial, but that lightheartedness could introduce tarot as fun and accessible rather than performatively witchy. Our household is less concerned with divination than introspection, and to that end, The Psychic Mary Tarot Deck is a fine addition to our collection. But I think the real value in this deck is how easily and entertainingly it can introduce an everyday stoner to the self-reflection of a good-ass tarot reading, which is something everyone, Aquarian stoner or nah, can make good use of.
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Editor: Andi Prewitt | Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
L AVA A L A PA I
Display Case Artists Rep’s The Chinese Lady tells the story of a girl brought to the U.S. to perform a skewed version of her cultural practices for spectators. BY JO HN R UD O F F
The trajectory of Afong Moy’s life, both historically and as the protagonist of Lloyd Suh’s The Chinese Lady, is simple yet complex; bitter though unusually hopeful at the same time. Just 14 years old at the play’s start, and played masterfully throughout by Barbie Wu, Afong is brought from China to America by merchants in 1834. Believed to be the first Chinese woman to set foot on U.S. soil, she is then put on display as a walking, talking billboard surrounded by chinoiserie decorative art. We then observe that the next half-century of her life becomes a performative ritual, as Afong magically ages in front of our eyes, until she eventually vanishes from the collective consciousness. Exhibited for most of the play on a thronelike chair and draped in Chinese silks, Afong tells us of her life as an object of superficial curiosity. The paying customers (“twenty-five cents for adults!”) gawk at her clothing, her eating with chopsticks, her walking and—especially—her bound feet. Afong’s pasted-on smile and chirpy demeanor highlight the distance between the spectators and her own evolving sense of self as a sentient, curious and emotional person. As the years pass, she is put on tour across the country, describing (in often preachy detail) that having been made an exotic zoo animal is another facet of the more brutal racism displayed via the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the Cherokee Trail of Tears. She also observes that certain American customs that constrain women, like squeezing torsos into whalebone corsets, aren’t necessarily that different from foot-binding. The script’s didacticism is its main weakness. Playwright Suh has stuffed so many examples of global injustice, unsavory capitalism, and even the difficulties of translation into the script, the more delicate and complex aspects of Afong’s predicament would have had trouble emerging without Wu’s deft portrayal. She can become angry, wistful and disappointed with subtle facial expressions alone.
Joining her in a skilled performance is Bern Tan as Atung, Afong’s manservant and translator, who becomes an interlocutor during her explorations of the world and selfhood. But since Atung is mysteriously written without a past, Tan is given a more difficult task in trying to show us the character’s depth and inner conflict. That glaringly blank slate makes it difficult to understand his connection to Afong, and their relationship seems more businesslike than personal. We care about her, we are puzzled by him. Despite the script’s flaws, the story ultimately gives way to greater emotional depth as we learn of Afong’s pain as she struggles with isolation as well as the loss of her roots and language. “I can’t remember my mother,” she notes ruefully. Nevertheless, time and age allow her to begin to construct some self-assurance and individuality. The Chinese Woman opens Artists Repertory Theatre’s 202122 season after 20 dark months. Director Lava Alapai and executive artistic director Dámaso Rodríguez display the company’s typical courage in choosing this play in the wake of recent anti-Asian abuse from the highest levels of government. It is not an easy play to stage. To some degree we are put in the position of Afong ’s spectators, made aware of how our gaze must feel to others. Despite the discomfort that may present, you’ll become mesmerized by Wu’s skill in creating a layered, paradoxical and sometimes curiously optimistic Chinese character.
PLAYWRIGHT SUH HAS STUFFED SO MANY EXAMPLES OF GLOBAL INJUSTICE, UNSAVORY CAPITALISM, AND EVEN THE DIFFICULTIES OF TRANSLATION INTO THE SCRIPT, THE MORE DELICATE AND COMPLEX ASPECTS OF AFONG’S PREDICAMENT WOULD HAVE HAD TROUBLE EMERGING WITHOUT WU’S DEFT PORTRAYAL.
