Willamette Week, May 17, 2023 - Volume 49, Issue 27 - "Track Addicts"

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“OUT HERE IT’S EASIER TO GET DRUGS THAN FOOD.” P. 6 WWEEK.COM VOL 49/27 05.17.2023 BARS: Drink From the Starfleet Bottle. P. 20 An obscure Oregon agency props up greyhound and horse racing—and gets chicken feed in return.
Page 13 NEWS: No Apartments for You! P. 10 FILM: Jon Raymond Shows Up. P. 27
By Nigel Jaquiss.
2 Willamette Week MAY 17, 2023 wweek.com



VOL. 49, ISSUE 27

Oregon weed dispensaries will have to prove they’ve paid their taxes. 5

Only 32 people cited for drug possession in Multnomah County have talked to the addiction services hotline. 6

An inspector in White City found U-Haul boxes of weed labeled “lost child.” 9

Portland single-family home builders pulled just 7.6 permits per 10,000 residents in the first quarter of 2022. 11

Oregon accepts more than half of the total amount bet legally on horse and dog racing in the U.S. 13

The company that runs the Kentucky Derby saw its Oregon betting business grow 40% during the pandemic. 16

A possible flying saucer captured in a 1950 photo inspired the McMenamins UFO Fest. 19

OMSI’s newest exhibit features three life-size orca replicas


The Shaku Bar’s name was inspired by the owners’ childhood secret handshake 20

There are no 40-foot primates at the new bar Grape Ape, but you will find plenty of natural wines. 21

Idaho’s Palouse Country is home of the Appaloosa horse. 23

Paul Ryan (alas, not that Paul Ryan) provided the cover art for Bill Callahan’s new album. 24

Yves Tumor is no longer a semi-anonymous noisenik 25

Lucrecia Dalt’s music sounds like the death rattle of the entire technological grid. 26

Jon Raymond used to think he was a bad person 27


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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 Skye Anfield at Willamette Week. Postmaster: Send all address changes to Willamette Week, P.O. Box 10770, Portland, OR 97206. Subscription rates: One year $130, six months $70. Back issues $5 for walk-ins, $8 for mailed requests when available. Willamette Week is mailed at third-class rates. Association of Alternative Newsmedia. This newspaper is published on recycled newsprint using soy-based ink. AFFORDABLE HOUSING, PAGE 10 ON THE COVER: The Oregon Racing Commission oversees billions in greyhound and horse wagers for only a tiny piece of the action; photo by ClarkandCompany/ iStock OUR MOST TRAFFICKED STORY ONLINE THIS WEEK: A Michigan nonprofit is blanketing Portland in religious literature. 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 Interns Jake Moore Lee Vankipuram 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
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The arrival of a 473-page paperback in Portland mailboxes this week baffled recipients. On May 13, WW explained its origins on wweek.com. The book, titled The Great Controversy, was written in 1858 by a founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. A Coldwater, Mich., nonprofit mailed copies to addresses in Portland—the latest in a series of locations (Chicago, Philadelphia, the entire state of Vermont) the nonprofit chose to proselytize. Some of those previous cities were chosen because of high-profile social ills. Here’s what our readers had to say:

JOANCLAYTONESQ, VIA REDDIT: “Imagine if they’d taken the money spent on publishing and mailing this to feed the hungry, provide shelter to the unsheltered, and offer aid to sick people. I read about a guy in ancient times who did stuff like that. Can’t recall his name, I think it was Jesse or something like that…”


COM: “I found the pages of the book ignited quickly and burned cleanly with little ash in my chimney charcoal starter. A quality publication!”

RICK JOYCE, VIA WWEEK. COM: “‘Fragile Portland Gets Upset Over Junk Mail’ —The Onion”

KANYA HOUGE, VIA FACEBOOK: “I’m making an art junk journal out of mine and having fun with the process. So far in one book, I’ve torn out every two pages, then left two, throughout the book, decreasing the volume by half. I’m in the process of adhering the in-between two pages together, for strength to then begin adding paint and marks and collage, etc.”

SAPPHOSLEMONBARENVOY, VIA REDDIT: “I was outside when my postwoman showed up with it, and she said she wasn’t employed

to be a librarian for dragging a van of these crappy books around all day. If I understood her correctly, they also don’t go through the sorters correctly either, so it’s a labor burden too.

“I propose we gather them all up, and drop them air mail from 5,000 feet on the people that burdened the mail system with this trash.”


COM: “Political flyers go to mailboxes across the state and country all day long. How is this any different? Because you don’t like the message? Neither do I, but I don’t throw a tizzy when I get a mailer from Kotek either. It goes to the same recycle bin as the Jesus stuff. Are you proposing the Jesus people shouldn’t have the same access to USPS as your favorite campaigns and activist organizations?”


“Really appreciate the distinction Lucas (the author) made here. So many of us who are Adventist and live in this area DID NOT want this, did not know it was happening, and now have to deal with the effects caused by a group way out in another state.”


Regarding the mass mail saturation campaign covered in your

Dr. Know

How come, three years after the completion of the South Portland addressing project, there are still street signs within the new South Portland sextant with the “SW” prefix on the street signs? —Annoyed Driver

After three weeks of listening to folks gripe about potholes, it’s refreshing to hear from someone whose biggest complaint about Portland’s streets is a small pocket of out-of-date signage. That said, there’s no way I can focus on your mote of a question in the face of the giant plank of controversy that is your use of the term “sextant.”

Just in case any retired clipper ship captains are reading this, the word “sextant” in this context does not refer to the navigational instrument that launched the Age of Sail, but rather to one of the compass-defined sections of Portland: North, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest and now South. Since one of four sections of an area is a quadrant, the reasoning goes, one of six sections should be called a sextant.

I admit, Annoyed, that at first I assumed you were just an insufferable pedant (my favorite kind!)

story “A Michigan Nonprofit Is Blanketing Portland in Religious Literature” [wweek.com, May 13], the content managers of Christ in the story know about MailChimp, for sure. Adding to the landfill in the most liberal city in America may not be the sharpest marketing strategy, but it could be the dumbest yet, unless I compare it to the daily effort put in across Burnside from Powell’s Books, where “FREE BIBLE lessons” are offered off a stationary rack manned by a couple of salespersons. I do not see much difference. Those folks, like the mail-order proselytizers, are going for the win: the bloody red meat of fresh young Portland liberals coming out of Powell’s and/or the gays wandering past to shop at Buffalo Exchange, or the pub crawler secular professionals cruising towards drinks in the Pearl, who have left off any interest in a god who shames them or their friends. I find the book mailers and sidewalk promoters about as close to their desired catch as the I am to becoming an astronaut.

It seems a measurable offense when well-meaning “helpers” look straight past the faded spirits of the disenfranchised homeless and destitute (standing nearby and who have almost nothing except a thread of hope that things may turn around) and straight on to those who have found a happy city to love and thrive in. This is the problem with phoning it in. It’s a dial tone.

P. Moss, Southwest Portland

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR must include the author's street address and phone number for verification. Letters must be 250 or fewer words. Submit to: P.O. Box 10770, Portland OR, 97296

Email: mzusman@wweek.com

showing off your command of Latin. It turns out, however, that city officials have actually been repping “sextant” as the official term since the creation of South Portland in 2020. (They acknowledge that some Portlanders may still prefer “quadrant,” which they say they’ll continue to “informally recognize.”)

It’s true that in geometry, where “quadrant” refers to a quarter of a circle, a sixth of a circle can be called a sextant. But “quadrant” has also come to mean one of four parts more generally; “sextant” hasn’t. Not even the Oxford English Dictionary— which has three citations for the word “zarf”—could find a precedent for a broader definition of “sextant.”

Moreover, where was this fetish for arithmetic precision for the 88 or so years we were blithely using the word “quadrant” to refer to our five—not four—addressing areas? By this model we should have called them “quintants” for that whole time. (Though I think it’s pretty obvious why we didn’t.)

This is not to say that “quadrant” doesn’t suck. We need a better word. Borough? Ward? Arrondissement? I’m open to suggestions. But the clock is ticking because charter reform is about to give us city council…districts? Zones? (Astrolabes?) They’ll need a name for them. We should grab a good one before they do, or we may find there’s nothing better than “sextant” extant.

Questions? Send them to dr.know@wweek.com.

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WEED DISPENSARIES MUST PROVE THEY PAID TAXES: embattled cannabis dispensary chain La Mota, whose founders are the subject of $7 million in tax liens, Gov. Tina Kotek directed the Oregon Department of Revenue and the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission this week to require a certificate of tax compliance from dispensa ries before granting or renewing a license. “This will help ensure that all businesses are operat ing under the same rules and not getting any competitive advantage if they haven’t paid their taxes,” Kotek said in a statement. The OLCC, which regulates cannabis, already had statutory authority to penalize a licensee if it failed to pay marijuana taxes. But that power was seldom used, in part because it required coordination with the Department of Revenue. The OLCC will begin crafting rules for the new policy this year. According to the state, cannabis businesses have a 9% noncompliance rate compared with 3% across other industries.

OVERDOSE DEATHS UP NEARLY 50% THIS YEAR: The Portland Police Bureau released new data Tuesday morning showing a dramatic increase in drug overdose deaths. Last year, there were a record 158 overdose deaths in Portland. This year will almost certainly surpass that peak. There have already been 85, a 46% increase from this time last year, PPB spokesman Nathan Sheppard tells WW. “Keep in mind that the numbers for this year are actually only preliminary because the medical examiner will continue to process toxicology reports that will only increase the number of deaths considered overdoses,” Sheppard adds. Tuesday’s data release comes after a particularly lethal weekend on Portland’s streets in which police investigated eight suspected overdoses. Six of those were due to fentanyl, the potent, cheap opioid that has driven a massive rise in overdoses across Oregon in recent years. It’s easily mistaken for other powdered drugs, like cocaine, as police suspect happened in several of the recent cases. “Users are warned that there may be a batch of purported cocaine circulating on the street that is particularly dangerous to use,” the bureau said Sunday. See more on page 6.

Commission against House Minority Leader Vikki Breese-Iverson, alleging the Prineville Republican used her elected office for personal gain. In his complaint, Layda notes facts that WW first reported last year (“All in the Family, Nov. 2, 2022): that after Breese-Iverson became the House Republican caucus leader, the caucus began spending large amounts of money with Iverson Media Group, which is owned by Breese-Iverson’s husband, Bryan Iverson. “She was always integrally involved in her husband’s political consulting company and has personally profited directly or by common property law,” Layda wrote in his complaint. Breese-Iverson says Layda is off-base: “Mr. Layda’s complaint before the OGEC is frivolous and without merit.

I look forward to OGEC’s swift and thorough examination of the complaint.” Layda may be familiar to readers as the 2022 primary opponent of state Rep. Brian Stout (R-Columbia City), who is now the subject of a five-year sexual abuse prevention order. Layda’s complaint also alleges Breese-Iverson conspired with Stout. Stout says he hasn’t seen the complaint but is aware Layda is pursuing what Stout termed a “strange conspiracy theory.”

