All Bias, No Crime. P. 8
Rare Nigiri at Kaede. P. 22
The Dandy Warhols Get Symphonic. P. 25
State inaction left Oregon teens vulnerable to fentanyl’s lethal spread.
By Emily Green
SUMMER CAMP GUIDE, P. 18 WWEEK.COM VOL 49/18 03.15.2023
NEWS FOOD MUSIC
EVERYBODY READS 2023 MARCH 16, 2023 | 7:30 P.M. RUTH OZEKI Keller Auditorium | tickets at literary-arts.org SPONSORS: Get Busy Our event picks, emailed weekly. SIGN UP AT WWEEK.COM/ NEWSLETTERS 2 Willamette Week MARCH 15, 2023 wweek.com
WHAT WE LEARNED FROM READING THIS WEEK’S PAPER
VOL. 49, ISSUE 18
Electric cars account for 0.6% of Portland’s auto thefts. 4
The pit that once held an auto sales office lies just down Powell Boulevard from the abandoned Dunkin’ Donuts. 6
Shouting racist slurs isn’t a bias crime by itself. 8
A ballot measure to tax capital gains allows the tax rate to be raised or lowered annually. 10
Drug-related deaths among teenagers increased faster in Oregon than anywhere else in the country between 2019 and 2021. 14
You can sample classic Irish beers and Gigantic’s take on the same brews at a side-byside tasting. 21
The Rose City is apparently the Clowns Without Borders benefit’s most successful fundraiser. 21
For the first time, Multnomah Whiskey Library has invited outside industry professionals to create drinks for its menu.
Walk-ins will be turned away from Kaede, even if they throw a tantrum 23
Novice stoners should steer clear of Green Monster until they’ve built up a tolerance. 24
Courtney Taylor-Taylor first met Peter Holmström at a symphonic music summer camp. 25
Fae lovers setting a beach on fire are in the Multnomah County Library’s YA section.
A Blaxploitation voodoo zombie-infested kung fu revenge thriller is sure to grab even the most bored student’s attention.
Cringe zoomer internet culture is quite possibly the most fear-inducing motif. 28
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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 Jed Hoesch 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. DIRTY LEPRECHAUN, PAGE 20 ON THE COVER: Fentanyl and a shortage of drug treatment pose a lethal threat to Oregon’s teens; illustration by McKenzie Young-Roy OUR MOST TRAFFICKED STORY ONLINE THIS WEEK: No matter how violently he behaves, the state hospital keeps expelling this mentally ill Portlander back to town. 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.
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A week after our cover story on overcrowding and early releases at Oregon State Hospital, WW considered a case closer to home: that of Joshua McCurry, a mentally ill Portlander who has fallen though every social safety net and presents a danger to the people he encounters (“World of Hurt,” March 8). He has stayed in Portland’s dedicated psychiatric hospital and a residential clinic, but only landed in the state hospital after punching a police officer. McCurry’s story exemplifies a system in which people with mental illness receive care only in the immediate aftermath of committing violent crimes. Here’s what our readers had to say:
MID COUNTY, VIA WWEEK.
PACIFIC101, VIA TWITTER:
SUSAN MARIE, VIA FACE-
BOOK: “And we can’t force him to take meds why? He is clearly a danger to himself and others and, in my book, that means his civil rights do NOT weigh against everyone else’s rights, not to mention safety. No meds, no liberty. But he should be treated humanely.”
GRACELOUISE, VIA WWEEK.
24th annual benefit shows
Portland Clowns Without Borders
Jam Band + Steve Berlin
a celebration of women in song
a genderbending burlesque cabaret
Arietta Ward | Naomi LaViolette
Liz Chibucos | Lisa Mann
Bre Gregg | LaRhonda Steele
Beth Wood | Kristen Grainger
MARIA MULDAUR & her Red Hot Bluesiana Band
THE TRIALS OF CATO
COM: “When the police are called to an armed, violently acting out, out of control, mentally ill person in the midst of a psychotic break, and end up having to shoot said person, it’s inevitable that community leaders, politicians, and mental health advocates, with the benefit of hindsight, will lay sole blame for it happening on the failings of police.
“It’s far easier than actually doing the hard work and having the political courage to overhaul an entirely broken mental health care system.
“Again, compliments to WW for keeping a bright spotlight on the issue of the lack of mental health services in this state, and the failure of political leadership (both parties over the years) to have the will and courage to address the ever-growing issue.”
WHEEBLESWOBBLE, VIA REDDIT: “Why is our government so hesitant to build up state hospital capacity? This is a huge problem that nobody seems to be even trying to solve.”
“Civil rights rulings mean people have the right to (A) not take medicine and (B) not be held if they are not a threat to themselves or others. This leads to problems, absolutely. But that’s the bottom line that activists fought for in the ’70s. No one wants Cuckoo’s Nest again.”
REDDIT: “This is an issue across the country. I just moved here from New Mexico and they have the exact same issue. As a country, we need to fund programs for persons with severe mental illness and proper housing and treatment for them. Unfortunately, most people just don’t care and like to blame the individuals themselves because it feels better to do so than realize we are utterly failing as a society. Most people we see acting erratic on the street are not solely abusing drugs but are having a delusional episode from untreated severe mental illness. Many of these illnesses cause progressive cognitive decline without medication.”
BY MARTY SMITH @martysmithxxx
How come electric cars are not being stolen in Portland? —Jen
Sorry, Jen, I almost didn’t see you there—I’ve been indulging in my favorite form of passive-aggressive intergenerational taunting, convincing Gen Z that the universal three-digit phone number for emergency services was chosen to honor the victims of 9/11. (Try it, it’s fun!)
COM: “Anybody who judges this guy for not wanting to take his drugs prescribed to him ought to give them a try themselves to see what is at stake.
“I was misdiagnosed as psychotic at age 15 and spent the next four years being made to take that crap. It made my depression much worse and made me so dysfunctional that as a former math-loving student, I was unable to do simple algebra problems.
“ We need a low-cost moral care asylum in Oregon where the treatment is quality of life, rather than toxic drugs, brain-injuring electroshock, and subtle verbal abuse by smug therapists. That can be done by employing peers rather than pricey psychiatrists and therapists. Good food, comfortable quarters, healthy activities would keep that man comfortable and allow him to recover from all he’s been through at a cost far less than the state hospital.”
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Submit to: P.O. Box 10770, Portland OR, 97296
doing the right thing!
Well, if you believe that, I’ve got a pedestrian-and-transit bridge to sell you.* No, the real answer is not so metaphysical—in fact, it’s yet another example of the working poor being pressed into service as God’s festival toilet: Newer cars—the kind likely to be driven by the comparatively well-to-do—are simply more difficult to steal than the crappy old beaters driven by porn store janitors, truck stop deep fryer operators, alt-weekly humor columnists, et al.
TOM RUSSELL NATURAL HOMELAND HONORING UKRAINE
OPERA SINGALONG MASHUP PRESENTED BY LOW BAR CHORALE
4/8 - LADY SINGS THE BLUES - A TRIBUTE TO BILLIE HOLIDAY
Anyway, I’m sure the owners of the 78 Toyota Priuses stolen in Portland in the past year would contest your premise. However, given that this figure represents only 0.6% of the city’s total car thefts over that period, I tend to agree that you’re probably on to something: Electric cars (we’ll include hybrids in this category) really do seem to be stolen less frequently than their traditionally powered brethren. But why?
The answer, of course, is the inherently superior karma of Earth-conscious electric-vehicle drivers. Their spiritual energy forms a psychic armor of righteousness around the planet-defending vehicles that not even the most hardened tweaker’s bad vibes can penetrate. Finally, we receive an earthly reward for
Electric cars are a relatively new phenomenon (the 2004 Prius was the first to penetrate the U.S. market in large numbers), so they all happen to fall within this category of newer, more theft-proof cars lacking the glaring security flaws that make certain late 20th century cars (I’m looking at you, Honda) cartoonishly easy for even extremely stupid people to rip off.
Lest you think I’m exaggerating, consider that cars from 2004 and earlier make up less than a quarter of the total number on U.S. roads, yet fully 61% of the vehicles stolen in Portland in the past three years were that old or older. Perhaps it’s not so much that no one ever steals a Prius as that thieves are stealing so many old Hondas that it drowns out everything else. (Except, perhaps, the sound of a Sawzall cutting off your Prius’ catalytic converter—kerrrrr-AANG!)
*Easy payments—just $112 biannually!
Questions? Send them to email@example.com.
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4 Willamette Week MARCH 15, 2023 wweek.com DIALOGUE
ROSELAND UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT: David Leiken, Portland’s most enduring concert promoter, has sold the company that manages the Roseland Theater to Mammoth Northwest for an undisclosed price. Leiken, 75, retains ownership of the Roseland and will take on a “coaching” role in the business through the end of the year. Mammoth, based in Lawrence, Kan., merged with Mike Thrasher Presents in 2021, following the death of Thrasher, who helped establish Portland as a touring destination for underground punk, metal and rap acts. Leiken, who ran his own concert-ticketing operation until 1999, when he sold it to TicketsWest, has been one of the industry’s most vocal critics of Ticketmaster, the ticketing giant now owned by Live Nation. While others folded in the face of Ticketmaster competition in the 1990s, Leiken’s FastTix fought on. Live Nation has come under scrutiny in the U.S. Senate, which has held hearings on whether the company holds monopoly power. Live Nation ate crow in November when its website crashed during sales for Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour.
LOW-KEY COUNTY RACE BELIES TENSIONS:
The race to serve the remaining two years of Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson’s term as a county commissioner is so far a low-key affair featuring community activists Ana del Rocio and Albert Kaufman and Portland Public Schools board member Julia Brim-Edwards. Although Kaufman and Brim-Edwards have yet to disclose any campaign contributions, two of the names on del Rocio’s contributor list are noteworthy. One is PPS board chair Andrew Scott, in for $250, a snub to his colleague Brim-Edwards (two other current PPS board members have also endorsed del Rocio). Meanwhile, Metro Council President Lynn Peterson, who works closely with the county board on transportation and homelessness, has also given $250 to del Rocio, perhaps a legacy of Brim-Edwards’ active role in helping her then-employer, Nike, submarine a multibillion-dollar transportation measure Peterson championed in 2020. “Everybody makes their own decision on who to support,” says Brim-Edwards, who notes she’s picked up endorsements from three former governors: Kate Brown, Ted Kulongoski and Barbara Roberts. Del Rocio says Scott’s and Peterson’s endorsements are signs of her broad appeal: “I’m the collaborative and forward-thinking candidate the county needs.”
GUN VIOLENCE DROPS AMID REVAMPING OF CITY PROGRAMS: In a bit of badly needed good news, the Portland Police Bureau reported last month that shootings and homicides were down year over year in January. There were 95 shootings that month, compared with 127 in January last year. Homicides declined from 9 to 6. “First time I’ve seen a negative number yet,” an ecstatic Mike Myers told county leaders in a meeting late last month. Myers, the city’s community safety director, credited hot-spot policing and new
anti-violence programs, noting there hasn’t been a murder in the Old Town Entertainment District since the city began closing streets and increasing the police presence there in September.
The drop is also welcome news for Mayor Ted Wheeler, who in the midst of record-breaking homicides announced a series of initiatives called Safer Summer PDX to address the violence. The timeline of the program was never clear. One of the initiative’s leaders, Shareef Khatib, completed his six-month, $105,000 contract in November.
And many of the outreach contracts Khatib signed with local community leaders haven’t yet been renewed, sparking some grumbling. “The work is scaled down mightily,” one of the contractors, Lionel Irving, told KATU-TV on March 13. “We had 11 guys on the streets, you know. Right now, we got three.”
TRAFFIC DEATHS TIE RECORD: Sixty people died in car crashes last year, matching 2021 for the highest number of deaths ever on Portland’s streets. Nearly half of those people, 28, were on foot, according to an annual report compiled by the Portland Bureau of Transportation. Four were cyclists and 11 were riding motorcycles. More than two-thirds of the deaths occurred in what the city calls its “high crash corridors,” a selection of the busiest streets that includes particularly deadly thoroughfares like Southeast Powell Boulevard, Southeast Division Street and Northeast Glisan Street. In recent years, the city has focused its transportation safety projects, including better signage, crosswalks and traffic barriers, on those streets. While walking deaths remain high, one prominent trend from 2021 has declined. That year, 70% of pedestrians who died were homeless. In 2022, 36% of pedestrians killed were homeless.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROJECT SAVED: The Washington County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously March 14 for the county’s housing authority to negotiate the purchase of Woodspring Apartments, a 172-unit affordable housing development built in 1991 with tax credit financing. A San Francisco investment firm bought Woodspring in 2015, anticipating the expiration of rent limits when the project’s 20year affordability period ended. Tenants, many of whom are elderly and living on fixed incomes, faced rent increases of $600 to $800 a month at the end of this year. Margot Black, a tenant advocate who organized and rallied residents to plead their case to county commissioners, notes that Woodspring is something of a canary in the coal mine because thousands of affordable units across the state will see their affordability periods end in coming years. “We are thrilled that our hard work and dedication have paid off,” said 80-year-old Lois Keck, a tenant for over 20 years and co-chair and spokeswoman of the Woodspring Tenants Association. “Our community means everything to us, and we are grateful that we can continue to age in place.”
2023 MARK O. HATFIELD Lecture
OF The Chinese Question: The Gold Rushes and Global Politics
28, 2023 at 7pm Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall Scan to purchase tickets now! MAE NGAI ohs.org/hatfield 5 Willamette Week MARCH 15, 2023 wweek.com MURMURS
AMINÉ AT THE ROSELAND THEATER
Mushroom Diploma Mill
Who regulated an online psilocybin trainer, and will they pay more attention after it ghosted students?
BY ANTHONY EFFINGER firstname.lastname@example.org
Lesley Clarke might be Synthesis Institute’s worst nightmare. Clarke is one of some 300 students who paid the Dutch company between $9,000 and $14,000 to learn how to guide clients on psychedelic mushroom trips. Clarke hoped the 13-month online course would enable her to lead regulated psychedelic sessions in Oregon, where they are legal, and in Washington, where, she’s betting, they will be soon.
“Synthesis had an amazing reputation,” Clarke tells WW
Then, four months into the course, Synthesis ghosted her. She couldn’t access new online materials, and one of the founders, a Dutchman with radiant blue eyes named Martijn Schirp, didn’t return emails asking about the $4,665 she had paid so far.
While others in her cohort have taken to the Signal messaging app to urge patience with Synthesis—and even prayer for Schirp—Clarke has been bracing for a fight.
“I have a high level of intolerance for injustice,” Clarke, 37, says. “Americans are very litigious. I’m bringing that energy to the mix.”
