Willamette Week, January 4, 2023 - Volume 49, Issue 8 - "How to Save Portland"

Page 1

HOW TO SAVE 13 BIG IDEAS TO TURN THIS CITY AROUND.
Knight remakes a razed neighborhood. Transfer cops to solve car thefts. Use congestion pricing to pay for transit. WWEEK.COM VOL 49/08 01.04.2023 Page 13
Phil
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A Slabtown ghost kitchen has gone from 76 online brands to none. 6

A website tracking tardy campaign gift receipts was itself late to launch. 9

The stock of Portland-founded weed company Chalice Brands is trading at 5 cents a share. 10

Phil Knight could rectify the sins of Robert Moses 14

Converting office buildings to apartments could cost $500 a square foot. 15

The Portland Police Bureau has only 85 detectives 16

Portland needs a Waffle House and a Carless Square. 19

Com Truise is the performer persona of art director-turnedmusician Seth Haley. 21

Portland has a kazoo cover band (because of course we do). 21

Once the Egyptian Room closed, Sloan’s Tavern became Portland’s unofficial lesbian bar 23

The CEO of Hapy Kitchen’s most memorable high in 2022 happened at the coast while he watched an eagle take out a seagull in midair. 24

Vijay Iyer’s music is for both connoisseurs of jazz piano and people who can’t tell Bill Evans from Gil Evans. 25

Somewhere in Ohio, there are three shelves of N/A beer in the back of a “country-ass liquor store.” 26

Bart the Bear missed out on the role of a lifetime. 27

Willamette Week welcomes freelance submissions. Send material to either News Editor or Arts Editor. Manuscripts will be returned if you include a selfaddressed, stamped envelope. To be considered for calendar listings, notice of events must be received in writing by noon Wednesday, two weeks before publication. Questions concerning circulation or subscription inquiries should be directed to Skye Anfield at Willamette Week. Postmaster: Send all address changes to Willamette Week, P.O. Box 10770, Portland, OR 97206. Subscription rates: One year $130, six months $70. Back issues $5 for walk-ins, $8 for mailed requests when available. Willamette Week is mailed at third-class rates. Association of Alternative Newsmedia. This newspaper is published on recycled newsprint using soy-based ink. FIRST DAY HIKE AT TRYON CREEK STATE NATURAL AREA, PAGE 20 ON THE COVER: Giving the Rose Quarter a facelift, and letting Phil Knight pay for it, is just one big idea to save Portland; photo by Brian Burk OUR MOST TRAFFICKED STORY ONLINE THIS WEEK: There’s no room in Portland. Masthead PUBLISHER Anna Zusman EDITORIAL Managing Editor Aaron Mesh Arts & Culture Editor Andi Prewitt Assistant A&C Editor Bennett Campbell Ferguson Staff Writers Anthony Effinger Nigel Jaquiss Lucas Manfield Sophie Peel News Intern Kathleen Forrest Copy Editor Matt Buckingham Editor Mark Zusman ART DEPARTMENT Creative Director Mick Hangland-Skill Graphic Designer McKenzie Young-Roy ADVERTISING Advertising Media Coordinator Beans Flores Account Executives Michael Donhowe Maxx Hockenberry Content Marketing Manager Shannon Daehnke COMMUNITY OUTREACH Give!Guide & Friends of Willamette Week Executive Director Toni Tringolo G!G Campaign Assistant & FOWW Manager Josh Rentschler FOWW Membership Manager Madeleine Zusman Podcast Host Brianna Wheeler DISTRIBUTION Circulation Director Skye Anfield OPERATIONS Manager of Information Services Brian Panganiban OUR MISSION To provide Portlanders with an independent and irreverent understanding of how their worlds work so they can make a difference. Though Willamette Week is free, please take just one copy. Anyone removing papers in bulk from our distribution points will be prosecuted, as they say, to the full extent of the law. WHAT WE LEARNED FROM READING THIS WEEK’S PAPER VOL. 49, ISSUE 8
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To conclude the year, WW compared Portland to similarly sized cities on several measurements, both serious (homicides, stolen cars and homelessness) and not (tallest building, best known Wheeler). What we found was a city that had more empty offices than its peers but fewer available homes (“How We Rate,” Dec. 21). Our findings informed this week’s cover story, which sets an agenda for Portland to pursue in 2023. They also drew some frustration from our readers—both at the state of the city and WW’s methodology.

MID COUNTY, VIA WWEEK.COM: “I applaud WW for doing these annual ‘apples to apples’ statistical comparisons. While I have issue with some conclusions, it is interesting seeing where we are with near peer cities.

“The real eye opener this year is ranking on the high end of a number of negative comparison points. We knew things were bad, but seeing how worse, wow! Some were obvious (e.g., office space vacancy, low numbers of police), others rather sobering (e.g., highest number of school shootings, third overall in murders only behind Oakland and Memphis).

“The conclusion that the lack of rentals equated to the size of a visible homeless population does not pass muster. For example, using the logic behind the conclusion, Seattle’s 5% vacancy rate should mean they should not have a homeless crisis that is worse than if not equal to the one here.”

BIGMTNFUDGECAKE, VIA REDDIT: “Most surprising thing about this is how much Denver surpasses us in both number of homeless people and number of car thefts. I was just there and saw a relatively low number of unsheltered people compared to here and Seattle. Also very few tents. Could’ve been the time of year, but I wonder about this. Do they have a lot more shelter space than we do? Definitely seems like there’s a lot more developable land there.”

NOCTIFER DUMA, VIA FACEBOOK: “Use some common-sense metrics. Size of the buildings? Number of councilors? What the hell was the point of spending 10% of the page with pictures of metro lines? Who cares what the metro lines look like? I’m surprised you didn’t throw in a ‘number of Starbucks’ as a success metric in there…

“I’ve seen less useless click-bait in those things making the rounds where they tell you 90% of the joke and then hide the punchline at the bottom of a page with a bunch of other less-funny jokes.”

NOPO RESIDENT, VIA WWEEK. COM: “Had a visit from a friend who grew up in Portland but is now in L.A. She wanted to know how I felt now that the city was back to 1980s in vibe and appearance. I said I was sad but the Portlandia version wasn’t working well either. We agreed that at least in the ’80s we had Satyricon and our outlier vibe was true. Without that, Portland is just a gray city with lots of tents, trash and empty buildings.”

IDLEBYTES, VIA REDDIT: “Ooof, this article is pretty bad.

“Demographics. Yes, we know Portland is very white. Everyone knows this, we’ve known this for decades. Oregon is very white. The state was founded as a white haven and was pretty damn racist all the way through the ’90s. Still is pretty damn racist. How is this news?

“Taxes. Good lord, at least call it the marginal income tax rate. People in Seattle pay zero taxes, I gotta get there! Unless you’re in the top 20% of earners in Seattle you pay the same or more of your income in taxes (sales, excise, property and income). They might as well have just called out how low our taxes are because we have 0% sales tax. Also, who cares if people making 400K (top 1%) actually have to pay taxes. Should we be like Washington and only make them pay 3% while the bottom 20% are paying 18% of their income in taxes?

“ Why is tallest building in there? Like it changes yearly? Bestknown Wheeler, wtf? This is some click-bait nonsense the likes of which you’d see from Sinclair. The most interesting thing I found was Denver has the same beer taxes as Portland. Despite that, beer in Denver is significantly more expensive.”

BRANDON J VOGELPOHL, VIA FACEBOOK: “Don’t compare to other cities. We need to compare our city by how we were a year ago or even five years ago.”

CORRECTIONS

Our most recent cover story (“How We Rate,” WW, Dec. 21, 2022) incorrectly counted the number of Portland Thorns championships since 2013. It’s three, not two. We also incorrectly described Seattle as having a higher rate of homelessness than Portland. It’s slightly lower. WW regrets the errors.

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: PO Box 10770, Portland OR, 97296 Email: mzusman@wweek.com

I recall protesting against the now-defunct Trojan nuclear plant in the 1980s. One question I don’t recall anyone asking back then, however: Why did they want to build Trojan in the first place, given that our region already had (and still has) more hydropower than we can use? —Duke Nukem

I share your historical curiosity, Duke—there’s just something about this time of year that makes one want to muse about topics from Portland’s colorful past that can be researched without having to get anybody to return a call during the week between Christmas and New Year’s.

I doubt that anyone under 50 reads this column (which not only doesn’t come as video, but presumes your mastery of this tedious system of archaic glyphs in which it’s encoded), but just in case someone missed it: Portland General Electric—PGE to its friends—began construction of Trojan Nuclear Power Plant near Rainier, Oregon, in 1970 (which, perhaps fittingly, is the same year the Ford Pinto was introduced). The plant came online in 1975 and was slated to operate until 2011. However, it was plagued from the start with equipment failures and bad press, and was finally shuttered for good in 1992.

Why would PGE take on such a fraught endeavor? Well, for starters, they’d first begun exploring the possibility of building a nuclear plant way back in the late 1940s. The mighty atom had just won WWII and was enjoying George W. Bush-right-after-9/11 levels of popularity, while the invention of hippies was still decades away. Nuclear power’s downsides would become more apparent in the years to follow, but they don’t appear to have penetrated PGE’s C-suite in any significant way prior to the 1967 decision to build the plant.

But back to your question: Given that Northwest hydropower is abundant enough to make Oregon’s electricity market the nation’s third cheapest, why build a plant at all? Here’s the thing: All that juicy hydropower is controlled by the Bonneville Power Administration, a public entity. PGE, the private utility, has to buy it from them wholesale and then retail it to us. If, as seemed possible at the time, BPA had decided to cut PGE off in favor of public utilities—perhaps when PGE’s 20-year contract with BPA came up for renewal in 1973—PGE could have been in a world of hurt.

Trojan represented a hedge against such a possibility, as well as an opportunity to grow PGE as a company. Toss in a few million bucks’ worth of federal “Atoms for Peace” emoluments to the industry and, congratulations, you’ve got yourself a nuclear plant. Have fun! (Just be careful not to run into it from behind, especially with a lit cigarette.)

Questions? Send them to dr.know@wweek.com. Dr. Know
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PORTLAND RESTAURATEUR TERMINATES LEASE OF GHOST KITCHEN:

In December, WW wrote about two men with felony convictions running a “ghost kitchen” in the old Pok Pok building in Slabtown, from which they advertised over 75 distinct “virtual restaurants” on food delivery apps. Much of the food between the brands at Homage Industrial Kitchen is the same, according to owner John Wirtz, who spoke with WW in early December. Wirtz was convicted of raping a 14-year old girl in 2018. His chief financial officer is Seth Thayres, a former Salem cop convicted of stealing over $30,000 from businesses with an accomplice in 2019. On Jan. 2, WW reported that Wirtz had told employees the company would be filing for bankruptcy this week. And on Jan. 3, WW learned that building owner and local restaurateur Scott Dolich terminated Homage’s lease and that the building would be available for rent in early February. Dolich declined to say when and why he terminated the lease. Meanwhile, five other people who worked at the kitchen have filed wage complaints with the Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries since WW ’s Dec. 15 story. That makes for a total of 15 complaints in 18 months.

FAGAN WILL FINE OREGON DEMOCRATS FOR FTX DONATION:

More than a month after WW ’s initial inquiry, the Democratic Party of Oregon still won’t say what it plans to do with a $500,000 contribution made in the name of Nishad Singh, former director of engineering at FTX, the now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange run by Sam Bankman-Fried. Among other charges, the U.S. Department of Justice says Bankman-Fried made millions of dollars in donations in other people’s names using cash from customers’ accounts at FTX. Until recently, the DPO had enough money in its account to return the contribution. Now, the account shows $333,000, according to state records. Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan opened an investigation into the contribution in November, requesting information. The DPO responded Dec. 20, and Fagan’s office is reviewing the response, spokesman Ben Morris says. Fagan plans to fine the state party for amending information about the Oct. 4 contribution after the deadline, which was seven days later, Morris says. The DPO waited until Oct. 31 to report that the money came from Singh and not from a Las Vegas cryptocurrency company called Prime Trust. If the DOJ is correct, the contribution may have in fact come from Bankman-Fried, who is under house arrest.

include

Commissioner Mingus Mapps’ takeover the Portland Bureau of Transportation from outgoing Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty. That bureau is grappling with public safety—2022 saw a record number of traffic fatalities. Gonzalez will oversee Portland Fire & Rescue. The firefighter’s union endorsed Gonzalez in the general election. In perhaps the biggest change, Commissioner Carmen Rubio will take over the Portland Housing Bureau from Commissioner Dan Ryan, while Ryan takes Portland Parks & Recreation from Rubio. The Housing Bureau is tasked with building affordable housing. And critically, the bureau has spent the $258 million housing bond voters approved in 2016. That means a primary funding stream for building new units is approaching its sunset. Rubio says she’s happy with her new portfolio. “I’m grateful the mayor has entrusted me with the responsibility to oversee the city’s community and economic development bureaus, especially during this challenging time for our city,” she says. “Portlanders have said loud and clear that addressing the housing crisis is a priority.” Ryan says he’s “excited” about his new assignments: “I am also grateful for the opportunity to continue leading the Safe Rest Villages program through 2023.”

CLIMATE CHANGE FELT IN PORTLAND WEATH -

ER EXTREMES: Portland weather was plenty weird last year. The anomalies started in early April, when almost 2 inches of snow fell at Portland International Airport, marking the latest spring accumulation of snow ever recorded, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Tyler Kranz. Abundant rain made the month of May the wettest one since 1941. July was the fourth warmest on record, and August was both the warmest and driest ever at PDX. Heat records fell again for September and October, when the Nakia Creek Fire exploded in Southern Washington, cloaking Portland in scary late-season smoke. Eight weeks later, December brought a wind-driven cold snap that felled trees and iced streets. “It was a roller coaster,” Kranz says. Meteorologists are loath to attribute any single weather event to climate change, and Kranz is no different. The broader trends are clear, though, he says. It’s getting hotter and drier. Warm air holds more moisture, too, so when it does rain, it tends to pour. Even December’s arctic blast might have something to do with a hotter world. The Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else, and the shift is setting up patterns that can allow frigid air to break out of northern latitudes and barrel southward with greater frequency, according to a 2021 research paper in Science

RUBIO TAKES OVER HOUSING BUREAU: Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler decided to shake up oversight of the city’s bureaus this week after the swearing-in of the newest city commissioner, Rene Gonzalez. Wheeler said in November that he would be shuffling bureau assignments in an effort to streamline “service areas” as the city transitions to a new form of government in the next two years. Key bureau moves CITY COMMISSIONER CARMEN RUBIO
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JOHN RUDOFF

JESSICA VEGA PEDERSON

We asked the new Multnomah County chair about homelessness and budget priorities.

Two days before she took office as the newest Multnomah County chair, we sat down with Jessica Vega Pederson in her new office on the sixth floor of the county building in Southeast Portland. The topic: homelessness.

We asked Pederson about Mayor Ted Wheeler’s plan to set up six mega-tent encampments across the city with the end goal of banning sidewalk camping, about her pledge to support those camps, about the embattled Joint Office of Homeless Services, and how the dollars raised by a new homeless services tax were spent last year.

Pederson was guarded. She did not offer specific changes she would champion that would

DISPARITIES

diverge from the policy of her predecessor, Deborah Kafoury. She equivocated whether she would really support the city’s tent encampments, and how she’d like to see spending on homelessness change under her leadership.

The following are excerpts from the interview, which have been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.

WW: Are you going to put money toward Wheeler’s camps?

Jessica Vega Pederson: One of the things I’ve made really clear with the city is that we need some really important questions answered about what they’re proposing. What is the end goal of the proposal? Who are the population they’re really trying to serve? And what’s the feasibility of getting it done?

What do you mean by feasibility?

Take the safe rest villages, for example. The goal was to get these six villages up in a certain amount of time, and we haven’t seen that happen yet. So it’s the feasibility of getting locations identified, making sure they’ll be able to stay at those locations, and making sure we do have a provider.