SEE IT: The Chinese Lady plays at the Armory’s Ellen Bye Studio, 128 NW 11th Ave., 503-241-9807, artistsrep.org. 11 am and 7:30 pm Wednesday, 7:30 pm ThursdaySaturday, 2 and 7:30 pm Sunday, through Nov. 14. $5-$35. 28
Willamette Week NOVEMBER 3, 2021 wweek.com
Written by: Daniel Bromfield | @bromf3
Now Hear This
Listening recommendations from the past, present, Portland and the periphery. PHOTOS COURTESY OF NILESABSTON.COM
SOMETHING OLD While many of its individual songs—“El Paso,” “Big Iron,” “Cool Water”—are standards, Marty Robbins’ Gunfighter Ballads & Trail Songs is one of the most consistently mind-blowing records to drop during the album-unfriendly ’50s. Robbins had a wonderfully impassive voice, perfect for holding himself at a remove from the tales of terror. It’s worth noting the way he described (or didn’t describe) the gunfight on “Big Iron,” or the mounting stakes on “The Master’s Call” and how they coincide with an impending sense of apocalyptic doom. SOMETHING NEW Remember how alluring all those water temples and fake forests looked in the video games you played as a kid? Ever wish you could enter them and immerse yourself in that uncanny, low-poly world? Soshi Takeda’s Floating Mountains comes close to that kind of transportive experience. He uses vintage hardware to replicate the gorgeous, watery and strangely remote aesthetic of games like Myst—and the ’90s moment when Japanese house producers like Soichi Terada were making some of their best work for games like Ape Escape. SOMETHING LOCAL If you’ve ever pulled a Game Boy Advance cartridge out midgame so you could vibe to that horrific marching-insect noise, Strategy’s Chaotic Era is for you. This is one of local producer Paul Dickow’s most inhospitable releases, burying pop melodies deep in corrosion and distortion. But its roughness only makes the fragments of beauty buried within feel that more precious. There’s even a track that sounds a little like a disco anthem, albeit swamped in static. Say the title with me: “The Earth’s Ecstasy as the Last Fascist Is Erased.” SOMETHING ASKEW English singer-songwriter Richard Youngs enjoys an enviable stature as one of those cult weirdos who could release a few albums a year forever and still enjoy a steady living and fan base. His music isn’t for everyone, and on his most acclaimed album, 1999’s Sapphie, he ruminates endlessly on a few guitar chords while singing—not exactly on key. But the atmosphere generated by his faintly distorted, hornlike voice and those slow, ragalike patterns are enough to bring a chill to a sympathetic listener’s bones.
The Party Hero We Need Right Now Comedian Niles Abston is catching notice with his good-natured party comedy vibe. BY SU ZETTE SMITH suzet email@example.com
There’s a theme to comedian Niles Abston’s tour style: “We party during the show. We party after the show. Party before the show,” he says. “I want to create a vibe for people where it doesn’t feel like a regular boring-ass comedy show. It’s like an experience. That’s kind of what I’m known for.” It’s surprising Abston is known for anything yet, considering that when he plays Portland on his way to Seattle, he’ll be traversing his first-ever dedicated comedy tour: Niles Abston’s Big Ass House Party. Abston has been through Portland before, though— invited up for the Minority Retort showcase at the 2020 Black Comedy Festival. “I did that comedy festival, went home and shot my special. Then everyone started talking about something called COVID and, before you knew it, I had to release my house show special during a pandemic,” he tells WW. That May 2020 special, Girls Don’t Twerk to Jokes, hit a shut-in soft spot due to the location—a living room venue in L.A. called Scoopty Boopty—and the energy of Abston’s crowd (drunk on tremendous quantities of Hennessy). The show was a DIY affair, coordinated because Abston (a newcomer to L.A. from Mississippi) couldn’t get booked at local comedy clubs. He even helped set up some of the camera angles.
“One friend, who just got too drunk, knocked his camera over and didn’t notice.” Abston says of filming the special. “So we didn’t even have one of the angles that we planned.” But Girls Don’t Twerk to Jokes blew up online, as did Abston on Twitter. A recent drag of Dave Chappelle garnered him nearly 43,000 likes. Now Abston is trying to make up for lost time with a party tour to promote his new party podcast of the same name, which he says will include “guests telling wild, fun party stories, listeners texting me party stories that I’ll read on the air” and heated discussions over which songs will make everyone yell “Oh shit!” and run onto the dance floor. He promises similar energy—with more dedicated standup— for his live show. For starters, he’s touring with a crew. “I’ll have Duece Flame with me; he’s a rapper. I like to have music on my show,” Abston says. He’s also joined by comedians Arthur Hamilton, Kalea McNeill and Chaz Carter. The whole show sounds chaotic but with good elements—like the rolling party that Abston intends.
GO: Niles Abston performs at Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th Ave., 503-233-7100, hawthornetheatre.com. 9 pm Thursday, Nov. 4. $6-$25. Willamette Week NOVEMBER 3, 2021 wweek.com
Willamette Week NOVEMBER 3, 2021 wweek.com
A new book sketches three nearly forgotten Oregonians who bucked the tide and made history.