Clarke says she’s fighting not just for her cash, but for the future of psychedelic-assisted therapy, a field in which she’d like to work. Detractors are watching Oregon’s foray into psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, for mistakes, she says, and having one of the state-approved training programs blow up so soon is an ugly one.
“Everyone has to be above reproach,” Clarke says. “There
Nonpayment of rent soured a relationship between an auto dealership and its landlord. ADDRESS: 3659
is no room to mess this up. When something goes wrong and there is no communication, it will ripple through the industry. What is the space that we want to work in going to look like after something like this?”
The question for Clarke and other students is recourse. Getting it depends on a larger question: Who is monitoring Oregon’s newly sprouted mushroom education program?
Who certifies mushroom trainers?
Like all psilocybin facilitator training programs, Synthesis is governed by both the Oregon Health Authority, which vets the curriculum, and by the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, the state entity that governs training programs like psilocybin schools.
OHA says the students’ plight is a problem for HECC.
“ While OHA reviews and approves psilocybin facilitator training program curriculum, OHA does not have regulatory authority,” says Angela Allbee, manager of Oregon Psilocybin Services, a section of OHA. “The Higher Education Coordinating Commission licenses and regulates training programs that are subject to the definition of career training schools in Oregon.”
As part of its licensing process, HECC is charged with determining “to the best of our knowledge if licensed schools are financially sound and have academic policies in place that are appropriate to protect student interests,” commission spokeswoman Endi Hartigan said in an email.
So what went wrong?
HECC’s involvement in psilocybin was accidental, says Sam Chapman, head of the Healing Advocacy Fund, which supports the regulated use of psilocybin. Measure 109 used a definition of training schools that invoked HECC’s authority.
“It was a surprise to OHA, to HECC, and to the psilocybin community,” he says.
Working through the commission’s normal channels would have delayed the opening of training programs by a year.
In response, HECC made an exception to its rules governing the qualifications of instructors. “Because the regulated psilocybin education industry is novel in the United States, HECC’s definition of ‘qualified instructor’ serves as an impediment to licensing schools,” the commission said in a December document detailing the matter.
HECC’s solution: In lieu of meeting requirements that were in previous administrative rules, instructors in psilocybin training programs “must submit proof that the instructor
SQUARE FOOTAGE: 0.97 acres
MARKET VALUE: $2.9 million
OWNERS: Merrill & Langberg LLC
HOW LONG IT’S BEEN EMPTY: About a year
Long the site of a humble used-car lot, Pat Twyman’s Car Center, the ruler-shaped property that stretches almost an entire block along Southeast Powell Boulevard, now lies vacant. (It sits between a Starbucks drive-thru and a former Dunkin’ Donuts that WW examined last month.) Like other properties that have fallen into dereliction, it’s dotted with trash, patchy moss, and sometimes a homeless person seeking refuge.
For decades, Pat Twyman sold cars to buyers with bad credit. Twyman appears to have been a stickler for keeping the bright blue building and massive parking lot around it neat. A complaint filed with the city in 2010 by a neighbor beefed that someone at Twyman’s would pressure wash and whack weeds on Sundays, sometimes as early as 8 am.
But Pat Twyman’s Car Center closed its doors in spring 2022 without explanation.
Two owners of the property, Charles Merrill and Raymond Langberg, are perhaps best known for another retail building they owned until recently: the Quality Pie building on Northwest 23rd Avenue, a valuable lot in the heart of the Alphabet District whose lack of tenants befuddled
is identified with a program approved by [OHA].”
Translation: If OHA says a school is legit, with the instructors as part of the approved curriculum, everything is good. So, did Synthesis fall through the crack between two regulators?
“This was certainly a fast-changing situation with Synthesis and an unusual one,” Hartigan at HECC said in an email. “The financial due diligence that is part of our application requirements is a point-in-time process that includes evaluation of the balance sheet, financial resources, assets and liabilities, and projected income statements. We believe it is an effective one for supporting the stability of more than 200 private career schools we currently license.”
How can students get their money back?
Under Oregon law, schools that close must give HECC 30 days’ notice and offer students “teach-out” options at a comparable program at no additional cost. If students decline the teach-out, they are entitled to a pro rata refund. If no teach-out is offered, a school has to refund the entire tuition.
There may be a teach-out in the offing. A Canadian company, Retreat Guru, which operates an Expedia-type service for self-improvement getaways, says it has taken over the Synthesis curriculum. Before, Retreat Guru was merely the booking agent for Synthesis, collecting payment from students. Now it wants to run the program.
Clarke and others have no interest in that. Many students have filed complaints against Synthesis with the Oregon Department of Justice. “I did not pay and sign a contract to be educated by Retreat Guru,” wrote Jonathan Brown of Santa Monica, Calif. “Their name means nothing in the psychedelic space. I want a full refund.”
Retreat Guru, run by brothers Cameron and Deryk Wenaus in the tiny town of Nelson, B.C., may be trying to save its own skin by taking over the Synthesis program. WW estimates some 300 students were left high and dry when Synthesis failed. At $10,000 each, that’s $3 million. Clarke, the student, says Retreat Guru held a video call on March 4 in which the firm indicated it was on the hook for that cash.
“Because they processed the payments and then transferred them to Synthesis, all of the disputed charges were kicking back to Retreat Guru with no Synthesis money left,” Clarke says. “They explicitly said this was the reason they were taking over the program, because otherwise they would go bankrupt.”
The Wenauses didn’t return emails seeking comment.
developers for 30 years.
As WW wrote last year, the owners, who could not be reached at the time and live in separate states, forewent millions of dollars in rent for decades. The 73-year-old Langberg lives in Seattle; his cousin, 76-year old Merrill, lives in Portland.
Langberg, when reached by phone, said the auto dealer went out of business. “For quite a long time, he was there,” Langberg says. “The problem right now is keeping the homeless people out of the building.” (The structure was recently demolished, leaving a shallow hole filled with puddles.)
What Langberg did not mention is that Merrill & Langberg LLC sued Twyman last fall, alleging he failed to pay more than $247,000 in rent between 2021 and 2022. Twyman failed to appear in court, according to filings, and the court issued a default judgment against him.
Twyman, now in his late 80s, appears to have moved to Vancouver, Wash. He could not be reached for comment.
The property is now up for sale. The asking price is $4.2 million. SOPHIE PEEL.
Every week, WW examines one mysteriously vacant property in the city of Portland, explains why it’s empty, and considers what might arrive there next. Send addresses to email@example.com.
6 Willamette Week MARCH 15, 2023 wweek.com WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS WEEK NEWS
WATCHING THE WATCHERS
Blvd. YEAR BUILT:
LIFT OFF: Pat Twyman’s Car Center is now a hole.
HOUSE BILL 2697
Hospitals are at odds with their nurses over how many patients each nurse can juggle.
This bill, which would require nurse staffing ratios, is among the most hotly contested health care bills of the session.
The Oregon Nurses Association is a powerful voice in Salem, while the state’s 60 hospitals, represented by the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, are pillars of communities across the state. The prospect of staffing ratios has them at loggerheads.
Nurses say COVID-19 decimated their profession, particularly hospital-based nurses. For their part, the hospitals say they face perilous financial conditions that would worsen under mandatory staffing.
“The minimum staffing required by the bill will further constrict hospitals that are already experiencing a capacity crisis,” Jennifer Gentry, Providence Oregon’s chief nursing officer, testified Feb. 28. “The net impact is that fewer individual patients can be served in Oregon hospitals.”
CHIEF SPONSORS: State Reps. Rob Nosse and Travis Nelson (D-Portland) and Sens. James Manning (D-Eugene) and Deb Patterson (D-Salem).
Data shows fires at homeless camps remained a large portion of Portland blazes last year.
The serious injury last week of a person living in a cinder block chamber beneath the Steel Bridge was the latest and most extreme example of an ongoing problem: fires at homeless encampments lit by freezing Portlanders struggling to keep warm on the streets.
In the case of the person living inside the bridge, the smoke from an out-of-control fire was nearly fatal. The victim was found unresponsive by firefighters and taken to the hospital March 8.
In a cover story last fall, WW reported that 2,048 fires started in or near homeless camps in 2021 (“Camp Fires Everywhere,” Nov. 2, 2022) That was nearly half of all fires in Portland, according to Portland Fire & Rescue, and the number had more than doubled since 2019.
New unreported data obtained by WW from the fire bureau shows this ratio continued into 2022. There were 1,959 of what the bureau calls “homeless-related fires” last year, 41% of all fires in the city. That percentage climbed during winter months when temperatures at night sometimes plunged below freezing.
The question of what to do about that trend has become among the most bitterly argued in Portland since City Commissioner Rene Gonzalez banned bureaus under his oversight from distributing tents to unhoused people. That policy shift, decried by advocates for the unhoused, occurred less than a month ago—too recently for any shift in fire counts to be statistically significant.
WHAT IT WOULD DO: Establish minimum staffing ratios for nurses and nursing assistants. In hospitals, for example, nurses could be assigned to care for one to six patients, depending on the unit and severity of patients’ conditions. Although nurses and hospitals currently collaborate on staffing, the bill sets specific ratios and includes two provisions to put some teeth in the quotas: Nurses could sue if hospitals fail to meet specified levels, and the Oregon Health Authority could levy fines of $10,000 a day for noncompliance.
PROBLEM IT SEEKS TO SOLVE: Nurses and hospitals agree there is currently a shortage of nurses in Oregon. Nurses left their jobs in droves over the past three years for a variety of reasons: unsafe working conditions, overwork, and a lack of child care. That led hospitals across the state to pay itinerant nurses two or three times what they pay staff nurses.
The Oregon Nurses Association say insufficient staffing burns out nurses and imperils patients. The union argues there are enough trained nurses in the state to meet demand—and adds that they won’t come back to work unless hospitals agree to staffing ratios.
“I have been working on safe staffing legislation since 2001,” testified Bruce Hansen, an ONA member from Bend. “And while we have made progress, our currently staffing law does not provide enough enforcement incentive to make hospitals in Oregon take staffing seriously.”
WHO SUPPORTS IT: The Oregon Nurses Association and its organized labor allies. Nosse, the chair of the House Committee on Behavioral Health and Health Care and a former nurses’ union employee, says the bill should fix a long-festering problem. “We’ve tried for the past 25 years to have staffing committees work this issue out,” Nosse says, “but we really don’t have it worked out.”
WHO OPPOSES IT: The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems. Several of its members testified at a Feb. 28 public hearing on the bill. They noted that California, which long ago put staffing levels into statute, is also suffering a nursing shortage. (Research from California shows more staffing improves nurses’ working conditions. Results on patient outcomes are mixed.)
Adding new mandates with expensive penalties would rob hospitals of flexibility without making the situation better, hospitals say. “We agree the current nurse staffing law is not working, but we cannot support HB 2697 as currently written,” says Lisa Goodman, a spokeswoman for the association. “We need a new law that supports the hospital workforce, preserves access to care, and acknowledges the dynamic, local environment of hospitals and the staffing shortages they face.”
The hospitals and the unions are now negotiating furiously behind closed doors to find a compromise. NIGEL JAQUISS.
7 Willamette Week MARCH 15, 2023 wweek.com
INFERNO: Firefighters found an unresponsive man in a chamber built four decades ago beneath a Steel Bridge on-ramp.
Portland Fire & Rescue Month Fires % of Total January 178 49% February 184 55% March 169 48% April 150 43% May 149 45% June 159 43% July 186 36% August 179 30% September 173 33% October 175 46% November 137 40% December 120 45% 2022 Total 1,959 41%
Sticks and Stones
BY LUCAS MANFIELD firstname.lastname@example.org
Pamela Quinlan’s ordeal began with a neighborly dispute over parking.
In March 2018, she called Gresham City Hall to complain about cars blocking her driveway. So began a feud, which quickly escalated into her neighbor spewing racist epithets, breaking windows, and threatening to kill her, she says.
And when that neighbor, 35-yearold Sead Selimovich, was arrested in fall 2019, the case made headlines. Selimovich was charged with a slew of bias crimes, including criminal mischief and attempted assault.
Now, four years later, Selimovich and his family have long moved out of the neighborhood. And despite a lengthy investigation, a Multnomah County circuit judge said he couldn’t be sure how many, if any, of the accusations were true—despite blockbuster court testimony that the investigating officer, David Anderson, believed was damning.
Anderson’s key evidence? The racist text messages found on Selimovich’s phone, shown in court in January. “I’m gonna finish it. Fuck that [N-word],” wrote Selimovich, who did not censor the racist epithet.
That night, someone was caught on video taking a large object to the windows of Quinlan and her family’s cars.
But it wasn’t enough to convince Judge Eric Dahlin of Selimovich’s guilt. The video was grainy, and racist language by itself is not illegal. In January, Dahlin acquitted Selimovich.
“It’s appalling. It’s awful,” Judge Dahlin said of the crimes. But, he says, he had reasonable doubt that Selimovich did them, citing a lack of corroborating witnesses and DNA evidence. “It’s literally a ‘she said, he said’ situation,” Dahlin explained.
Typically, bias crime cases hinge on whether prosecutors can prove a
criminal defendant was motivated by bigotry. This case was different: The hate was clear, but the crime wasn’t.
The bias crime charge depended both on Selimovich’s bigoted motive and proof that he committed the underlying property damage. Dahlin wasn’t convinced Selimovich did it—so the fact that he was spewing racist invective didn’t matter.
Anderson, who had retired from the force and was managing security for the Portland Thorns and Timbers, was devastated. He did something he’d never done before. He sent a pair of emails calling the decision an “error,” arguing that Dahlin had required prosecutors to meet an impossible burden of proof.
He sent one email to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office praising its prosecutor, and a second to Multnomah County’s highest judge, Judith Matarazzo, criticizing Dahlin. “The victims deserved better,” he wrote.
One of those victims, Pamela Quinlan, says she still lives in fear.
“This was a blatant miscarriage of justice,” she says. “I felt like I did not matter at all. I was nothing.”
Before becoming neighbors, both Quinlan and Selimovich lived remarkable lives.
Quinlan is an accomplished musician, a songwriter and keyboardist who toured the world with the likes of Bob Dylan and Donna Summer. She sang and co-wrote songs on
a series of hit records, including Mick Jagger’s 2001 album Goddess in the Doorway. Around 27 years ago, she and her husband moved into the white single-story ranchstyle house in Gresham where they settled down and raised a son.
Selimovich spent five years in a refugee camp after fleeing the ethnic cleansing of Muslims during the Bosnian War. He arrived in the United States at the age of 9. When he moved into the rental house next door with his girlfriend, he ran a Portland auto dealership.
The neighbors’ conflict began in 2018, when Quinlan grew suspicious that Selimovich had brought his work home with him. There were so many cars in his yard they spilled out onto the street, some with green price tags, she testified. Selimovich says the volume of vehicles was due to the fact that six adults were sharing the home.