We just came out of severe weather, and we had such high demand for warming shelters.

As it’s proposed, just having people in tents doesn’t seem like it’s going to be something that’s going to be solving some of the issues.

Have you promised any money yet? No, not yet.

So when you testified to the Portland City Council prior to the election about supporting the camps,

DYING UNCOUNTED

Excess deaths suggest we don’t know the full toll of COVID on Black Portlanders.

The true death toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on many communities of color—from Portland to Navajo Nation tribal lands in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, to sparsely populated rural Texas towns—is worse than previously known.

Mortality data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention point to COVID-19’s disastrous impacts, in a new analysis by the Documenting COVID-19 project at Columbia University’s Brown Institute for Media Innovation and MuckRock, in collaboration with several newspapers, including WW The U.S. system for investigating how people die is a patchy, uneven network of coroners and medical examiners, which have wildly different resources and training from state to state—and even from county to county.

As a result, researchers often use excess deaths, a measure of deaths that occur above what demographers expect to see in a given time period based on past trends, to examine the pandemic’s overall impact. Nationwide, more than 280,000 excess deaths since 2020 have not been officially attributed to COVID. Despite its high COVID vaccination rate—more than 80% of residents are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data—Mult-

what did you mean?

We have to do something to address the urgency. We have people living outside in unsafe conditions, and we have to be looking at medium- and long-term solutions. I do think there’s going to be some space for some of the city’s proposals to have a short-term solution in that, and that’s what I wanted to testify to. I don’t ever want to criminalize homelessness.

Does a camping ban criminalize homelessness?

I don’t think it’s right to just move people from place to place without a permanent solution.

So are you supportive of the city’s vision to ban camping and move people into encampments?

The conversations that I’ve had with the city, they are committed to working together to find a solution, and that’s what I’m focused on right now.

Some say you’re a continuation of Kafoury. Can you name one specific policy area on homelessness where you’ll diverge from her?

I think we can do a better job of trying to be targeted and really impactful in terms of trying things to see if they would work.

Can you give a specific example? There’s information we can share soon. We’re doing the work right now to really put something together that we can move forward.

Last year, the county used about 65% of supportive housing services funds [the homeless tax passed by Metro voters in 2020] on rent assistance and 35% on ending chronic homelessness. That’s the opposite ratio of what was promised. Is that an acceptable ratio going forward?

One of the priorities I’m going to have coming

in as chair is looking at the long-term goals of the SHS measure. I fully expect there to be the need for us to switch gears on some things.

Is there a ratio you have in mind for next year?

It is about getting people into housing and off these streets, into treatment. And addressing the continuing need for rental assistance dollars. I don’t know what that ratio looks like. Those rental assistance dollars have done a lot of good for people. But ultimately, we need to use those dollars to help people experiencing chronic homelessness.

Does there need to be greater accountability for contractors who are getting SHS dollars?

There needs to be better transparency, there needs to be better communication in terms of what we’re expecting their work to look like, and making sure that information is going to be shared with the county and with the public.

One thing I know is that we’ve had for a long time this bootstrap mentality of providing services for people experiencing homelessness. We’re not in that situation anymore. We have the resources. So we need to be changing the expectations of what we want to see from our partners, and what we need to be reporting on.

What do contractors report now?

It’s unclear. Coming into the role of chair, you have access to ask for things and receive things at a level that you don’t as a commissioner.

On the campaign trail, you laid into your opponent Sharon Meieran for saying the same thing about not having access. Now you’re expressing this same frustration.

I’ve never asked for something as a commissioner that I haven’t been able to get access to. But as chair, people respond very quickly to you. You have a more direct line to leadership.

Islander communities.

Some of those excess deaths resulted directly from COVID. While the overall number of official COVID deaths in Portland did not change significantly from 2020 to 2021, the distribution shifted: The rate of Black deaths more than doubled from 2020 to 2021. Death rates among other groups remained constant or dropped (see chart below).

Charlene McGee runs programs aimed at improving public health among the county’s Black residents. McGee connected the high Black death rate to a history of poor access to health care, as well as higher rates of chronic conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and hypertension. She also pointed to vaccine hesitancy in the Black community, tied to past and present negative interactions with the medical system.

“In 2022, we still hear about the Tuskegee study,” she says.

Beyond the official COVID deaths, deaths from other causes went up in the second year of the pandemic above what demographers estimated for Multnomah County. To researchers, such an increase could indicate that some COVID deaths have been incorrectly reported.

In Multnomah County, less than half of excess deaths were officially labeled as COVID in 2021. ````````

COVID-19 DEATH RATES BY RACE, MULTNOMAH COUNTY

Per 100,000 people; rates are not age-adjusted.

Source: CDC Provisional Mortality Statistics

nomah County saw a stark increase in excess deaths from 2020 to 2021. The deaths were disproportionately located in communities of color, particularly Native American, Black and Pacific

The Multnomah County Health Department acknowledged it doesn’t routinely analyze local death data or compare Multnomah to other counties.

Read more at muckrock.com/covid-uncounted. Betsy Ladyzhets, MuckRock’s Documenting COVID-19 project; Shaena Montanari, Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting; and Rachel Monahan, Willamette Week

7 Willamette Week JANUARY 4, 2023 wweek.com WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS WEEK NEWS
Chasing Ghosts returns next week. Visit wweek.com for a list of mostly vacant offices identified by the mayor’s office as prime candidates to become apartment buildings.
ENTRANCE INTERVIEW M ic k Ha nglandSkill

The Customer Is Always Right

The state elections director advocated for compliance and investigations. Her boss says she “didn’t get it.”

Three weeks after state elections director Deborah Scroggin abruptly resigned, emails and interviews with involved parties reveal a deep disconnect between Scroggin and her supervisors, including Secretary of State Shemia Fagan.

Scroggin’s Dec. 9 resignation came less than 18 months after Fagan hailed her hiring from the city of Portland’s Elections Office following a nationwide search. “Deborah is the right person at the right time,” Fagan said in April 2021.

But records WW obtained through a public records request and interviews with those involved show that Scroggin, a stickler for rules and transparency, and Fagan, a Democrat who rose rapidly to the state’s second-highest office in 2020 based on her bold approach to politics, were never on the same page.

A former legislator—she distinguished herself in the Capitol as a fierce tenant advocate and one of the few willing to challenge former Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem)—Fagan oversees Oregon elections.

She’s talked at length about building public trust during a time of unprecedented interest in the wonky, somewhat mechanical process of running elections. Encouraged or enraged by the lies former President Donald Trump has spread after his defeat in 2020, Americans have taken a newfound interest in the preparations for elections and the tabulation of votes.

“It’s been building for a while,” says political science professor Paul Gronke, who directs the Elections &

Voting Information Center at Reed College. “But 2020 dramatically increased the amount of attention people pay to the voting process.”

Fagan’s hand-picked point person: Scroggin, until last month.

Initially, the Associated Press reported that Scroggin stepped down because of the pressure of dealing with misinformation about elections. But when WW called her to confirm that explanation, Scroggin said Fagan had, in fact, asked for her resignation. The move left Scroggin “stunned.”

For her part, Fagan, a former employment lawyer, told WW she would have preferred to keep the matter private, but when pressed for an explanation, she said Scroggin had resisted her desire for greater “customer service.”

Interviews and emails obtained by WW over the past two weeks explain what Fagan meant by that: She saw the Elections Division’s primary role as advising campaigns, while Scroggin preferred to police them.

Exhibit A: Deadlines

As an example of how Scroggin wasn’t “customer friendly,” Fagan cited the case of former Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith. Smith was one of a handful of candidates who submitted Voters’ Pamphlet information late to Scroggin’s office for the May 2022 primary. (Smith sought the Democratic nomination in Oregon’s new 6th Congressional District.)

Smith’s submission came in 21 seconds after the 5 pm deadline. Unlike the other candidates who submitted late, Smith appealed for forgiveness. Scroggin said no.

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When Fagan later learned of Scroggin’s decision, she says, she evaluated the circumstances: Smith had tried to submit her information prior to the deadline, but the first credit card she used was rejected, making her late. Fagan overruled Scroggin.

Fagan says Scroggin’s rigidity was contrary to the tone she wanted to set in all areas of the Secretary of State’s Office—which, in addition to Elections, includes State Archives, Audits, and Corporation divisions.

“This is not how I operate,” Fagan says of Scroggin’s denial of Smith’s appeal. Fagan says there was no urgency because the materials weren’t going to the printer for another 10 days: “To kick someone out of the Voters’ Pamphlet is a very drastic remedy.” Fagan adds that Scroggin should have consulted others before deciding Smith’s case but that she regularly acted unilaterally.

site, but it never went live.

In a Nov. 21, 2022, email to her superiors, Scroggin expressed frustration with repeated delays.

“The website has expired twice and I really hate to bother [IT staff] to ask them to create it yet again,” Scroggin wrote. “I looked into the number of states that provide this information, and it is a sizable amount. We are an outlier in the lack of information we provide in this space.”

Fagan is an ambitious politician with strong ties to Democratic special interests that regularly make political contributions. She won election in 2020 with strong backing from public employee unions.

But she says the delay in the transparency website had nothing to do with protecting any donor or group (and there’s no evidence to the contrary). In fact, Fagan says, she has always been supportive of disclosing campaign finance reporting violations but preferred to have elections staff focus on making sure the 2022 elections occurred without any hiccups.

“ We just said let’s just hunker down on our core mission, not be distracted by shiny new initiatives,” Fagan says. “There’s just risk rolling out any new initiative in an election year.” She adds she hopes the website will go live soon.

Scroggin disputes that characterization.

“The idea was opposed by executive staff repeatedly,” she says. “The Elections Division was told most recently in late November it wouldn’t be moving forward with the page in January and that it wasn’t a customer service-friendly approach.”

Exhibit C: Investigations

Scroggin says she also pushed for more investigators to help with the agency’s backlog of hundreds of elections complaints. The Elections Division currently employs just one full-time and two part-time investigators, which Scroggin says made completing investigations in a timely manner “very challenging.”

She adds she disagreed with a decision of Fagan’s to produce public service announcements about election misinformation rather than “the focus being on compiling, analyzing and countering misinformation.”

Fagan says she agrees the agency needs more investigators and has made that a top priority for next year’s budget. She dismisses the idea that she was less interested in accountability and transparency than Scroggin.

Philosophically, Fagan says, they were on the same page but that episodes like denying Smith access to the Voters’ Pamphlet showed her that Scroggin “just didn’t get it.”

Scroggin says she believes she was appropriately following past practice. “Deadlines are critical for the public and elections administrators to conduct elections freely, fairly, and transparently,” she said in a written response to WW’s questions. “The candidate in this case began the transaction shortly before the 5 pm deadline, which is not advisable.”

Exhibit B: Naming and Shaming Emails show a broader disconnect between Scroggin and the secretary of state’s management team, running along the same fault lines.

One of the Elections Division’s responsibilities is monitoring compliance with Oregon’s campaign finance reporting rules. That’s a big job because Oregon is one of just five states with no limits on campaign contributions. Failure to report accurately or on time could give campaigns a tactical advantage.

For more than a year, Scroggin pushed to launch a publicly accessible website that would show which campaigns were in violation. The IT team built the

Emails show that Scroggin’s direct supervisor, deputy secretary of state Cheryl Myers, shared that view. On the afternoon of Oct. 6, emails show, Myers wanted Scroggin to prepare talking points for a meeting with federal elections officials. Scroggin replied to Meyers that she was focused on issues in Clackamas County elections and that the officials were well briefed already. One of her colleagues chimed in with bullet points for the briefing, which Scroggin augmented in the Slack communication chain.

To Myers, the exchange was further evidence Scroggin’s focus was misplaced.

“I’ve coached, and provided ongoing feedback, to little avail,” Myers wrote to Fagan. “A lack of customer service mindset is deeply concerning.”

Myers suggested Fagan get rid of Scroggin after the November election. And that’s what happened.

The move caught county elections clerks—none of whom WW contacted would speak for the record—by surprise.

Scroggin says she’s perplexed by Myers’ view of her. She says she asked for a performance review but never got one.

“I have spent my career focused on customer service and, from my perspective, was certainly a team player,” Scroggin says. “In my mind, the customer is the 4 million Oregonians.”

VOTE COUNTER: Under Secretary of State Shemia Fagan’s leadership, the 2022 elections went smoothly. BRIAN BROSE
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Goblet of Fire

Small Oregon cannabis businesses say publicly traded weed giant Chalice owes them tens of thousands of dollars.

In the latest sign of an ailing industry, one of the biggest buyers of Oregon cannabis—the publicly traded Canadian company Chalice Brands—is facing charges that it failed to pay some Oregon farmers and product makers for flower, pre-rolls, edibles and other weed products it placed in its Oregon dispensaries.

Four Oregon farmers tell WW that Chalice owes them thousands of dollars for cannabis products the company purchased within the past year but have not yet paid for.

According to the growers and invoices shared with WW, the unpaid bills add up to more than a hundred thousand dollars.

For some farms, the unpaid invoices mean employee layoffs in a market where profit margins are slim and capital reserves are rare.

“Chalice is financing its business on the backs of small farmers,” says Marianne Cursetjee, owner of Alibi Cannabis in Clackamas County. “People are too afraid of saying things out loud because we have no power to collect anything outstanding. I really, truly feel that Chalice is a house of cards.”

Invoices shared with WW show that Chalice owes her farm $5,350 for buds and pre-rolls it bought in July.

Chalice Brands representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

To those who study the industry, like economist Beau Whitney, Chalice’s unpaid invoices show the power dynamics between big companies with outside capital, which retail recreational cannabis, and homegrown businesses that actually grow the weed and exist paycheck to paycheck.

“If you lose money during a quarter but have $100 million in the bank, it’s easier to bridge yourself versus a small individual firm that doesn’t get paid for a few months and struggles to make payroll,” Whitney says.

“It’s just a general indicator of how much the industry is struggling right now.”

Chalice Brands began as Oregon-based Chalice Farms.

In 2014, a young, affable West Linn entrepreneur named William Simpson founded the company, which had its own grow operation and a growing number of retail dispensaries across the city. In 2017, Simpson sold the company to the Canadian-based and publicly traded cannabis company Golden Leaf and subsequently became its CEO for a time. In 2021, the company renamed itself Chalice Brands. While its headquarters are technically in Toronto, nearly all of its operations are still run from its Portland offices.

Chalice purchases products from over 20 Oregon

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cannabis farms and product makers for its more than 15 dispensaries (it also owns some of its own brands and product lines—everything from flower to edibles to tinctures).

Unlike alcohol retailers, which are forbidden by Oregon law from buying alcohol on credit, cannabis retailers often buy cannabis that way—meaning they agree to pay sometime after the product changes hands.

The cannabis industry enjoyed a momentary lift when the pandemic hit. Statewide, sales rose from $795 million in 2019 to more than a billion in 2020, and sustained that level until late 2021.

During that time, Chalice announced a number of dispensary acquisitions. It also launched new product lines and acquired a CBD makeup brand in California.

But in the winter of 2021, cannabis sales across the state began to decrease as workers returned to work and stimulus checks from the feds were spent. In April 2021, sales had reached $110 million a month. By December of that year, sales cratered to $89 million. Chalice’s impending purchase of two dispensaries and two farms fell through in the fall of 2022.

By then, some growers tell WW, they had stopped getting paid consistently by Chalice.

One manufacturer in Medford, which spoke only on the condition of anonymity, says it is owed $48,000 dating back to October 2021. A wholesaler and producer in Corvallis, who also spoke to WW on condition of anonymity, is owed just under $70,000 dating back to March 2022. Both companies shared invoices showing the unpaid amounts due.

Cursetjee of Alibi Cannabis was at point owed more than $29,000, according to invoices. She’s since brought it down to $5,000—which she attributes to “being a bulldog.”