BY MATT B U CKIN GHA M
AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE YOU GET YOUR PODCASTS
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Ahead of Their Time firstname.lastname@example.org
Six years before a young John F. Kennedy made a similar trip, a 20-year-old Lincoln High School graduate from Portland boarded an ocean liner for Europe in 1933 to see firsthand what conditions were like for his Jewish relatives in Germany under its new chancellor, Adolf Hitler. Richard L. “Dickie” Neuberger’s harrowing report of anti-Semitic terror in “The New Germany” was published in The Nation and made the reputation of the aspiring journalist and future U.S. senator, whose writing had already appeared in The Oregonian by the time he was a sophomore at Lincoln. Within a year, he was writing for The New York Times. Neuberger is one of three largely forgotten figures in Oregon history profiled in Eminent Oregonians (Stephen A. Forrester, 196 pages, $24.85). The other two are early suffragist, newspaper founder and novelist Abigail Scott Duniway and Jesse Applegate, who blazed the Applegate Trail through Southern Oregon, staunchly opposed the extension of slavery to the territory, and stood up for Oregon’s Indigenous peoples before becoming tarnished, perhaps unfairly, for his role in the Modoc War of 1872-73. Retired Daily Astorian editor and publisher Steve Forrester’s portrait of Neuberger is perhaps the sharpest of the three, offering readers a snapshot of a seminal figure whose life Forrester hopes to expand into a full-length biography. (Disclosure: Forrester was a co-founder of Willamette Week in 1974.) Neuberger’s narrow election to the U.S. Senate in 1954 gave Democrats control of the upper chamber, making Lyndon Johnson majority leader and paving the way for much of the progressive legislation in Congress in the 1960s if not Johnson’s path to the White House. And like his prescient warnings about Hitler, Neuberger’s environmentalism was ahead of its time. He was an original co-sponsor of the National Wilderness Preservation Act that presaged Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and the environmental revolution of the 1970s although it wouldn’t pass until four years after Neuberger’s untimely death from cancer in 1960. Bend author Jane Kirkpatrick’s profile of Abigail Scott Duniway is more an extended tribute than a chronological biography, but there is still much of interest here. Duniway was not only an older sister of longtime Oregonian editor Harvey Scott, she was his rival as one of few women in U.S. history to start her own newspaper. In addition to championing women’s issues in The New Northwest and 22 published novels, Duniway led all but one of six election campaigns to give Oregon women the vote. She finally succeeded in 1912, eight years before the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Duniway often clashed with national women’s suffrage leaders because she advocated quiet, word-of-mouth campaigns rather than loud parades to convince voters, then all men, to support women’s right to vote, and she opposed linking the cause to Prohibition. She recognized that liquor interests would always resist women’s suffrage if they knew women would use the vote to outlaw alcohol—
What made them “eminent” was they knew they had to convince their fellow Oregonians of ideas most did not yet believe. and she was right. “Still, she stepped on toes,” Kirkpatrick writes. “She didn’t know any other way to walk.” Jesse Applegate cuts the most tragic figure in Eminent Oregonians, profiled in the book by former Oregonian and Associated Press reporter and editor R. Gregory Nokes. After a son and a nephew drowned in the Columbia River on the Oregon Trail, Applegate resolved to blaze a new trail south of Oregon and back up to the Willamette Valley. The Applegate Trail added 200 miles to the trip and was not without hardship: most notably, a sore lack of water and passage through a canyon whose raging torrent often destroyed wagons and drowned livestock. The angry settlers who’d hired Applegate to lead them were sometimes left with nothing but their lives. Applegate’s tenure as a provisional legislator and member of the Oregon Constitutional Convention was equally idealistic and troubled. The new constitution banned slavery, as Applegate wished, but it also excluded Black people from settling in the state entirely. Disgusted, Applegate left politics but became caught up in the region’s Indian wars despite his noted respect for Native peoples. Financial reversals led to temporary confinement at an insane asylum and his death, penniless and a widower, in 1888. Despite his sheer cussedness, Applegate was eulogized by even his bitterest enemies as the “Sage of Yoncalla,” his mountain retreat in Douglas County. What made Applegate, Duniway and Neuberger “eminent” was they knew they had to convince their fellow Oregonians of ideas most did not yet believe—that new states should not perpetuate the sins of the old, that one half of the people mattered as much as the other, and that the new world that emerged from such beliefs would have to sustain life for that world to endure. STREAM: Eminent Oregonians co-author Steve Forrester discusses the legacy of Richard Neuberger with historian Chet Orloff. Noon Thursday, Nov. 4. Register for the Zoom event at eomediagroup.com/books/eminent_oregonians. Free. The book is on sale now at Chapparral Books, the Oregon Historical Society and the Oregon Jewish Museum.
Editor: Andi Prewitt / Contact: email@example.com
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SCARED STIFF: Demonic drawings and a cannibalistic deer-man plague Keri Russell and Jeremy T. Thomas in Antlers.