Quinlan called Gresham code enforcement, and later that month the city sent out an inspector, who snapped photos of an overgrown fence and a backyard full of cars. The next month, city officials walked Selimovich through the allegations at a sit-down meeting at City Hall. They showed him the photographs, which had clearly been taken from Quinlan’s backyard.
That, Quinlan said, was when the harassment began. Not long later, Quinlan and her husband were out walking their dog, Kirby, when she says Selimovich walked up to her and accused her of ratting him out.
police built what looked like an airtight bias crime case. They proved the bias, but not the crime.
TORMENTED: A man was acquitted after being charged with a series of racially motivated attacks against Pamela Quinlan and her family. 8 Willamette Week MARCH 15, 2023 wweek.com
GILBERT TERRAZAS NEWS
“Snitches get stitches,” he allegedly told her.
Selimo vich has repeatedly denied all her accusations and says he harbors no racial bias. He admits to calling her a “rat” but claimed in court that he, not Quinlan, had been the target of racial harassment. (Ryan Corbridge, one of his attorneys, said Selimovich was unavailable to comment for this story, but added that his client was “looking forward to getting back to his life as it was before these allegations.”)
Over the next year and a half, Quinlan’s household was subject to repeated vandalism. First came a billiard ball through their front picture window. Then someone smashed in the sunroof of their Infiniti with a golf club. And finally, in an incident that attracted neighborhoodwide attention, three people smashed the windows of three cars in Quinlan’s driveway.
The racist abuse didn’t let up either, Quinlan says. Once, she says, Selimovich threatened repeatedly to kill her, interspersing his rage with racist epithets, while she was walking a neighborhood child across the street.
“I just became a shut-in,” she tells WW. “I’ve traveled all over the world, many times over. And I’ve never, ever experienced any terror like this.”
Each time, Gresham police responded, took a report, talked to a hostile Selimovich, and failed to find probable cause to arrest him.
That is, until Gresham Police Officer David Anderson, a 35-year veteran of two police departments, got wind of Quinlan’s complaints.
“It was a potential bias crime,” he later testified. “And nothing was happening.”
After Quinlan reported the final string of car-window bashings, Anderson went to the car dealership to interview Selimovich, who had a conspicuous splint on his ring finger. Selimovich said he’d hurt it while hammering a truck bumper. Anderson believed it had instead happened during the smashing of Quinlan’s windows.
Selimovich was arrested later that day. On his cellphone were text messages to his girlfriend containing the N-word and a reference to smashing. In another thread, he asked a friend if he could “help out” that night.
(Selimovich later testified he was texting drunk and that smashing was a reference to sex. When asked about the request for help, he told the court it was a coded message to his dealer. “I was tryna buy some coke, man,” he said.)
Finally, this January, Selimovich and Quinlan got their day in court. Anderson sat in the back and watched.
Selimovich had requested a bench trial—his attorney said the
“inflammatory nature” of the allegations might prejudice a jury against him—leaving Dahlin to wade through four days of testimony on his own.
By the end, Dahlin was conflicted. He didn’t believe much of the testimony presented by Selimovich’s family and friends, who were paraded into the courtroom by defense attorneys to attest to Selimovich’s character and shore up an alibi.
That testimony had “little credibility,” Judge Dahlin said. And, he noted, “there’s no question he used the N-word.”
On the other hand, hate speech isn’t a crime. The United States has some of the strongest freespeech protections in the world. And Oregon courts have made them even stronger. Speech, even in its worst forms, is protected under both the Oregon and U.S. constitutions.
There are exceptions. It’s illegal to threaten immediate harm. And hate speech can be used as evidence of other crimes or as a sentencing enhancement. But except in the most extreme circumstances, explains Stephen Kanter, dean emeritus at Lewis & Clark Law School, “You’ve got to have the threshold of an underlying crime.”
That’s where the prosecution fell apart, Dahlin says.
In criminal trials, a conviction requires an imposing standard of proof, “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Not mathematical certainty, Kanter says, but moral certainty. In other words, the judge must be very sure of the defendant’s guilt. “As sure as you would be to make the most important decisions in your life,” Kanter says.
Dahlin wasn’t sure. Gresham police, despite multiple searches of Selimovich’s home, could not find any DNA or other physical evidence linking Selimovich to the window smashings. And no one besides Quinlan and her husband claimed to have seen him do it.
When Dahlin reviewed the security footage purportedly showing Selimovich smashing windows, the video was too grainy for him to make an identification.
Dahlin found Selimovich not guilty on all 17 counts.
He let Selimovich go with a warning. “If something were to happen to [Quinlan and her family] or their property,” he said, “you would most likely be the first person of interest.”
That’s little consolation for Quinlan, whose suffering continues.
“I would stay up at night, protecting my husband and son,” she said, fearing a rock or firebomb would come crashing through her window. “I live with that fear every single night. And I still do.”
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A capital gains tax on the May ballot casts a wide but uncertain net.
BY NIGEL JAQUISS email@example.com
A Portland accounting firm says a tax measure on the Multnomah County ballot to offer relief to tenants facing eviction would be “volatile, cumbersome and costly.”
The measure would impose a 0.75% tax on all capital gains earned by county residents and devote the proceeds—$12 million to $15 million a year, backers estimate—to legal and financial aid for tenants facing eviction.
Perkins & Co, the largest locally owned accounting firm in Portland, prepared a five-page report on the tax, the only local measure on the May 16 ballot. The Perkins report, produced for opponents of the measure, highlights risks and potential shortcomings of what would be the nation’s first local capital gains tax.
Among them: the potential that the tax rate could be raised or lowered depending on how many county residents profit from the stock market each year, and the possibility that home sales and retirement plans could be subject to the tax.
Colleen Carroll, a spokeswoman for the Eviction Representation for All campaign, says such risks
for the county’s highest-earning residents are exaggerated, and nothing compared to the threat that thousands of county residents face each month: losing their homes. Most tenants facing eviction can’t afford a lawyer, and few show up in court.
“The impacts of evictions are felt by individuals, their families, and the whole community,” Carroll says. “It can take years to clean up your credit and rent another place.”
The arrival of the Perkins report offers an opportunity to examine some key questions voters must consider in two months.
Why is this measure on the ballot?
Portland consistently ranks among the nation’s least affordable cities. That means home prices and rents are high relative to incomes. That’s borne out by a residential vacancy rate last year that ranked second lowest in the nation.
One result: evictions, and lots of them. After eviction protections lapsed last summer, data gathered by Portland State University researchers shows evictions are now 40% higher than pre-pandemic levels, with 847 new evictions filed
in Multnomah County in January alone.
Carroll of Eviction Representation for All says after looking at similar efforts in other cities, the campaign landed on a tax that would call on the most able to pay to help the least able. Denver and Boulder, for instance, levy a tax on apartments, Carroll says. “It was important to us not to impact the working class and have it be passed along to renters.”
The Eviction Representation for All campaign chose the IRS definition for capital gains, which are the profits realized from the sale of a capital asset—such as a stock, bond or mutual fund—held for more than a year.
The Perkins analysis raised one issue with capital gains taxes: volatility.
From 2001 to 2002, for example, capital gains revenues at the state level (a good proxy for Multnomah County) fell by more than 50% and didn’t get back to 2001 levels until 2005. In the Great Recession, revenues fell 60% from 2007 to 2008 and didn’t reach 2007 levels again until 2020.
And the measure allows the tax rate to be raised or lowered an-
NO PAIN, NO GAIN: There’s disagreement over whether a proposed capital gains tax would apply to home sales.
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nually. “Volatility could lead to political pressure to increase the local capital gains tax rate or to impose new taxes to make up for revenue shortfalls,” the Perkins analysis says.
What about people’s homes?
An FAQ published by the campaign provides one answer: “Does every profitable sale of an asset count as a ‘capital gain’? Would this include my home? No!” The campaign relies on a federal IRS rule that gives a one-time exemption of $500,000 on the sale of a residence.
Perkins disagrees with that analysis, noting that home sale exclusion is a federal provision— and not included anywhere in the measure.
“ We believe that residents selling their home would not benefit from the exclusion on the sale of their principal residence and would owe the proposed local capital gains tax on all gains from the sale,” the firm says.
Carroll says that can be fixed later. “If the text of the measure doesn’t include [an exemption of home sales], it would be easy for the county to align it later,” she says. “It’s our intention that be the case, and we would strongly lobby for it.”
What about retirement accounts?
Unlike Multnomah County’s Preschool for All measure and Metro’s supportive homeless services measure, both of which tax high-income earners, the ERA measure is not means tested. If you have a capital gain, you pay, no matter what your income.
Although capital gains disproportionately accrue to the wealthy—the Oregon Center for Public Policy says 5% of Oregonians took home 85% of capital
Carroll disagrees. “People with retirement plans can rest assured that won’t affect their money because it’s taxed as regular income,” she says.
Are businesses subject to the tax?
Again, Perkins and the campaign see things differently. The measure’s explanatory statement seems explicit: “Businesses are not subject to the tax,” it says.
But Perkins says that’s misleading. “We believe this tax would also apply to small and medium-sized business owners,” the report says. “Businesses organized as pass-through entities, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (except those electing to be taxed as a C corporation), and S corporation, are taxed at the individual level.” That means the capital gains any of those businesses record would be subject to the new tax.
Carroll says that’s a distraction. “Eighty percent of people in Oregon don’t pay any capital gains tax,” she says. “Our point is that the very few people who make money this way [through capital gains] are paying less tax overall because of the federal treatment.”
(The federal capital gains rate ranges from 15% to 20%, far less than the top income tax rate of 37%.)
How does this fit with other taxes?
As has been widely reported, Multnomah County residents at the top end pay a higher rate of income taxes than all but New York City residents. Perkins says the overlay of local taxes, each of which requires a different form, creates headaches and is expensive for local jurisdictions to administer—and creates incentives to leave Multnomah County.
gains in 2020—Perkins says the tax could hit ordinary retirees taking money from IRAs, 401(k) s and other retirement plans that hold stocks, bonds and mutual funds: “As seniors withdraw savings from retirement investment accounts, they may not be subject to federal or Oregon income taxes, but they could have to pay the ERA capital gains tax on the savings which would reduce their retirement income if their withdrawals are categorized as capital gains.”
“A resident small business owner currently has to comply with a minimum of eight different taxes,” Perkins says. “If a resident sells an investment located in another county or state, that resident could be subject to this tax on any gains received. Conversely, we believe that a nonresident may have gains on investments located in Multnomah County that would not be subject to this tax.”
Carroll says adding a modest tax—75 cents on each $1,000 of gain—is a small sacrifice compared to the whopping rent increases many tenants face, even under the state’s new rent control law.
“A lot of tenants are facing a 14.6% rent increase,” Carroll says. “If you are making a lot of money, being asked to pay a little more so that this place is livable doesn’t seem too much to ask.”
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11 Willamette Week MARCH 15, 2023 wweek.com
“A lot of tenants are facing a 14.6% rent increase.”
12 Willamette Week MARCH 15, 2023 wweek.com
BY EMILY GREEN of The Lund Report
ILLUSTRATED BY MCKENZIE YOUNG-ROY @mckenzieyoungart
State inaction left Oregon teens vulnerable to fentanyl’s lethal spread.
Continued on Page 14 13 Willamette Week MARCH 15, 2023 wweek.com
Editor’s note: Like many trends of the past three years, the poisoning of Portland with fentanyl crept up quietly until it seemed ubiquitous.
Last month, WW interviewed a woman who hands out Narcan at nightclubs; she observed that any establishment with a restroom door knows the need for the overdose-reversal drug. News of a bad batch of pills floating through a high school sends a chill through parents that has few equals in this city.
So it caught our attention last week when The Lund Report revealed two troubling facts: first, that drug-related deaths are increasing among Oregon teenagers faster than anywhere else in the nation. And second, that state officials had the tools to stanch the death toll of fentanyl among teens but failed to deploy them. We present this reporting in hopes that young people will be aware of the danger—and their parents will know who’s responsible for widespread ignorance.
knew “little or nothing” about fentanyl, and 95% knew little or nothing about counterfeit pills.
Gorsek introduced Senate Bill 238 to try to address that part of the problem.
The Senate Committee on Education held a public hearing on the bill March 7. No second hearing is yet scheduled.
Several other bills have been intro duced, and legislative workgroups con vened, all aimed at slowing the surge of fentanyl deaths and patching the holes in the state’s addiction care system this legislative session.
But a Lund Report investigation shows how far Oregon has to go in order to ad dress the needs of some of its youngest residents.
High school overdoses and news of fentanyl seizures grab public atten tion—among Oregonians aged 15 to 24, there were 73 fentanyl-related deaths in 2021 alone, according to federal data.
But lesser known is how the addic tion crisis among Oregon teens is in tensifying just as youth treatment beds in the state have nearly disappeared.
WThe state ranks third highest national ly for the rate of substance use disorder among adolescents, according to Mental Health America’s 2023 rankings.
Teen experimentation riskier than it used to be
hen it comes to drug use, Oregon holds an ugly distinction: Its rate of teenagers killed by overdose is growing faster than in any other state.
But where the public sees a rash of depressing headlines, addiction care providers see the culmination of a story that’s been years in the making. As a result of state officials’ long-standing failure to respond to youth drug addiction, fentanyl—the potent opioid that’s driving the skyrocketing death toll—has dealt Oregon a particularly devastating blow.
For well over a decade, official report after report has detailed deficiencies in Oregon’s youth addiction treatment and prevention programs.
But people working with youths say the only thing that’s changed is that the problem has gotten worse. And lately, key youth addiction treatment services have dwindled near extinction.
“Professionals in this sector have been trying to wave the flag of warning for 10 to 12 years, with no effect whatsoever,”
Heather Jefferis, the executive director at Oregon Council for Behavioral Health, told The Lund Report. “We don’t have a youth system for substance use disorder—we have a handful of providers who do some services. That’s how bad it’s degraded.”
Meanwhile, there’s no statewide system for connecting teens to needed addiction services. And school prevention and education efforts in Oregon have remained minimal for many years, despite repeated calls to ramp them up.
An ex-police officer and a community college geography teacher who’s researched the issue, Rep. Chris Gorsek (D-Troutdale) told The Lund Report that as far as he can tell, in Oregon “there is no current educational work to let kids know about fentanyl.”
And it’s evident. One recent survey of teenagers in central Oregon found 91%
In the last two years, 18-year-old Port lander Cal Epstein’s story has been well reported. Home for the holidays in December 2020, the first-year college student took a pill he thought was Oxy Contin—and died from the fentanyl it actually contained.
The little-known part of the sto ry? Cal tried to be safe. His Google history showed that before he purchased the pills, he looked up the appropriate dosage for his weight and how the drug would react with his anxiety medication.