FIND ELECTION NIGHT RESULTS ONLINE: The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners and Portland Public Schools board will get new members in the May 16 special election. Voters will also decide the outcome of two tax measures. Check wweek.com for the latest results.

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Portlanders can be forgiven for not realizing that hard drugs remain illegal in Oregon, despite the passage of Measure 110. People caught with small amounts of meth or cocaine are supposed to be issued citations—and the recipient then chooses



Oregon employers say they’re not allowed to offer signing and retention bonuses. BOLI and a key lawmaker disagree.

CHIEF SPONSORS: Reps. Janelle Bynum (D-Happy Valley) and Mark Helfrich (R-Hood River) and Sen. James Manning (D-Eugene)

WHAT IT WOULD DO: Allow public- and private-sector employers to offer signing and retention bonuses, provided they don’t discriminate when doing so.

When lawmakers passed a landmark pay equity law in 2017—applying to all employers, not just government agencies—they were trying to correct historical imbalances that

between a $100 fine or calling a number for addiction treatment. If that detail remains hazy, it’s because Portland police have issued only about 500 citations for possession since the new law went into effect.

That is, until last week.

On Monday, May 8, cops handed out 43 citations—a record number, according to a list of citations obtained by WW from the Multnomah County Circuit Court. On Tuesday, May 9, police broke their record again with 63.

The Portland Police Bureau’s bike squad, which patrols downtown, made a decision to start making use of the underused tickets. “Alongside paramedics and firefighters, those officers are on the front lines of this crisis,” PPB spokesman Kevin Allen tells WW. “They’re directly seeing all the overdoses and violent crime associated with abuse of street drugs, and we’ve heard from the community that they want to see us try to address open drug use.”

It comes at a crucial time. Fentanyl overdoses are sweeping Portland. Statewide, opioid overdoses tripled between 2019 and 2021, and the situation appears to be getting more dire. The Police Bureau warned Portlanders on Sunday about a “potentially dangerous batch of drugs circulating the street marketplace.” Police are now investigating a string of eight fatal overdoses that occurred last weekend, some involving fentanyl that users thought was cocaine.

But it’s unclear if more citations will result in fewer deaths. That’s because the citations are pushing few people into treatment.

When Portland cops hand out a citation, they pass along a card with a phone number for Lines for Life, 503-575-3769. The hotline is staffed by people who have gone through recovery themselves, and they provide both referrals to treatment and a mailed letter that callers can bring to court to waive the $100 fine.

The process takes from about 15 minutes to an hour. But only 32 people in Multnomah County have done it, according to data from Lines for Life.

Of those, only five have actually submitted the required paperwork to get their fines waived, according to Multnomah County Circuit Court data obtained by WW. That’s a success rate of around 1%.

As of Friday, only 10 people had paid the fine. A few dozen had

pay white men more than women and far more than people of color. That law included eight “bona fide factors” that allowed pay differences, such as experience or quantity or quality of production. But a shortage of workers was not included among the factors.

When pandemic-related worker shortages became rampant, the state created a temporary exemption, specifically allowing employers to pay signing and retention bonuses. But that exemption expired in September 2022.

PROBLEM IT SEEKS TO SOLVE: Like many states, Oregon faces a shortage of skilled workers, including but not limited to nurses, teachers, cops and bus drivers. In other states, including those surrounding Oregon, employers have taken to offering substantial signing bonuses to attract workers and have also offered retention bonuses in order to hold on to existing employees.

One example: The most recent edition of the Oregon Board of Nursing’s Sentinel newsletter included help-wanted ads from many of the state’s leading hospitals. All extolled the merits of the institutions and the work. But only one of the ads—from Palmdale Hospital in Palmdale, Calif.—offered a signing bonus: in that case, up to $20,000.

In another example, C-Tran, the transit

their cases dismissed. For the rest, their cases are eventually sent to collections.

Law enforcement’s lack of interest in writing citations has long been a target of criticism. A state audit released earlier this year highlighted “variability” across jurisdictions in officers’ enthusiasm for writing citations and encouraging people to call the hotline. (Cops in tiny Josephine County have handed out twice as many citations as those in Multnomah.)

State Rep. Rob Nosse (D-Portland) says he’s happy the city’s cops are now embracing the system, and he hopes it will inform legislative efforts to fix some of Measure 110’s weaknesses. “If no local governments are enforcing it,” he says, “we won’t get any good information.”

Tera Hurst, executive director of the Oregon Health Justice Recovery Alliance, which advocates for Measure 110, emphasizes that the system is a work in progress. She says she’s pushing legislators to create a workgroup to address issues in the citation system, such as the lack of law enforcement training on how to use it and the fact that the hotline number isn’t simply printed on the citation.

“We didn’t have something that worked before,” Hurst says, referring to the criminalization of drug use. “Now we’re trying to figure out what will.”

What isn’t working was obvious on a visit to downtown Portland on a recent Sunday.

“No one wants treatment,” said a member of a group clutching tooters and passing around tinfoil under an eave along Southwest Harvey Milk Street near 5th Avenue (an area “rife with drug use and sales,” PPB says). “Out here it’s easier to get drugs than it is to get food.”

But another man under that eave, 22-year-old Hunter Vera, told WW a different story.

He’s been on the streets and in and out of drug treatment since a weed habit took a turn for the worse a few years back. Last week, he received his first citation. “I had no idea it was illegal,” he said.

When asked if he’d called the hotline on the card handed to him by a cop, he looked confused. “Nobody has phones,” Vera said. “How are you supposed to call?”

He said he’d just come back from the detox center after being turned away because of a lack of beds. “I don’t want to do this shit,” he said. “I want to stop, but I physically can’t.”

agency for Clark County, Wash., is offering signing bonuses to new bus drivers, while TriMet’s reading of current Oregon law is that it cannot legally do the same. Although some lawmakers and legislative lawyers disagree, many employers believe TriMet is correct and that Oregon is the only state in the country where employers cannot offer such bonuses.

WHO SUPPORTS IT: Desperate employers have turned out at public hearings this session to testify they should be allowed to offer bonuses to beef up their staffs. Among the most vocal: TriMet, Portland Public Schools, Washington County, Kaiser Permanente, and the Oregon Truckers Associations. Bonuses work, TriMet lobbyist Miles Pengilly told lawmakers: In the 10 months prior to April 2022, the transit agency received 900 applications from prospective drivers. When it offered $7,500 signing bonuses, applications nearly quadrupled in the next 10 months.

WHO OPPOSES IT: The bill took an unusual turn last week. Although it passed the House without a single “no” vote on April 14, the Senate Committee on Business and Labor substantially amended the bill based on testimony from such groups as Family Forward,

the Oregon AFL-CIO, and the state’s largest public employee union, Service Employees International Union Local 503.

Those groups declared themselves neutral but pointed out that employers giving bonuses might, in the words of Family Forward lobbyist Courtney Veronneau, “create a loophole that would allow bonuses based on implicit bias.” Veronneau and others cited research that has found employers pay workers like themselves more than others with similar qualifications. That’s part of why white men, who disproportionately hold hiring authority, pay white men more than others.

Rather than simply allowing employers to pay bonuses, the amended bill would go first to the Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries for rulemaking to ensure that hiring and retention bonuses comply with pay equity standards. Senate Business and Labor Committee chair Kathleen Taylor (D-Portland) heard from employers that they did not support the amended bill, but she defended her committee’s choice. “I don’t think the answer to solving our workforce shortages is to allow bonuses that create inequities in pay,” Taylor said.

The committee sent the bill to the Senate floor where it will rest until Republicans return. NIGEL JAQUISS.

6 Willamette Week MAY 17, 2023 wweek.com WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS WEEK NEWS
That’s how many drug offenders have gotten their fines for possession waived by entering addiction


Roadside Attraction

Slabtown has transformed—except for this giant shed.

ADDRESS: 2169 NW Thurman St.


SQUARE FOOTAGE: 9,600 square feet

MARKET VALUE: $5.9 million

OWNER: Thurman Associates LLC

HOW LONG IT’S BEEN EMPTY: At least 12 years

WHY IT’S EMPTY: A bad break-in

Tucked between Northwest Thurman Street and the newest Slabtown apartment towers sits a two-story metal industrial building covered in graffiti tags that are nearly impossible to decipher.

The only recent activity on the lot, according to Lisa Freeman, a co-owner of the Freakybuttrue Peculiarium and Museum just down the street, was a large homeless encampment where the building abuts U.S. Highway 30. “It got bigger and bigger. We got broken into a few times,” Freeman says.

Originally built in the late 1940s by the local company Carson Oil, the building was used as a garage for truck repairs and later for oil storage, according to records the original owners filed with the city of Portland before expanding the building.

Eventually, Carson sold the land to Con-way Properties Inc.—a subsidiary of the trucking company that helped transform a swath of Slabtown in the past three decades from a heavily industrial area to a tall, desirable neighborhood with coffee shops and pricey apartments with exposed-brick façades. In 2012, Con-way created the “Con-way Masterplan” to establish a framework for the area’s redevelopment before selling parcels to individual developers. The building at 2169 NW Thurman St. falls within the plan’s boundaries.

It’s uncertain what the building was used for over the past few decades—but according to the current property manager, Mark Hush, it was used for a mix of paper and bicycle storage. (He thinks it even housed a workout room.) Hush says that the previous owners had a number of interested buyers for the land, including a hotel group

and a number of apartment developers, but no plans ever panned out.

In June 2021, Con-way sold the property for $2.5 million to Thurman Associates, an LLC whose sole listed member is Thomas Garnier. Garnier is a local businessman who, according to state records, owns an industrial shredder company in Wilsonville, a vineyard in Mosier along the Columbia River, and a number of real estate properties scattered throughout the Portland metro area.

Hush, his property manager, says Garnier still wants to rent out or sell the place. Hush blames their inability to rent it on a break-in roughly a year ago and a homeless camp against the back garage door that made finding tenants a challenge.

“ We were marketing it for lease, but there was a breakin with some homeless people that trashed the inside of the building,” Hush says. “Someone had broken into the north-facing door and then graffiti’d the inside of the building, ripped out drywall and just trashed it on the inside.”

The last valuation shows the building has lost value since the break-in. Current assessments of the building put it at $10,000, but the value of the land itself has skyrocketed to more than $5 million.

Hush says the owners hired private security and affixed bars and locks to the exterior doors in order to prevent future break-ins. Freeman says she sees private security on the lot roughly once a day.

Hush and the owner have looked into developing the land for use as a hotel, but given cratering occupancy rates of many hotels in Portland since the pandemic, that’s a gamble for developers. Meanwhile, new graffiti emerges weekly on the building’s walls. A few jars and cartons also litter the area. JAKE MOORE.

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 newstips@wweek.com.

One man enters Oregon State Hospital, another leaves.