Director Scott Cooper’s first horror film, set-in-Oregon Antlers, features stellar acting but a superficial plot. BY C H A N C E SO L E M - P FE I FER
As far as faux-Oregon movies go, Antlers tries tapping into relevancy. Set in the fictional town of Cispus Falls—but shot largely in Hope, British Columbia—director Scott Cooper’s horror debut tangles with rural poverty, addiction, environmental pillaging, and Indigenous erasure that literalize into a monster. In this case, the monster is a Wendigo—the cannibalistic, horned humanoid of many Algonquin-speaking tribes’ folklore. In a town analogous to any number of isolated Northwest Oregon highway communities, Keri Russell (The Americans, Felicity) stars as Julia, an elementary schoolteacher in the midst of an uneasy homecoming. Grappling with her own troubled past in Cispus Falls, Julia fixates on a frail, introverted student, Lucas Weaver (Jeremy T. Thomas). The bloodthirsty family of beasts that appear in his class drawings imply that just maybe all is not well at home. With her brother the sheriff (Jesse Plemons) in tow, Julia gradually strives to scope out the Weavers’ dilapidated home where ne’er-do-well father Frank and Lucas’ little brother have receded from view. Antlers is based on a short story by Channel Zero showrunner (and co-writer of this movie) Nick Antosca; it’s a gutting little parable about a well-intentioned young teacher playing savior in rotting Appalachia. While Cooper’s film maintains that mood, it’s mired in additional paint-by-numbers screenwriting. Julia’s abusive past is agonizingly broached and rebroached to inflect Lucas’ story, while Antlers’ haphazard explanations of the supernatural only cheapen the Wendigo myth. Combine that with Cooper’s inexperience directing horror, and it’s a superficially polished, well-acted movie that gravely stammers through a repetitive 95 minutes. It’s as though there is a contest between how many times Julia can stare at Lucas’ drawings versus how many times characters can almost enter the Weaver house. Later, after one character investigates a suspicious shed, another character identically investigates the same shed. Cooper has big ideas for backgrounding the community violence— there’s a radio broadcast about rolled-back coal mining regulations and monologues about child protective services failing—but precious few ideas for making a dynamic horror movie. This lack of imagination sadly sells short some gnarly
production design and eyelid-peeling creature effects. (It feels like Guillermo del Toro produced this simply because there was a monster with antlers.) Why, for instance, if your movie hinges on a terrifying deer-man in the Pacific Northwest’s steroidal nature, would you stage every scary scene in dark rooms without space to sprint, charge or climb? It’s like setting the tale of a man-eating cheetah in a supply closet. In Cooper’s oeuvre, Antlers isn’t unfamiliar, though. Dating back to his Crazy Heart debut, he’s coaxed deep commitment from great actors in shaky, self-serious movies about American conquest and collapse—Out of the Furnace, Black Mass, Hostiles. Here, it’s completely understandable why Keri Russell would embrace a part wherein she faces down evil, trauma and alcoholism (even if the movie is unsure whether she or Lucas is the main character). And Plemons remains one of the best working actors in a nothing part where he stressfully tugs on his cop ’stache and is somehow fascinating the whole time. To be fair, Antlers does possess one unexpected screenwriting flourish that pivots the movie away from The Hills Have Eyes or Slither-esque hillbilly exploitation. But that sensitivity and the care that went into consulting on Wendigo lore with Native artists and experts (including Portland State University professor Grace Dillon) amounts to very little. Antlers still haphazardly tokenizes Graham Greene (Dances With Wolves) into explaining the creature: essentially, “Hold on guys, let me grab my book of pan-Indigenous scary stuff.” Then, he promptly exits the movie, cementing a far worse iteration of the cultural tourism upon which the original short story seems to comment. (Honestly, check out last year’s Blood Quantum if you seek a recent, well-done First Nations horror movie.) With a nod to all the film’s Douglas fir license plates, the most small-town Oregon facet of Antlers is a simple one-liner. Sheriff Paul (Plemons) sizes up Lucas’ demonic drawings and asks if that’s what passes for arts education at his sister’s old school in California. It stands out, too, as the movie’s sole moment of levity. Of all forms of nonsense, grim nonsense has to be the worst. SEE IT: Antlers screens at Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, Cinema 99, City Center, Clackamas Town Center, Cornelius, Dine-In Progress Ridge, Eastport Plaza, Evergreen Parkway, Fox Tower, Lloyd Center, Movies on TV, Sherwood, Tigard, Vancouver Plaza.
An outstanding entry in the Coen Bros.’ oeuvre, this smalltown crime comedy weaves a darkly funny tale involving a desperate car salesman (William H. Macy), bumbling criminals (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare), and a pregnant cop (Frances McDormand). Todd Melby, author of A Lot Can Happen in the Middle of Nowhere: The Untold Story of the Making of Fargo, will attend! Hollywood, Nov. 4.
The Maltese Falcon (1941) Humphrey Bogart stars as detective Sam Spade in this noir classic about the dangerous search for a coveted jewel-encrusted falcon statuette. Widely considered one of the greatest films of all time, which makes it all the more impressive that it was legendary director John Huston’s feature debut. Academy, Nov. 5-11.
Arrebato (1979) In this underseen example of Spanish arthouse horror, a low-budget filmmaker is contacted by a man attempting to film his own consciousness while on heroin—the result is hallucinogenic, rapturous and vampiric. Auteur Pedro Almodóvar has cited Arrebato as his favorite horror film, and he provides an uncredited voice cameo. Hollywood, Nov. 5-6.
Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005) Performance artist Miranda July directs this pensive dramedy, which follows an eccentric cast of characters all struggling to connect with the world around them. July herself stars as a cab driver and video artist, and John Hawkes co-stars as a lonely shoe salesman. Watch to find out what this enigmatic symbol means: ))<>((. 5th Avenue, Nov. 5-7.