After she asked about unpaid invoices in August, a Chalice employee emailed Cursetjee: “We originally had penciled it in to pay the full amount but had some other operating expenses that cropped up by the end of the week.…This week is a payroll week so funds are

tight, but we can finalize paying off this balance next week.”

Vincent Deschamps, who owns 54 Green Acres in Cave Junction, estimates he’s owed more than $50,000 by Chalice, but has no hard feelings. He thinks that if you sell products to Chalice, it’s also your responsibility to help get it off retailers’ shelves—or you shouldn’t expect to get paid.

“ Would we love to have them be better at paying their bills? No question about it. But the lesson here is: On the producer side, you’re not done when a retailer agrees to take my product in. I have to make sure that stuff moves out of there,” Deschamps says. “Eighty percent of people in this industry are less sophisticated than they should be.”

Mike Getlin owns Old Apple Farm in Oregon City. He says outstanding bills from multiple retailers, including Chalice (up until October 2022, when it paid him in full), forced him to lay off nearly all his employees.

“It got so bad that at one point we had over three months’ worth of payroll in late invoices that we couldn’t collect,” Getlin says. “We were forced to lay off 36 of our 38 staff.”

Amy Margolis, founder of the Oregon Cannabis Association, says unpaid bills are “indicative of the widespread economic challenges the industry is facing as a whole.”

“ When producers and processors don’t get paid, or don’t get paid on time, the entire cost burden rests on their shoulders,” Margolis says. “This is especially difficult for smaller, less capitalized businesses who need to get paid on time to fund the next round of edibles, next run of flower, or even to stay alive.”

Oregon court records show that in October, Bendbased cannabis producer Kush Originals sued Chalice, alleging the company had not paid for $51,330 in product, including edibles, flower and pre-rolls, beginning in March 2022. Chalice never responded to the court summons, and the plaintiff has requested a default judgment from the courts.

According to the lawsuit, Chalice’s then-CFO Richard Lindsay wrote back after Kush Originals demanded payment in August that Chalice wouldn’t be moving forward with payment and “will be revisiting our vendor payment position in [about] 90 days and will get back to you with any changes in status.”

Lindsay resigned less than two months later.

As of Jan. 3, it appeared Chalice had yet to file its 2021 and 2022 financial reports. That led to the company’s suspension in May on the Canadian Securities Exchange, the exchange on which its stock trades. But on an over-the-counter market, where shareholders can offload stocks to another party outside of the regulated exchange, the price of Chalice stock plummeted 92% since January 2021.

The price of a Chalice share on that market is currently 5 cents.

Whitney, the economist, says Chalice’s failure to pay its bills is just another indicator of an industry that’s failed to find any semblance of equilibrium. A national study Whitney conducted last year surveying cannabis businesses showed that only 42% of respondents were making money. Though results this year aren’t yet final, he says preliminary data shows that proportion has dropped to 21%.

“The industry is in a real difficult spot right now,” he says.

BLAKE BENARD
PIT STOP: Chalice owns more than a dozen dispensaries across Oregon, including this one on Southeast Powell Boulevard.
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“People are too afraid of saying things out loud because we have no power to collect anything outstanding.”

Two hundred thirty-five of the finest nonprofits in the area thank you for your tremendous support through WW ’s Give!Guide. This is another reminder that none of us should ever underestimate the goodness and generosity of Portlanders (and many others).

As of midnight on Dec. 31, Give!Guide, presented by Morel Ink, had raised $8.1 million to support incredible local nonprofits and lift up our community in 2023. That total, raised from 16,846 donors, surpasses the $8 million goal set by the campaign. It was the largest goal ever set. Given the unpredictable economy, lack of stimulus funds, threat of recession, and slow election results, we weren’t sure if it could be pulled off. It could, and you did.

We reached the goal at 11 pm on Dec. 31 and cruised into new territory up until midnight. This is the most money a Give!Guide campaign has ever raised. And it marks the third consecutive year of record-breaking Give!Guides. More than $56 million has been raised since its founding in 2004, with $22.5 million of that since 2020.

After a rough-and-tumble year full of economic worries and civic concerns, it’s reassuring to see so many people resist the easy path of cynicism and instead do something positive for our community. To those of you who donated, spread the word, or otherwise helped make Give!Guide a success this year, we thank you for your tremendous support.

Here’s a closer analysis of the numbers. These are preliminary, meaning we still have a full reconciliation period to go through and probably a few checks in the mail to process. But this is where we are right now.

And it’s AMAZING.

P.S. We are always looking to improve. Donors will receive questionnaires soon. And you can always email suggestions at any time to giveguide@wweek.com.

P.P.S. You can still support this cohort of nonprofits by visiting giveguide.org. During our offseason, all donation buttons link directly to nonprofits’ giving portal.

THE 35 & UNDER CHALLENGE WINNERS

Each of these nonprofits has won a $1,000 cash prize for having the most young donors in their category.

Animals: Cat Adoption Team

Civil & Human Rights: Street Roots

Community: Native American Youth and Family Center

Creative Expression: Artists Repertory Theatre Education: Wild Diversity

Environment: Friends of Trees Health: Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette

Home: Taking Ownership PDX Human Services: Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO)

Hunger: Blanchet House & Farm

BIG GIVE DAYS & THEIR WINNERS!

This year featured an unprecedented number of Big Give Days to sweeten the pot for donors and make a big impact on giving. A total of $4,532,174 was raised on BGDs.

1. Nov. 3: E-Bike Giveaway from Splendid Cycles

Winner: Emma

2. Nov. 9: Game Time with the Blazers

Winners: Adam, Michael, and Annica 3. Nov. 17: Atlas Tattoo’s Big Ink Giveaway

Winner: Brett and Kailtyn // 35 & Under Winner: Briana and Simone

4. Nov. 23: Big Book Day with Powell’s

Winner: Natalie // 35 & Under Winner: Kiana

5. Nov. 29: A Seaside Getaway at Salishan Coastal Lodge

Winner: Mary

6. Dec. 7: Shopping Spree from New Seasons Market

Winners: Erica, Emily and Lisa 7. Dec. 15: Cotopaxi’s Big Travel Pack Giveaway

Winners: Michael, Jordana, Alexsis and Laura 8. Dec. 21: Trek’s E-Bike Extravaganza

Winner: Jamey

9. Dec. 27: Big Bird Day with Backyard Bird Shop

Winner: Jennifer

10. Dec. 28: Big Beer Day with John’s Marketplace

Winners: Steve, Lisa, Claire, Andrew and Justin

11. Dec. 29: Portland Nursery’s Big Plant Palooza

Winner: Emi // 35 & Under Winner: Michelle

12. Dec. 30: Oregon Cultural Trust’s Mt. Hood–Timberline Lodge Experience

Winner: Betty

ABOUT GIVE!GUIDE

Give!Guide is Willamette Week’s annual campaign to raise funds for— and draw attention to—the good works of local nonprofits. Nonprofits must apply to be considered for selection. Give!Guide 2023 applications will be posted on April 1 and due April 30. New sponsors, business partners, Big Give Day prize partners, and other potential helpers should email giveguide@wweek. com to start a conversation.

Richard Founder
Raised by Category
Creative
Environment
Human Services
Hunger
Oregon Cultural Trust $592,656 Give!Guide by the Numbers $8,130,353 total donated • 102% of this year’s goal reached • 16,847 donors • 28,058 donations • 66,169 transactions • $50 median donation • $325,126 largest donation • $672,502 in matching gift funding • 448 nonprofit business partners 12 Willamette Week JANUARY 4, 2023 wweek.com
Totals
Animals $782,899 Civil & Human Rights $608,786 Community $660,294
Expression $707,715 Education $909,510
$837,865 Health $532,824 Home $567,643
$1,101,179
$826,369

Now is the moment for Portland to shake things up. You can practically taste the appetite for change in the air. In the past year, Portland voters have approved a complete overhaul of city government, combining several reforms into a recipe that’s never been cooked up anywhere else. Meanwhile, the mayor’s office is trying something nearly everyone scoffed at: moving people now sleeping on the streets into 250-capacity encampments.

Will either plan make Portland better? We have our doubts. But no one who has endured the past two years in this city can honestly deny it’s broken. Lucky is the Portlander who hasn’t had their catalytic converter stolen, their child’s school placed on lockdown, their sleep disturbed by the wailing of distressed neighbors.

In the last issue of 2022, WW compared this city to others its size. We found that Portland had less housing, more vacant office space, more car thefts and more homicides than most of its peers. It’s little wonder that for the first time in a decade, people are leaving Portland faster than they’re arriving.

B ut there’s a silver lining to these overlapping civic crises. If Portland can no longer pretend it’s a city

that works, maybe it’s ready to risk trying something new—and ambitious.

“ If there was something to give people hope about this city, it would help,” says Doug Obletz, co-founder of Shiels Obletz Johnsen Inc., a firm that manages development projects, including Artists Repertory Theatre and the Portland Streetcar. “We can’t focus on tents exclusively. We won’t get there. Maybe this is an opportunity to focus on what the city could be.”

In the following pages, we’ve proposed a baker’s dozen of ideas that would reshape this city. Lots of them are stolen from cities whose condition we envy. But all are true to the values Portlanders cherish.

We want to see ourselves as a fair, inclusive, green, self-reliant metropolis. Actually being that is harder.

In this exercise, we set ourselves one boundary: If possible, the idea should require no new demand for money from taxpayers. That’s not because we’re opposed to spending money—in fact, we argue that one business tycoon should invest several billion dollars. Instead, we think spending smarter can be more effective than spending more.

Another driving principle of what you’ll read in the following pages: We believe that Portland’s future hinges on its downtown—and, as in other cities, the rise of remote work means those blocks may never

return to their pre-pandemic state. It’s not the central business district anymore. More than any other place in Portland, the purpose of downtown must be reshaped. If office workers don’t want to be there, we must reimagine it for people who do.

Last month, a blue-ribbon panel chaired by two former deputy mayors of New York City released a 44-point plan for reviving its business districts. But the authors conceded that their initial scope had been too slight.

While our initial charge was reviving business districts, we quickly realized that the solutions would need to address a wider range of challenges,” wrote Richard Buery and Daniel Doctoroff. “If we want to improve commutes, then we must strengthen the transportation network across the city. To create a stable, secure workforce, we must confront the city’s housing crisis and make sure that parents have safe, affordable, high-quality care for their children.”

In other words, saving a city means reconsidering everything. We’ve tried to do that in the following pages. We ask you to do the same: Send your ideas for Portland to newstips@wweek.com.

If a city isn’t dreaming, it’s dying. With this agenda for 2023, we’re asking Portland to dream bigger.

13 Willamette Week JANUARY 4, 2023 wweek.com HOW TO SAVE Continued on page 14 13 BIG IDEAS TO TURN THIS
AROUND.
CITY

Problem:

What one titan ravaged, another could repair.

The Rose Quarter is a deserted, concrete disaster with a racist legacy in large part because of one man: Robert Moses, the powerful New York City urban planner who came to town in the 1940s and recommended ramming Interstate 5 right through Albina, then a thriving Black neighborhood.

Moses loved highways and, in New York, he laid vast ribbons of pavement through neighborhoods just like Albina.

“ When you’re operating in an overbuilt metropolis, you have to hack your way with a meat ax,” Moses said in 1954, according to a 2021 article on CityObservatory.org by Joe Cortright.

I-5 was indeed cut as if with a meat ax through Portland. It separates the eastside from the Willamette River. After the expansion of 99W, it’s the original sin in the Rose Quarter, and many followed. There’s Moda Center, an aging hulk surrounded by parking garages. Across the windswept, empty plaza stands Veterans Memorial Coliseum, another outdated venue that also happens to be on the National Register of Historic Places. And a half-dozen blocks to the east is the bankrupt Lloyd Center.

All these failures are direct legacies of Moses, once the most powerful planner in the country, and they could be undone by another big man: Phil Knight.

Knight has offered to buy the Portland Trail Blazers from Jody Allen, sister of late billionaire Paul Allen, and trustee of his estate, which owns the team.

Word is that Allen wants more than the $2 billion Knight offered back in June and the sale has stalled. We’re not terribly interested in two billionaires haggling over the price of the Blazers. But we do believe Knight, who’s worth $44 billion, according to Bloomberg News, should get the team—then spend more of his billions to work with the Albina Vision Trust to revitalize the Rose Quarter.

“Every city needs a place to put big stuff,” says David Knowles, former director of planning for the city who served two terms on the Metro Council, which sets policy for the regional government. “This is in the heart of the city, and it has good transportation. There is a design solution for every problem, but it takes money.”

It would be a fitting legacy for Knight, 84, who grew up on the eastside and graduated from Cleveland High School (where he wrote for the school newspaper). Knight has already given billions to the University of Oregon and Oregon Health & Science University, making him a hero to students and cancer patients, but he’s also tried to bigfoot democracy by giving millions to candidates who have proven to be out of step with nonbillionaire Oregonians.

Knight has an opportunity to create a legacy project, with a new arena for the Blazers, and housing, shops, or even a community sports complex like Chelsea Piers in New York, where kids and adults play soccer, basketball, hockey and tennis, and learn how to rock climb and putt.

Planners have tried this at least twice before, inside the Coliseum, but it didn’t work. The solution might be new construction on the site of the Coliseum Thunderbird hotel, now just a parking lot along the river. And just south of that is the old Louis Dreyfus grain elevator, now a shredded-tire export terminal, whose trucks scatter fist-sized chunks of rubber along Interstate Avenue.

There’s even more opportunity north of the Coliseum. Knight could buy the huge Soviet-style Portland Public Schools administration building, paying enough to let the district rebuild elsewhere, and get almost 10 acres to build a needle-moving supply of desperately needed housing. Such construction could accelerate the city’s policy of returning Black families to neighborhoods from which they were displaced.

If Knight wanted to go really big, he could join forces with Albina Vision and help cover I-5 through the Rose Quarter, closing the bleeding wound of Robert Moses’ meat ax in the heart of Portland.

Imagine that legacy, Shoe Dog. ANTHONY EFFINGER.

Since the Portland City Council declared a housing emergency in 2015, conditions have only gotten worse. Two indicators tell the story: The city’s residential rental vacancy rate—1.8%— is among the nation’s lowest and about a third of the rate in desirable cities such as Austin and Seattle. Second, even though Portland’s population declined 1.7% last year amid a tsunami of bad publicity, home prices rose. The results of the housing shortfall show on the sidewalks: The January 2022 homeless count found a big increase from 2019.

So what could city officials do? Pull hard on a lever they control, the zon-

ing map that dictates which kinds of housing can be built where. Michael Andersen, a writer at the think tank Sightline Institute, recently noted that just 12% of Portland’s residential land is zoned for four-story mixed-income housing.

Eli Spevak, an affordable housing developer and longtime member of the city’s Planning and Sustainability Commission, says rezoning swaths of inner eastside neighborhoods well served by transit, restaurants and retail could spur the development of relatively low-cost apartments. “There’s a really strong case to upzone to build multifamily,” Spevak says. “Three stories, no elevators. It’s kind of absurd we have so little.”

In many cases, Spevak and others say, the multifamily zoning along arterials, such as Burnside and Southeast Division streets, doesn’t extend far beyond the major streets. “It would put a lot of development where people want

to be,” Spevak says.

Tyler Bump, an expert on planning and housing development at the consulting firm ECONorthwest, agrees that upzoning close-in neighborhoods could expand supply, particularly now that higher rents support new construction. The challenge: Bump says Portland’s reputation makes developers wary and, with higher interest rates, private capital is less available.

Spevak says neighbors’ love of their single-family homes—i.e., NIMBYism—is another major hurdle to upzoning: “The inner eastside neighborhoods have avoided it for a long time.”

Former City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, who pushed for big changes in housing policy, lost her seat in 2020 after challenging the power of neighborhood associations. We recommend an end-around: Just upzone the entire city and suddenly the inner eastside belongs to everyone. NIGEL JAQUISS.