Bivins, a freelance journalist who contributed stories to WW, was arrested last May and charged with a series of hate crimes, including scrawling “Die Juden” in yellow paint on the wall of Congregation Beth Israel and lighting a fire at the Muslim Community Center of Portland. Police allege he told a reporter, “Jewish people deserve the hate that goes toward them; all religions are stupid.”


Bivins underwent a profound change in personality the year before his arrest, people close to him told WW last year (“What Happened to Mike Bivins,” May 18, 2022). Although court records show Bivins had no reported history of mental illness, he underwent a mental health evaluation shortly after being booked in jail. His case went forward anyway after his defense attorney told the court that Bivins was capable of aiding in his own defense, court records show.


Over the past year, Bivins has sent Multnomah County Presiding Judge Judith Matarazzo a series of meandering and increasingly indecipherable letters from jail. His trial date was repeatedly postponed until last week, when Judge Nan Waller found Bivins too mentally ill to stand trial and ordered him sent to Oregon State Hospital to be “restored to competency.” He’ll join the beleaguered hospital’s waitlist, whose length (46 people, as of April) has been the subject of extensive, ongoing civil rights litigation.


In response to that lengthening waitlist, a federal judge brokered a compromise with advocates in which Oregon State Hospital would begin releasing patients early. One of those patients was Thouen, who was arrested in early 2021 after he threatened a woman with a homemade spear. He would spend the next year and half in the state hospital before it forcibly ejected him in October, still too mentally ill to face trial.


Over the past several decades, Thouen’s mental state has deteriorated, his sister told WW last year (“No Man’s Land,” Nov. 2, 2022). Thouen rejected mental health treatment, hoarded knives, and ultimately threatened his family before ending up on the street. In October, after OSH kicked him out, Washington County Circuit Judge Kathleen Proctor ordered Thouen sent to Providence St. Vincent Medical Center to be civilly committed. But community hospitals don’t want to warehouse patients like Thouen, and doctors typically won’t accept them unless they present an immediate danger. Thouen was soon thrown out.


Thouen’s charges weren’t forgotten, however. In December, prosecutors refiled them, and Thouen was arrested in February. This time, mental illness wasn’t an issue, says Thouen’s defense attorney, Tyler Beach. “I would talk to him in depth with open-ended questions,” Beach says, “and I had no concerns that he didn’t understand what we were doing.” Thouen took a plea deal, which amounted to two weeks behind bars at the Coffee Creek Intake Center after time served. He’s now begun two years of probation and is required to routinely report to a probation officer and participate in mental health treatment. That treatment, however, likely won’t include a bed. The county said there weren’t any residential treatment beds available last October. What the county can offer people with severe mental illness, says Washington County probation and parole services manager Chris Chandler, “is an emphasis on close coordination with institutions and community mental health services to support progress in treatment, medication management, and to provide a prompt response to deteriorating stability.” LUCAS MANFIELD.

7 Willamette Week MAY 17, 2023 wweek.com
8 Willamette Week MAY 17, 2023 wweek.com

“Like I’m a Criminal”

A 2018 investigation set La Mota’s co-founder against state regulators.

On Feb. 7, 2018, a state inspector walked into a 60,000-square-foot building in the Southern Oregon town of White City, about 40 miles from the California border.

What he found, according to his report, were 49 cardboard U-Haul boxes filled with weed material stacked along a warehouse wall. None of the weed was properly labeled, he alleged— and the inspector, Marty Rowley, thought that could mean only one thing.

“This 148 pounds could have or was going to be diverted,” Rowley wrote in his report. By “diverted,” Rowley meant shipped from a licensed cannabis business to the illicit market. Some of the boxes, he noted, had the words “lost child” neatly written on them in Sharpie.

The company operating out of the warehouse was cheekily named Black Market Distribution LLC. And its controlling partners were Rosa Cazares and Aaron Mitchell, co-founders of the now-embattled cannabis dispensary chain La Mota.

For La Mota’s founders, such an accusation threatened their ambitions for statewide and national expansion. After all, diversion to the black market is the gravest allegation the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission can make against a licensee.

That’s because cannabis remains federally prohibited and diversion would have put La Mota in the crosshairs of law enforcement, and also because the Oregon cannabis industry looked far different in 2018 than it does today. Institutional investors were clambering to enter the state market, and oversupply had not yet sent prices spiraling earthward.

So Cazares and Mitchell fought.

They waged a two-year battle with the OLCC to refute the allegation of diversion and retain their warehouse license. Most observers would say the young couple won—the case ended with a $16,335 fine in early 2020 for other violations relating to inadequate camera footage, a mere slap on the wrist compared to the possible penalties they faced.

But in hindsight, the 2018 case still reverberates across the Oregon political landscape.

It’s not clear what role it played in the couple’s entry into politics. But it was shortly before resolving this threat to their business that Cazares and Mitchell began contributing to the election campaigns of Oregon’s top Democratic Party leaders. Taking a page from the books of tech entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg, they responded to regulation with robust political action, seeking to influence the state’s top policymakers.

Records show, too, that Cazares’ dissatisfaction with her treatment at the hands of the OLCC would eventually influence a state audit of the commission overseen by then-Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, a rising political star who had bet her career on La Mota.

Drug Trafficking Area task force. And that’s just the illegal weed that authorities sniffed out. Figures from a recent report by Whitney Economics estimate that 3.5 million pounds of Oregon weed is diverted to the illicit market each year; an estimated 550,000 pounds annually is sold through the legal market.

The OLCC has long seen its role as preventing a federal crackdown on Oregon’s legal cannabis market. So it tracks all cannabis grown by licensed farms in an online system from seed to sale to prevent diversion.

When Rowley found 49 boxes of weed that he said had never been entered into the state tracking system, as well as a warehouse with inadequate camera footage to track what had happened, OLCC staff proposed the most severe penalty possible for Black Market Distribution: canceling its license.

Much of the cannabis from the couple’s farms was supposed to be stored in that warehouse, Cazares and Mitchell’s attorney said at the time. “That has wreaked an exceedingly real and painful economic cost on this licensee,” their lawyer said. (It appears, according to documents, they also operated an indoor grow and a processing facility in the building.)

Cazares and Mitchell, at that point running more than 20 stores across the state, mimicked the strategy of other startups encountering zealous regulators: They showed up in full battle gear.

Black Market hired Alex Tinker, an aggressive lawyer at one of Portland’s leading law firms, Tonkon Torp, to fight the license revocation. The case dragged on for nearly two years through multiple venues, including the state’s Office of Administrative Hearings, before landing back with the OLCC board in December 2019.

Tinker mounted a relentless, hourlong defense to the board that day. Tinker said the boxes labeled “lost child” contained “material that had fallen on the floor during the process of breaking down hundreds of plants over the season.

“Licensee, rather than throwing those away or into the bin to be trimmed up with the rest, carefully set aside in separate boxes because it wanted to track every scrap and crumb of the thousands of pounds of material that had come through the warehouse that year,” Tinker said. “Not one crumb or leaf entered or exited this warehouse without proper tracking.”

A month later, the OLCC and Black Market Distribution reached a deal: a 99-day suspension or $16,335 fine, and destruction of the 49 boxes of weed.

“It’s a tried and true effort to create a line of communication to get either favorable treatment or at least to make your pitch for more favorable treatment,” says Ben Gaskins, a professor of political science at Lewis & Clark College. “What you’re really paying for is attention and access. You want to be able to have powerful regulators and politicians know you and feel positively disposed toward you.”

Following the first contributions in 2019, the couple would give hundreds of thousands more to top Democrats, including $45,000 to Fagan starting in the fall of 2020.

A spokesman for La Mota said Mitchell and Cazares were not available for comment by press deadline.

Two years after the investigation, Cazares would direct the attention of state auditors to how the OLCC had handled the White City case.

When Fagan took office in January 2021, one of her first directives was to audit cannabis regulation at the OLCC. As previously reported by WW, records show Fagan pressed auditors in her first month on the job to speak with Cazares, well before the audit began, to help inform the scope of the probe.

And when auditors interviewed Cazares in 2022, she waved the 2018 case as an example of injustice by the OLCC. She said the agency tried to make “an example” of her and Mitchell. She said they were “treated with zero respect.”

Cazares called the agency sexist, ageist and unsupportive of people of color. She said the agency treated her like a criminal, and that Rowley called her on the day of the inspection, right after she had given birth to her first child, to tell her, as she recalled, “Your day is about to get really bad.”

Cazares claimed La Mota lost $20 million because of the case and that attorney costs amounted to $400,000.

“It’s this crazy power trip. They see our sales and how much money we have or shouldn’t have,” Cazares said to the interviewer. “They see us go from one store to 30, and maybe they feel like we shouldn’t have that. They make me feel like I’m a criminal.” Cazares also mentioned her political connections: “She spoke with the speaker of the House about how big cannabis can be and said it’s an undervalued and underutilized industry.” At the time, Kotek was speaker.

Cazares’ criticisms came up in subsequent interviews with top OLCC regulators.

In the wake of Fagan’s resignation May 2, WW returned to an investigation that embittered Cazares and Mitchell against the state. We found that at the heart of their troubles— and Fagan’s demise—is the tension that all of Oregon’s cannabis businesses face: how to build toward national legalization while in the meantime staving off financial ruin.

Oregon cannabis companies long to export bud to other states. But that’s not legally possible while it remains a Schedule I narcotic under federal law. So the temptation to divert a little product under the table and across the border remains—especially since legal-market prices are so unstable.

In 2022, Oregon law enforcement agencies seized 210,000 pounds of black market weed, according to the Oregon-Idaho High Intensity

Many would say La Mota got off easy with a fine it could pay. Other, smaller enterprises, without money to fight OLCC penalties, have had their businesses destroyed by minor violations.

“ When I learned the outcome of that case,” says Matt Goldberg, La Mota’s attorney until the couple dropped him for Tinker, “I thought it was a good result for the licensee.”

Less than a month before the parties reached their settlement, in December 2019, Cazares and Mitchell made their first political contributions.

They gave to then-House Speaker and nowGov. Tina Kotek. They gave to now-retired House Majority Leader Barbara Smith Warner. They gave to Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt. According to elections records, it was the first time the couple had opened their purse strings to politicians.

Jason Hanson, the agency’s compliance director, was asked about Cazares’ feeling like a criminal in his interview months later. “Rosa is the only person he’s heard who said something like that,” the interviewer wrote Hanson responded. “She’s used the term on multiple occasions and probably testified like that in hearings.”

The audit, released last month, concluded the agency was stifling the industry by overregulating. The Secretary of State’s Office insisted Cazares had no impact on the ultimate findings.

By then, Fagan had admitted to WW that she’d taken a job moonlighting for Cazares and Mitchell. A week later, she resigned from office.

Cazares and Mitchell hired Fagan to help La Mota go national—the same ambition that underlay their fight with the OLCC in 2018. Mitchell had made such ambitions clear in a 2017 interview with Marijuana Venture

“I’m aiming to have the most retail stores in the world,” he told the magazine. “And I want to have that title for a while.”