Rashomon (1950) Unparalleled director Akira Kurosawa explores the boundaries of truth and perspective in this massively influential crime-drama period piece. Set in eighth century Japan, the 88-minute film centers on the aftermath of a violent crime, and the differing points of view offered by those involved, including a bandit, a bride, a samurai’s ghost, and a woodcutter. Clinton, Nov. 9.
ALSO PLAYING: Academy: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), Nov. 3-4. Halloween (1978), Nov. 3-4. Little Shop of Horrors (1986), Nov. 3-4. Dark Passage (1947), Nov. 5-11. Clinton: Stray Dog (1949), Nov. 6. V for Vendetta (2005), Nov. 8. Hollywood: The Howling (1981), Nov. 5-7. Five (1951), Nov. 8. Kid With the Golden Arm (1979), Nov. 9. Willamette Week NOVEMBER 3, 2021 wweek.com
NOW PLAYING TOP PICK OF THE WEEK
The Electrical Life of Louis Wain Fans of cats and Benedict Cumberbatch, get ready to purr. With manic charm and moving grace, The Electrical Life of Louis Wain welcomes us into the psychedelic world of Wain (Cumberbatch), a real-life English artist who brought whimsy and wonderment to the Victorian era with his feline-filled drawings and paintings. The film begins with an elderly Wain withering in an asylum, but it swiftly skips back to his marriage to Emily Richardson-Wain (Claire Foy), a fellow cat lover. When she dies of breast cancer, Wain becomes such a cat fanatic that his mind starts to reshape the world to his liking. When he looks at people, their heads sprout fur and whiskers, and when he looks at cats, they talk to him via subtitles. These fantastical touches are not standard biopic fare, but the film’s last half reveals the fragility of its decadeslong narrative—it’s so anxious to get to Wain’s death that it doesn’t take enough time to savor his life. Yet the gleam of Louis and Emily’s love brightens the movie long after she’s gone. When he tells her she makes the world beautiful, she simply tells him that the world is already beautiful. By finding sweet silliness in everyday life, The Electrical Life of Louis Wain proves her right. PG-13. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON. Amazon Prime, Living Room.
: 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. : THIS MOVIE IS A STEAMING PILE.
ALSO PLAYING The Last Duel
Last Night in Soho
The place is France. The time is the Middle Ages. The crime is rape. That’s the premise of The Last Duel, director Ridley Scott’s thunderous cinematic portrait of Marguerite de Carrouges (Jodie Comer), a real-life noblewoman who accused Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver), a squire and knight, of sexually assaulting her. Each of the film’s three acts is filmed from the perspective of one character—first Marguerite’s husband, Sir Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon), then Le Gris, then Marguerite. While the male perspectives were written by Damon and Ben Affleck, the scenes that peer into Marguerite’s soul were scripted by Nicole Holofcener, who emphasizes the tension between monstrous masculine delusions and brutal feminine realities. The Last Duel understands the fluidity of memory—in one scene, Le Gris willfully misinterprets Marguerite’s mocking smile as a flirtation—but it unequivocally states that only Marguerite is telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The trial by combat between Carrouges and Le Gris that decides whether Marguerite will be vindicated or burned alive is exhilaratingly brutish, but the film keeps cutting away from the bloodshed to show us her haunted, hardened features. The greatest war in The Last Duel is the one she wages against the patriarchy, proving that Scott—who also directed Alien and Thelma & Louise— is still a feminist to his core. R. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON. Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, City Center, Eastport Plaza, Fox Tower, Movies on TV.
Of all the spectral menaces bedeviling Ellie (Thomasin McKenzie), fresh-faced protagonist of the marvelous new paranormal thriller Last Night in Soho, the worst moments of vicarious dread occur early on as the rural scholarship student first braves her couture-draped classmates at a chic central London fashion institute. Soon fleeing an insufferable roommate (Synnove Karlsen), our plucky homespun heroine chances upon a boarding house flat with a stern landlady (the ever-imperious Diana Rigg’s final role) and dusty furnishings. The first evening Ellie lays herself down to sleep while spinning 45s, she’s transported back to swinging ’60s Soho, where she meets Sandy (Anya Taylor-Joy), a striving chanteuse whose perspective Ellie giddily adopts during what become nightly visitations. Even without Matt Smith’s heel turn as Sandy’s abusive manager/ paramour, the storyline’s guiding conceit threatens an all-too-Whovian clever-clever irrelevance, but director Edgar Wright (Baby Driver, Hot Fuzz) pivots gracefully from rom-com to sumptuous period musical to snark-free Hammer horror, committing fully to each disparate genre. Whatever whiff of glib vacuity lurked beneath the sleekened charms of Wright’s earlier films, Last Night in Soho leans into every stylistic flourish as further illustration of the retro delights binding Ellie to the past while also seamlessly disguising the plot’s inevitable twists. Audiences needn’t be oversold on the dangers
Willamette Week NOVEMBER 3, 2021 wweek.com
that await a damsel falling head over heels for the wrong man or the wrong era. The trick lies in convincing us why she’d keep coming back. R. JAY HORTON. Bagdad, Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, Cinema 21, City Center, Dine-In Progress Ridge, Evergreen Parkway, Fox Tower, Living Room, Lloyd Center, Movies on TV, Pioneer Place, Studio One, Tigard.