He might be alive today if he had realized the risk he was taking, his parents told The Lund Report.
“He was a person who was adven turous, but he was also cautious,” said his mother, Jennifer Epstein. “He just didn’t have the information that he needed to make the right decision.”
What he likely didn’t know was that fentanyl—a highly addictive synthetic opioid that’s 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine—is often found in pills like the one he was about to take.
About five years ago, Oregon start ed seeing a flood of fentanyl-laced counterfeit Xanax, Adderall and oxycodone pills manufactured in clandestine labs outside the United States. Drug makers and dealers had also be gun cutting fentanyl into heroin, meth and popular party drugs like cocaine and ecstasy. The goal? To increase potency, save money and increase the products’ addictive qualities.
Since Cal’s death, more people have become aware of fentanyl’s notoriety. But local and national surveys show many teens still don’t know how dangerous or
icating,” Epstein said.
Drug-related deaths among teenagers
prevalent it is—and the Or-
14 Willamette Week MARCH 15, 2023 wweek.com
increased faster in Oregon than anywhere else in the country between 2019 and 2021—up 666%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A system on life support
Perhaps worse than the lack of prevention and education in Oregon are what resources are available when youths do experience fentanyl and get hooked. tent and addictive nature, fentanyl creates havoc in people’s lives at an accelerated rate. With youths, who are often new to opioids, fentanyl addiction can take hold within three to six months, said Dr. Jim Laidler, medical director at Great Circle Recovery, which offers medication-assisted treatment to youths. This treatment involves prescribing opioids to combat withdrawal symptoms. Laidler said earlier in his career, it wasn’t typical to see people seeking medication-assisted treatment until they were in
w we’re seeing people who are starting in their midteens, who are now in trouble, and they can’t stop using it because they become so rapidly addicted,” Laidler said.
eanwhile, the services available for youth who become addicted have dwindled. Jefferis, of the Oregon Council for Behavioral Health, said the number of residential treatment beds for youths remained relatively stagnant between the 1990s and 2010s, hovering around 120 to 160 beds, even as Oregon’s population grew by about a million. Then the pandemic nearly obliterated the system.
n 2017, there were 144 treatment beds for adolescents struggling with addiction across the state. By 2020, there were 100.
Last April, the number dropped to its lowest with 13, according to data kept by the Oregon Health Outpatient treatment that meets the gold standard for higher-risk youth—involving multiple appointments each week, after school and on weekends, is able to address mental health issues in addition to substance use, and that involves comprehensive family involvement—is extremely limited in Oregon.
“There are outpatient programs for youth, but if you need more intensive outpatient, you can’t find it anywhere in the state,” said Dr. Ana Hilde, a child and
adolescent psychiatrist at Great Circle Recovery in Portland.
Driving the shrinkag e of Oregon’s youth treatment services is the behavioral health workforce shortage that’s plaguing much of health care.
Morrison Family Services in Portland tried to roll out a companywide outpatient addiction treatment program for youths with co-occurring disorders—the area of greatest need across the state. But despite posting a job opening for more than a year, it couldn’t find a certified drug and alcohol counselor qualified to work as supervisor, and had to drop the idea, said Margaret Scott, the nonprofit’s division director.
Wages in early March hovered around $22 to $26 per hour for 82 certified drug counselor openings listed on a state job page. Providers say that’s not enough to attract the workers they need—but reimbursement rates for addiction care are too low to pay more.
Rimrock Trails Treatment Services has a co-occurring residential treatment program for youths in Prineville that it closed due to a workforce shortage in August 2021. It’s since reopened, but only for boys.
“ We are licensed for 24 beds. We’re currently operating at about no more than seven kids,” said Rimrock Trail’s CEO Erica Fuller. “We have to turn people away every single day.”
One school district’s program shows promise Epstein and her husband, Jon Epstein, have dedicated their lives to spreading fentanyl awareness since their son’s death. Epstein began working remotely for a California-based nonprofit called Song for Charlie, through which they’ve done most of their advocacy.
The Epsteins first approached the Beaverton School District, where their two sons attended school and Jon taught for 10 years. They shared Cal’s story and helped develop a fentanyl education program called “Fake and Fatal.” It included classroom lessons that were taught to all the middle and high school students in the district, a virtual town hall more than 6,500 people viewed live, a social media campaign, getting the opioid overdose-reversing drug Narcan into the classroom, and educating teachers.
Epstein said Beaverton schools lost four students to fatal fentanyl overdoses leading up to the program’s launch in April 2021. Since the program was implement-
A History of Warnings
For the past 15 years, official reports have outlined a number of deficiencies in Oregon’s youth addiction treatment system:
• In 2008, a multistate agency report identified “adolescent treatment” as a “top area of need” in an assessment of Oregon’s addiction services. It also noted that limited prevention programs in schools were not consistently applied across school districts and needed to start earlier.
• When tasked with evaluating Oregon’s treatment system in 2010, the state’s Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission in a report to then-Gov. Ted Kulongoski pointed to “the lack of treatment designed for teens and young adults” as being a “significant gap.”
• Seven years later, a state committee again tasked with evaluating the system came to the same conclusion. “Resources for detecting or treating adolescents with SUD in Oregon are minimal,” wrote the Oregon Substance Use Disorder Research Committee. “Oregon ranks a dismal 48th in the nation for adolescent treatment access.”
• State spending on substance more than quadrupled since 2005, consuming nearly 17% of the entire state budget in 2017. Less than 1% of those funds, however, were used to prevent, treat, or help people recover from substance misuse,” the Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission wrote in its 2020-25 strategic plan. Most of that spending was on the “escalating health and social consequences created by the lack of investment in prevention, treatment, and recovery.”
INDEX: Youth Addiction Care in Oregon
Residential treatment beds for ages 12-17: December 2021: 33
December 2022: 31
Adolescents in Oregon in 2020: 299,454
Youth detox facilities: 0
Youth outpatient providers: 12
Youth inpatient providers: 4*
(Many providers have the equivalent of only one or two full-time staffers dedicated to youth services.)
Youth medication-assisted treatment providers as part of an opioid treatment program: 1 (Great Circle Recovery)
Number of recovery high schools:
1 (Harmony Academy)
Estimated number of certified alcohol and drug counselors working with schools: 131**
Ratio of such counselors to secondary school students: 1 to 2,400**
Percentage by which prevention specialists need to increase to fill gap: 94%
*Excludes specialty programs, such as those for sex trafficking victims.
**Based on 2018 figures (most recent available) with 2022-23 school enrollment numbers.
Sources: Oregon Health Authority, U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Oregon Council for Behavioral Health, Mental Health & Addiction Certification Board of Oregon
15 Willamette Week MARCH 15, 2023 wweek.com
LOSS: Jon and Jennifer Epstein sit beside photos of their two sons, Cal and his older brother, Miles, in the front office of their home in Northwest Portland.
ed, however, there haven’t been any the district is aware of, district spokesperson Shellie Bailey-Shah confirmed.
Bailey-Shah said the Beaverton School District made all the program’s materials available to any school district. More than 50 districts around the country have contacted the Beaverton district to talk about the materials, including “a handful” in Oregon, she said.
Whereas lesson plans like Beaverton’s are voluntary, Gorsek’s fentanyl education bill would make it mandatory for Oregon districts to implement. If passed, it would direct state agencies to develop curricula around the dangers of synthetic opioids for public schools by the start of the 2024-25 school year.
Among other things, his bill would call for teaching students a potentially lifesaving fact: that Oregon’s Good Samaritan law protects them from criminal charges if they call 911 because someone is experiencing an overdose.
Tony Biglan chairs the Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission’s prevention subcommittee, which was tasked with building prevention into the state’s mostly shelved five-year strategic plan for addiction.
He said there’s a big gap between what Oregon knows about prevention and what it’s implemented so far.
“Oregon is probably one of the strongest states in the country for the research that is done on prevention,” he said.
At least four prevention programs with the proven ability to prevent a range of behavioral problems were developed in Oregon, he added, but aren’t used much in the state—despite being used widely in states like Michigan and countries like Norway and Iceland.
When treatment costs too much
For one Portland-area 16-year-old, whose name we’re withholding, what he thought was an oxycodone addiction turned out to be fentanyl.
At age 14, he was using illicit drugs regularly when he overdosed on Xanax. After a two-week wait in the hospital, he got a bed at Madrona’s residential treatment facility in Tigard. He was there 28 days, then discharged. His family couldn’t afford the follow-up outpatient treatment at the facility, he said, and he relapsed about two weeks later.
He said he stayed away from Xanax after that and began smoking “blues” instead, which are made to look just like oxycodone pills. Pills were easy to buy from dealers on Snapchat.
“That’s where people will target kids because, like, social media is just a huge hole,” he said.
“I woke up one day, I remember this day, I woke up and I was like, I need to stop doing this,” he said. Later that same day, in November 2021, in the bathroom at his high school, he said a classmate overdosed when she took a hit off one of his pills.
Following that incident, his mother took him to the hospital for a full toxicology test. She’d been drug testing him at home, but he never tested positive. When she got the results of the hospital test, she asked her son to fess up to what he had been doing.
“And that’s where I was like, OK, well,
I’m gonna be honest now. And I was like, ‘I’m smoking oxys.’ And then she’s like, ‘OK, that makes sense, because the only thing in your system is fentanyl.’”
Soon after, his school mandated that he meet weekly for six weeks with a certified drug and alcohol counselor on school grounds. He stopped smoking blues, but drank to soften the withdrawals. Then the counselor referred him to Harmony Academy—which is a recovery high
school—where he could attend classes with other kids in recovery and get continued counseling and case management until he graduates.
“That’s when I really was, like, done,” he said. He’s been drug-free ever since.
Changing their environment
Sharon Dursi Martin is the principal at Harmony Academy, located in Lake
We asked Oregon leaders what they’ll do to reduce teenage fentanyl deaths.
As WW ’s newsroom read The Lund Report’s alarming account of Oregon’s failures to prepare teens for fentanyl’s arrival, we wondered: Would anyone in Salem start paying attention?
Several key officials pledge immediate action.
The Lund Report’s revelations about teen fentanyl overdoses come at a time when lawmakers are already working on a comprehensive, bipartisan opioid harm reduction package, House Bill 2395, spearheaded by state Rep. Maxine Dexter (D-Portland).
The chairs of both the House and Senate Health Care committees deferred questions about The Lund Report’s investigation to Dexter, a pulmonologist who has treated overdose patients.
Dexter says she was “deeply saddened and disappointed” after reading The Lund Report investigation. But she’s also optimistic lawmakers are serious about tackling the problem.
“As a state, we have failed our youth and those most in need of support,” Dexter says. “We absolutely must take urgent action this session to help mitigate the tragic and rapidly escalating number of youth in our state who are dying as a result of unintentional opioid overdoses.”
Among the provisions in the pending bill specifically aimed at young Oregonians are easing restrictions on distribution of naloxone in schools, decriminalization of fentanyl testing strips, and allowing minors to get outpatient drug treatment without parental
It operates like a public charter school and currently has 32 students, though the size of the student body always grows as the school year progresses. Some kids travel to the Lake Oswego campus from Forest Grove, Gresham, Colton and even Vancouver, Wash.
Dursi Martin said when students arrive at her campus, it’s often after they’ve faced great difficulty with Oregon’s treat-
consent. (The bill passed the House 48-9 on March 6.)
“Our providers, both inpatient and outpatient, are overwhelmed and underresourced and see firsthand the tragic harm this lack of access to treatment is having across our community,” Dexter adds.
Tim Heider, a spokesman for the Oregon Health Authority, says OHA is taking concrete steps “by increasing rates for providers, expanding residential and outpatient treatment access for young people, helping providers retain counselors, and increasing the availability of effective medication-assisted treatment.”
Heider adds that the agency is taking other specific steps to combat the overdose crisis. “Through a coordinated effort with the Oregon Department of Education, OHA is supporting districts to stock naloxone and train school staff to use it in the event of an emergency,” he says, although Heider notes neither agency currently has the authority to require schools to stock the anti-overdose medication.
O HA is also doing greater outreach in schools to help familiarize students and staff with dangers of fentanyl, he says, and is working with law enforcement to identify risks in hard-hit towns.
G ov. Tina Kotek’s spokesman, Elisabeth Shepard, says Kotek was “deeply concerned about the findings published in The Lund Report.” Along with housing and homelessness, mental health and substance use disorder are the top of the governor’s priority list. She is seeking $1 billion for expanded mental health and addiction treatment capacity, as well as ongoing support for new residential treatment programs for minors and overdose prevention programs.
Kotek wants state agencies to look more widely at substance abuse and mental illness, Shepard says, and do a better job of leveraging federal funding and to heed The Lund Report’s investigation. “She believes Oregon must do more to warn young people about fentanyl.”
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RECOVERY: A student at Harmony Academy, a high school for teens in recovery, told The Lund Report he didn’t realize he was smoking fentanyl until his parent had him tested. He thought the pills he was buying were oxycodone.
ment system. Residential treatment is scarce and hard to get into, Dursi Martin said, and outpatient treatment can be too expensive for many families to afford.
“ When I’m interviewing parents, a lot of the time what they’re telling me is that they’re turned down for treatment because their young person is trying to get mental health treatment and they’re told, ‘Well, primarily it’s a substance use problem.’ And then they go to try to get substance use treatment, and they’re told that their mental health acuity is too high,” she said.
When youths are denied access to treatment, they often end up in the emergency room.
Harmony Academy tries to shield students from the pressures to use drugs they would likely encounter if they exited treatment to their former high schools.
About 75% of students at the school are completely free of substance use. The other 25%, who are typically testing positive for cannabis or alcohol over the weekend, “they’re talking to the recovery staff about that,” Dursi Martin said. “As long as they’re working towards an abstinence-focused recovery, we’re with them 100%.”
House Bill 2767, introduced this session, seeks to fund more recovery high schools across Oregon. There was no work session or hearing scheduled for the bill as of this writing. If none is scheduled prior to March 17, the bill will die.
Juvenile departments say Measure 110 slowed referrals to treatment
In 2020, Oregon voters decriminalized hard drugs, a move some critics say has had an unintended consequence for youth.
Under Measure 110, people younger than 18 caught with hard drugs can no longer be arrested and diverted into treatment. Meanwhile, another law passed in 2021 eliminated fines and fees charged to youths in the justice system, including those caught with meth, fentanyl or other hard drugs.
Because of this, “heroin or cocaine actually have significantly less consequences than marijuana and alcohol right now in our statutes,” said Torri Lynn, the director of Linn County’s Juvenile Department. While kids can potentially lose their driver’s license if they have a second court referral for alcohol or cannabis possession, there’s no consequence for harder substances.