9 Willamette Week MAY 17, 2023 wweek.com NEWS
“They see us go from one store to 30, and maybe they feel like we shouldn’t have that. They make me feel like I’m a criminal.”

Permits Swamp

A low-income housing developer swears off any further Portland construction.

The 12-unit complex that Michael Gregory built in the Foster-Powell neighborhood of Southeast Portland is exactly what the city needs to remedy its housing crisis.

tory building at 7704

SE Mitchell St. has a mix of studio and one-bedroom apartments, all of which must be sold or rented to lower-income tenants because Gregory got breaks from city fees in return for that promise. The units are spacious, and the kitchens have butcher-block counters. oo bad Gregory, 40, will never build another complex like it. “I would rather kick myself in the balls 100 times than do this again,” he says.

Since he bought the land in April 2021, Gregory has been hacking through a thicket of city bureaucracy thornier than the invasive Armenian blackberries that entwined part of the property. Two years later, he’s still awaiting an approval from the Bureau of Development Services, this one for railings along outside walkways.

Gregory is just one of many developers and builders who struggle to get projects approved by the city, a process that involves as many as seven agencies, including the Bureaus of Development Services and Transportation and the parks bureau’s Urban Forestry Division.

“Every bureau in Portland has their hand in the pie,” Gregory says.

To entice frustrated builders like Gregory, City Commissioner Carmen Rubio plans to call on the Portland City Council this week to freeze all system development charges—the one-time fees that pay for things like water mains and

streets—for one year. It’s a bold move because the city is strapped, and bureaus funded by SDCs need all the money they can get.

“ We are working every angle to find ways to increase housing production,” Rubio says, “but the biggest barriers, such as interest rates, are not within our ability to

change.” Freezing SDCs “sends a clear signal that we are serious about increasing the number of homes in Portland.”

Whether the rest of the council agrees with Rubio will say a lot about how eager Mayor Ted Wheeler and the three other commissioners are to support Gov. Tina Kotek’s top priority: building more affordable housing in a state that’s desperate for it. With the state’s biggest city rationing out building permits like bejeweled Fabergé eggs, Kotek is less likely to reach her goal of building 36,000 housing units statewide per year.

Gregory and others still face Soviet-style bureaucracy two years after a 2021 report by the Portland city auditor sounded the alarm on permitting.

“An essential function of Portland’s building permits system

UNFLAPPABLE: Builder Michael Gregory laughs so he doesn’t cry over red tape at the city of Portland. orsymphony.org | 503-228-1353
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does not work as it should,” thenCity Auditor Mary Hull Caballero wrote. “City plan reviews of permit applications are too slow, and the city does not follow its own customer complaint policy to resolve these delays.”

The results are in the data. A report by Redfin last July showed Portland’s builders aren’t pulling permits fast enough to meet demand. For single-family houses, builders pulled just 7.6 permits per 10,000 residents in the first quarter of 2022. By contrast, builders in Austin, Texas, took out 31.1 permits per 10,000 residents, leading the nation, according to Redfin.

Rubio wants to get things built. She took over the Bureau of Development Services from Commissioner Dan Ryan in January, and faster permitting is her office’s top priority. Leading the charge is her chief of staff, Jillian Schoene, who is looking for every knob the city can turn to get housing projects permitted and built.

“I will paint apartments,” Schoene says, tongue in cheek.

Rubio directed BDS to halve the fee on “early assistance,” through which a developer can get all city agencies to weigh in on a plan before seeking a permit. Rubio and BDS director Rebecca Esau also put in place a “single point of contact” policy, so developers have one person to deal with, instead of being passed from bureau to bureau.

All of this is too late for Gregory, a crew-cut father of two. A master of sarcasm who’s more likely to laugh at his setbacks than cry, Gregory hoped the project on Mitchell Street would free him from flipping dozens of single-family houses.

“This was supposed to be my exit,” he says. “I was naive.”

The previous owner of the Mitchell Street property said it was almost “shovel ready,” meaning that all the permits were in place. All but one. The architect on the project had one last thing to fix: The Portland Bureau of Transportation wanted him to leave room so it could widen the sidewalks in the future. To do that, Gregory had to move the plumbing for his fire sprinkler system.

Greg ory submitted his new plan in May 2021 and waited. And waited.

“I was trying to figure out why I couldn’t give the city its $50,000, get my permit, and start building,” Gregory says. “The city completely shut down [for COVID], and I was stuck with a project that needed about an hour of the building department’s time. No one had a single fuck to give.” His permit, it turned out, had

been misplaced at PBOT. He learned that only because his neighbor worked there. Exasperated, Gregory had knocked on his door.

“Something that should have taken at most two weeks ended up costing me four months,” he says.

In the meantime, lumber prices had soared, and framing studs for the project rocketed from $50,000 to $150,000. He tried to order 12 bathtubs, but vendors just laughed at him. He had to wait 18 months for an electrical panel to come over from China.

When he finally got going, thieves robbed his job site, homeless people smoked meth in his outhouse, and people took dumps on the property. But Gregory is used to that.

“Any project in Portland I figure is going to be robbed at least once, so I just build that into the cost of doing business here,” Gregory says. “No big deal.”

But city bureaucracy is another matter. In May 2021—before the Mitchell building broke him— Gregory paid $440,000 for a bigger, 17,000-square-foot lot on Northeast Killingsworth Street in the Cully neighborhood. He has spent $200,000 developing it. One engineer bid $50,000 to do the sewer and water plans: $25,000 for the plans and $25,000 to get them through permitting.

“To do anything vaguely complicated takes at least two years,” Gregory says. “I have $650,000 in prison.”

Rather than suffer through construction again, Gregory plans to complete the initial permitting process and sell the lot, shovel ready, to another developer.

H e has some advice for Schoene: Appoint Diane Parke as head of BDS. Parke runs the bureau’s Field Issuance Remodel program. Once admitted to it, a developer like Gregory gets assigned one inspector who handles all the permits. But the program is only for residential remodels, and there is a waiting list to be a FIR-approved contractor.

“Somebody took everything that sucks about the city of Portland permit system and fixed it,” Gregory says. “If they put Diane Parke in charge of BDS, it might change.”

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“I would rather kick myself in the balls 100 times than do this again.”
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An obscure Oregon agency props up greyhound and horse racing—and gets chicken feed in return.

amblers across America wagered $6.4 billion on horses and greyhounds last year thanks to the state of Oregon. It’s more than half of the total amount bet legally on horse and dog racing in the U.S., whether at tracks, at off-track betting parlors or online.

Oregon’s supremacy in the realm of accepting bets on animals— whether the gamblers are in Alaska or New York and whether the dogs or ponies are racing in California or New Zealand—is remarkable for two reasons.

First, there is no almost no animal racing left in the Beaver State. The last dog track, Multnomah Greyhound Park, closed in 2004. Oregon’s last major horse track, Portland Meadows, closed in 2019, replaced by a Legoland of Amazon warehouses.

“It’s unusual that a state that has such a small thumbprint in racing is so important to an overall industry,” says Patrick Cummings of the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation, a horse racing industry think tank in Lexington, Ky.

Second, the Oregon Racing Commission, the little-known state agency that presides over this near monopoly, makes almost nothing from it—and far less than it could.

The Racing Commission does so in service of an industry widely criticized for its cruelty to animals (see “Giving Us Paws,” page 16), a concern

highlighted by seven equine deaths at Churchill Downs on the eve of the Kentucky Derby earlier this month.

Kitty Martz, executive director of the group Voices of Problem Gambling Recovery, says Oregon provides unhealthy temptations for bettors across the country by making it easy for them to bet on dogs and horses anywhere, anytime.

“My main concern is that when it becomes hand-held digital, research shows the potential for gambling addiction goes way up,” Martz says. To make matters worse, she adds, Oregon facilitates billions of dollars in betting for a pittance: “We [Oregonians] are not benefiting.”

It’s a busy time for the Racing Commission: Two legislative committees have taken an unusual level of interest in it—and the Secretary of State’s Office will soon release an audit. For the past two months, WW has examined hundreds of pages of emails and other documents, and interviewed lawmakers, animal rights advocates, and gambling experts.

What emerges is a picture of an agency shrouded in obscurity, often unaccountable, largely ignored by the Legislature and governor’s office, and apparently in thrall to the industry it regulates. The reasons appear to have less to do with corruption than inattention; out-of-state vice merchants have simply identified Oregon as the nation’s easiest mark.


CLARKANDCOMPANY/ISTOCK 13 Willamette Week MAY 17, 2023 wweek.com

o say the Oregon Racing Commission is an afterthought in the state’s bureaucracy would be like saying Jeff Bezos sells a few things online.

The commission’s 15 employees don’t even have an office.

The second and, by law, final term of the Racing Commission’s current chairman, Charles Williamson, ended nearly eight years ago, on Sept. 17, 2015. Yet he remains in charge of the five-member volunteer board appointed by the governor.

“ Why am I still on the commission?” asks Williamson, 79, a Portland lawyer. “I’m not sure. I had two four-year terms, and they never appointed anybody to replace me.” Another commissioner has served four years past her term’s expiration date, and one of five seats on the board recently sat empty for nearly a year.

The Racing Commission, like the Oregon Lottery and the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission, is what’s called an “other funded” agency. Rather than relying on tax dollars for their budgets, such agencies generate cash for the state by working with private industry to sell something: booze, weed or the thrill of gambling.

Compared with the lottery and the OLCC, which generate huge amounts of revenue for the state, the Racing Commission raises almost nothing (see graphs below).

“The Oregon Racing Commission is effectively an extension of the gambling industry,” says Les Bernal, national director of Stop Predatory Gambling. “It’s a con driven by greed, and it doesn’t serve the public’s interest.”

Oregon became the epicenter of remote gambling—what is formally called advance-deposit wagering, or ADW—almost by accident.

During the 1999 legislative session, Dave Nelson, then a lobbyist for Portland Meadows, and the late Mike Dewey, who represented the Multnomah Kennel Club, proposed a moonshot. Both sports were in decline because of the creation of the Oregon Lottery in 1984, the advent of video poker in 1991, and the tribal casinos that soon followed.

“ We were trying to preserve racing,” Nelson

recalls. “It was a last-ditch effort to provide some extra revenue for the tracks.”

Nelson proposed an adaptation of online shopping that would allow gamblers from anywhere in the country to bet on dog and horse racing anywhere in the world from their computers.

When people bet on horses or dogs, all their money goes into a parimutuel pool and they bet against each other, rather than betting against “the house” as they do in casinos. By agreeing to serve as the legal host for that pool, Oregon would offer a service no other state was willing to provide.

Taking bets from all over the country and booking them in one state required a legal leap of faith. Oregon lawmakers, unlike those in other states, decided to take the risk. It gave Oregon a first-mover advantage it has never lost.