The Rose Quarter is a scar on the city.
Idea: Phil Knight remakes a razed neighborhood.
Problem: Not nearly enough housing stock. Idea: Make inner eastside residential neighborhoods three stories tall.
14 Willamette Week JANUARY 4, 2023 wweek.com
CAP SPACE: The group Albina Vision Trust wants to cover Interstate 5 and build a neighborhood above it.

Over the past two years, Portland’s downtown core has become a shell of its former self. This summer, 55% fewer downtown workers walked the streets on any given day than before the pandemic. Boarded-up storefronts line the sidewalks, and dozens of office buildings sit mostly empty.

It’s an extreme version of a problem confronting all U.S. cities: Telework has emptied cubicles, and the white-collar workers who’ve tasted freedom aren’t coming back. That’s especially true in the tech sector, where remote work has become an expectation and a recruiting bonus. Downtown Portland’s biggest commercial footprint? Amazon. You do the math. So what do we do with all that office space? Urban planners urge something that’s difficult, but not impossible: convert a selection of those buildings into housing.

This summer, the mayor’s office received a report from a local real estate expert that listed 14 office buildings ripe for conversion. They were mostly older and smaller office buildings without sprawling layouts and massive floor plates.

Wheeler’s office also recently commissioned an analysis by ECONorthwest and architectural firm Gensler that will look at downtown Portland’s office buildings and study the financial and structural feasibility of converting them to apartments.

“Any of the quarter-block or half-block historic office buildings are prime candidates. There’s going to be winners and losers in demand for what’s left of the office stock,” Brian Pearce of Unico Properties tells WW. “Older and smaller buildings are likely to be more vacant than the other buildings.”

Problem is, those conversions are incredibly expensive—a recent New York Times story reported they could cost $500 a square foot. Conversions are so costly—new HVAC systems, plumbing, mechanical and electrical infrastructure, and required seismic upgrades—that some experts say a developer would have to purchase a building at less than $100 a square foot to make conversion pencil out.

But there’s a way to do that (or at least get part of the way there): an aggressive tax abatement program. That’s why a 20year property tax abatement passed at the state level is a must.

In the 1990s, New York passed such a tax abatement program to spur conversions. Developers in lower Manhattan used the program aggressively to convert 13% of its office space into residential. The program offered a one-year exemption from property taxes during construction and then a series of partial tax abatements for the buildings for more than a decade after.

“The mechanics of moving office to residential is very complicated, and it’s very, very expensive. What you have to pay to

justify a conversion isn’t getting the building for free, but it’s close,” says David Squire, executive vice president of Newmark brokerage. “The biggest concern is that the city doesn’t act aggressive enough fast.”

Oregon exempts from property taxes those institutions that do the important work of building community: churches and nonprofits. In a severe housing shortage and a burgeoning homelessness crisis, turning blocks of empty offices into housing meets the same level of importance.

We can look to other cities for blueprints.

Problem:

Substance abuse is rampant on the streets.

Idea: Require providers to coordinate services.

Nobody wants the titles Oregon currently holds: According to federal stats, we’re No. 1 in the abuse of meth and prescription opioids. Combine that with one of the nation’s highest rates of unsheltered homelessness and you have a disaster.

“ We can get people into treatment, but when they are discharged, they often don’t have housing options,” says Ed Blackburn, retired executive director of Central City Concern, a Portland social services nonprofit. “They just cycle through and get worse.”

Last year, Blackburn teamed up with Dr. Bruce Goldberg, the former director of the Oregon Health Authority, and other experienced providers and

concerned citizens to form Homeless Strategies and Solutions Initiative. That group hired researchers to figure out why, despite the variety of government and nonprofit agencies tasked with helping homeless people— particularly those dealing with mental illness and substance abuse—get off the streets, conditions were worsening.

The takeaway: The providers are not communicating with each other or coordinating their services.

“To say the system isn’t working is not relevant,” Blackburn says. “There is no system.”

Researchers found that the various service providers competently perform their functions: referral, treatment, job search, housing. But too often they provide the services in a vacuum: “A substance use disorder system of care for people experiencing homelessness does not currently exist,” explains the report HSSI com-

missioned.

The solution, Blackburn says, is deceptively simple. Those writing the checks, including the Oregon Health Authority; Health Share of Oregon, the metro region’s Medicaid provider; and county governments, must insist that providers coordinate their services.

That way, when a client leaves rehab or a residential treatment facility, they’re not just deposited on the street but connected to housing, job opportunities or other services. Blackburn says getting the payers to demand teamwork from the service providers is an idea he’s shared with Gov.-elect Tina Kotek and her new director of the Oregon Health Authority, James Schroeder.

“It’s easier not to coordinate, and you are not required to,” Blackburn says. “That has to change—and it can.” NIGEL JAQUISS.

This year, California allocated $400 million in grants to developers willing to convert offices to residential use. The mayor of Washington, D.C., advocated a 20-year tax abatement for such conversions. New York City convened a task force that will come up with pitches for how to ease regulatory burdens for conversions.

Charlie Kuntz, managing director in Portland of Hines Development, is overseeing a conversion in downtown Salt Lake City of a historic building that he says was “ deemed obsolete,” meaning Hines bought it dirt cheap.

“It’s a bit of a needle in a haystack,” Kuntz says. But Hines is studying some buildings in downtown Portland that could convert, and even walked some of Wheeler’s staff through its Salt Lake project. “We’re doing some of those studies now to understand what seismic upgrades would cost.”

The next opportunity for Portland comes during the upcoming session of the Oregon Legislature, where other bills addressing conversions are already slated for discussion.

Industry experts say the city and state will have to work in conjunction to build a robust package of incentives, including waiving system development charges and tweaking building code related to seismic upgrade triggers (the mayor’s office is looking to pass such policies already), and even perhaps a state loan fund that cities could borrow from to fund conversions and pay back over time. That bill, crafted by state Rep. Pam Marsh (D-Ashland), is already in the hopper for this year.

Problem: Downtown offices are empty.
Idea: Offer a 20-year tax abatement for developers who turn those buildings into apartments.
SOPHIE PEEL.
15 Willamette Week JANUARY 4, 2023 wweek.com
GHOSTBUSTERS: Portland’s office vacancy rate is 20.8%.

FIELD OF DREAMS: Portland’s high school graduation rate remains dismal.

Problem:

Idea: Move police officers off 911 response to conduct investigations.

As the size of the Portland police force has dwindled in recent years, it’s had to make cuts. Auto theft unit? Gone in 2006. Traffic division? Eliminated in 2020. Drug stings on hot corners? No one to do them.

In 2005, the city auditor slammed the Portland Police Bureau for funding far fewer detectives (89) per capita than comparable cities. The bureau now has only 85.

The city now has twice the number of car thefts as many comparable cities, WW reported last month. Each year, more and more people die crossing the street, in part because no one’s enforcing speed limits. Shards from shattered car windows litter the streets as the bureau’s property crimes clearance rates drop.

The bureau says it’s understaffed—“most shifts we are under minimum staffing to just take patrol calls,” Chief Chuck Lovell said earlier this year.

Hiring might dig the bureau out of its problem, but that will take years. Training a new recruit takes 18 months alone. We don’t have time to wait. So here’s a solution: give up on sending armed officers to every 911 disturbance call and use the freed-up officers to re-form the city’s specialty crime units—solving crimes, patrolling beats, and deterring criminals, rather than running around responding to calls.

The idea that we’re asking police officers to do the wrong job is not new. “We’re asking cops to do too much in this country,” Dallas Police Chief David Brown said in 2016. “Every societal failure, we put it off on the cops to solve.”

“ We’re sending police to thousands of calls a year in communities across America that the government said: Call them, we don’t have anything else,” Ronal Serpas, a former chief of the Washington State Patrol who is now a professor at Loyola University, tells WW

“The use of a professional-class employee to do the things that police are being assigned by their city that do not require a gun and badge makes perfect sense,” he adds.

A huge number of 911 calls do not require a police response. An analysis by a police oversight committee found that of nearly 400,000 calls for service in Portland in 2019, only 16% resulted in a report of a crime. Nearly half of calls this year were for “disturbances,” not crimes.

Oregon’s schools underperform those in peer states in terms of elementary and high school reading rates, graduation rates, length of school year, and a variety of other measures—and Portland historically underperforms the state’s other large districts.

For many years, K-12 advocates argued funding was the problem. Lawmakers passed the Student Success Act in 2019, kicking an extra $1.3 billion a year into the kitty. Despite the new money, Oregon’s schools lost ground to those in peer states during the pandemic.

Former state Sen. Mark Hass (D-Beaverton), who worked for a decade to build support for the new funding, is one of many voices who see a massive disconnect: The Legislature funds schools (about two-thirds of the average district’s budget comes from Salem) but exercises almost zero oversight.

“It’s one of my long-running frustrations,” Hass says. “There’s nothing stopping districts from spending on whatever they want.”

That freedom is tied to the fact that each of Oregon’s 197 school districts negotiates its own contracts and sets its own budget, even though most of its funding comes from Salem. “The argument is ‘local control, don’t micromanage,’” Hass says. “Since the Legislature is the bankers, they should be able to at least macro-manage.”

Hass suggests lawmakers could push for a statewide salary schedule, requirements for the number of instructional hours and days, and better accounting of how many dollars make it to the classroom.

“There are a myriad of ways to guarantee taxpayers are getting the biggest bang for the buck,” Hass says.

In Salem, the oversight process for other public agencies can be brutal: Managers from the smallest to the largest agencies get hauled in front of the budget-writing Joint Ways and Means Committee for cross examination and detailed dissections of their budgets. For K-12 education, the largest single line item in the state’s general fund budget: crickets.

Julia Brim-Edwards, who, as Nike’s former director of government affairs, developed an intimate knowledge of the state budget and is in her second stint on the Portland Public Schools board, says from her personal perspective, more involvement from lawmakers could improve outcomes.

“I would support greater oversight and accountability from the state for the money that we get,” Brim-Edwards says. “I think it’s fair we be required to demonstrate better student outcomes.”

Portlanders seem to agree. In 2021, the city’s new citizen oversight committee reported that an “overwhelming majority” of people surveyed “indicated a desire to expand nonpolice first responders.”

The city has the tools at its disposal. Portland already sends mental health counselors and unarmed Police Bureau employees to some 911 calls. The Central Precinct is already using unarmed responders to take some midday low-priority calls and has reassigned officers to patrol high-crime areas of downtown.

But these programs are still in their infancy: Portland Street Response responds to only 3% of total calls. The bureau has only recently begun aggressively hiring unarmed responders. And the ones it has hired are limited in the types of calls they can take.

City leaders will need to do more than shuffle shifts. They need to convince Portlanders that an armed police response isn’t always needed when they call 911. “People’s expectations are not going to be met,” Ronal says. It’s up to city leaders—the mayor and City Council—to change those expectations, he says.

Nobody is dedicated to solving car thefts.
Problem: Oregon’s schools produce woeful results.
Idea: Use purse strings to hold school districts accountable.
16 Willamette Week JANUARY 4, 2023 wweek.com

In 2012, Oakland, a city beset by shootings, tried an experiment. With the help of outside consultants, police identified 400 people responsible for most of the city’s homicides—mainly members of local gangs.

The city set up meetings with them, pushing likely shooters into social service programs and offering life coaches.

It worked. Oakland murder rate plummeted, and the city has been held up as a model of how targeted interventions can have a huge impact on crime. The nonprofit consulting firm that worked with Oakland, the California Partnership for Safe Communities, began pitching its services to other cities, including Portland.

Mayor Ted Wheeler has adopted some of the nonprofit’s ideas in Safer Summer PDX, his anti-gun violence program, which has handed ex-gang leaders consulting contracts to convince young men not to follow their path—and keep tabs on those who do.

So far, the results haven’t been encouraging. Portland homicides surpassed last year’s record. Oakland, too, has had a resurgence of shootings.

Not because the idea of targeting likely shooters for intervention was flawed, but because Oakland didn’t stick with it.

The San Francisco Chronicle found that as homicides surged in Oakland, pandemic restrictions shuttered many of the city’s new anti-violence programs.

Portland has seen the same pattern. When homicides dropped in Portland and across the country in the late ’90s, experts pointed to similar new policing methods as one of the reasons.

David Kennedy, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, helped Portland implement those reforms more than two decades ago.

“Portland had those same fundamentals on the ground when they did their own version of what was then called Operation Ceasefire—they got enormous violence reductions, and they let it fall apart,” he says.

Portland might be making the same mistake again. Nike Greene left her job as head of Portland’s Office of Youth Violence Prevention in November. Her resignation letter gave little reason for her decision, but emails obtained by WW show that Greene expressed frustration

in September that the city had handed off oversight of ex-gang leaders’ contracts to her, “expecting our office to pick up the pieces with very little support.”

The internal frictions are concerning, given that the city has barely started implementing Greene’s plan.

Before she left, Greene had taken a contingent of city officials to Oakland to learn what worked—and laid out a road map for implementing the city’s “cease-fire” program here in Portland. She called it the “PDX Blueprint,” a “focused deterrence model” that encourages cooperation between the Police Bureau and city officials to aim services toward gang members and people likely to engage in violence.

Her ideas have the support of the cops. “It is building relationships within your community and getting to know people and holding people accountable in a way that is benevolent,” explains Sgt. Aaron Schmautz, who heads the police union.

The extent to which Wheeler will embrace it remains to be seen. Sgt. Ken Duilio of the Police Bureau warned in an email to Mike Myers, head of Portland’s Community Safety Division, that the plan “needs to be the Mayor’s baby.”

Lisa Freeman, a manager in the division, wrote in an earlier email to Greene regarding the contracts, “I am committed to get you whatever you need to make this work.” A spokesperson tells WW the city is working on a “longer-term plan for gun violence” and that more details will be announced in the next few weeks. LUCAS MANFIELD.

Problem: The Portland police can’t find recruits.

Idea: Let cops smoke weed.

Portland’s police staffing shortage isn’t because the city “defunded the police”—the Police Bureau’s budget remains stable, rising to $249 million in 2022. It’s that the bureau, like police departments across the country, has struggled for years to hire officers in an improving economy. A hiring freeze amid a flurry of retirements in 2020 didn’t help.

Facing this hiring crunch, the Portland Police Bureau has lowered its standards. In 2019, then-Chief Danielle Outlaw began welcoming applicants without college degrees—and even with beards.

So let’s take it a step further. Let cops do what other Oregonians have been doing, legally, for years: get off work, flop on the couch, and smoke a J.

Portland won’t even be the first. The New York Police Department announced it would stop drug testing in July (although it quickly reversed course). The NYPD does have a more liberal policy for recruits, however. “Prior use is not an automatic disqualifier,” its recruiting website says. In Portland, wannabe cops have to be weed-free for a year, citing “federal law.” That’s ridiculous. Cannabis is legal in Oregon. Let the people who enforce the law enjoy its freedoms. LUCAS MANFIELD.

Problem:

Idea:

The most pressing problems we have in this city are also the hardest to understand and solve: the converging crises of homelessness, mental illness and substance abuse. For five years now, city and county elected officials have sparred over how best to spend our taxpayer, federal and state dollars on the crises.

The debate has only intensified as the Portland area has more cash on hand than ever to make a difference. In 2020, Metro voters approved a tax on high-income earners to fund homeless services, meaning that Multnomah County last year budgeted an additional $52 million to house, treat and shelter homeless Portlanders. This year, the county has an additional $107 million to spend.

Quarterly and yearly reports produced by the Joint Office of Homeless Services, the agency through which the county funnels its supportive housing services dollars, offer broad outcomes of all the collective work achieved with those dollars: 1,129 people moved into housing; rent checks saved more than 9,000 households from eviction.

But how each of the 57 providers that received SHS dollars last year spent the money is not clear.

The good thing is, the Joint Office says it does track this information. The bad news: The public can’t easily see the results achieved by each contractor.