The French Dispatch A prison guard becomes an inmate’s muse. A reporter beds a budding activist. A police commissioner’s son is abducted by a criminal called The Chauffeur. Those are the stories that define director Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, a perky anthology of tales from a fictional publication called The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun. The film was inspired by articles from The New Yorker, but its blend of pastel colors and deadpan wit is pure Anderson. His direction is painfully precise—even a clash between protesters and police looks like a series of still images— and it threatens to squeeze the life out of a cast that includes Bill Murray, Benicio del Toro, Timothée Chalamet and Jeffrey Wright. Yet Anderson’s fussiness isn’t half as troubling as his attitude toward the film’s female journalists, including J.K.L. Berensen (Tilda Swinton) and Lucinda Krementz (Frances McDormand). Both of them lust after the subjects of their articles, a toxic trope that Anderson deploys without a hint of his trademark irony. Some of his early films—particularly Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums—have aged with good-natured grace, but The French Dispatch proves he has a long way to go if he wants to be the clever and compassionate comedian he once was. R. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON. Bridgeport, Cascade, Cedar Hills, Cinema 21, Dine-In Progress Ridge, Eastport Plaza, Evergreen Parkway, Living Room, McMinnville.
Dune A new menace is loose in the universe. His diabolical plan? To bore moviegoers until they lose consciousness. His name? Director Denis Villeneuve. After the haunting poetry of Arrival and the dreamy romanticism of Blade Runner 2049, Villeneuve seemed incapable of creating a bad sci-fi film. Yet he’s done it with his adaptation of Frank Herbert’s hulking 1965 novel Dune, which follows the ponderous adventures of the callow nobleman Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) on the desert planet Arrakis. The film keeps hinting at Paul’s potential to become an interplanetary messiah, but Chalamet is so wan and lifeless it’s difficult to care whether the character lives or dies. Rebecca Ferguson adds some fiery charisma as Paul’s mother, Lady Jessica, but Villeneuve buries her performance beneath a seemingly endless stream of information about the politics, rituals and ecology of Arrakis. He cares more about world-building than storytelling, which is why watching Dune feels like reading an excruciatingly dry textbook instead of experiencing a movie. Some people will see the existence of a big-budget, 155-minute art film as a sign of hope in a cinematic landscape strewn with superhero bombast, but Dune isn’t salvation. It’s a stark reminder that pretentiousness can be just as punishing as commercialism. PG-13. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON. Cedar Hills, Cinemagic, Dine-In Progress Ridge, Evergreen Parkway, Fox Tower, Living Room, Lloyd Center, Movies on TV, Pioneer Place, St. Johns Theater & Pub, Studio One, Tigard, Wunderland Beaverton.
Eternals After releasing a few dozen era-defining blockbusters, the MCU industrial complex’s amazing, incredible, uncanny dominion has become a genre unto itself. A gen-
eration grew up trusting feature films told in the Mighty Marvel Manner to guarantee damnably effective pop operas brimming with inventive action, droll charm and uncommon verve. With great power comes great responsibility, alas, and Eternals proves nothing lasts forever. Ostensibly fleshing out the origins of yet more legendary heroes remembered only by the superfans, this latest MCU release follows the path of immortal warriors and sages sent earthward millennia ago to protect a young humanity from the Deviant, a scourge of planet-hopping alien beasties. It becomes clear that scattershot casting created this ensemble—mujer fatale Salma Hayek’s all-mother Ajak, indie horror tot Lia McHugh’s illusionist Sprite, sitcom vet Kumail Nanjiani’s energy bolt-wielding Kingo, fan-fic fave Richard Madden’s superishman Ikarus. The result is an utter failure to convey even the uneasy intimacy of long-term co-workers, much less supposed family. (Angelina Jolie’s Thena, icily drifting through her scenes like a botoxed glacier, seems always to be meeting the others anew.) As a popcorn-munching spectacle, the 2D characters and garbled narrative drain rote punch’em-ups of emotive purpose, and director Chloe Zhao (Nomadland) leans into a tonal confusion overly fond of the reflective pause that renders every explosion more disconnected. Bloated with artless pretensions and self-important sanctimony, beholden to a convoluted backstory that could never justify the endless exposition, Eternals arrives as Marvel’s greatest failure and feels like the worst Power Rangers adaptation yet conceived. Face plant, true believers! PG-13. JAY HORTON. Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, City Center, Cornelius, Eastport Plaza, Evergreen Parkway, Dine-In Progress Ridge, Fox Tower, Lake Theater & Cafe, Lloyd Center, Movies on TV, Pioneer Place, Sherwood, Studio One, Tigard.
by Matt Jones
Week of Nov 11
©2021 Rob Brezsny
"Cat-astrophe"—when they're paired up. ARIES (March 21-April 19)
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
For much of her life, Aries poet Mary Ruefle enjoyed imagining that polar bears and penguins "grew up together playing side by side on the ice, sharing the same vista, bits of blubber, and innocent lore." But one day, her illusions were shattered. In a science journal, she discovered that there are no penguins in the far north and no bears in the far south. I bring this to your attention, Aries, because the coming weeks will be a good time to correct misimpressions you've held for a while—even as far back as childhood. Joyfully modernize your understanding of how the world works.