In essence, the state of Oregon was joining a


Theil is the Oregon Racing Commission’s leading critic.

syndicate with racetracks like Churchill Downs and would earn a tiny piece of the action, which today equates to about 0.05% of the total amount bet—in industry parlance, the handle.

Lawmakers approved ADW betting in 1999, unsure if anybody would care. In terms of saving the tracks, it failed. But in terms of attracting gamblers, it succeeded beyond anybody’s wildest dreams, generating billions of dollars in ADW bets even as the number of bettors at horse and dog tracks continues a long-term decline across the country.

“Today, Oregon’s tracks are long gone and this ADW betting is stronger than ever,” says Nelson, who is retired from lobbying but still active in Oregon horse racing issues.

Now, gamblers can use their mobile devices to bet on horses and dogs around the globe—and, more likely than not, those bets get booked in Oregon through one of nine ADW betting hubs arrayed around the metro area.

Oregon now books about 95% of all ADW bets placed nationally—more than all the bettors wagered in person at all the horse tracks in the country last year.

“There is a question of why Oregon’s dominance has continued to persist,” says Cummings of the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation. “It feels like kind of a choke point that so much of the business is focused on a single state.”

Nobody in the U.S. has done more to curtail greyhound racing in the U.S. than Carey Theil, the executive director of Boston-based Grey2K USA. And it is Theil’s work in Salem over the past two years that has focused lawmakers, such as state Reps. John Lively (D-Springfield) and David Gomberg (D-Otis), on ADW betting and the Racing Commission.

Over the past two decades, Theil and his organization have led the passage of 18 anti-greyhound racing laws across the country, leading to the closure of 46 tracks. West Virginia is now the only state in the U.S. that still hosts dog racing—and Theil hopes to put an end to that.

Theil, 45, grew up in Southeast Portland in a family scarred by addiction. An indifferent student, he focused his energy on other interests:

ORC: $.05

WAGES OF SIN: There are three state agencies whose function is to generate revenue through what some people call vices: gambling, booze and cannabis. Here’s how much revenue the state expects each to generate this year:


Gambling Company, Track and Other Costs: $19.95

CRUMBS FOR OREGON: Of each $100 bet through Oregon’s ADW gambling hubs, $20, the “takeout” goes to cover the expenses of the tracks and wagering companies and other costs. Oregon gets almost nothing.

Prizes for Bettors: $80

Oregon Lottery: $907
Oregon Liquor & Cannabis Commission: $317 million Oregon Racing Commission: $4 million
Source: Oregon Department of Administrative Services
Oregon Racing Commission 14 Willamette Week MAY 17, 2023 wweek.com
Sources: Thoroughbred

DOGS GONE: Multnomah Greyhound Park could hold 18,670 spectators. It closed in 2004.

the Trail Blazers, chess (he plays at the master level), and the politics of animal rights. He got his start working on a 1994 ballot measure that banned the use of dogs for hunting bears and cougars. That hooked him.

In 1997, Theil bought a suit at Goodwill, boarded a Greyhound bus from Portland to the state Capitol, and began testifying on any bill that involved animals or animal rights.

Like Nelson, the Portland Meadows lobbyist, Theil was there at the beginning of ADW betting in Oregon.

“My mother and I were the only opponents of that legislation,” Theil recalls. “I didn’t know what I was doing then, but I testified against it.”

Theil relocated to Boston in 2001 to work on greyhound racing bans in Eastern states, but continued to press Oregon lawmakers about the Multnomah Greyhound Park. In 2004, four years after a trainer’s neglect led to the deaths of six greyhounds in transit from Wood Village to Florida, the park, already suffering from low


15 Willamette Week MAY 17, 2023 wweek.com
“The Multnomah track was the jewel in the crown of American greyhound racing.”

THE INQUISITOR: State Rep. David Gomberg (D-Otis) has dogged the Oregon Racing Commission.

Giving Us Paws

Critics say animal racing is wicked in two ways.

There are two kinds of critics of the business of betting on animals. The first are animal rights activists, such as Carey Theil of the anti-greyhound racing group Grey2K USA, who say the racing industry treats animals inhumanely: overbreeding greyhounds, for instance, keeping them trapped in cages for most of their racing lives, drugging them to go faster (or, sometimes, slower), and dumping them, sometimes in mass graves, when their racing days are done.

Horse racing critics find the sport of kings equally immoral. The persistently high rate of overbreeding, doping, racing-related deaths, and other abuses prompted Congress to pass the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020.

That law didn’t change much, as evidenced by the deaths of seven horses in the days leading up to the most celebrated horse race in the nation: the May 7 Kentucky Derby, held at Churchill Downs in Louisville. Churchill Downs is a killing field,” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said in a statement after the seventh death. “They should play taps at the derby instead of ‘My Old Kentucky Home.’”

Investigations by advocacy groups such as PETA and years of reporting by The New York Times have shown unscrupulous horse trainers employ more chemicals than meth cooks, often leading to injury and death as drugged animals exceed their natural capacity for exertion.

Animal racing in Oregon has long generated strong opposition from powerful opponents such as former Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem), who introduced a bill in 2021 that would have banned horse racing entirely in Oregon (the bill failed).

In 2022, Courtney and state Rep. David Gomberg (D-Otis) co-sponsored Senate Bill 1504, which curtailed betting on dogs. “I think Oregonians would be disgusted by the abuse these dogs experience,” Courtney told his colleagues then. “Oregon should not be promoting or engaging in this abuse at any level.”

Courtney tells WW that if it were up to him, Oregon would outlaw all forms of animal racing and would play no role in betting on either sport. He regrets leaving that work undone. “I wish I could have stuck around to end horse racing in Oregon,” he says.

The second kind of critics are anti-gambling activists, who say Oregon looks at only the revenue side of gambling, while ignoring the legal, financial and social costs of problem gambling.

Kitty Martz, executive director of Voices of Problem Gambling Recovery, says Oregon would be better off if it tightened regulations instead of chasing every possible gambling dollar.

Martz has long faulted the state for ignoring the cost of gambling addiction, even as the Oregon Lottery grows by leaps and bounds and betting on animals explodes.

“Gambling in Oregon is this nonregulated sprawl,” she says, “and it’s become a race to the bottom.” NIGEL JAQUISS.

attendance, closed.

“The Multnomah track was the jewel in the crown of American greyhound racing,” Theil says. “I think its closure was particularly demoralizing for the industry.”

But like a gardener who chops back a blackberry bush only to discover a vast underground root system, Theil watched with dismay as ADW betting exploded. Greyhound racing is all but extinct in the U.S., but still thrives overseas—thanks in part to Oregon.

Theil and other critics would like Oregon to get out of the business of betting on animals. Even though Oregon has a near monopoly in horse and dog betting, it takes in less than $4 million a year in revenue, while facilitating more than $6.4 billion in bets.

Three-quarters of revenues go to sponsor horse racing at rural county fairs around the state—in Tillamook, Crook and Union counties. And a little goes to Grants Pass Downs, the state’s one remaining commercial horse track. The balance, less than $1 million a year, goes to the state general fund.

Part of why the business is such a dud: a decision long ago to cap the taxes the Racing Commission collects from gambling companies. Oregon charges the companies a licensing fee of $73,000 plus a percentage of the total amount bet (0.125% for the first $60 million, then 0.25% up to a cap of about $800,000 in total payments).

Williamson, the Racing Commission chair, says the decision to cap taxes predated his joining the panel in 2008. In 2016, the commission reduced the annual rate at which the caps can increase from 7.5% to 2.5%. “We were trying to incentivize companies to stay,” Williamson says.

You Bet: The annual amount wagered through Oregon ADW hubs exploded during the pandemic.

Source: Oregon Racing Commission

ADW betting business, booked through TwinSpires’ Oregon office, grew more than 40% during the pandemic and generated pretax profits last year of $115 million. (Representatives of the company did not respond to requests for comment.)

Theil, the greyhound protection advocate, says it adds insult to injury that Oregon is abetting the mistreatment of animals and gambling addiction for almost no benefit: “The fact that the state is receiving virtually no revenue from [ADW] is outrageous.”

The person watching over these deals? Connie “Pepper” Winn, executive director of the Oregon Racing Commission.

A former U.S. Army recruiter who worked in banking and for-profit education, Winn, 60, came to the Racing Commission in 2014 and first took the job of “director of mutuels,” a post that took her all over the country and as far afield as Sri Lanka to visit and audit the companies booking bets through Oregon (the gambling companies reimbursed her travel costs).

When she applied for the agency’s top job last year, she noted an affinity for its work. “As a youth, I was an equestrian and bought my first horse, who was a retired racehorse,” Winn wrote in her cover letter. “He was a direct decedent [sic] of Man o’ War—one of my all time favorites.”

But ADW betting volumes skyrocketed during the pandemic (see chart, upper right), making the cap on taxes a total giveaway to big gambling interests.

Without the cap, the Racing Commission would have taken in nearly $16 million in taxes last year, instead of less than $4 million.

It’s a puzzling scheme, like telling Warren Buffett and Elon Musk they must pay tax on the first few million dollars of their income, but everything above that is tax free.

The system is working well for out-of-state gambling companies, such as Kentucky-based TwinSpires, which is owned and operated by publicly traded Churchill Downs Inc. Best known for running the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs also operates racetracks and casinos in 11 states.

A March investor presentation shows that its

Theil says Winn regards her job as doing the industry’s bidding. “Connie Winn is a quintessential example of what it looks like for a regulator to be captured by the industry she’s supposed to be regulating,” he says.

Winn disagrees with that characterization. She says she and her agency have diligently audited the gambling providers and always look out for the public’s interest.

“I work for the citizens of Oregon,” Winn says. In emails and legislative testimony this year and last, both her predecessor, Jack McGrail, and Winn have repeatedly warned that any attempt to change the terms of ADW betting companies’ current arrangement would send them fleeing to other states.

“They ’ll leave,” Winn told lawmakers earlier this session.


Year Total Amount Bet
2022 $6.41 2021 $6.66 2020 $6.66 2019 $4.36 2018 $4.22 2017 $3.87 2016 $3.01 2015 $2.87 2014 $2.66 2013 $2.44
“I wish I could have stuck around to end horse racing in Oregon.”
16 Willamette Week MAY 17, 2023 wweek.com

Playing the Field

The Oregon Racing Commission keeps looking for ways to please the industry.

In two recent instances WW examined, the Oregon Racing Commission moved unilaterally to expand gambling, only to be blocked by state officials once they learned about the plans.

In 2021, the commission granted a company called Luckii.com a license—which it would need in order to offer mobile betting on “historical horse races,” which simulate racing using historical data but produce different outcomes than the original races. But legal experts in multiple states have determined they are basically video slot machines, which Oregon does not allow.

Emails WW obtained under a public records request show that license approval for Luckii.com shocked officials at the Oregon Lottery, the Oregon Department of Justice, the Oregon State Police, and the Siletz and Grand Ronde tribes.

The reason: The Racing Commission’s decision gave Luckii.com permission to in essence run slot machines on mobile phones, a practice forbidden to the Oregon Lottery and the state’s tribes.