That’s why we recommend that local officials require each provider that receives more than $50,000 from the homeless services tax to publish two reports a year showing how those dollars were spent and what differences the money made.

“Fundamentally, how we contract with providers has to change. There needs to be actual metrics and actual data, because there’s such a resistance to any real data collection from providers,” says Rob Justus, founder and former longtime CEO of JOIN, which serves homeless Portlanders. “How do we hold people accountable?”

The solution to this confusion is simple: require each nonprofit to tell the public, twice a year, what it’s done with the money.

Problem: Gun homicides continue to rise.
Idea: Smother likely shooters with attention.
No one knows how homeless service providers spend the public’s money.
Require twice-annual reports from contractors.
SOPHIE PEEL.
17 Willamette Week JANUARY 4, 2023 wweek.com
OF VICE AND MEN: Portland police officers aren’t allowed to use cannabis because it’s federally illegal.

The Oregon Department of Transportation wants to build two megaprojects that the agency says would alleviate a major headache: traffic congestion. The price tags are dizzying: $1.45 billion to expand I-5 at the Rose Quarter, triple what was proposed in 2017; and the Interstate Bridge Replacement Project, which engineers said in December would cost $5 billion to $7.5 billion, up 56% from previous estimates.

There are a couple of problems with those escalating prices. First: Critics say there’s no evidence either project would actually reduce congestion. Second: ODOT, which depends on gas taxes for much of its funding, is broke.

Meanwhile, TriMet ridership remains depressed and the agency needs more revenue to enhance service and win back customers.

The good news? There’s a viable fix for congestion that doesn’t require any new money—and could provide a cash infusion for TriMet.

“There is a consensus among economists that congestion pricing represents the single most viable and sustainable approach to reducing traffic congestion.”

The source for that assertion? Not the well-organized band of local critics led by the group No More Freeways, but the Federal Highway Administration.

Examples of user charges significantly reducing traffic abound, from the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and the State Route 99 tunnel in Washington to the Interstate 65 bridge in Louisville, Ky.

Cong estion pricing advocates say ODOT should manage traffic by charging drivers more during rush hour and little or nothing late at night or early in the morning. Examples of congestion pricing can easily be found in other industries: Electricity is dirt cheap in the middle of the night, expensive during the day; holiday airline tickets cost way more than offseason travel; bars lure customers with happy-hour prices.

Want to lighten rush-hour traffic to the ’Couv? Charge road users. Experience in other cities shows many of them will make other plans.

When Oregon lawmakers passed a massive $5.3 billion funding package in 2017 that included some funding for the Rose Quarter expansion, they ordered ODOT to figure out how to charge drivers to help

pay for that and other projects. The agency has indicated it is more focused on using tolling revenue to build new highway capacity (including the Interstate Bridge replacement) than in investing in transit and other modes of transportation.

Rather than funding the I-5 megaprojects that studies show would not relieve congestion or reduce vehicle emissions (the largest source of greenhouse gases in Oregon), critics, led by Portland economist Joe Cortright, say the tolling revenue should be used to buy more buses, create bike infrastructure, and make streets safer for pedestrians.

Building more freeway lanes just generates more traffic. That won’t reduce congestion or make highways safer. Some leaders want ODOT to think more creatively.

“Tolling working Oregonian commuters without a plan to provide affordable alternatives to driving is regressive,” says state Rep. Khanh Pham (D-Southeast Portland). “Oregonians would greatly benefit from investments in safer streets for walking and biking, and public transit funded via an equitable congestion pricing policy.”

It’s a big decision: ODOT’s public comment period on how and when to start charging for the use of I-5 and I-205 in the Portland region closes Jan. 6. It is a stark choice: The state is picking between what Pham calls “more and bigger freeways that will drive more pollution” and a commitment to public transit that once made Portland a national leader. NIGEL

JAQUISS.

Problem: Portland is wasting its waterfront.

Idea: Mimic Vancouver (Washington, not B.C.!)

For years, Portlanders have sneered at their neighbor to the north, calling it Vantucky and smirking the way Manhattanites do when talking about New Jersey.

Anyone persisting in that haughty attitude should pay a visit to the Vancouver Waterfront. Once an industrial wasteland, it’s now a gleaming stretch of hotels, condos, restaurants, anchored by a sleek pier that hangs over the river, held aloft by steel cables.

Portland should take heed, because the Willamette waterfront hasn’t changed much since Tom McCall Waterfront Park was created in 1978 and the South Waterfront got going in the early 2000s.

Both things are lovely, but neither brings a buzz to the river’s edge the way the Vancouver Waterfront does. Despite traffic changes, McCall park is cut off from the rest of the city by Naito Parkway, where few restaurants and shops seem to last.

Now, Portland has an opportunity to catch up to Vancouver and other cities, like Toronto and even Manila, that are reclaiming their waterfronts from dirty industry.

In November, rail-car manufacturer Gunderson said it would move most operations to other parts of the country. The company owns 78 acres along the Willamette north of the Pearl District and 2 miles beyond another aged property that’s about to change hands: the old Centennial Mills buildings. Prosper Portland, the city’s economic development agency, agreed in November to sell Centennial Mills to a developer called MLR Ventures for $8.25 million. The deal requires MLR to build a greenway path along the site and to include affordable housing in any development.

While we’re at it, it’s been two decades since Robert B. Pamplin Jr. pledged to give the city most of the 390-acre Ross Island he long mined for gravel. He’s deeded just 45 acres and sold much of the rest to his own pensioners. Yet the property has extraordinary potential—it could be a destination in the Willamette, much as Toronto’s Centre Island draws crowds to Lake Ontario.

Unfortunately, much of Portland’s waterfront is hemmed in by highways and industry. We’re sorry to see the jobs go elsewhere, but the Gunderson property presents an opportunity to lure Portlanders closer to the water. God knows we could use the calm. ANTHONY

Problem: Interstate 5 is a parking lot and TriMet is struggling.
Idea: Use congestion pricing to reduce traffic and pay for better public transit.
18 Willamette Week JANUARY 4, 2023 wweek.com
EAST OF EDEN: A highway traffic jam is the defining feature of the Willamette River’s east bank.

Urban planners have long said foot traffic is the key ingredient of a healthy, thriving downtown core. Right now, that’s exactly what Portland is missing.

Some downtown blocks, like those along Broadway, have started to attract shoppers again. But turn a corner, and you get a wall of plywood, or an empty parking garage.

“The beauty of any city is the ability to stroll and always be surprised in a good way. Right now, there are huge gaps between things that are open,” says Tad Savinar, a former member of the city’s design review board and a local artist.

Portland runs a real risk of losing its most pivotal neighbor-

hood. So now is the time to remember what made that neighborhood distinctive in the first place: walking.

In the 1970s, as other major cities tried to emulate the suburbs by building parking garages and shopping malls, Portland went the other direction. Then-Mayor Neil Goldschmidt built Pioneer Courthouse Square, and arranged for MAX trains to converge at that central plaza.

“Portland made a profound decision that it would make its downtown for people, not vehicles. We made active uses for ground floors. None of that stuff was there before 1972,” says Ethan Seltzer, emeritus professor at Portland State University’s Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning. “In a way, we’re back at that stage of seeking a wide range of ways to activate downtown.”

Here’s how to do that: ban car traffic from six square blocks of downtown Portland and make the swath of land into a hub of food, retail and greenspace that draws people to a concentrated part of the city to shop, dine and linger. Think the Portland Farmers Market, but every day of the week.

City Hall has a model for this: Former Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty founded a pandemic-era program that gave restaurants a lifeline for survival and transformed some city streets into carfree zones. The program, called Healthy Businesses, blocked off streets—Southeast 79th Avenue, Southwest Harvey Milk Street,

Problem: The city is dismal after hours. Idea: Open a Waffle House.

Portland isn’t dead. It’s just dead after 10 pm.

When the lights went out last March at The Roxy diner on Southwest Harvey Milk Street, it wasn’t just the end of 27 years of serving pancakes and camaraderie to the LGBTQ+ kids and scruffy misfits. It was the demise of the last 24-hour indoor restaurant in central Portland.

If this city seems less vibrant than it did a decade ago, that’s in part because its nights are dark. Even before the pandemic, few restaurants stayed open after 10 pm. Now, even the 24-Hour Original Hotcake House on Southeast Powell Boulevard closes at 11 pm.

Micah Camden, founder of SuperDeluxe and ramen shop Boxer, says staffing shortages further contracted the operating hours of restaurants in an already sleepy town.

“Seven-thirty is prime witching hour for food in this town,” Camden says. “It just starts to slow down from there. It would be nice to go out and get something and feel like the city is alive after 9:30 at night.”

Portland isn’t Manhattan. But it’s also not Biloxi, Miss.—where the glowing sign of a Waffle House signals at all hours that somebody is up and dishing out hash browns. The 24-hour diner is a nightlight: It says not to fear the darkness.

That’s a reassurance Portlanders could use. “Downtown is still bleak as hell,” Camden says. “The sun sets at 5:30, and you’re not bringing your family down there.”

If the city ’s vaunted dining scene has been pillaged by ghost kitchen trailers, one solution is for a few brave entrepreneurs to take back the night. Start with one or two places that start service at 6 pm, rather than four, and extend their hours until midnight. (That’s similar to a model Camden says he’s planning for the Alberta location of Boxer.) Then we need one person to open an all-hours hash hut—a beacon proclaiming that Portland lives. AARON

among others—and allowed restaurants to extend seating onto the asphalt so that restaurants could remain open throughout social distancing mandates.

Imagine that experiment were replicated on a greater scale. In essence, Pioneer Courthouse Square would grow to become a six-block piazza, stretching from the Park Blocks on the west to Chapman and Lownsdale squares on the east. You could stroll from a movie at Fox Tower to dinner at Portland City Grill without once checking for oncoming traffic.

Savinar says changes to downtown’s landscape could be gradual. “You have to take small bites,” he says. “Small, one-block street closures for a festival, and seeing if you can draw a little circle a little further out from those places.”

One might look to Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, Colo., as an example of a carless outdoor promenade. The cobbled streets are lined with brunch spots with outdoor seating, bars, trinket shops and boutiques, musicians trying to make a buck, and performers on stilts juggling flaming objects. A similar walking mall exists in Charlottesville, Va., lined by bookstores and theaters. Boston has such a destination market; Seattle and San Francisco lure tourists with their fishing wharves.

Portland could outdo all of them. It does not need a signature attraction to lure people back downtown. It only needs to give them a space to gather.

Problem: Downtown is a ghost town. Idea: Create a six-block Carless Square in the heart of Portland.
19 Willamette Week JANUARY 4, 2023 wweek.com
GLOW UP: Southwest Harvey Milk Street gained a dining plaza but lost an all-night diner.

TAKE A HIKE

If in the cold light of New Year’s Day the resolution to “spend more time in nature” seems easier said than done, Tryon Creek State Natural Area is, thankfully for Portlanders, a mere 15-minute drive from the city, making a stroll through the woods a more accessible goal. The Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department also gave

would-be hikers a nudge to get outdoors by suspending fees at all of its sites and offering ranger-led tours at 20 locations on Jan. 1. Plenty of families, excited dogs and even a couple of Star Wars characters flocked to Tryon on the first day of 2023 to enjoy the miles of muddy paths and beautiful scenery.

Photos
20 Willamette Week JANUARY 4, 2023 wweek.com STREET

GO & LISTEN: Portland Music Month

January is the second annual Portland Music Month, y’all! Celebrate every time you see a show at a participating venue, like The Get Down, Clinton Street Theater, Dante’s and many, many others around town. A percentage of the proceeds from these shows goes to support the Echo Fund, which works to empower local creators (rather than streaming service giants). Plus, each time you attend a concert, you’re entered in a sweepstakes to win a pretty sweet 1974 ½ MG Midget Roadster Convertible and other nifty prizes. Various locations, portlandmusicmonth. org. Through Tuesday, Jan. 31. Prices vary.

LISTEN: Com Truise (DJ Set)

Electronica artist Com Truise was featured on Daft Punk’s 2011 album Tron: Legacy Reconfigured and continues to melt circuits today. In the spirit of David Bowie’s alter ego, Ziggy Stardust, Com Truise is the performance persona for art director-turned-musician Seth Haley. Expect to hear tracks from 2017’s Iteration, the last in a series of albums about a fictional astronaut (also named Com Truise) and his extrasolar explorations to far-flung planets. This performance is part of Portland

Music Month. The Get Down, 615 SE Alder St., Suite B, thegetdownpdx.com. 9 pm Friday, Jan. 6. $25. 21+.

LISTEN: Lip Bomb

Make your way over to Montavilla Station for some kazoo-charged covers of retro rock and dance hits. Expect a varied selection of songs from diverse artists, like the Cranberries, the Ramones, No Doubt and Rush. Wait, there’s more! Old-school dive bar vibes, including shuffleboard, pool and pinball machines, make this an easy place to hunker down with a beer or three. Montavilla Station, 417 SE 80th Ave., 503-252-3240, montavillastation.com. 9 pm Friday, Jan. 6. Free. 21+.

LEARN: Screen Captivated: Intro to “Screenlife” Filmmaking-

Film buffs and aspiring directors will want to hit up one of PAM CUT’s latest educational opportunities: a class that dives into the logistics of “screenlife” filmmaking, taught by experienced instructors Brandon Winters and Laura Houlberg. That term refers to films telling stories solely through events that occur on a computer, tablet or smartphone screen. The emerging genre has been making waves at festivals, with features like Searching,

Unfriended and Profile garnering special attention. PAM CUT, 934 SW Salmon St., 503-226-2811, portlandartmuseum.org. 1:30-4:30 pm Saturday, Jan. 7. $200. 18+.

MAKE: Beginner Basket Making

For those who chose something more practical than basket making for their college degree, the opportunity is nigh to live out those weaving dreams. This introductory course, instructed by a basket-making expert, should help you tap into your creative side, perhaps reduce your stress levels, and maybe even lead to the development of a skill that will be useful after the zombie apocalypse. No experience is required—only patience.

Variable Creatives, 222 SE Alder St., Suite 2, variablecreatives.com. 2-3:30 pm Saturday, Jan. 7. $55.

LISTEN: Days of Bowie: Black Tie/White Noise: Blackstar

Hear the Christopher Brown Quartet cover David Bowie’s final studio album, Blackstar, in its entirety at this third installment of Days of Bowie, a tribute series to the late great Ziggy Stardust. Blackstar, a synthesis of art rock and jazz, was recorded in secret as a farewell gift for his fans when the artist was fighting liver cancer.

The second half of the set will feature Bowie classics. This performance is part of Portland Music Month. Jack London Review, 529 SW 4th Ave., 866-777-8932, jacklondonrevue.com. 9 pm Saturday, Jan. 7. $20-$150. 21+.

GO: Dark Lagoon Goth Tiki Night

It seems like goths used to be sort of secretive and aloof, but these days they host baking shows and, apparently, tiki nights. The Dark Lagoon Goth Tiki Night is an example of such gothy mash-ups, where you can expect boozy tropical drinks and (probably) plenty of dark eyeliner. The evening is a revival of the dark, vacation-themed event that took place just before the pandemic shutdown in 2020. Mad Hanna, 6127 NE Fremont St., 503288-2944, facebook.com. 8 pm-midnight Sunday, Jan. 8. No cover. 21+.

TOP GUN: Electronic musician Com Truise performs at The Get Down during Portland Music Month.
COURTESY COM TRUISE STUFF TO DO IN PORTLAND THIS WEEK, INDOORS AND OUT SEE MORE GET BUSY EVENTS AT WWEEK.COM/CALENDAR
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List

1. GC WINES

3450 N Williams Ave., Suite 7, 503-764-9345, grochaucellars.com. 4-8 pm Friday-Sunday.

This Yamhill County winery is marking 20 years of business by bringing its products closer to its Portland drinkers. Grochau Cellars, located just outside of downtown Amity, opened a tasting room in the Eliot neighborhood this fall. The business also changed its name: From here on out, Grochau is officially GC Wines. While the new moniker might be a bit dull, the wines— like the Commuter Cuveé Pinot Noir, a blend of fruit from 11 Willamette Valley vineyards—certainly are not.