Speaking on behalf of the Oregon Juvenile Department Directors Association, Lynn said he and his colleagues take issue with how these new laws took away their ability to send youths caught with drugs to treatment—but did nothing to ensure those youths were getting an intervention elsewhere.
“It’s pretty rare that kids raise their hand and say, ‘I really need to go to treatment,’” he said. “The million dollar question: What do we do with kids who have possessed these serious drugs, and how do we make sure that they are getting adequate services?”
Fingers point to schools
While no one interviewed for this story suggested Oregon should recriminalize drug possession for teens, nearly every
treatment provider, counselor and advocate suggested schools are key to curbing drug-related deaths and connecting youths to treatment in Oregon.
“Research shows that more than 90% of kids who have a substance use disorder and are in need of treatment are actively attending school,” Fuller, director at Rimrock Trails, said. “That is where they are, and that is where we need to start to identify them as early as possible.”
She suggested in-school behavioral health screenings be as routine as scoliosis and vision screenings. “Then, if there are symptoms, there’s a referral, and then it’s tracked and followed.”
Other providers suggested early intervention programs in schools might be effective for students who are using drugs but not yet considering treatment or that they may have a problem.
Oregon’s Department of Education spokesperson Peter Rudy told The Lund Report it’s not realistic to expect schools to play a larger role in screening, intervention and treatment referrals.
“Placing an additional burden on already stretched schools and districts to screen and identify youth, and refer them to what little youth substance use treatment options there are in Oregon is likely not realistic at this time, particularly for school districts already challenged to meet the mental health needs of their students,” he said in an email.
Oregon’s Department of Education is working on some new lesson plans to integrate substance use information into classes for high school grades not currently getting required prevention education. But many prevention and addiction experts say more robust programs that get at decision-making skills and root causes of addiction—that go beyond a chapter in a health book—are needed.
Meanwhile, Rep. Maxine Dexter (D-Portland) has introduced a package of bills aimed at getting the opioid overdose-reversing drug naloxone more widely into schools and decriminalizing fentanyl testing strips, among other harm reduction measures.
Rep. Tawna Sanchez (D-Portland) has introduced House Bill 2646, which would require that school staff be trained on the signs and symptoms of behavioral health issues, including substance use disorder, and how to assist students who exhibit symptoms.
Dursi Martin calls education “the tool that works.” She said most kids who are using don’t rise to the level of needing intensive treatment or admission into a recovery high school like the one she oversees. For many of those students, information on how substances impact their minds and bodies, and how they interact with mental health, could go a long way, she said.
“How close the kids in this building are to dying on a regular basis before they get here,” she said, “is unconscionable.”
This article was originally published by The Lund Report, an independent nonprofit news source dedicated to covering health care in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Learn more at thelundreport.org. Emily Green can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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18 Willamette Week MARCH 15, 2023 wweek.com JUNE 19 - AUGUST 25 • AGES 4 - 14 summer theater camps at & in your neighborhood nwcts.org • 503-222-2190 NWCT’s New Home The Judy is in Downtown Portland at 1000 SW Broadway SUMMER DISCOVERY At portland jewish academy Language Immersion intlschool.org/summer • email@example.com • Learn language and world cultures through hands-on projects, games, outdoor fun, and more • Activities are designed to be engaging and fun while also developing & enhancing language skills. SUMMER CAMP • PreK - 5th Grade Spanish, Japanese, or Chinese Beginner to Advanced AOWORLD F FUN! Summer Camp Guide
7–11 • $125 thru 6/1/23
August 14-18 • Mon–Fri • 9am–12pm (Ages 7-11) • 1pm-4pm (Ages 12-18)
Back by popular demand! Sign up early for this all immersive camp! Get sorted ane explore the magical world inspired by Harry Potter universe. Theatre and acting games, wizarding crafts and quidditch!
WIZARD LARP CAMP
August 7–18 • Mon–Fri • 5–9pm • Ages 11–18 • $350 thru 6/1/23
Become a wizard in magic school - potions, defense against the dark arts, join clubs, sorting ceremony feast, wizard ball and more!
19 Willamette Week MARCH 15, 2023 wweek.com WW’s Annual Summer Camp Guide is a great resource for Portland parents who are deciding where to send their children for summer activities. Check out our selection of camps that your kids will enjoy! Camps with space include: Rock Cycle Bike Camp | High Desert Adventure Seashore Explorers | Paleontology Field Study Backpacking for Teen Girls | Wild Pacific omsi.edu Send them on the adventure of a lifetime at OMSI’s overnight camps! Live Arts Education SW WASHINGTON’S HOME FOR ENROLL TODAY! metropolitanperformingarts.org 6403 E Mill Plain Blvd Vancouver, WA 98661 BROADWAY JR. 2 WEEK INTENSIVE SEUSSICAL KIDS June 19–30 • Mon–Fri • 9am–3pm • Ages 6–12 • $550 thru 6/1/23 Designed for beginning and intermediate performers! Theatre games, rehearsals, set design, painting, props, costuming and more! MUSICAL THEATRE 3 WEEK INTENSIVE THE SOUND OF MUSIC July 10–28 • Mon–Fri • 9am–3:00pm • Ages 8–18 • $800 thru 6/1/23 Immerse yourself in music, dance, and acting rehearsals! Theatre games, rehearsals, set design, painting, props, costuming and more! HARRY POTTER ACTING CAMP August 7–11 • Mon–Fri • 9am–12pm • or 1pm - 4pm Ages
Full-Day, Full-Week Camps Running June 26–August 18
Your Learning Journey: www.saturdayacademy.org SparkYour Curiosity Follow Your Passion DiscoverYour Agency
On Instagram: @fontaine_rittelmann
Tens of thousands flooded the streets of Portland on March 12 for the 45th annual Shamrock Run, but a smaller and perhaps more rugged crowd took part in another St. Patrick’s-themed race that involved a lot of mud-slinging. The Dirty Leprechaun isn’t your typical 5k. Instead of darting across pavement, participants slogged through puddles on Saturday, March 11, at Plumper Pumpkin Patch & Tree Farm. The course featured 18 obstacles, including balance beams, trenches and a beer chug.
Photos by Fontaine Rittelmann
20 Willamette Week MARCH 15, 2023 wweek.com STREET
WATCH: Doña Perón
Ballet Hispánico, the largest Latinx-Latine-Hispanic cultural organization in the U.S., is also one of the most popular companies White Bird has brought to town. Colombian-Belgian choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa created this production to pay tribute to Eva Perón, better known as Evita, the former first lady of Argentina. Ballet Hispánico has been a champion of Latinx voices for more than 50 years. Now’s your chance to hear those voices. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, 503-245-1600, whitebird. org. 7:30 pm Wednesday, March 15. $32$75.
a beef short rib and cabbage stew, and a milk chocolate porter cake served with clotted cream. Zupan’s Markets Cellar Z, 2340 W Burnside St., zupans.com/shop/ event-tickets/march-16-gigantic-beer-dinner. 6 pm Thursday, March 16. $75.
WATCH: The First Step
more corned beef than you can handle. Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub, 112 SW 2nd Ave., 503-227-4057, kellsportland.com. Kells Brewery, 210 NW 21st Ave., 503-7197175, kellsbrewpub.com. Noon-midnight Friday-Saturday, March 17-18.
hummus-making demonstration and, yes, the spread’s recipe is actually more complex than you think! Lloyd Center, 1405 Lloyd Center, eventbrite.com. 1-6 pm Saturday, March 18. $4-$12.
WATCH: 24th Annual Clowns Without Borders Benefit Show
Black When I’m Singing, I’m Blue When I Ain’t
Legendary poet, activist and scholar Sonia Sanchez’s stirring choreopoem portrays the experiences of iconic Black artists— like Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday and Nina Simone—and their genius and grace as they faced the barriers associated with systemic racism. This is only the second professional production of I’m Black When I’m Singing since it premiered at Georgia’s oldest and largest Black theater company, Jomandi Productions, in 1982. Audience members are invited to engage with Sanchez by sharing their thoughts and feelings about the play by sending her postcards designed by local artist Wanda Walden. CoHo Theatre, 2257 NW Raleigh St., 503-235-1101, thirdrailrep.org. 7:30 pm Wednesday-Saturday, 2 pm Sunday, March 16-April 2. $25-$45.
EAT: Irish Beer Dinner
Zupan’s and Gigantic Brewing have teamed up to celebrate St. Patty’s Day with the products they know best: food and beer. You’ll have the unique opportunity to compare classic Irish brews (think Guinness, Harp and O’Hara’s) with Gigantic’s versions during side-by-side tastings of a Pilsner, a red and two stouts. The food menu is made of modern takes on traditional Irish dishes, including an amuse-bouche of split pea and ham soup,
This new documentary follows political commentator Van Jones, who’s best known for working on President Barack Obama’s first election campaign, appearing on CNN, and popularizing the term “nothing burger.” The “first step” refers to Jones’ efforts during the Trump administration to get Congress to pass criminal justice reform legislation. Director and former Portlander Brandon Kramer thoughtfully captures Jones’ lonely battle for progress as he fights resistance from every political corner. Cinema 21, 616 NW 21st Ave., 503-223-4515, cinema21.com. 7 pm Thursday, March 16. $9-$11.
LAUGH: Cannon Beach Comedy Festival
Despite their creepy reputation, Portland has a soft spot for clowns. The Rose City has apparently been this benefit’s most successful fundraiser since its inception. Or perhaps we just love a good humanitarian mission. Clowns Without Borders provides much-needed joy and laughter to people in refugee camps, conflict zones or areas that have recently been through a natural disaster. This year, the group is raising funds to launch a tour in Turkey for those affected by the devastating February earthquake. Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta St., 503-719-6055, albertarosetheatre.com. 2 and 7 pm Saturday, March 18. $12-$60.
Paddy’s 2023 St. Patrick’s Day Festival
Last year, Paddy’s took a big step toward pre-pandemic normalcy by hosting its St. Patrick’s Day street party, complete with tents, bands, pipers and beer. This time around, the celebration should transport you all the way back to the freewheeling days of the 2010s since the bar is trying to reclaim its Guinness World Record for making the largest Irish coffee—a title it last held more than a decade ago. After it’s assembled, you can purchase a normal-sized glass and taste history being made. Paddy’s Bar & Grill, 65 SW Yamhill St., 503-224-5626, paddys.com. 11 am-2 am Friday-Saturday, March 17-18.
DRINK: Kells Irish Festival
After bringing back its Irish Festival last year for the first time since the start of the pandemic, Kells expanded it in 2023. This is the second weekend of the event, held at both the downtown pub and Northwest Portland brewery. You can expect traditional Irish dancers, pipe-and-drum bands as well as plenty of Irish beer and
Cannon Beach isn’t known as a mecca for comedy—at least not yet. Perhaps this festival, now in its third year, will start to change the sleepy coastal town’s entertainment scene for the better. Headliners include Kyle Kinane (Drunk History, Workaholics, Comedy Bang! Bang! ), internet sensation Brent Weinbach, and two comics who’ve been named “Portland’s Funniest Person”: Arlo Weierhauser and Shain Brenden. The price for two days of comedy is only $35, which is as good a deal as any you can get in “everything is overpriced” Cannon Beach. Coaster Theatre Playhouse, 108 N Hemlock St., Cannon Beach, 541-215-4445, cannonbeachcomedyfestival.com. 7:30 pm Friday-Saturday, March 17-18. $20 for a single night, $35 for a weekend pass.
LISTEN: Tank and the Bangas
This group from the Big Easy put the music world on notice by winning NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest in 2017. Since then, they’ve been nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy and continued to push the boundaries of their unique blend of hip-hop, soul, rock, funk and whatever else feels good. Catch them live for one night only at Rev Hall. Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark St., 971-808-5094, revolutionhall. com. 8 pm Friday, March 17. $25.
WATCH: Palestinian Film Festival
The final weekend of the Palestinian Film Festival includes not only the screening of three shorts, but also discussions led by artist Bashar Alhroub, who has created a new work with Portlanders that retells the story of the Tower of Babel, and author Hashem Sayed. Bonus: There will be a
LAUGH: Wanda Sykes
If you’re already counting down the days until Netflix releases Wanda Sykes’ new hourlong standup special in May, then you’ll definitely want to snag tickets to see the award-winning comic perform in person. Known for being outspoken and tackling a wide range of topics—from politics to reality TV to racism to that Oscars “slap heard ’round the world”—Sykes is always at the top of her game, making it no surprise that she was ranked as one of Entertainment Weekly ’s “25 Funniest People in America.” Ilani Casino Resort, 1 Cowlitz Way, Ridgefield, Wash., 877-4645264, ilaniresort.com. 8 pm Saturday, March 18. $35-$55. 21+.
DON’T CRY FOR ME: The ballet Doña Perón pays tribute to Eva Perón, better known as Evita, the former first lady of Argentina.
COURTESY WHITE BIRD STUFF TO DO IN PORTLAND THIS WEEK, INDOORS AND OUT SEE MORE GET BUSY EVENTS AT WWEEK.COM/CALENDAR
21 Willamette Week MARCH 15, 2023 wweek.com
FOOD & DRINK
WHERE TO DRINK THIS WEEK.
1. MULTNOMAH WHISKEY LIBRARY
1124 SW Alder St., 503-954-1382, mwlpdx.com. 4-10 pm Tuesday-Thursday, 4-11 pm Friday-Saturday.
For the first time ever, this den of distilled spirits has invited outside industry professionals to create drinks for its menu. The break from tradition was prompted by Women’s History Month, which MWL is using to honor women and femmes who’ve worked to build a better bartending community. Seven female drink professionals have created original cocktails that will be available through the end of the month, and $1 from the sale of every guest beverage will be donated to the National Network of Abortion Funds, which works to remove financial and logistical barriers to abortion access.
2. WORKSHOP FOOD AND DRINK
1407 SE Belmont St., 971-229-1465, fermenterpdx.com. 5-10 pm Thursday-Sunday, 5-11 pm Friday-Saturday.
Aaron Adams, the chef behind the self-dubbed “beneficial bacteria emporium” Fermenter, has launched a late-night lounge right next door to that house of fermented foods. Small plates at Workshop Food and Drink are all vegan and inspired by Adams’ Cuban roots, but we’re most excited about the deep list of cocktails. Many use kitchen byproducts to help offset waste, like Yes Whey, a classic milk punch with a housemade cashew yogurt whey.
3. ABIGAIL HALL
813 SW Alder St., abigailhallpdx.com. 5-11 pm
Sunday-Wednesday, 5 pm-midnight
A number of bars are offering special promotions in honor of Women’s History Month, which may feel like a way to capitalize on the commemoration, but Abigail Hall is actually giving a portion of the proceeds from its limited-edition cocktail menu to Raphael House, a local domestic violence prevention and intervention organization. The original Ladies Reception Hall of the former Cornelius Hotel, which is believed to be where suffragettes convened, will also host a series of events throughout March honoring women, including a Women in Portland Panel. Order a sweet-tart Agria de Guayaba and settle in for the discussion.