“ It’s unclear to Grand Ronde how this type of gaming is legal in Oregon and how such online gaming is regulated,” Rob Green, a lawyer representing the Grand Ronde, wrote to Gov. Kate Brown’s office on Feb. 25, 2021. “The Tribe is very concerned about the continued expansion of gaming in Oregon without any notice or input from Oregon tribes.”

State Rep. Paul Evans (D-Monmouth) was among the lawmakers who reacted with fury when they discovered the Racing Commission had greenlighted Luckii.com’s application.

Evans fired off an angry email to then-Racing Commission director Jack McGrail. “At no time in the discussions, NO TIME, was the potential of a mobile gaming experience—as in via a ‘smartphone’—a part of the conversation,” Evans wrote.

Legislators passed a new law in June 2021 outlawing more betting on historical horse racing, stopping Luckii.com cold.

But the Racing Commission had another plan. Even as Luckii.com got mothballed, the Racing Commission was working with Dutch Bros Coffee founder Travis Boersma, who wanted to revitalize racing at his hometown track, Grants Pass Downs, by adding 225 historical horse racing machines. (They would be actual terminals, rather than the internet-based gambling Luckii.com offered.)

“ When Travis came out of the woodwork, it was manna from heaven,” says Charles Williamson, the ORC chair. “But the tribes squashed that.”

Tribes complained to Gov. Kate Brown that the Racing Commission was moving toward a major expansion of gambling with no consultation. Brown agreed. On Feb. 11, 2022, the Oregon Department of Justice killed the proposal.

The planned concentration of 225 electronic gaming machines offering games of chance constitutes a casino,” the DOJ wrote in a legal opinion. “Therefore, [the plan] violates the constitutional prohibition against casinos.”

Williamson says the DOJ got it wrong.

“ We were very upset,” Williamson says. “It was a terrible decision, totally political. We are upset about it still.” NIGEL JAQUISS.

CIRCULAR LOGIC: The Racing Commission oversees the safety and integrity of racing.
17 Willamette Week MAY 17, 2023 wweek.com

PARADISE PAVED: The 110 acres where Portland Meadows once stood is now a colony of Amazon warehouses.

Despite her usual unfailing courtesy, Winn has not always cooperated with the Legislature, which sets her agency’s budget. After the passage of Senate Bill 1504 in 2022 to limit betting on dogs, she stonewalled a request by state Rep. Gomberg, one of the bill’s sponsors, for information about compliance with the new law.

That led to a remarkable moment in February when Winn refused to answer Gomberg’s questions about the dog racing bill in a public hearing.

“I’ve been advised not to comment,” Winn, whose annual salary is $143,952, told Gomberg, who co-chairs the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development. That panel oversees the Racing Commission budget. She cited guidance from the Oregon Department of Justice, which advises the agency.

That refusal echoed around the Capitol. State Rep. Paul Evans (D-Monmouth) says he was “stunned” by Winn’s stance.

“Anybody who decides to take the Fifth or give a squirrely answer like that, it’s a bad sign,” Evans says. “There should be an investigation into what’s behind that.”

This session, Winn has appeared in front of both Ways and Means and the House Committee

on Gambling Regulation.

In hearings, it quickly became clear that lawmakers had little understanding of what the Racing Commission does or of Oregon’s puzzlingly dominant position in the realm of betting on animals.

“ Why do we do this?” Lively asked Winn at a March 14 hearing.

“It’s extremely complicated and hard to get your head around,” Winn told the committee. “But we are basically getting free money.”

In 2022, when Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) and Rep. Gomberg sought to crack down on dog betting with SB 1504, which prohibited Oregon from taking greyhound bets from people living in states where such wagers are illegal, the gambling industry pushed back.

“Senate Bill 1504, if passed, will adversely affect almost every Oregon ADW and will definitely cause many, if not all, of the affected ADWs to exit Oregon and find a new business jurisdiction to avoid a significant loss of revenue from their businesses as currently operated,” testified Shawn Miller, a lobbyist for TwinSpires. “The passage of SB 1504 will also likely decimate the Oregon Racing Commission and cast doubt on the viability of the entire racing industry in Oregon.”

The Senate bill passed. None of the ADWs left Oregon over it, although Winn now says U.S. OffTrack, one of the smallest providers, is leaving.

Sharon Harmon, longtime director of the Oregon Humane Society, says it’s time Oregon reconciled its reputation as a state with the strongest legal protections for animals who live here with its role as the leading facilitator of betting on animals worldwide.

“It’s ironic that we are promoting an industry

built on cruelty,” Harmon says. “That doesn’t seem to match the values of our citizenry.”

Gov. Tina Kotek also says it’s time for a serious look at the commission’s work.

“Gov. Kotek has concerns about the oversight and accountability of the Racing Commission and has directed staff to evaluate options for potential reforms,” says Kotek spokeswoman Anca Matica.

Theil is determined to stop Oregon from continuing to take greyhound bets from people in states that ban racing. “All these fights come back to Oregon in the end,” he says.

And after questioning Racing Commission director Winn about why her agency serves as a national betting hub, the chair of the House Committee on Gambling Regulation came to a similar conclusion.

“I don’t see why we are still doing this in the state of Oregon,” Lively says. “There doesn’t seem to be a justification. But we get hooked on revenue in this state. And once we are hooked, it’s very hard to get off.”

“It’s ironic we are promoting an industry built on cruelty.”
CONNIE “PEPPER” WINN 18 Willamette Week MAY 17, 2023 wweek.com


MAY 17-23

LISTEN: Shvvvr Featuring Gordon Lee

In the mood for some genre-bending, post-apocalyptic, progressive world jazz? There’s a place for you. Shvvvr, featuring Gordon Lee on keys, will take the stage at The Jack London Revue for a night of musical fusion, featuring more types of jazz than you ever realized existed: Afro-Cuban, Afrobeat, free and funk. How about that for a little midweek pick-meup? The Jack London Revue, 529 SW 4th Ave., 866-777-8932, jacklondonrevue.com. 8 pm Wednesday, May 17. $15 in advance, $20 at the door. 21+.

DRINK & EAT: Wine & Dine for Hope & Joy

Ukandu, the nonprofit that helps kids diagnosed with cancer actually feel like a kid again by sending them to camp, is hosting its largest fundraiser of the year, promising the most prestigious lineup of chefs and wineries to date. Longtime event partners, like Jaco Smith of Lechon and Nick Sherbo from Rangoon Bistro, will be joined by chef Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon fame. In all, you can make multiple laps through 20 food and wine booths. Come with an empty stomach and leave with a full heart knowing your ticket proceeds went to a good cause. The Redd on Salmon, 831 SE Salmon St., 503-2762178, ukandu.org. 5:30 pm Thursday, May 18. $150.

DANCE: Spend the Night 8 Year

Join Portland’s night owls at this dance party with music from DJ Ben UFO, who started in the U.K. rave scene, along with

Kush Jones, known as New York City’s top turntable talent, as they headline in the Main Room. Founded eight years ago in The Liquor Store—the now-defunct bar and music venue located in the former Blue Monk space—Spend the Night is something of an endurance race, so prepare accordingly. The beats will play until 4 am, which means you can rave until almost dawn. The Den, 116 SE Yamhill St., 971-288-1982, thedenpdx.com. 10 pm Friday, May 19. $30 in advance, $40 at the door. 21+.

GO: McMenamins UFO Fest

“The truth is out there.” Is it in McMinnville? That’s for you to decide. Many longtime attendees of the UFO Fest would say yes, since this Yamhill County city was the site of a flying saucer sighting captured in a photo in 1950, which quickly made national headlines. If you’re certain we’re not alone in this universe, join your fellow believers at McMenamins Hotel Oregon, which founded this extraterrestrial-themed celebration more than two decades ago. Learn about our galactic friends (or foes?) at speaker panels, or embrace the goofiness of it all by watching the UFO parade, running in the Alien Abduction 5k or simply drinking a ton of Alienator IPA. McMenamins Hotel Oregon, 310 NE Evans St., McMinnville, 503-4728427, mcmenamins.com/ufo-festival. All day Friday-Saturday, May 19-20.

SEE: Bue Kee: An Artist’s Life and Legacy

Portland Chinatown Museum’s latest exhibit celebrates the untold story of Bue Kee, a Portland-born artist and hops farmer. He faced multiple challenges—Kee

was hard of hearing and didn’t finish grade school—yet went on to become a prolific painter, sculptor and ceramicist who chose to give away his works to family and friends rather than sell them for profit. Kee faded from the collective consciousness over time, but in 2021, his nephew brought his art to the attention of the museum, which will share his uniquely Oregon tale via a display of watercolors, paintings, lithographs and more. Portland Chinatown Museum, 127 NW 3rd Ave., 503-224-0008, portlandchinatownmuseum.org. 11 am-3 pm Friday-Sunday, May 19-Oct. 8.

SEE: Orcas: Our Shared Future

Oregon has a long history with orcas: The 1993 film Free Willy was shot here; its star, Keiko, lived at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport; and pods of the magnificent black-and-white mammals can be found in Yaquina Bay at times searching for their next meal. So it’s fitting that OMSI has opened an exhibit dedicated to the killer whale. Orcas: Our Shared Future features three life-sized replicas and more than 100 artifacts, including Indigenous art, a wooden skeleton, and interactive stations that will inspire a new appreciation for the connection between humans and this splendid apex predator. OMSI, 1945 SE Water Ave., 503-797-4000, omsi.edu. 9:30 am-5:30 pm Tuesday-Friday and Sunday, 9:30 am-7 pm Saturday, through Jan. 28, 2024. $13-$18.

GO: Follow Your Dream Gala Fundraiser

Though best known as Mayor Pete’s husband, Chasten Buttigieg has managed to step outside of the U.S. transportation secretary’s shadow. The teacher,

author and LGBTQ+ rights activist uses his platform to bring attention to the need to improve public education as well as access to the arts and mental health care. That work led to his selection as the special guest of this year’s gala for the Bridgetown Conservatory, the Portland area’s premier training company for young performers. You can appreciate Buttigieg from afar with a general admission ticket or up close if you shell out big for the VIP cocktail party. Tiffany Center, 1410 SW Morrison St., 971-219-6452, bridgetownconservatory.org. VIP session 6 pm and general admission 7 pm Saturday, May 20. $150 general admission, $500 VIP.

DRINK: PDX Urban Wine Experience 2023

The whole goal of PDX Urban Winery is to get you to skip the drive to wine country and taste as much of its bounty as possible under one roof in town. So take a break from running around Yamhill and Hood counties during Oregon Wine Month by attending this event, which will feature at least 17 Portland vintners pouring more than 40 wines. Your ticket includes a snack cup from Forest Grove’s ABC Charcuterie to help soak up some of the alcohol. Easton Broad, 237 NE Broadway, Unit 300, pdxurbanwine.com. 2-5 pm Sunday, May 21. $60.