2. STRAIGHTAWAY COCKTAILS TASTING ROOM

901 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 971-255-1627, straightawaycocktails.com. Noon-7 pm Monday-Wednesday, noon-8 pm Thursday-Saturday, noon-5 pm Sunday.

There’s a good reason all of the charter yacht guests on the ever-expanding Bravo franchise Below Deck order an abundance of espresso martinis. The ’80s cocktail really is delicious, and thanks to the caffeine content, it helps keep the party going. Straightaway Cocktails and Stumptown Coffee teamed up to make their own canned version with coffee liqueur and cold brew, which you can now drink at the distiller’s Hawthorne tasting room or purchase to enjoy at home.

3. BAD HABIT ROOM

FOOD & DRINK

5433 N Michigan Ave., 503-303-8550, saraveza.com/the-bad-habit-room. 4-10 pm Wednesday-Friday, 9 am-2 pm and 4-10 pm Saturday-Sunday. Bad Habit Room has technically been around for about a decade but previously opened only for weekend brunch and special events. After staying completely shuttered for two years due to the pandemic, it’s back and caters to a different crowd in the evenings. Cocktails take their inspiration from the pre-Prohibition era, and our current favorite is Moon Shoes, made with marshmallow-infused vodka, lemon, orgeat and a splash of Son of Man harvest vermouth that acts as a grounding agent.

4. BREAKSIDE BREWERY

Multiple locations, breakside.com. Hours vary by location. Breakside is starting to see the fruits of its labor overhauling its barrel-aging program—a project that began two years ago. The prolific brewery recently released a special case of six blended and aged stouts that debuted in 2021 and, earlier this year, were cellared. Also look for the final two imperial stouts on draft and in bottles in the 2022 lineup: My Stars Shine Darkly (aged in bourbon and maple syrup bottles) and This Great Stage of Fools (aged in bourbon barrels with pecans and spices).

5. MASALA LAB & MARKET

5237 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 971-340-8635, masalalabpdx.com. 9 am-3 pm Thursday-Tuesday.

The recently opened Masala Lab just extended its hours of operation and added new items to the menu after the team had several weeks to perfect recipes. While everything coming out of the gluten-free kitchen sounds appealing—from the saagshuka to the chaat hash—we might be most excited about the lineup of new cocktails, boozy brunch classics with an Indian twist. As we head through December, at least one chai hot toddy should accompany your meal.

Sloan’s Comes Due

Although the best-known feature of Sloan’s Tavern is the semi truck cab jutting out of the front exterior wall, it’s easy enough for even veteran patrons to remember that the beloved watering hole only ever came about as an afterthought.

“ We’ve had the tavern 43 years,” recalls Shirley Sloan, “but we’d owned the body shop building since ’58. This is definitely Old Portland.”

And somehow, the lounge seemed far older still. Both businesses closed for good Dec. 30 following Sloan’s sale of the property to developers—they plan to build a seven-story apartment building on the land, and Sloan will settle into a well-earned retirement. Nostalgic well-wishers spent the last few weeks of 2022 coming by for one last visit and often to learn just how little they really knew about the establishment.

When Bob Sloan opened the family ’s eponymous auto garage on the bones of a 1926 creamery, a wholly separate dive called the Gay Paree operated from a tiny cabin near the street that the Sloans would eventually take

over—extending the former cabin to nearly double its original size and decorating the interior with a particularly swank flourish of middle-American chintz that has been immaculately maintained over the decades. In the words of aught-era bartender Reg, the lounge holds “this diner feel that’s also kind of Old Vegas. It’s so beautiful inside that people go there as a destination.”

Sloan’s sense of time-swept dislocation has much to do with the décor, but its changing surroundings contribute as well. The bleak devastation wrought when the area was cleared out to make way for highway onramps and Legacy Emanuel Medical Center and its vast parking lots, Sloan’s was left utterly unmoored for a time but somehow never lost its following.

Near the entrance, between the pool table and a flatscreen TV, stood the barroom’s signal attraction: an impeccably maintained 1950s Chicago Coin’s Band Box. Tavern jukeboxes that still spin vinyl are scarce enough these days, but Sloan’s rare model added a floor show as well. Inside a glass-enclosed bandstand elevated above the machine, a small swing orchestra came to life alongside the largely vintage tunes—drummer drumming, horn section swaying—with each mini big band member mov-

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22 Willamette Week JANUARY 4, 2023 wweek.com
Sloan’s Tavern, the frozen-in-time bar with iconic décor, is remembered fondly by former regulars and employees following its closure.
Editor: Andi Prewitt Contact: aprewitt@wweek.com

CHEERS: Sloan’s regulars say one of the things they’ll miss most about the bar is that it attracted a wide variety of people.

Past employee Reg heartily agreed: “A lot of people came because they just appreciated the kind of bars that don’t really exist anywhere else anymore. There’s the neighborhood people who’d also visit. You’d get lots of Black folk who’ve lived around there forever. It was an awesome Blazer bar with really big crowds. People would park, come have drinks beforehand, walk down to the game, and then come back afterwards. Some people just wanted to play video poker. It was kind of the perfect neighborhood bar—a real mixed bag.”

To that end, Reg helped bring in an altogether new cross section of insta-regulars. Near the turn of the millennium, following the closure of the sorely missed Egyptian Room, Portland’s subsequent dearth of lesbian nightspots found Sloan’s filling that role quite by accident.

“This was way before Escape and Crush,” Reg says, “and it was never the focus. We weren’t trying to be the lesbian bar or anything, Sloan’s was owned by an 88-year-old woman and her husband as very much a family-run business that just happened to take the spot of the Egyptian as a sort of queer mecca.”

Hot Plates

WHERE TO EAT THIS WEEK.

1. PALOMAR

959 SE Division St., #100, 971-357-8020, barpalomar.com. 5-10 pm Tuesday-Saturday.

In September, longtime Portland chef Ricky Bella took charge of the burners in Palomar’s kitchen, reigniting the space by weaving the flavors of his Mexican American heritage with the restaurant’s Cuban staples. It’s best to bounce around all sections of the tight, one-page menu, but there is one nonnegotiable appetizer. Ceviche de camarones, made with leche de tigre, gets its richness from avocado, its texture from cucumber, and tart acid from diced pineapple.

2. GIGANTIC BREWING HAWTHORNE

4343 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 503-889-0190, giganticbrewing.com. 3-9 pm Monday-Friday, noon-9 pm Saturday-Sunday.

Gigantic’s third location marks the company’s entry into food service and offers a menu that tracks the founders’ beer-related travels around the world. So far, everything coming out of the kitchen is solid, but the standout is the Flæskesteg, a Danish pork sandwich that is a tribute to those at Copenhagen’s Isted Grill. The crispy Carlton Farms roast pork loin is barely contained in its brioche bun and comes layered in braised red cabbage, remoulade and housemade dill pickles.

3. YUI

ing independently in a marvel of pre-digital animatronic wizardry.

“Drop your coins, choose a 33 or a 45, the curtain opens, and then the band starts playing,” describes longtime Sloan’s booster (and X-Ray Cafe and Voodoo Doughnut co-founder) Tres Shannon. “There are only like five of these left in the world! Somebody at the bar said the last one of these to sell went for 15 grand, and that was without the band stage and figurines.”

Increasingly dependent upon Emanuel lunch crowds, Sloan’s adhered until very recently to what most would consider an unusual schedule for a bar: closed by 10 pm each weeknight and dark throughout the weekends. But the hard-earned blending of divergent customers was likely the bar’s highest achievement and what will be most mourned. Yvette, an occasional daytime patron for the past 20 years, doesn’t even drink but still dropped by “for the video poker and the good company,” she says. “It’s a nice mixture. I’m in my 60s, but some of the people are younger. Mother Shirley and Laurie, the daughter who takes the orders, are really good people. It’s a comfortable setting and really…quaint.”

Just over a decade ago, the Sloans’ grandchild had just returned to Portland and began promoting a series of gay- and lesbian-themed attractions at his family’s tavern. “We were all young queers going to karaoke nights,” says Reg. “Then, 11 years ago, I got a job at the bar, and two or three others started working there. We were a handful of young queer friends who threw events all the time, so we brought in our own crowd. There was Goth Bingo. There were RuPaul drag shows. Queer this. Queer that. Oh, God, there were so many DJ nights…”

As it so happens, Google’s capsule describes Sloan’s as a “no-frills gay bar,” which misleads on several levels. “I think the algorithms still lead that direction because we used to host all of these different events there years ago, but we’re all older now with kids,” says Reg. “We don’t have that kind of time or energy, so it all just sort of faded away.”

Sloan’s, though, did very much remain a family business until the very end. Shirley tended the books each morning, and her children worked there.

“These mom-and-pop places are pretty special, you know?” Reg marvels. “The Sloans were married for a million years, and all their kids became part of the business. Laurie, the daughter, is still daytime bartender. Gene, the son, still runs the body shop in the back.”

“Someone really missed an opportunity not making a documentary about this family,” Reg adds. “They were just wildly creative people. Take a look at all the cool stuff going on in that body shop and behind that bar. What these people created was just phenomenal.”

5519 NE 30th Ave., 503-946-9465, yuipdx.com. 4-9 pm Monday-Saturday. There’s no picking your own protein or six different spice levels to choose from at Yui. The elimination of the “choose your own adventure” element we’ve grown so accustomed to with Thai takeout brings new life and specificity to each dish here. A notable signature item is the krapao wagyu kaidao, made with ultra-tender and generously salted minced beef. But don’t pass up the boat noodle soup, which is enormous and loaded with meatballs, crispy pork, scallions, and morning glory greens.

4. NODOGURO

623 NE 23rd Ave., nodoguropdx.com. 6:30 pm single seating Thursday-Sunday.

It seats only 13, costs $250 before drinks, and is a tough reservation to snag, but the fan pool for Ryan and Elena Roadhouse’s incomparable meals is deep and enthusiastic. Nodoguro should be anchored at its latest location for at least three years. Yes, there will be uni, caviar, Dungeness crab and several varieties of pristine fish flown in from Japan. But the artistry in presentation, the restraint evident on every plate, is at least equal to the luxury of the ingredients.

5. GRAND FIR BREWING

1403 SE Stark St., grandfirbrewing.com. Noon-10 pm Tuesday-Sunday, noon-11 pm Friday-Saturday.

It was only a matter of time before brewer Whitney Burnside and chef Doug Adams went into business together. The husband-and-wife team opened Grand Fir in the former West Coast Grocery Company space in mid-November, and there was a line around the block to get in on the first day (evidence of how highly anticipated this project has been). Adams’ famed smoked meats (braised elk, Calabrian chicken wings) anchor the food menu and pair perfectly with Burnside’s beers.

Top 5
23 Willamette Week JANUARY 4, 2023 wweek.com

2022 Industry Highs

My best high of 2022 happened on the streets of Denver, where I was on a solo trip to do shrooms at Meow Wolf. I’d heard stories about the potency of Mile High weed, but it wasn’t until I smoked a few hits of a locally grown Purple Punch from a one-hitter that I understood the power of cannabis grown a mile above sea level. That day I spent wandering the snowy streets of downtown Denver was one of the best highs not just of 2022, but my entire life.

For cannabis, in general, 2022 was full of memorable highs but also noteworthy lows. New Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission regulations made it easier to stock up on weed that was even more potent, but federal legalization remained stalled as did the SAFE Banking Act that would allow banks to openly serve cannabusinesses. Across the board, weed got a lot cheaper; reform victories included expungements in California, Colorado and Illinois; and Gary Chambers, a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate in Louisiana, filmed a campaign ad while smoking a blunt.

All year, in every corner of the industry, there’s been something to talk about, celebrate, or reevaluate, so we asked a handful of cannabis industry luminaries to reflect on their best highs of the year, and share what they’re most looking forward to for cannabis in 2023. Here’s what they had to say:

STEVE RODGERS

My most memorable high of 2022 was a late fall trip to the Northwest Coast to disconnect from work and reconnect with nature. It was a four-day trip, and the last day was all about relaxing and having fun at the beach. I indulged in a Hapy Kitchen Muddy Buddy Cookie made with Wedding Cake hash rosin. I witnessed an eagle take out a seagull in the air and then continue to eat its kill about 100 feet away from where I was sitting. Nature at its finest.

In 2023, I think consumers are going to start asking a lot more questions when making purchasing decisions. Consumers are more educated than ever before. They understand the different strains and how their body reacts to those specific strains. They know farm names and the farm’s quality of product produced. They are learning oil that was extracted using a solventless process is a more pure ingredient when making edibles. Consumers are educating themselves and brands need to be able to meet their needs by providing more details about how their products are sourced and produced.

KATIE GUINN

AUTHOR OF STONER BABES COLORING BOOK

My favorite strain of 2022 was Blood Orange Tangie from Satchel. My favorite high of 2022 was for sure at the beach with my love during the summer solstice. It’s one of the few

places wide enough that we can walk together, and I can be far enough away to secretly stare at him in adoration and appreciation on the longest day of the year. The surroundings there whisper some of the best inspirations for my art, especially when I’m a bit high.

In 2023, I’m looking forward to more oversight and use of tax revenue from the cannabis industry to prevent human trafficking within illegal and even some OLCC-licensed growers in Oregon, specifically Southern Oregon, where the forced labor and violence for migrant workers is rampant.

My favorite strain of the year was Acapulco Gold from Somewhere.

In 2023, we’re looking forward to increased political activities. There are already great bills circulating that tackle workers’ rights, tax reinvestment into communities, and workplace safety.

JESCE HORTON

CEO OF LOWD

My favorite high was LOWD being listed as one of the most influential cannabis companies on Forbes’ first 4/20 list. Cultivars Raisin Bread, Hawaiian Skunk Face and Space Age Cake were some of our hottest drops this year, and our favorite product was our artisan hash-infused pre-rolls, reminiscent of the Dutch American-style joints I smoked every day in Amsterdam—fat joints with lots of hash!

In 2023, we’re excited about the growth and enthusiasm around the connoisseur cannabis market, resulting from increasingly more educated consumers. You are what you smoke!

Also, there may be a collaboration with a former legendary Portland Trail Blazer in the works for this summer, so stay tuned! It’s going to be a great year for LOWD smokers.

MEGON DEE

CEO

OF ORACLE WELLNESS CO.

MAC by Meraki Farms was my favorite strain this year, and Hapy Kitchen, hands down, makes an out-of-this-world brownie. I typically stock up on those!

I need 2023 to bring consumption lounges to Oregon. We (Oracle Wellness) are exploring acquiring a space that shifts our business model into hospitality and tourism. Stay tuned!

DEVAN ANTHONY

CO-FOUNDER OF LUMINOUS

terpene profile capturing both the watermelon flavor and the citrus flavor of the mimosa backed up to the slight gas of the Jealousy. The high is energizing and stoney, with mellow relaxed body vibes. Cannabis feels better to me when it is grown in a way that honors our connection to nature, and Phoenix Rising shows that it can be done without compromising on quality.

In 2023, I’m excited about the continuing expansion of the Sun+Earth Certified program in Oregon. Sun+Earth is a regenerative organic cannabis standard that certifies cannabis that is grown under the sun, in the soil of Mother Earth, without chemicals, by fairly paid farmers. My sincere wish for Oregon’s industry in 2023 is that consumers will start asking the important questions: Is this brand locally owned? Was this grown using regenerative organic practices? Are their employees compensated fairly? How do they contribute to their local community?