4. LLOYD ATHLETIC CLUB
Editor: Andi Prewitt
On a Roll
BY ANDREA DAMEWOOD
As a restaurant critic, I have a Cheers fantasy: that I’m a regular somewhere where everybody knows my name. For the better part of a decade, I’ve been hopping around to review the latest, while also always trying to find the next overlooked gem, so becoming Norm hasn’t been in the cards. Until now.
You’ll see me bellied up to the sushi bar at Kaede on a regular basis.
Kaede, a small 16-seat “sushi bistro” in Sellwood, shifted recently from takeout service to dine-in and reservation only, making the bar the best place to be. It’s where you can sit with a cup of sake in hand, and become entranced watching co-owner Shinji Uehara slice fish flown in from Tokyo, gently hand-mold the rice, then apply a slick shoyu and a dab of freshly grated wasabi for a nigiri before presenting it to you.
Kaede, which means maple tree in Japanese, is unassuming, but manages to hit all the bases. Shinji opened Kaede with his wife, Izumi, and together they have already managed to impeccably source and respectfully prepare sushi and small plates without making the place too stuffy or out of financial reach. There are two arguably better sushi restaurants in town—Nodoguro and Nimblefish—but Nodoguro is wildly expensive and Nimblefish, I think, is stingy with its nigiri sizes.
815 NE Halsey St., 503-287-4594, lloydathleticclub.com. 5:30 am-9:30 pm Monday-Friday, 7 am-8 pm Saturday-Sunday.
Purchasing a gym membership just to gain access to its bar may sound a bit indulgent; however, there are few watering holes outside of an airport that open as early as the Lloyd Athletic Club’s. Almost pointedly dated yet obsessively maintained, the overlit tableau feels like a set for a Reagan-era sitcom. You’ll be drinking with thick-necked chuckles who stop by for an après-lift tipple, but craft beers are only $6.50 a pour and, again, the potential for finagling an early morning hair of the dog intrigues.
5. MCMENAMINS 23RD AVENUE BOTTLE SHOP
2290 NW Thurman St., 971-202-7256, mcmenamins.com. 10 am-10 pm daily. For the second year, McMenamins has partnered with Great Notion Brewing so that each can make the other’s beer recipe while giving it a unique spin. This time around, the industry old timer has produced two different Great Notion beers: What’s Colder Than Cold, a double IPA inspired by Juice Box fermented with lager yeast for a crisp finish, and an even bolder 13.9% ABV Ice Cold Triple IPA. The latter could only be bottled because McMenamins has a distilling license. Drink with care.
The Ueharas are both from Japan, but met in San Francisco while working at Sanraku, and moved to Portland in 2021. For now, Izumi serves as host and server, pouring glasses of Okinawan Orion beer and shuttling dishes, like scallops ($9)—skewered, coated with crunchy panko, and fried to succulent perfection, with a zingy wasabi mayo dip.
To really have a great time, you’ll want to plan on spending around $200 for two, but that will allow you to cover plenty of ground. The first step of the game plan is to snag a reservation a month in advance (the furthest out they take them), preferably at the bar.
Order those scallops, add on some slow-cooked duck
breast soba noodles, and grab a small bowl of roasted Brussels sprouts ($7), which remain on just the right side of crunchy while absorbing the salty, citrusy ponzu sauce. Select a carafe of sake from their list; I fell for the Watari Bune ($22 for 200 milliliters, $75 per bottle), a refreshing dry heirloom junmai ginjo, but all were excellent.
Kaede doesn’t do an omakase meal, but order a nigiri premium ($56) for each diner, ensuring everyone gets to sample the eight special nigiri, made primarily of fish flown in from Tokyo’s Toyosu Market. A raw, fresh slice of iwashi, or sardine, was more buttery than salty, sliced straight down the middle for a brushing of shoyu. What makes eating at Kaede such a treat is that so much of what’s flown in are rarities in our neck of the woods, like a gorgeous kinmedai, a bright pink Japanese alfonsino fish that arrives shimmering on the
22 Willamette Week MARCH 15, 2023 wweek.com
Sellwood sushi bistro Kaede serves impeccably sourced fish—just be sure to make a reservation before trying to dive in.
plate. Shinji tops it with a dollop of ponzu jelly and spicy daikon radish. On the saltwater eel nigiri, Shinji deploys a blow torch, gently bubbling the silver fatty skin before setting it down for you to eat.
There are rolls as well, including a saba battera ($18 whole, $9 for half), where rice is rolled around in fresh chives and salty mackerel is pressed around the outside before it’s blanketed in a paper-thin slice of kombu. There’s also the impressive futomaki ($14), which literally translates to “fat roll.” Here, sweet tamago, shiitake mushroom, kanpyo squash, cucumber, eel and shrimp are all rolled together for a balanced, if enormous, bite. Nearly everything we tried over the course of two visits was without reproach, with the rare exception being a bluefin tuna roll flavored with white truffle oil ($18), which just isn’t my personal jam. I also felt for Izumi, who had to turn away several people who
wanted to walk in without a reservation. I will also use this space to shame a boomer couple who arrived insisting they had a reservation when, in fact, it was a month away. They then had the audacity to demand to be seated, yell about “the app” not working (Kaede does not have an app), and storm out. Sushi for everyone but them.
On our second visit, Izumi and Shinji recognized my dude and I and treated us to a bowl of deep fried sayori (halfbeak) spines for his birthday. The delicate bones crunched pleasantly and have replaced peanuts as our new favorite beer snack. I truly cannot think of a better bar to go full Sam and Diane.
EAT: Kaede, 8268 SE 13th Ave., 503-327-8916, kaedepdx.com. 4:30-9 pm Wednesday-Sunday. Online reservations only.
17980 SW Baseline Road, Beaverton, 503-828-7340, bumperburger.com. 11 am-6 pm Thursday-Friday, noon-6 pm Saturday-Sunday.
Bumper Burger has declared war against price creep on America’s favorite sandwich. Founder-cook Mat Norton sells his quarter-pounders for truly jaw-dropping rates: $3.50 for the entry-evel hamburger, $4 for one with a slice of gooey American cheese, and for the extra-hungry, there’s the $9.50 People’s Meal, which features the double-patty 50/50 Burger. No matter what sandwich you order, always get the made-fresh-daily pimento cheese. The pleasantly piquant spread adds velvetiness to every bite—and it costs only a dollar extra.
2. STREET DISCO
4144A SE 60th Ave., street-disco.com. 5-10:30 pm Thursday-Monday.
Two things to know about the menu at Street Disco is that it changes frequently and nearly everything is sharable. Start by diving into a few of the items that you could consider appetizers, like salt cod fritters, which capture the essence of fish and chips in a bite, or The Original Not Lobster Roll, a very Northwest combination of Dungeness crab and bay shrimp. Then, conquer one of the entrees: A whole grilled branzino delighted on one visit, though the grilled pork ribs are sure to become a sleeper hit.
3. FOOLS AND HORSES
226 NW 12th Ave., 503-894-8473, foolsandhorsespdx.com. 4-11 pm Sunday-Tuesday, 4 pm-midnight Wednesday-Saturday.
While Fools and Horses is a cocktail bar first and foremost, dinner really is something we’d encourage. Chef and Oahu native Alex Wong takes inspiration from paniolos—Hawaiian cowboys whose cuisine is influenced by immigrants from Mexico, Portugal and Japan. For a variety of flavors, order the Paniolo Range, a gussied-up charcuterie board with slices of baguette, passion-fruit butter, manchego, pickled peppers, and pipikaula (house-cured dried beef rib jerky).
4. PELICAN BREWING SILETZ BAY
5911 Highway 101, Lincoln City, 541-614-4216, pelicanbrewing.com. Noon-10 pm daily.
Pelican Brewing’s new gleaming waterfront property in Lincoln City has opened the final portion of its pub that you won’t find at any of its other locations: a seafood market. In February, the Siletz Bay location launched Phil’s Nest Crab Boil Experience, an indoor-outdoor dining space that sells items for consumption on the premises and to go. We recommend ordering a crab cocktail before sinking into an Adirondack chair on the expansive patio overlooking the water. It’s the best place to wait for a table (and there will be waits come summer).
5. HEAVENLY CREATURES
2218 NE Broadway, heavenlycreaturespdx.com. 5-10 pm Monday-Saturday. The food is just as strong a pull as the drink at this wine-focused bar founded by longtime Portland sommelier Joel Gunderson and chef Aaron Barnett. Plates are mostly small and meant for sharing and tilt seafood heavy. But one way we’d like to experience Heavenly Creatures would be to come alone on a rainy weekday with a book, order a lush French blend from Domaine Pignier, and snack on the most perfect plate of hearty slices of young yellowtail, served raw on thick toast with tonnato.
23 Willamette Week MARCH 15, 2023 wweek.com
TO EAT THIS WEEK.
1. BUMPER BURGER
PHOTOS BY ANDREA DAMEWOOD
/ PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY MCKENZIE YOUNG-ROY
Planning to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with weed? Here are some strains named after the holiday’s signature color to get you started.
BY BRIANNA WHEELER
Ask any Irish Protestant and they’ll tell you St. Patrick’s Day means a lot of different things to a lot of different folks. For Americans, though, it’s mostly an excuse to wear green, pinch people and get day drunk. For American Catholics, it’s also an excuse to break Lent and get sloppy, or, for festive agnostic types and eco-warriors, the holiday is a reminder to consider ways they can make their lives more sustainable (aka green).
For the record, I don’t endorse pinching anybody without their enthusiastic consent, but co-opting the religious feast day for the sake of environmental activism seems like a great reason to get stoned. We’re already notoriously and multifariously “green.”
Bottom line: Any way you look at St. Patty’s, there’s a different way to observe it, especially for those of us without saintly Irish roots. Whether you plan on getting hammered and eating corned beef or finding 10 new ways to live greener, there’s a weed for that. Here are a few cultivars to keep in mind for Friday’s revelry:
This borderline-sedative cross of Turkish Gummy and Afghani is a super-relaxing strain with a moderate THC percentage
(17% to 20% on average) and a CBD percentage of around 2%, giving the already-cozy cultivar a cushy, therapeutic bend. Rec users report brain-erasing stress relief and euphoric head highs, as well as an elastic, buttery body buzz. Therapeutic smokers may find relief from chronic pain, hypertension, depression, spasms and insomnia. Expect a piney, minty nose and candy-skunk exhale.
BUY: The Dispensary on 52nd, 4452 SE 52nd Ave., 503-4208000, thedispensaryon52nd.com.
Users on the hunt for a balanced cultivar that will neither knock them out nor wind them up might appreciate the harmonious, if potent, buzz of Green Dream. This cross of Blue Dream and Green Crack has the best qualities from both parent strains, delivering chill head highs and electric body effects. Therapeutic uses can include relief from fatigue, migraines and bipolar disorder.
BUY: Brother’s Cannabis Dispensary, 1328 SE Morrison St., 503-206-4461, brothers-cannabis.com.
Varsity stoners looking for a long-lasting, swooning high should get familiar with Green Monster, a cultivar that very much lives
up to its powerful name. The effects are dazzlingly psychotropic and uplifting. In fact, the high is so powerfully complex, new users are advised to avoid it until they gain a familiarity with astro-traveling. Therapeutically, Green Monster may provide relief from depression, stress and appetite loss. There is also evidence this cultivar protects nerve cells from degeneration and impairment.
BUY: Plane Jane’s Dispensary, 10530 NE Simpson St., 971255-0999.
If you know, you know. But for the uninitiated, this inbred phenotype of Skunk #1 got its name from Snoop Dogg, who infamously smoked it and exclaimed, “This is like Green Crack,” cementing the cultivar’s uncomfortably problematic title. If you’re put off by the reference to crack cocaine, you can also refer to this strain by its nickname, Green Cush. Either way, it’s a potent favorite among Type A stoners who prefer a “get shit done” high to couchlock. Recreational users describe crystal-clear, glittering cerebral effects supported by an enduring body buzz. Therapeutic uses may include relief from migraines, fatigue and appetite loss.
BUY: Pakalolo PDX, 1528 SE Holgate Blvd., 503-369-8955, pakalolopdx.com.
24 Willamette Week MARCH 15, 2023 wweek.com
Courtney Taylor-Taylor explains how the Dandy Warhols ended up joining forces with the Oregon Symphony.
BY JAY HORTON @hortland
Legendarily louche art-rock provocateurs-turned-iconic hometown heroes, the Dandy Warhols are the least likely poster band for aging gracefully. Yet they’re about to enter the third decade of a singular career path fueled by staunch civic pride, die-hard global superfans, and restlessness equal parts deadpan whimsy and keening ambition.
On Thursday, March 16, the Dandy Warhols will come on down to the Schnitz for a one-night-only collaboration with the Oregon Symphony, for orchestral renditions of greatest hits and deep dives plucked from their daunting songbook. While finishing a brief East Coast tour, Dandy-in-chief Courtney Taylor-Taylor spoke to WW about the much-anticipated concert.
WW: How’d this all come about?
Courtney Taylor-Taylor: I’m not really sure. Prior to COVID, there was some talk about playing with the [Oregon] Symphony. Then, one day, there was a pair of Australian composers—Tamil Rogeon and Louise Woodward. (Tamil is the conductor as well.) They knew a lot of our songs and had strong ideas about which ones they wanted to score. I guess, at that, we just let them and, three years later, now here we are.
Had you imagined full orchestral versions of songs before?
When I was in music college, we used to record symphonic music off the radio and try to fit it into our recordings since we could not afford much in the way of classical musicians. I did that trick at the beginning of …The Dandy Warhols Come Down, our first Capitol Records release. But, to the best of my knowledge, I have never thought of playing with a full symphony. That’s probably because I have a fundamental understanding of how much work it would be to [write a] score for that many instruments.
How difficult was translating the Dandys’ usual touring set list to this format? Did some songs just not work? Did some album tracks unexpectedly benefit?
The composers took our records and orchestrated around them using classical instrument samples on digital music-creating programs.
Once they had rough drafts of everything, we sat and listened through and did some editing with them to preserve the integrity and feelings of the songs. As you can imagine, it is quite easy to bury a relatively straightforward song under dozens of horns, woodwinds, strings, etc.
And yeah, they picked some album tracks that we have never played live, so that should be interesting. Well, at least once it stops being nerve-racking.
Did anything change during rehearsals?
We haven’t been practicing with the Symphony. The composers
put together a digitally sampled symphony so that we could learn all the arrangements and in and out points. We just practice with that.