You could soon reach a new level of mastery in an aptitude described by author Banana Yoshimoto. She wrote, "Once you've recognized your own limits, you've raised yourself to a higher level of being, since you're closer to the real you." I hope her words inspire you, Libra. Your assignment is to seek a liberating breakthrough by identifying who you will never be and what you will never do. If you do it right—with an eager, open mind—it will be fun and interesting and empowering.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
Scorpio theologian Eugene Peterson cleared up a mystery about the nature of mystery. He wrote, "Mystery is not the absence of meaning, but the presence of more meaning than we can comprehend." Yes! At least sometimes, mystery can be a cause for celebration, a delightful opening into a beautiful unknown that's pregnant with possibility. It may bring abundance, not frustration. It may be an inspiring riddle, not a debilitating doubt. Everything I just said is important for you to keep in mind right now.
Actor Elizabeth Taylor described her odd rhythm with actor James Dean. Occasionally, they'd stay awake till 3 am as he regaled her with poignant details about his life. But the next day, Dean would act like he and Taylor were strangers—as if, in Taylor's words, "he'd given away or revealed too much of himself." It would take a few days before he'd be friendly again. To those of us who study the nature of intimacy, this is a classic phenomenon. For many people, taking a risk to get wcloser can be scary. Keep this in mind during the coming weeks, Taurus. There'll be great potential to deepen your connection with dear allies, but you may have to deal with both your and their skittishness about it.
GEMINI (May 21-June20)
57 Quechua speaker
1 Traffic issues
59 Diesel that isn't measured by the gallon
7 Partner of the "five W's" 10 Former host of "The Tonight Show" Jack 14 Part of AOC 15 Moses Malone's league, once 16 Nearly 5,000 square yards 17 Role in an Oregon capital production of "The Odd Couple"? 19 Ball-_ _ _ hammer 20 The rite words at the rite time? 21 Kunis who voices Meg Griffin 22 English makeup YouTuberturned-actress Burr
60 Bert who sang "If I Only Had the Nerve" 61 20th U.S. president picking a side in the "war of the currents"? 64 "_ _ _ Blue Moon" (Marie Osmond song) 65 Sushi fish 66 "Annie Get Your Gun" protagonist
26 Dog food ingredient, maybe 27 "_ _ _ Place to Land" (Janae Marks book) 29 "What the ...?" 33 Prefix meaning "image" 34 On fire 35 Bakery need 36 Side at some delis 37 Cartilaginous layer between vertebrae and disks 38 Place to see cars indoors
67 Mountain _ _ _ (some Taco Bell orders)
39 Bear's den
68 Authority in a Twitch chat
45 Play caller
69 Doesn't look forward to
40 "Grease" band _ _ _ Na Na 47 Bottom of a parking garage, perhaps
48 Voted off the island?
1 President Bartlet on "The West Wing"
49 Old Radio Shack home computers
2 French-Canadian region
51 Pamplona participants
28 Escape the egg
3 Jeppson's _ _ _ (Chicagobased wormwood liqueur)
30 "Back to main menu" key
4 Benefit from
54 Atlantic food fish
34 Early August sign
5 Liqueur producer James, whose drink is used in a "cup" cocktail popular during Wimbledon
35 "J'adore" perfumier
6 Actress Vergara
62 Comedian Margaret
36 Footwear merch for "Wuthering Heights" fans?
7 Permissible, in Islam
63 Barinholtz announced to work on the Mel Brooks series "History of the World, Part II"
23 They may be put on 25 Brady in charge of every round piece of sporting equipment?
41 "Sometimes you feel like _ _ _ ..." 42 Nutri-Grain grain 43 Thanksgiving day, on a sched. 44 Denver summer hrs. 45 College, slangily, abroad
8 "Help me, _ _ _-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope" 9 Lose hair, in a way 10 Pontifical 11 Without a middle, geometrically 12 Concerned query
46 Shoestring tip
13 People changing their branding, say
50 Find lead singer Day at the right Time?
18 "Oh, bloody _ _ _!"