BELIEVE: Learn about UFO sightings and abductions or just drink a lot of beer and watch a parade at McMinnville’s UFO Fest.
19 Willamette Week MAY 17, 2023 wweek.com

Hot Plates



Bartender’s Handshake

4422 SE Woodstock Blvd., 971-430-0171, vikingsoulfood.com. 11 am-7 pm

Sunday-Thursday, 11 am-8 pm Friday-Saturday.

Viking Soul Food, a long-standing member of The Bite on Belmont food pod, recently opened its first brick-and-mortar, where many items on the menu come surrounded by a lefse, a delicate wrap made with potatoes, butter and flour. The versatility of the lefse works wonders, adding lightness to savory wraps, like the smoked steelhead, enhancing the crunch of the greens and tartness of the pickled shallots. Looking for something sweet? Try the lingonberry lefse, filled with a tart jam and cream cheese. It’s intensely comforting and ideal for littler Vikings.


3244 NE 82nd Ave., 971-429-1452. 11 am-9 pm Tuesday-Sunday.

With a menu full of panuchos, salbutes, relleno negro and menudo, it feels sacrilegious to start with an ode to Manuel “Manny” Lopez’s burritos, but we’re gonna do it. We love these burritos passionately. Go for the asada, which is seasoned and grilled, layered with black beans made with lard and spices, and given the usual sour cream, cheese and guac treatment. But the true God-tier move is the layer of crispy griddled cheese, which adds salt and crunch, resulting in deep satisfaction.


12870 SW Canyon Road, Beaverton, 503-747-0814, phooregon.net. 10 am-9 pm Monday-Saturday, 10 am-8 pm Sunday.

Pho Oregon, Portland’s 20-year-old Vietnamese beef noodle soup standard bearer, has opened its second outlet after nearly two years of planning. If an early visit was any indication, it was worth the wait. The must-have pho order, the No. 1, is a quart-sized cauldron of aromatic awesomeness with thin rice noodles as well as bits of beef tendon, tripe, quartered meatballs and more. When the urge for hot soup wanes, the menu seems to ramble endlessly with choices, from rice plates to grilled meats to stews.


Various locations, saltandstraw.com. 11 am-11 pm daily.

More than a decade ago, cousins Tyler and Kim Malek began changing people’s taste for ice cream—daring them to go beyond Baskin-Robbins’ 31 flavors—by opening Salt & Straw and working with unique ingredients. The company, which has expanded considerably since then, is marking its 12th anniversary this month by unlocking its flavor vault and bringing back dormant varieties. That means for a limited time you can get old favorites, like black olive brittle and goat cheese, honey marshmallow rocky road and mango habanero IPA sorbet as a scoop, or in pints and milkshakes.


1015 SE Stark St., @makulitpdx. Noon-7 pm Wednesday-Thursday, 4-9 pm Friday-Saturday.

Makulít, one of the new food carts in the Lil’ American pod, is a master at melding the familiar with the unfamiliar—in this case, Filipino ingredients and flavors with American fast food classics. Best of all: Everything on the menu is fun. The most playful dish is the Big Bunso, a cheeseburger with a spicy longanisa sausage patty and atsara, a mix of pickled papaya, carrot, daikon and bell pepper. The resulting flavor combo lands somewhere between burger, meatloaf sandwich, and banh mi.

The Shaku Bar proves that great things come in small packages.

The year-old spot on Northeast Sandy Boulevard has a long bar and just a few tables (but the dog-friendly patio is vast). It has a neighborhood-bar vibe, thanks mostly to the infectious good cheer of Mark Tucker, one of the three owners, who smiles and chats while whipping up elegant cocktails with ingredients like hand-squeezed tamarind juice (for his spicy margarita).

Friendship is in the name. Pronounced “SHAY-koo,” the business’s moniker is a shortened form of the Japanese word for handshake, handoshēku. Growing up in San Jose,

Calif., Tucker and fellow owner (and chef) Matt Odama shared a secret handshake. Tucker taught it to Trent Brown, the third owner, after they developed a friendship while managing Trader Joe’s stores in the Portland area. “ We opened just as the world was coming out of COVID, and we wanted a symbol of something that brings people together after being isolated,” Tucker says.

The cocktails alone are worth a visit. Close your eyes and sip just about any of them, and you’d swear you’ve been transported to a 1920s Hemingway bar in Montparnasse, Paris, or a sleek spot in Tokyo’s Ginza district, circa now.

The Princess Peach ($13) is a mix of local Aria gin, Aperol, St-Germain and lemon juice topped with a half-centimeter of creamy-white Fee Foam (Google it!). The Lychee

Top 5
20 Willamette Week MAY 17, 2023 wweek.com
Everyone is a friend at The Shaku Bar, where shots of high-end liquor are a bargain on certain days and the owners’ conviviality is a constant presence.
Editor: Andi Prewitt Contact: aprewitt@wweek.com

Fizz ($14) features a puree of its namesake fruit, ginger syrup (housemade), muddled mint, Roku Gin and soda water.

We’re definitely coming back for a Kvothe the Bloodless ($12)—pickle juice, hot sauce, lime and a secret sauce. Shaku calls it a bloody mary “without the blood.” (The founders are all proud nerds who’ve played Dungeons & Dragons for years and, as the drink names attest, love

fantasy and sci-fi. For those who haven’t reached their level of geekdom, Kvothe is the wizard hero of Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicle).

Come for the cocktails but stay for the food. Start with the sesame chile garlic edamame ($6) and then move on to the battered tofu bites ($9). Both are crisp with little hint of the oil that made them so. And for God’s sake, don’t miss the tempura kimchi ($9). It sounds sort of impossible, but Shaku proves it’s not, and it comes with a chipotle aioli dipping sauce that would be good on anything.

And here’s a bonus: Every Saturday, Shaku opens a Starfleet Bottle—an expensive whiskey, say—and offers shots at cost (one per customer per day), until the bottle is gone, usually later in the week. A $50 shot can be had for $10. The name, Tucker explains, is a riff on Star Trek’s utopian society, which eschews money.

Live long and prosper!

DRINK: The Shaku Bar, 3448 NE Sandy Blvd., 971-3462063, theshakubar.com. 4 pm-midnight Tuesday-Thursday, 4 pm-1 am Friday-Saturday, 3-10 pm every other Sunday.

Buzz List



77 SE Yamhill St., 503-261-3467, grapeape.wine. 11 am-bedtime Tuesday-Sunday.

Sorry to break it to fans of the ’70s Hanna-Barbera cartoon of the same name, but you won’t find a 40-foot purple primate at this new Central Eastside bar. However, much of the décor is from that era, and the lineup of fine natural wines should soften the blow. The curated list highlights selections from low-intervention labels, including Oregon’s Hooray for You chardonnay, California producer Populis’ sauvignon blanc and a Pierre-Olivier Bonhomme gamay from France. Pair one with marinated white beans and mayo on toast or a jamon baguette and pretend you’ve made an escape to Paris for the afternoon.


638 E Burnside St., dirtyprettypdx.com. 4 pm-1 am Sunday-Thursday, 4 pm-2 am Friday-Saturday.

This is the third venue in industry veteran Collin Nicholas’ quickly growing bar portfolio, which also includes Pink Rabbit and Fools and Horses. As with its sister locations, you can expect a fusion of Asian and Hawaiian ingredients in Dirty Pretty’s food menu (pork-shrimp shumai, fried saimin, furikake jojos), and the lengthy cocktail list is filled with tropical flavors. Drinks with names like Jungle Juice, Charliebird and Guava Wars should brighten what’s been a pretty gray Portland spring.

3. KNUDSEN VINEYARDS 9419 NE Worden Hill Road, Dundee, 503-580-1596, knudsenvineyards.com. Dates and times vary. $55 or $95 per person.

If you’ve ever wished you could transport yourself into the scene depicted on that Oregon Wine Country license plate the DMV rolled out about a decade ago, then you need to head to Knudsen during Oregon Wine Month. The painting it’s based on is of this winery, which invites you to tromp around the grapes all year round, not just during wine month in May. There are two informative hikes to choose from—both include tastings, but one has the added bonus of a picnic lunch.


1616 E Burnside St., 503-908-3074, lolopass.com. 4-10 pm daily.

Beyond giving guests a place to rest their heads at the end of the day, Lolo Pass is home to one of Portland’s newer rooftop bars where locals and visitors alike can sip drinks and take in the view of the Central Eastside. The fifth-story perch reopens May 4 following its winter hibernation with a new and seasonally changing cocktail menu. The debut Snap Pea martini sounds like the perfect vibrant drink to toast the warming spring afternoons.


1015 SE Stark St., fracturebrewingpdx.com. 4-10 pm Wednesday-Thursday, noon-11 pm Friday-Saturday, noon-8 pm Sunday.

This month, the Lil’ America food cart pod welcomed its final tenant, and if you haven’t checked out the eclectic mix of vendors—Guyanese bakes are sold feet from crab boils, vegan corn dogs and Hainanese chicken rice—the recent opening is a good excuse to get out there. Be sure to order a beer (but, really, you should get several) made by Fracture’s Darren Provenzano. During our last visit, the medallionlike West Coast IPA and the canary-colored Hazy were both standouts, but the Pilsner trio (classic, West Coast, New Zealand) is what really stole our hearts. Yes, they all taste different.

Top 5
21 Willamette Week MAY 17, 2023 wweek.com


STEAL MY VACATION: Horsing Around in Moscow, Idaho

Near the Idaho panhandle next to the Washington border lies the delightful college town of Moscow. The idyllic backdrop is home to the University of Idaho and roughly 25,000 residents. That modest population, however, belies a thriving art and culinary scene that rivals that in many larger Northwest cities. The combined lodging, shopping and outdoor recreational opportunities ultimately make Moscow the perfect “that sounds great, we’ve never been there before” weekend destination.


Keep It Classy

In recent years, Idaho has come into its own as a wine region. Colter’s Creek Winery – Moscow Tasting Room (215 S Main St., 208-301-5125, colterscreek.com) gives visitors the chance to sample and see for themselves, and is a splendid place to kick off the weekend. The elegantly appointed space is located in downtown’s historic Hattabaugh Building and offers wine tasting at the bar or on an interior patio.

Just a few blocks south is a stellar option for New American cuisine with lovely ambience: Nectar Restaurant & Wine Bar (105 W 6th St., 208-882-5914, moscownectar.square.site). It’s also a prime spot for a smart cocktail or (another) glass of wine to warm up for or wind down from a night on the town.


Get Fired Up

For dinner, you can do no better than to walk literally across the street to one of the corner stones of the Moscow culinary scene. Maialina Pizzeria Napoletana (602 S Main St., 208882-2694, maialina.com) has been producing authentic, wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza and rustic Italian fare with local seasonal ingredients since 2013. Try the Patate pizza— topped with roasted fingerlings, peppers, and chile flakes—if you’re looking for something different and pleasantly piquant.