Fave examples of rock bands playing with a philharmonic?
I don’t have even a single one. The only times I can remember hearing rock bands with symphonies have been complete aberrations. And, perhaps, that is also why I’ve never thought of having us integrated into a symphony.
“Bittersweet Symphony” had that sample borrowed from an album of orchestral Stones hits…I assume that it was just symphony, not rock band with symphony.
Do you remember the first time you saw the Oregon Symphony? Or, at least, became aware it existed? School trip? That Cosby Show season with theme song played by James DePreist and OS?
I can’t remember the first time I went to the Oregon Symphony, specifically, but my life has always been filled with classical music—a 600-year span I’ve reduced down over the past two decades to pretty much just 1492 through 1608 (aka the Renaissance). When classical nerds start talking to me about antique music, I like to say that I only listen from [Guillaume de] Machaut to [Johann Heinrich] Schmelzer.
And…they, of course, were….
The last great medieval composer and the first great Baroque composer. Don’t worry. Nobody finds that funny.
So, you weren’t particularly intimidated at the idea of sharing the stage….
I grew up playing in symphonies. Actually, when Peter [Holmström] and I were both in high school, that’s where we met—a symphonic music summer camp at Willamette University.
Wait, really? Is that known? The Dandys started at band camp?
Peter and I never hung out there, so it’s not much of a story. We just happened to meet at that camp, but we didn’t become friends until two years later.
Finishing up with one more hometown pride query. You’ll soon have played Enchanted Forest, the Kendall Planetarium, and the Schnitz—are there further locally beloved venues to conquer?
Oaks Park? The Skyline Drive-In? Don’t really know, but I’m certainly open to suggestions.
SEE IT: The Dandy Warhols and the Oregon Symphony play at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, 503-248-4335, portland5.com. 7:30 pm Thursday, March 16. $29.
WHAT TO SEE AND WHAT TO HEAR
BY DANIEL BROMFIELD @bromf3
SATURDAY, MARCH 18:
SZA is one of the best American pop stars right now, blessed with a voice that sounds at once punkishly nonchalant and completely invested in what she’s singing. Five years after her already-classic debut Ctrl, her new album SOS has restored her music to a position of ubiquity that actually helps it: The more you hear her music blasting on the radio or at parties, the more you realize how sharp-witted and brilliant these songs are. Moda Center, 1 N Center Court St., 503-2358771, rosequarter.com. 8 pm. $200 and up. All ages.
SUNDAY, MARCH 19:
Of the innumerable, loosely Drake-affiliated projects that came pouring out of Toronto in the 2010s, Dvsn is one of the most consistently interesting. Pairing producer and trusted Drake collaborator Nineteen85 with belter Daniel Daley, Dvsn (pronounced “Division,” like the street) offers a vision of contemporary pop-R&B that harks back to the ’70s experiments of Isaac Hayes and the Temptations in its scale and ambition. Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside St., 503-225-0047, crystalballroompdx.com. 8:30 pm. $30. 21+ balcony, general admission all ages.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22:
Many believe the Jerry Garcia Band’s live shows rivaled those of its leader’s main gig, the Grateful Dead—and the project’s sole album, Cats Under the Stars, arguably beats any Dead studio album. The Garcia Project has spent the past decade re-creating full Jerry Garcia Band shows, offering a deep dive into Deadhead apocrypha and a different experience—more covers, for one—than most Dead-affiliated tribute projects. Star Theater, 13 NW 6th Ave., 503-284-4700, startheaterportland. com. 8 pm. $25. 21+.
COURTESY OF SZA COURTESY OF DVSN COURTESY OF THE GARCIA PROJECT
OF THE DANDY WARHOLS
25 Willamette Week MARCH 15, 2023 wweek.com
MUSIC Editor: Bennett Campbell Ferguson | Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Young Adult No More
How Portland-area bookstores got swept up in the controversy surrounding sexuality in Sarah J. Maas’ fantasy novels.
BY ERIC ASH
For a decade and change, Sarah J. Maas has been one of America’s biggest fantasy authors. She debuted in 2012 with the young adult smash hit Throne of Glass, followed by six more novels and a short story collection.
Maas has been a consistent YA bestseller, both popular and polarizing. Over the years, she has aimed for an older readership, and now, with the entire Throne of Glass series having been rereleased Feb. 14 with a brand-new cover art style, Maas’ transition to the adult section of the bookstore is largely complete.
While still writing the Throne of Glass novels, Maas began another romantic high fantasy series, A Court of Thorns and Roses, first published in 2015. It was to be marketed as “new adult,” unlike Throne of Glass, aimed at college-age, rather than high school-age, readers. New adult didn’t really take off, however, as Maas herself admitted while speaking on a panel at New York Comic Con 2019. So ACOTAR was, with Maas’s blessing, marketed as YA, regardless of its more explicit sexual content.
By 2020, ahead of the fourth novel, A Court of Silver Flames, the entire series was reissued with new cover art, and booksellers moved the
books out of YA. This didn’t stop Virginia State Delegate Tim Anderson from naming A Court of Mist and Fury in a 2022 lawsuit against Barnes & Noble, alleging B&N would give minors easy access to obscene content. (Virginia Circuit Judge Pamela S. Baskervill dismissed Anderson’s case several months later.)
Meanwhile, the Throne of Glass series wasn’t immune to complaints that it, too, was too spicy for YA. The fifth novel, Empire of Storms, features a sex scene in which two Fae lovers set a beach on fire, eliciting a divided response from fans.
Hence, Maas has also had the Throne of Glass series rereleased. Protagonist Celaena, who used to be front and center, has largely vanished from covers in favor of natural patterns and buildings with relatively dark, muted colors. Copies with the original covers are no longer widely for sale at B&N; by Feb. 17, the Clackamas store had pulled them all off the shelves. Other stores in the metro area—Tigard, Vancouver, Lloyd Center—still had some old-cover copies in their YA sections as of March 4, albeit very few in number.
In contrast to B&N, Powell’s has both versions sharing space on its YA shelves, with the oldstyle covers all on lower-priced used copies. A
Cedar Hills Crossing bookseller said it would be up to company higher-ups to officially move the books, and until then, Maas’ work may stay accessible “in as many sections as possible.”
made Maas unusual among her peers. Female fantasy writers’ works are usually seen as YA for marketing purposes if nothing else, likely because YA is often perceived as more inherently “feminine.”
Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu’s Eldest Curses trilogy was to be billed as the first “adult” Shadowhunters series, but was ultimately marketed as YA instead at the publisher’s behest. R.F. Kuang’s The Poppy War was always marketed as adult, befitting its violent retelling of the Second Sino-Japanese War, but was often mistaken for YA due to its boarding school setting. The trend has continued in 2023 with Mia Tsai speaking out against mislabeling her debut adult fantasy novel Bitter Medicine as YA.
Meanwhile, the Multnomah County Library still catalogs Maas’ pre-2020 backlist as YA. Fort Vancouver Regional Library does the same. A representative for FVRL said that to change this would require filling out a comment form online, which would then be forwarded to the library’s collection development department.
Moving existing series out of YA (twice) has
At NYCC 2019, when Maas spoke with Laurell K. Hamilton, she acknowledged that time as a “golden age of YA.” Her books may no longer sell in that section, but her past sales remain the foundation of her present influence and success, as the new covers grace local bookstores. The content inside remains the same, though, whichever cover one might collect. For now, collectors of the original style can borrow from the library, buy from Powell’s, or, if lucky, obtain one of the last copies at various local B&N stores.
BOOK COVERS COURTESY OF BLOOMSBURY
26 Willamette Week MARCH 15, 2023 wweek.com BOOKS
The fifth Throne of Glass novel, Empire of Storms, features a sex scene in which two Fae lovers set a beach on fire, eliciting a divided response from fans.
Editor: Bennett Campbell Ferguson | Contact: email@example.com
Editor: Bennett Campbell Ferguson
Dear Movie Madness
We invited folks on social media to throw personal quandaries at Movie Madness’ staff for recommendations. Here are their responses.
BY JOLIENE ADAMS
Sometimes, you don’t want to talk about it. But you do want something or someone to relate to. Movies can be the middle ground.
Portland is fortunate to have a world-class brick-andmortar video store. Movie Madness is basically the modern physical media version of the ancient Library of Alexandria. With more than 80,000 titles on the premises, it has more than Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Disney+ and HBO Max combined.
We all stream. It’s quick, easy. Streaming platforms work well when you’re seeking specific titles, like Star Trek. But when you’re seeking to meet a specific need? That’s when Movie Madness’ in-house experts become irreplaceable.
Sure, you can Google “Netflix movies for feeling sad” and get results like “50 Best Sad Movies on Netflix to Stream When You Need to Cry Your Eyes Out.” But, if you’re feeling sad because you’ve been rejected at your 12th job interview despite being highly qualified, or your cat just died from eating hair ties? You can’t effectively search for that online. An algorithm just can’t “get you” and personalize suggestions like outstanding video clerks can.
With that in mind, we invited users on social media to throw personal quandaries at Movie Madness’ staff for recommendations. Here are their responses.
1. I work with high schoolers reluctant to watch anything pre-2000. Any older movies that might resonate? Also, it’s easy to find teen films about suburban white kids. Any earlier films with more diverse representation?
DEAR WE NEED MORE EDUCATORS LIKE YOU,
As an MAT student working with high schoolers every day, I can help. The kids need action and mayhem. Two years locked inside has numbed them.
My first recommendation: The Holy Mountain. The soul-bending surrealism is sure to excite any young adult. It’s visually stunning, without a moment’s downtime. Second recommendation: Sugar Hill. What more is there to want from a film? It’s a Blaxploitation, voodoo zombie-infested, kung fu revenge thriller sure to grab even the most bored student’s attention.
My third recommendation is a safe bet: Killer Klowns From Outer Space. Can’t explain it, but something in that movie captivates young people. —Satchel
2. I’m broke and must work, but want to travel. Movies to help wanderlust?
DEAR BROKEN ADVENTURIST,
Know the feeling! Films documenting faraway lands help tame my insatiable wanderlust. At least until I can save up for a trip. Anything by Satyajit Ray (especially The Apu Trilogy), is excellent if you’re hankering for South Asian excursions. French director Louis Malle’s documentary Phantom India is a fantastic snapshot of late-’60s Indian life. All installments of Cinerama’s travelogue series from the ’50s will similarly teleport you elsewhere.
My favorite is South Seas Adventure, a transpacific tropical Polynesian island tour. Latin American scenery and culture more your flavor? Try I Am Cuba, a beautifully shot blackand-white ’60s communist propaganda film. It captures the
land and people of a fascinating country that United States tourists have rarely experienced in person post-Cuban Revolution. —Quinn
3. Movies after losing someone?
DEAR RECENTLY BEREAVED, Director Johnnie To’s Romancing in Thin Air is a moving ode to cinema’s power to help us navigate life’s worst tragedies. Dumped by his bride at the wedding, a hotshot actor escapes to the Himalayan mountains. He encounters a widowed fan who runs a hotel. A complicated relationship and new film project unfold. When loved ones pass, we think of our memories with them, but also imagine what it would be like if they were still with us. This film shows how art can be cathartic during mourning, offering reflections like, “I love the script, but does the ending have to be so sad?” —Kendall
4. I dated someone who wasn’t who he said he was. When I found out, I broke up with him. He stalked me. I’m fine. New home, life, office, and new big dog. But, recommend a movie?
DEAR SEPARATE AND SAVVY, Enough, directed by Michael Apted and starring Jennifer Lopez. It follows a woman who marries a man who isn’t who he said he was. She leaves. He stalks her. It’s thrilling and suspenseful, and features an amazing Lopez performance. The film takes itself seriously, but also enters some wacky territory, making it an entertaining, wild ride. Could be cathartic and is totally worth watching. If you’re seeking lighter fare, try 9 to 5 or The First Wives Club. Both are guaranteed fun and feature strong women banding together to get back at the men who’ve wronged them. —Cable
5. A mom and dad kept their daughter super sheltered (did everything for her), then kicked her out during their divorce. Fish out of water stories for her?
DEAR WTF ON YOUR BEHALF,
Taika Waititi’s Hunt for the Wilderpeople is such a fun movie that explores this theme on multiple levels. But it does so in a hilarious, irreverent and surprisingly touching way. Julian Dennison melts hearts as Ricky, a teenager caught up in the child welfare system who finds a new home with Hec (Sam Neill) and Bella (Rima Te Wiata). This film has lots of heart, and it shows that individuals can grow following catastrophic events. —Sara
6. I’m raising teen girls. I have a 15- and an 11-yearold. It’s a roller coaster. Help?!
DEAR STRUGGLING TO STAY ON THE RIGHT TRACKS, Thirteen, directed by Catherine Hardwicke, could be for you! It stars Holly Hunter as a well-meaning mom just doing her absolute best while her teenage kids, primarily her 13-year-old daughter, spin out of control. Despite heavy subject matter, it’s an enthralling film filled with stunning performances and iconic moments. Holly Hunter’s performance is positively heartbreaking, and young Evan Rachel Wood and Nikki Reed (who helped write the film at 13!) are forces to be reckoned with. —Cable
27 Willamette Week MARCH 15, 2023 wweek.com
TOP PICK OF THE WEEK GET YOUR REPS IN
Mur Murs (1981)
Agnès Varda had many métiers as a filmmaker. But the ability to translate her own outsiderdom into an immersive, poetic perspective was arguably the French New Wave luminary’s signature from her 1950s beginnings. It’s certainly the secret ingredient of Mur Murs, Varda’s portrait of Los Angeles street muralists.
Varda’s affection for public art is just Mur Murs’ jumping-off point, as it explores all that is powerful, bizarre, aspirational, inconsistent and even propagandist about L.A. murals—from paintings of forests on the Pacific Coast Highway to visual requiems for lost gang members in Boyle Heights.
This thoughtful arts scene primer elevates further with distinctly Varda moments that linger between documentary and performance art. In full coordination, we see Angelenos shimmying in roller skates and practicing tai chi before alternate realities on concrete. Contemplating the word “mural,” Varda arrives at a memorable definition: “I exist.”
Mur Murs plays March 20 at the Clinton Street Theater, programmed by the Portland film appreciation/programming project Agnès Varda Forever. Then, on March 27, AVF will screen The Beaches of Agnès (2008) at the Clinton. And if you’re eager for even more Varda, Vagabond (1985) plays at the Academy Theater on March 17-23.
Academy: Love & Basketball (2000), Space Jam (1996), The Breadwinner (2017); March 17-23. Cinema 21: The Apartment (1960), March 18. Cinemagic: Finding Nemo (2003), March 18. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), March 17, 18 and 20. Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002), March 18 and 21. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005), March 18, 19 and 22. Clinton: Working Girls (1986), March 18. Smithereens (1982), March 19. Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975), March 21. Hollywood: Monster (2003), March 16. Leprechaun 4: In Space (1996), March 17. Paris Is Burning (1990), March 18. Alma’s Rainbow (1994), March 20.