KATIE STEM

PRESIDENT OF EAST FORK CULTIVARS AND FOUNDER OF PEAK EXTRACTS

2022 was a challenging year all around, and even though it was complicated to execute all at once, I’m most grateful for the switch to 100 milligram edibles. My standout pick was our Tangie tincture and Tangie 100 milligram chocolate bar. The flavor was pure oranges, and I have spent some amazing time frolicking through the forest thanks to that strain.

Peak Extracts merged with East Fork Cultivars, and we have some amazing projects planned for 2023. Watch out for the ACDC cookies and Blue Orchid chocolate in January. We also have an ultra-top secret extraction plan brewing that will mean a whole new world of products and capabilities. We’re thrilled for what’s to come.

RAINA CASEY

FOUNDER OF OREGON HANDLERS FUND

My favorite strains this year were Raspberry Beret and Gush Mints. Gush Mints is a cross of Gushers and Kush Mints that is amazing. I was on that strain steady.

In 2023, I’m looking forward to more diversity and less OLCC interference with medical rules and policies. I’d like to see federal legalization more than anything. And, of course, more visibility for the Oregon Handlers Fund. More grant opportunities and opportunities for funding, and more expungement events around the city. I’d really like to see more diverse events for the cannabis community—just laid-back events, not always

BOTANICALS

Hmm, favorite high…have you checked out the flower that Phoenix Rising Farm is producing? Exceptional quality sungrown from a family-owned and -operated farm in the Applegate Valley. Their Watermelon Mimosa x Jealousy has a unique

24 Willamette Week JANUARY 4, 2023 wweek.com POTLANDER
We asked cannabis luminaries to reflect on the past year and look ahead to 2023.

WHAT TO SEE AND WHAT TO HEAR

SATURDAY, JAN. 7:

My Essential Seven:

Bennett Campbell Ferguson

A tribute to the important people, places and pizzas in my life.

In the gloom of quarantine, WW’s My Essential Seven series was born. For more than a year, we asked actors, musicians, playwrights and others about the things they considered necessary in their life, from friends and family to coffee and water bottles.

The series was a way to compensate for a lack of live in-person events, but it became something more. At a grim time, it was a celebration of the individuals, places and objects, both important and trivial, that helped people endure.

As we’ve reached the start of a new year—my second as WW’s assistant arts and culture editor—I decided it was time to share my own Essential Seven. Over the years, the things on this list have brought me joy. Maybe they will for you too.

1American Dream Pizza

Much of my childhood was spent at American Dream’s Northeast Glisan Street location, where my parents would order slices and I would munch on breadsticks. Pizza was a family ritual, as important as impassioned literary discussions (I’m the son of two English majors).

I still frequent American Dream, sometimes for a giant-ass calzone or a chocolate chip cookie so deliciously buttery I can barely finish it. But the real reason I keep coming back is because the restaurant is like an echo of my childhood, distant yet present.

2Cinema 21

Movies are a massive part of my life—and my friends and former co-workers at Cinema 21 remain part of my movie family. One of them once wisely observed that the best part of seeing a film is when the lights go up and you start talking, arguing, connecting. Time and time again, Cinema 21 has shown that to be true.

3Hendricks Park

When I was earning my master’s degree in journalism at the University of Oregon, I started wandering the neighborhood in the hills above campus. Eventually, I came upon an

old-fashioned street lamp, like the one that marks the gateway to Narnia in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe What I found was no less wondrous. Wooded and filled with winding trails, Hendricks Park is a pocket of serenity in a bustling city. During one of the last times I visited, I returned from a hike to find several deer gathered around my bike, a perfect moment in a perfect place.

4Manzanita

There is almost nothing to do in Manzanita. This is a good thing—it’s a rare beach town on the Oregon Coast that’s entirely free of frantic energy. Walk or bike on the beach and you’ll feel the silvery waves wiping the anxiety from your soul (yearly visits should be mandatory for stressed-out journalists). And don’t miss the pizza at Marzano’s or the waffle fries at Yolk.

5My piano

While I don’t take lessons anymore, playing the piano continues to be a vital part of my life. Lately, I’ve been learning Lady Gaga’s “Free Woman” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Janey Don’t You Lose Heart.”

6Podcasts

Like most speaking humans, I spent hours and hours podcasting during quarantine. Together, me and my friend (and WW contributor) Josh O’Rourke analyzed whatever we fancied, from Star Wars’ best lightsaber duels to Donnell Rawlings’ “He stole that guy’s pizza!” cameo in Spider-Man 2 Saying our recording sessions helped keep me sane is an epic understatement.

7Toys

One of my favorite Essential Seven interviews was with the great choral composer Lisa Neher, who shared her passion for cuddly stuffed animals—a passion I share. One of my favorites is a squishy, fuzzy avocado with a smiley face. These days, everyone should have an emotional-support avocado.

David Bowie was a saxophonist before he became one of the greatest rock stars of all time, and though his music has always engaged with jazz, his final album Blackstar is his most complete immersion into that world. The Christopher Brown Quartet ’s Black Tie/White Noise series of tribute concerts shows how adaptable Bowie’s music is to a jazz format, and for their final show in the series, they’ve chosen to wrestle Blackstar ’s seven long tracks, plus a bonus set of selections from throughout Bowie’s long career. Jack London Revue, 529 SW 4th Ave. 9 pm. $20. 21+.

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 11:

Sam Prekop and John McEntire are two reasons why Chicago was one of the most fertile cities for music in the ‘90s: the former as leader of jazz-rock band The Sea and Cake, the latter as drummer and mastermind of the brilliant Tortoise. The two artists’ new collaboration Sons Of might come as a surprise even to those who have followed the duo for a while; as Prekop goes into mad-scientist mode with his array of synths and other gadgets, McEntire’s beat keeps the music from spiraling (too far) into madness. Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison St. 9 pm. $18. 21+.

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 11:

Vijay Iyer is one of the most acclaimed and awarded jazz pianists to emerge from the new millennium, and he’s the latest artist to feature as part of the Oregon Symphony’s “Open Music” series of performances/talks, in which musicians explore and explain aspects of their creative process with help from Oregon Symphony musicians. Whether you’re a connoisseur of jazz piano or can’t tell Bill Evans apart from Gil Evans, this should be an enlightening encounter with one of modern jazz’s most prodigious talents. Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta St. 7:30 pm. $10-$20. All ages.

SHOWS WEEK
MICK HANGLAND-SKILL
25 Willamette Week JANUARY 4, 2023 wweek.com MUSIC CULTURE Editor: Bennett Campbell Ferguson | Contact: bennett@wweek.com

Zero Proof in Portland

Hotseat: Olivia and Sarah Sears

Meet the Portlanders behind a new app to help people locate N/A drinks.

“Why aren’t you drinking?” If you’re sober, you’ve probably heard that question, which can be irritating at best and excruciating at worst.

“It’s the only substance where it’s normal to say, ‘Why not?’” says Olivia Sears. “If somebody’s quitting smoking or trying to stop doing a drug, you wouldn’t egg them on. It’s so interesting that [questioning why someone doesn’t drink alcohol] is so normalized.”

Olivia Sears and her wife, Sarah Sears, are seeking to change that with BuzzCutt, an app they are creating to help people locate N/A drinks at bars and restaurants. Working with software developer Approachable Geek, they want to offer a nationwide resource for the sober and sober curious—starting in summer 2023, the app’s planned launch date.

The final march to BuzzCutt’s unveiling begins with a fundraiser at Victoria Bar on Jan. 28, which will feature DJ Jess the Ripper and N/A brands Athletic, Jøyus and Wilderton. Looking toward the event and beyond, the Searses spoke with WW about the artistry and philosophy behind the app, as well as their hopes for alleviating the stigma that surrounds the decision to drink in moderation or not at all.

WW: What’s the mission behind BuzzCutt?

Sarah Sears: I’m about two years sober, and a lot of the background with the app is a very personal-driven mission. Essentially, when you don’t have a drink in your hand or you have a water or you have a soda water, questions begin to arise from other people who are drinking. And, as a sober person, those can be really traumatizing questions.

If you’re just able to go to a bar or a restaurant and say, “I’ll take your N/A Athletic,” that’s it. It removes essentially all of the things I was just talking about…the questions that aren’t anyone’s business.

Olivia Sears: Access points are what we talk about all the time.

Sarah’s from Ohio, and we went to visit her family. We went to this country-ass liquor store—and in the back of the liquor store,

How will BuzzCutt work? Will you put in a ZIP code and it shows you bars and restaurants with N/A beers in the area?

Olivia Sears: Exactly. We’re basically cataloging all of the different N/A brands. Thankfully, Sarah is a creative director, so we’ve been able to do all of the design in house. It’s just a matter of a developer coding it and making it an app. So from March to May-June will be the developers going in and basically making it something usable.

Sarah, can you talk about the design of BuzzCutt and the principles behind it?

Sarah Sears: We have these stickers that we’ve been putting

throughout the city, handing out to people who are interested, and we have this icon that’s a literal buzzing bee [cut in half]. And it has this kind of secret-society vibe to it.

You’re like, “I don’t really know why that bee’s cut in half,” unless you do know. There’s this layer of intrigue that we’re trying to work into the brand through different iconography and illustration—this idea that we’re creating this secret-butwe-don’t-want-it-to-be-secret society.

I think historically, there’s this idea that you’re a rebel if you do things that are bad for you. But now, it’s kind of the opposite. That is another big sentiment of how I’ve gotten back to a place of who I was. And I think there’s this really kind of fun element of this reverse psychology that’s like, “Rebel for good.”

GO: The BuzzCutt Bazaar Fundraiser will be held at Victoria Bar, 4835 N Albina Ave., victoriapdx.com. Noon-5 pm Saturday, Jan. 28. Reserve a spot at eventbrite.com/e/ buzzcutt-bazaar-fundraiser-tickets-490342917867. Free.

TASTEMAKERS: Sarah and Olivia Sears. COURTESY OLIVIA AND SARAH SEARS there were three shelves of N/A beer. But how would anyone know they were there?
26 Willamette Week JANUARY 4, 2023 wweek.com CULTURE Editor: Bennett Campbell Ferguson | Contact: bennett@wweek.com
This January, look for weekly coverage of drinking without alcohol

The Na’vi have barely resurfaced and Benoit Blanc is probably still waiting on his flight home from Greece. But it’s time to leave the holiday hits behind and consider the movie year ahead with optimism for great filmmakers’ next outings and franchises looking to peak.

There are dozens of enticing movies expected in 2023, from Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon to Megan Thee Stallion’s acting debut in the musical comedy F*cking Identical Twins. But for the purposes of not disappointing anyone, we’ve limited our selections to films officially slated for release this year.

Infinity Pool (Jan. 27)

Brandon Cronenberg would happily ruin your new year when it’s barely begun. The Possessor director (and David’s son) plants Mia Goth and Alexander Skarsgård in a punitive realm where accused criminals can die or pay to watch themselves die.

Knock at the Cabin (Feb. 3)

Among major auteurs returning this year, M. Night Shyamalan is back with a vintage horror setup. Hulking, mysterious Dave Bautista intrudes on an unsuspecting family’s cabin weekend. Everything should be straightforward from there.

Magic Mike’s Last Dance (Feb. 10)

Mike could finally be ready to settle down and make furniture, but not before gyrating through London alongside Salma Hayek, with Steven Soderbergh back at the helm.

Cocaine Bear (Feb. 24)

Honestly, this entire preview could be about Cocaine Bear. Somehow inspired by a true story, this is a movie about (*checks notes*) a bear in rural Georgia that ingests cocaine and subsequently rampages. If only Bart the Bear were still alive.

Creed III (Mar. 3)

Jonathan Majors comes aboard as the new foe, channeling early Mike Tyson to pummel Adonis Creed. Star Michael B. Jordan takes over directing duties.

John Wick: Chapter 4 (March 24)

John Wick has faced insurmountable odds before, but going mano a mano with Donnie Yen could be the gun fu savant’s toughest test to date.

Renfield (April 14)

If you’ve seen Vampire’s Kiss or read how much inspiration Nic Cage draws from Nosferatu, you know his entire career has been building toward playing Dracula. Cage finally slaps on the gaunt makeup in this new horror comedy alongside Nicholas Hoult.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (June 2)

The animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, the most-ac-

claimed superhero film of the past five years, finally gets a sequel. Miles Morales must again rally multiversal spider-folks (the voice cast includes Oscar Isaac, Issa Rae and Daniel Kaluuya).

Elemental (June 16)

Director Peter Sohn (The Good Dinosaur) will play in the highest-concept corner of the Pixar sandbox, as two elemental embodiments—Ember the fire entity and Wade the water entity— navigate their friendship against the backdrop of Element City.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (June 30)

For those who thought the problem with Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was Harrison Ford being too young, here’s Indy 5. James Mangold directs, as Indy faces a Wernher von Braun-esque villain (Mads Mikkelsen). Can you whip in zero gravity?

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One (July 14)

Google “Tom Cruise motorcycle cliff jump.” That pretty much spells it out.

Oppenheimer (July 21)

For all the story gymnastics Christopher Nolan has pulled off these past 25 years, it’s anyone’s guess how he’ll attempt a semicrowd-pleasing blockbuster that depicts J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy) inventing the preeminent extinction device.

Barbie (July 21)

Now I am become Barbie, the destroyer of Nolan. Greta Gerwig’s third directorial turn will go head to head with Oppenheimer in a potential double feature for the ages. You’ve seen the brain-meltingly colorful on-set photos of Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling; now we’ll see how satirical a tone Gerwig strikes.

Challengers (Aug. 11)

Luca Guadagnino follows up Bones and All with a romantic tennis drama starring Zendaya and West Side Story breakout Mike Faist. Could be the best footwork of the year not from Magic Mike.

Next Goal Wins (Sept. 22)

More sports from an unsporty director? Taika Waititi tells the underdog story of the early 2000s American Samoa soccer team—who appear hapless until they hire coach Thomas Rongen (Michael Fassbender) and attempt to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

Dune: Part Two (Nov. 3)

Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Léa Seydoux and Christopher Walken have joined the cast of Denis Villeneuve’s Dune sequel, bringing the list of famous actors in the franchise up to approximately 2,000. Whether Timothée Chalamet’s inscrutable Paul Atreides will have any discernible feelings about this remains to be seen.

YOUR WEEKLY FILM QUEUE

HOLIDAY PICK:

Justin Hartley was a

on Smallville, but he’s since graduated to superstardom with This Is Us—and in The Noel Diary (2022), he’s so tender and real you almost forget his good looks (almost). Romcom pro Charles Shyer (director of Father of the Bride and ex-husband of Nancy Meyers) helmed this tale of a melancholy author (Hartley) falling in love with the daughter (Barrett Doss) of his childhood nanny. It’s set during the holidays, but don’t wait until next December to watch it. Contemporary romances this sweet and moving are rare in any season. Netflix.

SCI-FI PICK:

James Cameron, ever the lord of candor, recently shit-talked Terminator: Dark Fate (2019), a sequel that he co-wrote and produced (Deadpool’s Tim Miller filled the director’s chair). It’s definitely not so vigorously entertaining as the two Terminator films Cameron made, but it has its share of cinematic delights, including the fiercer-than-ever Linda Hamilton returning as Sarah Connor and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s memorable portrayal of a weathered terminator who rechristens himself Carl and finds work in Texas as a drapery salesman. Sling TV.

MUSICAL PICK:

A couple of WW’s film critics (myself included) are pretty high on Damien Chazelle’s heartfelt, gloriously crazed Hollywood epic Babylon right now. If you want to see how the Oscar-winning La La Land director got his start, check out Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench (2012), his feature directorial debut. The film, which stars famed jazz trumpet player Jason Palmer, is a rambling black-and-white musical that doesn’t always gel, but it’s a must-see for anyone who wants to discover the scrappy origin of one of our generation’s most passionate and brilliant filmmakers. Mubi.

screener UNIVERSAL PICTURES NETFLIX
serviceable Green Arrow
2023 Movie Preview Lights, camera and a cocaine bear, oh my! IMDB 27 Willamette Week JANUARY 4, 2023 wweek.com
STREAMING WARS
MOVIES
Editor: Bennett Campbell Ferguson Contact: bennett@wweek.com

Strangers on a Train (1951)

A convincing argument against small talk on public transit, this classic Hitchcock thriller entangles two men (played by Farley Granger and Robert Walker) in an initially hypothetical murder swap. Cinema 21, Jan. 7.