55 Prefix with decimal 56 FDR biographer Joseph
22 "No Scrubs" group 24 Rapper Travis who had a signature McDonald's meal
©2021 Jonesin’ Crosswords (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
53 Words before tie, bind, or knot 58 Remotely 61 Three Gorges, for one
last week’s answers
There are many different kinds of smiles. Four hundred muscles are involved in making a wide variety of expressions. Researchers have identified a specific type, dubbed the "affiliation smile," as having the power to restore trust between two people. It's soothing, respectful, and compassionate. I recommend you use it abundantly in the near future—along with other conciliatory behavior. You're in a favorable phase to repair relationships that have been damaged by distrust or weakened by any other factor. (More info: tinyurl.com/HealingSmiles)
CANCER (June 21-July 22) According to feminist cosmologists Monica Sjöö and Barbara Mor, "Night, to ancient people, was not an 'absence of light' or a negative darkness, but a powerful source of energy and inspiration. At night the cosmos reveals herself in her vastness, the earth opens to moisture and germination under moonlight, and the magnetic serpentine current stirs itself in the underground waters." I bring these thoughts to your attention, fellow Cancerian, because we're in the season when we are likely to be extra creative: as days grow shorter and nights longer. We Crabs thrive in the darkness. We regenerate ourselves and are visited by fresh insights about what Sjöö and Mor call "the great cosmic dance in which everything participates: the movement of the celestial bodies, the pulse of tides, the circulation of blood and sap in animals and plants."
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22) Your heart has its own brain: a "heart brain." It's composed of neurons similar to the neurons in your head's brain. Your heart brain communicates via your vagus nerve with your hypothalamus, thalamus, medulla, amygdala, and cerebral cortex. In this way, it gives your body helpful instructions. I suspect it will be extra strong in the coming weeks. That's why I suggest you call on your heart brain to perform a lot of the magic it specializes in: enhancing emotional intelligence, cultivating empathy, invoking deep feelings, and transforming pain.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) How did naturalist Charles Darwin become a skillful thinker who changed the world with his theory of evolution? An important factor, according to businessperson Charlie Munger: "He always gave priority attention to evidence tending to disconfirm whatever cherished and hard-won theory he already had." He loved to be proved wrong! It helped him refine his ideas so they more closely corresponded to the truth about reality. I invite you to enjoy using this method in the coming weeks, Virgo. You could become even smarter than you already are as you wield Darwin's rigorous approach to learning.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) In 2017, Richard Thaler won the Nobel Prize for Economics. His specialty: researching how unreasonable behavior affects the financial world. When he discovered that this great honor had been bestowed on him, he joked that he planned to spend the award money "as irrationally as possible." I propose we make him your role model for the near future, Sagittarius. Your irrational, nonrational, and trans-rational intuitions can fix distortions caused by the overly analytical and hyper-logical approaches of you and your allies.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) "Neurotic" and "neurosis" are old-fashioned words. Psychotherapists no longer use them in analyzing their patients. The terms are still useful, though, in my opinion. Most of us are at least partly neurotic—that is to say, we don't always adapt as well as we could to life's constantly changing circumstances. We find it challenging to outgrow our habitual patterns, and we fall short of fulfilling the magnificent destines we're capable of. Author Kenneth Tynan had this insight: "A neurosis is a secret that you don’t know you are keeping." I bring this to your attention, Capricorn, because you now have extra power to adapt to changing circumstances, outgrow habitual patterns, and uncover unknown secrets—thereby diminishing your neuroses.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) Author Darin Stevenson wrote the following poetic declaration: "'No one can give you the lightningmedicine,' say the people who cannot give the lightning medicine." How do you interpret his statement? Here's what I think. "Lightning medicine" may be a metaphorical reference to a special talent that some people have for healing or inspiring or awakening their fellow humans. It could mean an ingenious quality in a person that enables them to reveal surprising truths or alternative perspectives. I am bringing this up, Aquarius, because I suspect you now have an enhanced capacity to obtain lightning medicine in the coming weeks. I hope you will corral it and use it even if you are told there is no such thing as lightning medicine. (PS: "Lightning medicine" will fuel your ability to accomplish difficult feats.)
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20) The superb fairywren gives its chicks lessons on how to sing when they are still inside their eggs. This is a useful metaphor for you in the coming months. Although you have not yet been entirely "born" into the next big plot twist of your hero's journey, you are already learning what you'll need to know once you do arrive in your new story. It will be helpful to become conscious of these clues and cues from the future. Tune in to them at the edges of your awareness.
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Sunlan Lighting For all your lightbulb ﬁxtures & parts 3901 N Mississippi Ave. | 503.281.0453 Essential Business Hours 9:00 to 5:30 Monday - Friday | 11:00 to 4:00 Saturday
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No experience required, customer service/ cleaning experience helps. WE NEED: punctuality, reliability, ability to pass short multiple choice skills test, basic computer skills, ability to perform essential duties/physical tasks, background check. Job represented by SEIU. $16.70-$20.92/hour, paid holidays, Medical/Dental/Vision/PERS retirement benefits for full-time, paid sick leave, swing shifts (afternoons into evening). View jobs and apply: http://careers.pps.net search for “custodian”
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