On the heels of 80 for Brady, Jane Fonda embarks on another, far darker quest in Moving On. At an old friend’s out-of-town funeral, Claire (Fonda) bluntly informs the widower (Malcolm McDowell) that she’s going to kill him…and he knows why. Alternating between conspirator and voice of reason, Fonda’s favorite screen partner, Lily Tomlin (9 to 5, Grace and Frankie), shines as Claire’s best friend in droll co-pilot fashion. And if the stars of Klute and A Clockwork Orange weren’t enough 1970s iconography, Richard Roundtree lends all the tender, still-got-it gravitas you’d want from octogenarian Shaft to his role as Claire’s ex-husband. Overall, Moving On’s mission is as precarious as Claire’s. It foregrounds a heightened, ostensibly comedic premise but mostly seeks characters’ wistful realities within the exaggerated. And while major script contrivances link the murder threat’s ridiculousness to the unspoken insecurities of a failed marriage, Moving On does the splits more ambitiously than most American indies of this dramedy ilk. The lead cast’s combined 240 years of on-screen confidence smooth the tone shifts, and writer-director Paul Weitz (About a Boy, American Pie) smartly pins Claire’s revenge plot to inequities in memory and absolution that haunt our cultural conversations—essentially, who gets to “move on.” R. CHANCE SOLEM-PFEIFER. Cedar Hills, Living Room.
ONE FINE MORNING
No one ever says that Sandra (Léa Seydoux) is spread too thin in One Fine Morning, writer-director Mia Hansen-Løve’s follow-up to Bergman Island, but it’s obvious when you observe the Parisian single mother’s daily routine. Through weariness and without complaint, Sandra dotes on her young daughter and cares for her dementia-ridden father, struggling to imagine how a new romance could fit into her life. But it’s not just the contents of Sandra’s plate that suggest a put-upon person; it’s how Hansen-Løve allows all the other characters to monologue. Sandra’s love interest (Melvil Poupaud) is a verbose chemist, her mother (Nicole Garcia) a remarried political advocate, her daughter (Camille Leban Martins) a bright young student. Even Sandra’s career as a translator deemphasizes her perspective. That’s a fascinating challenge for Seydoux, a movie star (best known for Bond films and Blue Is the Warmest Color) inhabiting an everyday person decentralized in her own life. It’s a frustratingly subversive, perhaps overly thorough approach to making the audience constantly hope that someone else will put Sandra first. Maybe that day will come some fine morning. Maybe the reprieve will last five minutes. Maybe this is just the thankless labor for too many women. R. CHANCE SOLEM-PFEIFER.
might be able to change those opinions. Speeding through a switchback road of finger pointing, red herrings and deception, the film will surprise and confuse even the most ardent Wes Craven fans until the final seconds.
: THIS MOVIE IS EXCELLENT, ONE OF THE BEST OF THE YEAR.
: THIS MOVIE IS GOOD. WE RECOMMEND YOU WATCH IT.
: THIS MOVIE IS ENTERTAINING BUT FLAWED.
: THIS MOVIE IS A STEAMING PILE.
Fans of Ari Aster and Robert Eggers tend to view the Scream movies as the Marvel films of the horror genre. They lack subversive messages, recycle storylines and characters and, often, mirror their box office success. Scream VI, however, just
Writing duo James Vanderbilt (White House Down, The Amazing Spider-Man, Zodiac) and Guy Busick (Ready or Not, Castle Rock Urge) reunite to flaunt their obvious passion for the horror genre and Craven’s satire-soaked franchise, proving that their new installments have the chops to stand the test of time. Laura Crane (Samara Weaving), a cinema professor at fictional Blackmore University, opens the film discussing her love for 20th century slashers and how the genre serves as a crystalline representation of broader social fears of the time. It’s overwhelmingly clear how that sentiment relates to Scream VI and its use of cellphone surveillance, fake news, and social media conspiracy theories as a driving force behind the plot throughout the film. The film’s relevance also manifests in Vanderbilt and Busick’s devious portrayal of the modern horror cinephile, satirizing the indie and elevated horror fans that will likely steer clear of this movie due to its capitalistic appeal. But there’s a fine line between tongue in cheek and a bitten tongue. Collectively, we’re witnessing horror films with Gen Z actors as leads for the first time, and the worlds they live (or die) in need to change with them. Still, dialogues about healthy coping mechanisms and trauma-informed care in the setting of a slasher film can’t help but stick out like a sore thumb. Scream VI will likely receive similar criticism to Halina Reijn’s Bodies Bodies Bodies, given that cringe zoomer internet culture is quite possibly the most
fear-inducing motif. R. ALEX BARR. Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, City Center, Clackamas, Eastport, Evergreen Parkway, Laurelhurst, Lloyd Center, Movies On TV, Oak Grove, Pioneer Place, Progress Ridge, Regal Tigard, Studio One, Wilsonville.
THE QUIET GIRL
This year’s Best International Feature category at the Oscars brims with gutting little parables of innocent creatures finding and losing love. If EO the donkey and the boys of Close didn’t drain your waterworks, The Quiet Girl is eager to try. The black sheep of a literally and emotionally bankrupt home, 9-year-old Cáit (Catherine Clinch) is shipped to her cousins’ idyllic dairy farm in Southern Ireland for the summer. There, the practically mute child finds her new guardians will welcome and explore her reticence in ways no sibling, teacher or parent ever has. Cáit’s cousin Eibhlín (Carrie Crowley) is practically angelic, though it takes Eibhlín’s husband, Seán (Andrew Bennett), longer to warm up, as Cáit fills their lives’ child-sized void. The adults of The Quiet Girl are either so kind or so dismissive toward children that one almost expects Matilda-style magical realism from the entirely polarized treatment, while Cáit herself is more vessel than character. The result is a soft summer fable that all but attacks our tear ducts. Starving a vulnerable audience proxy of love and then dosing them at exactly the prescribed times takes unflinching focus—and it’s hard not to feel, even if the tenderness is an act of force. PG-13. CHANCE SOLEM-PFEIFER. Bridgeport, Living Room.
AGNÈS VARDA 28 Willamette Week MARCH 15, 2023 wweek.com MOVIES
by Jack Kent
29 Willamette Week MARCH 15, 2023 wweek.com
BY MATT JONES
ARIES (March 21-April 19): I highly recommend the following experiences: 1. ruminating about what you learned in a relationship that ended—and how those lessons might be useful now. 2. ruminating about a beloved place you once regarded as home—and how the lessons you learned while there might be inspiring now. 3. ruminating about a riddle that has long mystified you—and how clarifying insights you receive in the coming weeks could help you finally understand it.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): For "those who escape hell," wrote Charles Bukowksi, "nothing much bothers them after that." Believe it or not, Taurus, I think that in the coming weeks, you can *permanently* escape your own personal version of hell—and never, ever have to return. I offer you my congratulations in advance. One strategy that will be useful in your escape is this idea from Bukowski: “Stop insisting on clearing your head—clear your f*cking heart instead.”
and great understanding of relationships . . . It requires a self-esteem to receive—a pleasant acquaintance and liking for oneself."
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Libran poet E. E. Cummings wrote that daffodils "know the goal of living is to grow." Is his sweet sentiment true? I would argue it's only partially accurate. I believe that if we want to shape our destinies with courage and creativity, we need to periodically go through phases of decay and decline. They make periods of growth possible. So I would say, "The goal of life is to grow and wither and grow and wither and grow." Is it more fun to grow than to wither? Maybe. But sometimes, withering is educational and necessary. Anyway, Libra, I suspect you are finishing a time of withering and will soon embark on a series of germinations and blossoms.
9. Word in some hotel names
13. Comic-Con topic
14. "King of the ___"
15. "Get going!"
17. Antioxidant berry
18. "Pitch Perfect" actress ___ Mae Lee
19. Prevent using "solar" as a word?
22. United hub on the West Coast
24. Stand-up device in some bars, for short
25. "Everybody ___" (REM hit)
26. Place of higher learning to study bequeathments?
30. Decorative woodwork
31. Bohr who won a Nobel
32. 9-9, e.g.
35. Mossy fuel
36. Like a lot of gum
38. Commit a blunder
39. Cut gemstone feature
40. Word after Hello or Carpet in brand names
41. U.K. intelligence service's satellite branch in Florida?
43. Actress Julianne of "Dear Evan Hansen"
45. P-shaped Greek letter
46. East Indian lentil stew
47. Poetic structure that can only be written in pen?
51. "Der ___" (German for "The Old One", TV detective show since 1977)
52. "Field of Dreams" state
53. Rodeo rope
56. Snow day transport
57. Scottish family group
58. Like some expectations
59. Responsibilities, metaphorically
60. "Grand" ice cream inventor Joseph
61. "If ___ Street Could Talk"
1. Texting format initials
2. NBA coach Riley
3. Sneaky but strategic "The Price Is Right" bid
4. Shrek, notably
5. Bookstore section
6. Uncle in "Napoleon Dynamite"
7. Angela Merkel's successor Scholz
8. With a carefree attitude
9. Remain stuck
10. "I Only ___ the Ones I Love" (Jeffrey Ross book)
12. Hardcore follower
14. Solo instrument in many Blues Traveler songs
20. Abbr. used for brevity
21. What Os may symbolize
22. Dating app motion
©2023 Jonesin’ Crosswords (firstname.lastname@example.org) For answers to this puzzle, call: 1-900-226-2800, 99 cents per minute. Must be 18+. Or to bill to your credit card, call: 1-800-655-6548. Reference puzzle #JNZ990.
23. More luxurious
27. Back muscle, casually
28. Like notebook paper
29. Leno's longtime latenight rival
32. "Euphoria," "Pretty Little Liars," or "Degrassi," e.g.
33. App full of pix
34. Kind of alcohol used as biofuel
36. Tried to get along
37. "Despicable Me" main character
39. Kindle tablet
40. Reflexology specialty
41. Speedy two-wheelers
42. Guevara on countless posters
43. "The Fifth Element" actress Jovovich
44. Eight-member band
48. "Truth be ___ ..."
49. Type of "out of office" message
50. "___ Kleine Nachtmusik"
54. ___ Aviv University
55. Took the bait?
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Gemini paleontologist Louis Agassiz (1807–1883) was a foundational contributor to the scientific tradition. Among his specialties was his hands-on research into the mysteries of fossilized fish. Though he was meticulously logical, he once called on his nightly dreams to solve a problem he faced. Here’s the story: A potentially crucial specimen was largely concealed inside a stone. He wanted to chisel away the stone to get at the fossil, but was hesitant to proceed for fear of damaging the treasure inside. On three successive nights, his dreams revealed to him how he should approach the work. This information proved perfectly useful. Agassiz hammered away at the slab exactly as his dreams suggested and freed the fossilized fish. I bring this marvel to your attention, Gemini, because I suspect that you, too, need to carve or cut away an obstruction that is hiding something valuable. Can you get help from your dreams? Yes, or else in deep reverie or meditation.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): Will you flicker and sputter in the coming weeks, Cancerian? Or will you spout and surge? That is, will you be enfeebled by barren doubts, or will you embolden yourself with hearty oaths? Will you take nervous sips or audacious guzzles? Will you hide and equivocate, or else reveal and pounce? Dabble gingerly or pursue the joy of mastery? I’m here to tell you that which fork you take will depend on your intention and your willpower, not on the caprices of fate. So which will it be: Will you mope and fritter or untangle and illuminate?
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): I applaud psychologists who tell us how important it is to feel safe. One of the most crucial human rights is the confidence that we won't be physically or emotionally abused. But there's another meaning of safety that applies to those of us who yearn to express ourselves creatively. Singer-songwriter David Bowie articulated the truth: "If you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a bit out of your depth, and when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re in the right place to do something exciting." I think this is a wise strategy for most of us, even those who don't identify as artists. Almost everyone benefits from being imaginative and inventive and even a bit daring in their own particular sphere. And this will be especially applicable to you in the coming weeks, Leo.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): You are in the sweet, deep phase of the Receiving Season. And so you have a right and a duty to show the world you are ready and available to be blessed with what you need and want. I urge you to do everything necessary to become a welcoming beacon that attracts a wealth of invigorating and healing influences. For inspiration, read this quote by author John Steinbeck: "It is so easy to give, so exquisitely rewarding. Receiving, on the other hand, if it be well done, requires a fine balance of self-knowledge and kindness. It requires humility and tact
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): All of us have elements of genius. Every person on the planet possesses at least one special talent or knack that is a gift to others. It could be subtle or unostentatious, like a skill for communicating with animals or for seeing what's best in people. Or maybe it's more spectacular, like composing beautiful music or raising children to be strong and compassionate. I mention this, Scorpio, because the coming weeks will be an excellent time to identify your unique genius in great detail—and then nurture it and celebrate it in every way you can imagine.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): The emblem associated with Sagittarius is an archer holding a bow with the arrow pointed upwards. This figure represents your tribe’s natural ambition to always aim higher. I bring this to your attention because your symbolic quiver is now full of arrows. But what about your bow? Is it in tip-top condition? I suggest you do some maintenance. Is the bow string in perfect shape? Are there any tiny frays? Has it been waxed recently? And what about the grip? Are there any small cracks or wobbles? Is it as steady and stable as it needs to be? I have one further suggestion as you prepare for the targetshooting season. Choose one or at most two targets to aim at rather than four or five.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): It’s prime time to feel liberated from the urge to prove yourself to anyone. It’s a phase when your self-approval should be the only kind of approval you need, a period when you have the right to remove yourself from any situation that is weighed down with gloomy confusion or apathetic passivity. This is exciting news! You have an unprecedented opportunity to recharge your psychic batteries and replenish your physical vitality.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): I suspect you can now accomplish healthy corrections without getting tangled up in messy karma. Here are my recommendations: 1. As you strive to improve situations that are awry or askew, act primarily out of love rather than guilt or pity. 2. Fight tenderly in behalf of beautiful justice, but don't fight harshly for ugly justice. 3. Ask yourself how you might serve as a kind of divine intervention in the lives of those you care about—and then carry out those divine interventions.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): In describing her process, Piscean sculptor Anne Truitt wrote, "The most demanding part of living a lifetime as an artist is the strict discipline of forcing oneself to work steadfastly along the nerve of one’s own most intimate sensitivity." I propose that many Pisceans, both artists and non-artists, can thrive from living like that. The coming weeks will be an excellent time to give yourself to such an approach with eagerness and devotion. I urge you to think hard and feel deeply as you ruminate on the question of how to work steadfastly along the nerve of your own most intimate sensitivity.
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