Lifeforce (1985)

A once-overlooked entrant in Tobe Hooper’s practical-effects-tastic 1980s run, Lifeforce combines all the madness of alien contact, vampirism, body-snatching and zombie contagion. Academy, Jan. 6-12.

Shogun Assassin (1980)

This cult reconstitution of two Lone Wolf and Cub films, shaped and dubbed for English-speaking audiences by director Robert Houston, plays the Hollywood on an “extremely rare” 35 mm print. It’s an ode to decapitation like no other. Hollywood, Jan. 10.

The Harder They Come (1972)

This Jamaican crime film is often credited with helping to popularize reggae worldwide in the early ’70s. Starring influential musician Jimmy Cliff, it plays at the Clinton as part of the theater’s Color & Sound series. Clinton, Jan. 9.

Brain Smasher…

A

Love Story (1993)

PUSS IN BOOTS: THE LAST WISH

Through the cash-grabby muck of soulless animated sequels and uninspired adaptations comes “El Macho Gato,” swooping in like Errol Flynn to save the day. In the Shrek universe’s first offering in over a decade, Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) has frittered away his previous eight lives—and the Big Bad Wolf (Wagner Moura) has come to claim his last, compelling the once fearless feline into a cozy life as a domesticated house cat. But Puss kicks off his kitten mittens and redons his boots when he hears of a magical MacGuffin that can restore his lost lives. He’s joined by a heartwarmingly hilarious dog, Perrito (Harvey Guillén), and reunites with Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek), facing down the likes of Goldilocks (Florence Pugh) and the three bears and Jack Horner (John Mulaney) along the way. The big-ticket voice actors offer an unexpected level of characterization, and the film features dynamic animation akin to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Kids will be swept away by a fairy tale that sincerely and movingly evokes the power of family and friendship, while adults will admire how forthrightly the film confronts life beyond the endless hope of youth. And all audiences, no matter their age, will appreciate the film’s conviction that one beautiful life matters as much as nine. PG. RAY GILL JR. Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, City Center, Clackamas, Eastport, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Center, Oak Grove, Pioneer Place, Progress Ridge, St. Johns Twin,Studio One, Tigard, Wunderland Beaverton, Wunderland Milwaukie.

BABYLON

Cinemagic’s monthly VHS Night series continues with a homegrown action artifact. Andrew Dice Clay stars as a Portland bouncer duking it out with Chinatown crime lords. Because that is the duty of a bouncer. Cinemagic, Jan. 6.

ALSO PLAYING:

Academy: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Jan. 6-12. Clinton: UHF (1989), Jan. 7 and 8.

Hollywood: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993), Jan. 6. Casablanca (1942), Jan. 7. Blade Runner: The Final Cut (1982), Jan. 7-8.

In Babylon, there’s a scene where one woman woos another by sucking rattlesnake venom out of her neck. That’s the movie in a nutshell—sweet, slightly insane and irrevocably romantic. It’s true to form for director Damien Chazelle (La La Land ), who is enamored with the romance of things lost. This time, the subject of his jubilant-mournful gaze is pre-talkies Hollywood, as embodied by a swaggering, fading star (Brad Pitt), an exuberantly vulgar it girl (Margot Robbie), and a naïve striver (Diego Calva), whose evolution—from eager chauffeur to cynical executive to rueful family man—brashly illustrates how Tinseltown makes and unmakes its denizens. Even at 188 minutes, the film can’t fully illuminate the inner lives of everyone in its vast ensemble (which includes Jovan Adepo as a trumpet player caught in a maelstrom of success and bigotry). Still, to drink in Chazelle’s mad brew of screwball vignettes and nostalgic yearning is to experience a transcendent high. Babylon ’s Hollywood is callous and cruel—two behind-the-scenes deaths are greeted with nonchalance by the film’s “heroes”—but it can also be frantically glorious, as Calva’s character learns when he steals an ambulance to get a camera to a set before the sun goes down. He makes it in time for the director to get a shot of Pitt, in medieval garb, smooching his costar as the light fades from the sky. What a town this was then, Chazelle seems to sigh, though

not without defiance. Despite being about a cinematic age long dead, Babylon is blazingly alive. R. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON. Academy, Cedar Hills, Cinema 21, Cinemagic, City Center, Eastport, Fox Tower, Hollywood, Laurelhurst, Living Room, Lloyd Center, Pioneer Place, Studio One, Tigard.

CORSAGE

If you thought Princess Di had it too easy, consider Empress Elisabeth of the Habsburg monarchy. Presented publicly as a near-mute, suffocatingly corseted doll, Elisabeth (Vicky Krieps) leads a double life in 1877 Vienna. In private, she’s an expert equestrian, gymnast and fencer, and an advocate for the institutionalized (not to mention a skilled flirt). Her duality flawlessly suits Krieps (Phantom Thread Bergman Island ), who excels in roles that withhold a rich inner life just beyond a patriarchal view. But director Marie Kreutzer (The Ground Beneath My Feet) stretches Elisabeth’s subjugation into a thin, melancholic silence. Corsage aimlessly repeats the notes of Elisabeth’s quiet, failed rebellions to diminishing returns. Considering all that the film ahistorically invents for the character, there’s ample room to make more joy, more passion, more fireworks from Elisabeth’s individuality and desires (without reaching for the opulent heights of a cinematic cousin like Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette). NR. CHANCE SOLEM-PFEIFER . Bridgeport, City Center, Fox Tower.

A MAN CALLED OTTO

Tom Hanks has officially entered the curmudgeonly phase of his career. In A Man Called Otto, based on the Swedish-language film A Man Called Ove and the novel by Fredrik Backman, Hanks plays a retired widower who loses the will to live until a new family intrudes into his neighborhood (and, gradually, his life). It’s a story built on the most tired of tropes: the supercilious old white man reluctantly offering sage guidance to today’s incompetent youth while finding his purpose in the process. Worse, Hanks isn’t even right for the role; he seems unable to shake his established persona to sell the emotional journey of a “mean” man we’re supposed to grow to love (an archetype Bill Murray and Clint Eastwood portrayed to near perfection in St. Vincent and Gran Torino, respectively). It doesn’t help that the film never colors outside the lines in its depiction of an elder’s enduring relevance in a changing society, only taking a view from the cheap seats at the story’s more urgent dynamics (including storylines dealing with suicide and gender identity).

PG-13. RAY GILL JR. Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, Evergreen Parkway, Fox Tower.

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MINUS TIDE by Calico Jack

“What’s your New Year’s resolution?” Same as last year.”
minustidecomic “What’s your New Year’s resolution?” “Same as last year.”
29 Willamette Week JANUARY 4, 2023 wweek.com
by Jack Kent

ARIES (March 21-April 19): "My life was the best omelet you could make with a chainsaw," observed flamboyant author Thomas McGuane. That's a witty way to encapsulate his tumultuous destiny. There have been a few moments in 2022 when you might have been tempted to invoke a similar metaphor about your own evolving story. But the good news is that your most recent chainsawmade omelet is finished and ready to eat. I think you'll find its taste is savory. And I believe it will nourish you for a long time. (Soon it will be time to start your next omelet, maybe without using the chainsaw this time!)

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): After meticulous research of 2023's astrological omens, I have come to a radical conclusion: You should tell the people who care for you that you'd like to be called by new pet names. I think you need to intensify their ability and willingness to view you as a sublime creature worthy of adoration. I don't necessarily recommend you use old standbys like "cutie," "honey," "darling," or "angel." I'm more in favor of unique and charismatic versions, something like "Jubilee" or "Zestie" or "Fantasmo" or "Yowie-Wowie." Have fun coming up with pet names that you are very fond of. The more, the better.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): If I could choose some fun and useful projects for you to master in 2023, they would include the following: 1. Be in constant competition with yourself to outdo past accomplishments. But at the same time, be extra compassionate toward yourself. 2. Borrow and steal other people's good ideas and use them with even better results than they would use them. 3. Acquire an emerald or two, or wear jewelry that features emeralds. 4. Increase your awareness of and appreciation for birds. 5. Don't be attracted to folks who aren't good for you just because they are unusual or interesting. 6. Upgrade your flirting so it's even more nuanced and amusing, while at the same time you make sure it never violates anyone's boundaries.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): When she was young, Carolyn Forché was a conventional poet focused on family and childhood. But she transformed. Relocating to El Salvador during its civil war, she began to write about political trauma. Next, she lived in Lebanon during its civil war. She witnessed firsthand the tribulations of military violence and the imprisonment of activists. Her creative work increasingly illuminated questions of social justice. At age 72, she is now a renowned human rights advocate. In bringing her to your attention, I don't mean to suggest that you engage in an equally dramatic self-reinvention. But in 2023, I do recommend drawing on her as an inspirational role model. You will have great potential to discover deeper aspects of your life's purpose—and enhance your understanding of how to offer your best gifts.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Are the characters in Carlos Castañeda's books on shamanism fictional or real? It doesn't matter to me. I love the wisdom of his alleged teacher, Don Juan Matus. He said, "Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself, and yourself alone, one question. Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn't, it is of no use." Don Juan's advice is perfect for you in the coming nine months, Leo. I hope you will tape a copy of his words on your bathroom mirror and read it at least once a week.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Teacher and author Byron Katie claims, "The voice within is what I'm married to. My lover is the place inside me where an honest yes and no come from." I happen to know that she has also been married for many years to a writer named Stephen Mitchell. So she has no problem being wed to both Mitchell and her inner voice. In accordance with astrological omens, I invite you to propose marriage to your own inner voice. The coming year will be a fabulous time to deepen your relationship with this crucial source of useful and sacred revelation

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Libran philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche offered advice that is perfect for you in 2023. It's strenuous. It's demanding and daunting. If you take it to heart, you will have to perform little miracles you may not yet have the confidence to try. But I have faith in you, Libra. That's why I don't hesitate to provide you with Nietzsche's rant: "No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life. There may be countless trails and bridges and demigods who would gladly carry you across; but only at the price of pawning and forgoing yourself. There is one path in the world that none can walk but you. Where does it lead? Don’t ask, walk!"

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): How might you transform the effects of the limitations you've been dealing with? What could you do to make it work in your favor as 2023 unfolds? I encourage you to think about these question with daring and audacity. The more moxie you summon, the greater your luck will be in making the magic happen. Here's another riddle to wrestle with: What surrender or sacrifice could you initiate that might lead in unforeseen ways to a plucky breakthrough? I have a sense that's what will transpire as you weave your way through the coming months in quest of surprising opportunities.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Sagittarian singer Tina Turner confided, "My greatest beauty secret is being happy with myself." I hope you will experiment with that formula in 2023. I believe the coming months will potentially be a time when you will be happier with yourself than you have ever been before—more at peace with your unique destiny, more accepting of your unripe qualities, more in love with your depths, and more committed to treating yourself with utmost care and respect. Therefore, if Tina Turner is accurate, 2023 will also be a year when your beauty will be ascendant.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): “I’m homesick all the time," writes author Sarah Addison Allen. "I just don’t know where home is. There's this promise of happiness out there. I know it. I even feel it sometimes. But it’s like chasing the moon. Just when I think I have it, it disappears into the horizon.” If you have ever felt pangs like hers, Capricorn, I predict they will fade in 2023. That's because I expect you will clearly identify the feeling of home you want—and thereby make it possible to find and create the place, the land, and the community where you will experience a resounding peace and stability.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Storyteller Michael Meade tells us, "The ship is always off course. Anybody who sails knows that. Sailing is being off-course and correcting. That gives a sense of what life is about." I interpret Meade's words to mean that we are never in a perfect groove heading directly towards our goal. We are constantly deviating from the path we might wish we could follow with unfailing accuracy. That's not a bug in the system; it's a feature. And as long as we obsess on the idea that we're not where we should be, we are distracted from doing our real work. And the real work? The ceaseless corrections. I hope you will regard what I'm saying here as one of your core meditations in 2023, Aquarius.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): A Chinese proverb tells us, "Great souls have wills. Feeble souls have wishes." I guess that's true in an abstract way. But in practical terms, most of us are a mix of both great and feeble. We have a modicum of willpower and a bundle of wishes. In 2023, though, you Pisceans could make dramatic moves to strengthen your willpower as you shed wimpy wishes. In my psychic vision of your destiny, I see you feeding metaphorical iron supplements to your resolve and determination.

Homework: Visualize in intricate detail a breakthrough you would like to experience by July 2023. Newsletter.FreeWillAstrology.com

©2022 Jonesin’ Crosswords (editor@jonesincrosswords.com) For answers to this puzzle,
cents per minute. Must be 18+. Or to bill to your credit card,
ACROSS 1. Course average 4. "Riptide" singer ___ Joy 9. Approximately, in dates 14. Argentina's daily sports newspaper 15. Colgate competitor 16. Central Florida city 17. Guillermo Del Toro remake of 2022 that got a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes 19. Ancient Mesopotamian civilization 20. "CSI" sample 21. Reading material, for short 23. "The Serpent and the Rope" novelist Raja 24. Revelation from sevenyear-old Tariq in a memeworthy 2022 interview (and earworm song) 30. Jodie Foster title role 31. "Go Green!" newsletter org. 32. Bob Marley album with "Three Little Birds" 33. Game that uses chalk 36. Sugar amt. 37. Jeremy Allen White show that's very Chicagocentric (and topped many 2022 Best of TV lists) 39. Rink fakeout 42. Contemptuous, in a way 47. "The Barber of Seville" barber 49. Prickly plant part that sticks to clothing 50. Pasta that looks like rice 51. Jennette McCurdy memoir that was a 2022 #1 New York Times Bestseller 54. Play scenery 55. Golfer's support 56. Charged particle 57. Breed popularized by Queen Elizabeth II 59. Game of the Year winner at The Game Awards 2022 65. 1836 Texas battle site 66. Armless sculpture, e.g. 67. Keg opening 68. Macbeth's invitation to Macduff 69. Use some language 70. "That's right" DOWN 1. Work on some bubble wrap? 2. "Always Be My Maybe" actress Wong 3. Mystery novelist Ruth 4. Outspoken 5. Story path 6. "Don't believe so" 7. 151 in Rome 8. "Christ Stopped at ___" (Carlo Levi book) 9. Add to the price, like additional features 10. "ER" venue 11. Musketeers' accessories 12. Become less cloudy 13. Spelling and Sorkin 18. Crawling ___ fours 22. Barinholtz involved in the upcoming series "History of the World, Part II" 24. Bach's "Mass ___ 53Down" 25. Big name in outdoor equipment 26. "People Puzzler" host Remini 27. Belgian battle site of WWI 28. Social media personality whose recent charity single broke the Beatles' record for most consecutive U.K. Christmas #1s 29. Item seen in the 24-Across video 34. Repeated step 35. Vaccine fluid 38. Prefix
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62. Conductor
Salonen 63. Edinburgh denial 64. Navigational tool, for short JONESIN’ BY MATT JONES "The Best of 2022"--another year, another look back.
call: 1-900-226-2800, 99
call: 1-800-655-6548. Reference puzzle #JNZ990.
meaning "height"
guitarist Al with the 1991 album "Kiss My Axe"
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WEEK OF JANUARY 5 © 2022 ROB BREZSNY FREE WILL last week’s answers ASTROLOGY CHECK OUT ROB BREZSNY’S EXPANDED WEEKLY AUDIO HOROSCOPES & DAILY TEXT MESSAGE HOROSCOPES freewillastrology.com The audio horoscopes are also available by phone at 1-877-873-4888 or 1-900-950-7700 30 Willamette Week JANUARY 4, 2023 wweek.com
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