Curl Up in Your Cocoon

Home for the night is just across the street again at the Monarch Motel (120 W 6th St., 208-882-2581, moscowmonarch.com). The lovingly renovated former roadside inn retained its midcentury style, only now it has modern artwork and a fresh, bright color palette. Locally owned and operated, Monarch feels like Moscow with a dash of metro. Bonus: Guests can get room service from Nectar with a 10% discount.



To Market, to Market

The Moscow Farmers Market (101-155 W 4th St., 208-883-7132, ci.moscow.id.us/197/ Farmers-Market) is a beloved institution and a must-visit from May through October. The downtown Saturday morning event features goods from local farmers, artists and craftspeople, as well as live music that helps set the tone for the weekend. There are also a number of food vendors, so breakfast is taken care of.

This North Central Idaho gem is two communities in one: a border town surrounded by rugged beauty and a college town that exudes soul and eclectic cultural charm.
22 Willamette Week MAY 17, 2023 wweek.com

5. 6. Take the Reins

Moscow is located in the heart of Palouse Country, home of the Appaloosa horse. There is some seri ously significant history tied to that fact, and the paloosa Museum & Heritage Center (2720 Pullman Road, 208-882-5578, appaloosamuseum.com) will give you the lowdown. The center was established to collect, preserve, study and exhibit objects and information that detail the renowned breed’s past that was such an integral part of Nez Perce culture.


Take a Hike

Just northeast of Moscow, Idler’s Rest Nature Preserve (1187 Idler’s Rest Road, 208-596-4496, palouselandtrust.org/idlers-rest-naturepreserve) is a recreational site adjacent to pastoral Palouse farmlands. Since the 1900s, families, Scout troops and nature lovers in general have been drawn to this peaceful parcel of woods. And it would seem that very little has changed since then. The preserve is a splendid choice for family-friendly hiking close to town that feels farther afield.

More ambitious hikers will want to head out to the Elk Creek Falls Trailhead and Picnic Area (Elk River Road, Elk River, 208-875-1131, fs.usda.gov) about 50 miles east of Moscow. Sure, that’s a drive, but believe it or not, Moscow is the closest city to these falls—so they’re Moscow’s! I don’t make the rules. Seriously, though, waterfall aficionados should strongly consider taking a trip to the Elk Creek Falls National Recreation Trail, where you’ll see three separate, unique wa terfalls that plunge a combined 140 feet through a rugged, remote and breathtakingly beautiful canyon.

Art Around

When it’s shopping time, Essential Art Gallery & Fine Gifts (203 S Main St., 208-571-5654, essentialartgallery.com) is home to remarkable works by more than 100 American and Canadian artists—from dichroic glass earrings to watercolor paintings that pay tribute to the American cowboy. It’s the perfect spot for a locally sourced gift or art piece.


7. 9.

Peddle Power

The Palouse Recreation Trails (visitmoscowid. com/listing-single/palouse-recreation-trails) is an approximately 38-mile network of paved pathways ideal for walking, running, biking and skating that start in town but can get you far from the city center in a hurry if you’d like. Paradise Creek Bicycles (513 S Main St., 208-882-0703, paradisecreekbicycles. com) offers rentals as well as guided tours for all skill levels.


In addition to some fine taprooms and bottle shops, Moscow has three stellar breweries conveniently clustered together. Moscow Brewing Company (630 N Almon St., Suite 130, 208-5964058, moscowbrewing.com) dates all the way back to 1882—it was one of the community’s first businesses. And while some things like Prohibition may have gotten in the way, today the small brewery and taproom is a haven for lovers of beer, from Kölsch to kettle sours.

Rants & Raves Brewery (308 N Jackson St., 208596-4061, rantsravesbrewery.com) is a quintessential Northwest brewpub, offering good beer, good food and great times. While Hunga Dunga Brewing (333 N Jackson St., 208-596-4855, hungadungabrewing.com) offers a lineup of classic craft beers along with an elevated, restaurant-worthy pub grub menu in a renovated grain warehouse heavy on good-times atmosphere. Two words: cauliflower tacos. No kidding.

SUNDAY MORNING Code of the Road

Fill up at this scratch-made breakfast insti tution, which is more than two decades old.

The Breakfast Club (501 S Main St., 208882-6481, thebreakfastclubmoscow.com) serves locally made German sausage and hashbrowns to die for. When you’re finished, quickly freshen up in the restroom. Then hit the road.

23 Willamette Week MAY 17, 2023 wweek.com

Art Inspires Art

Bill Callahan reveals the story behind his new album's artwork, which novelist surprised him, and an unexpected vocal guest star.

At record stores this past March, the double LP of Bill Callahan’s (reality, spelled backwards), arrived. It came with a poster of a skeletal colonial figure gazing into the beyond. The image, a reprint of an oil painting by Australian artist Paul Ryan, was the art Callahan originally wanted to use for the album cover.

first saw that painting and really liked it,” Callahan says of the colonial gentleman. He then asked if there was another painting he could use for the back of the album to stay with that theme (hence the galleon on the back). “But once I realized the album was going to be a gatefold, I said, ‘Can I use two more paintings?’ and just decided to, you know, go all the way,” he concludes with a chuckle.

One month after the LP release (and six months after the album dropped digitally), Callahan spoke with WW by phone as he took a stroll near his home in Austin. Despite the poetry of his lyrics and the often intimidating stoicism of his stage presence, he was candid and kind, not interested in drumming up deep lines to quote. As he walked, the rhythm of his shoes was a pleasant offset to the symphony of Texan birds chirping mayhem in the background, as he spoke in the deep voice that was unmistakably that of Bill Callahan.

Callahan first found out about Ryan in 2011, when filmmakers Ray Collins and Sean O’Brien contacted him about a short documentary they were directing about the painter (who said he often painted while listening to Callahan’s records). Collins and O'Brien asked how much it would cost to use Callahan’s music in the documentary. At the time, Callahan had just finished the album Apocalypse

“And I had no idea what the cover was going to be and I was really struggling with it,” he says. “So I said, well, you can use the songs for free if you give me a painting for the cover.” Since then, Ryan has allowed Callahan to use his work on other albums, like 2013’s Dream River and now

Callahan speaks thoughtfully about other art that has inspired him in some way over the past year or two. When asked if he’s a reading man, Callahan says that for him, reading is among “the top three things in

life,” though he confesses that between touring, family and homesteading, he doesn’t have much time for it lately.

One book he read in the past year that really impressed him was George Saunders’ Booker Prize-winning Lincoln in the Bardo. The novel (Saunders’ first) features a mind-boggling 166 narrators, many of whom are ghosts.

“ You always wonder how someone can do something new with a novel; it seems so hard to expand the genre at this point in time, after it’s been expanded to many different places,” Callahan says. “But that book, I thought, really reconfigured the novel.”

As for his own reconfiguring, on , Callahan played with some things he hadn’t yet explored—like having his now-8-year-old son Bass (pronounced like the fish) sing backup vocals on tracks “Natural Information” and “Planets.” Though Bass was singing well at home or in the car, once they got to the studio, the younger Callahan froze up.

“It was too much of a foreign thing to him, to be standing in a room with a mic and headphones on,” Bill Callahan says. “He couldn’t really do it in the manner he’d been doing it at home.” Callahan’s wife, who hadn’t planned to sing on the album, appears on “Planets” to help coach Bass and make him feel more at ease on the mic. , which Callahan has been touring off and on since its release last October, is more upbeat than anything he’s made before—a result of breaking away from some of the sounds he heard coming out of the pandemic.

“I got kind of frustrated because everything was ambient all of a sudden. Even hip hop became ambient,” he says. “And so I just really wanted to make music that wasn’t ambient; that had movement, rhythm, melody—all that stuff that music is supposed to have.”

SEE IT: Bill Callahan plays the Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie Ave., 503-2349694, aladdin-theater.com. 7:30 pm (sold out) and 10:30 pm Wednesday, May 17. $35. posters available at Music Millennium while supplies last.

FACE THE MUSIC: Bill Callahan.
24 Willamette Week MAY 17, 2023 wweek.com
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MUSIC Editor: Bennett Campbell Ferguson | Contact: bennett@wweek.com




L.A.’s Cheekface lives at the extreme of hyperreferential, hyperrelatable songwriting in the 21st century. Listening to one of their songs can be like scrolling through someone’s Twitter page, or hearing Fear of Music-era David Byrne transplanted to the world of ivermectin and rainbow bagels, or maybe Devo mixed with Das Racist. Singer-songwriter Greg Katz requests no reverb and no echo on his voice live, so there’s nowhere for the crowd to hide from his all-consuming, dystopian unease and paranoia. Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside St., 503-231-9663, dougfirlounge. com. 9 pm. $16. 21+.
















The three albums Mr. Bungle put out in the ’90s represent some of the furthest-out and most eclectic rock music ever made, pivoting from death metal to free jazz to Beach Boys fantasias often within seconds—but for their reunion, Mike Patton and crew have returned to the trashy thrash metal they played in their earliest days. Joining them on their “Geek Show Tour” are The Melvins, the prolific and forever-questing band at the center of heavy metal’s avant-garde, and married art-metal duo Spotlights Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside St., 503-225-0047, crystalballroompdx.com. 8 pm. $55. All ages.


Yves Tumor is one of the last great scenery-chewing glam-rock stars, a demonic and magisterial figure whose shows with “Its Band” are a long way removed from the abstract sound collages they made in their early days as a semi-anonymous noisenik. Far from compromising their sound or “selling out,” Tumor’s move toward traditional rock songwriting has given them the chance to bring their outré instincts to music that could feasibly sell out a midsized venue like the Roseland—so snatch up a ticket fast. Roseland Theater, 8 NW 6th Ave., 971-230-0033, roselandpdx. com. 8 pm. $39.50. All ages.





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What do you suppose the death rattle of the entire technological grid would sound like? Or, say, an attempt by a faulty AI program to write a suite of future pop tunes? My guess is that it would be something close to the music of Lucrecia Dalt.

The Colombian-born artist creates random sonic elements that never quite connect properly. There’s an audible friction and scrape and dissonance that emerges as these fragments of melody and drone bump together to generate the sparks within Dalt’s experimental electronic compositions.

The hands and mind responsible for these songs are all too human. Throughout Dalt’s performance last week at Mississippi Studios, she appeared humbled and almost shy about being so far from her home base of Berlin only to find a few hundred people in front of her, happily riding each choppy wave of the music.

She also seemed surprised by what was happening just to her left onstage. To be fair, Dalt’s accompanist Alex Lázaro made himself hard to ignore. His percussion array was arranged like a modern art sculpture with the pieces jutting out at unusual angles or placed in untraditional ways. And he played with huge, sweeping movements of his arms, landing the right amount of force on the drums as needed to either ground or further upend the music.

His rhythms read as Latin, but with a random assortment of typical beats removed from each measure. Propulsive enough to keep the music rolling forward, but not steady enough to move one’s hips to. “We have some energy tonight,” Dalt commented early in the set, referring to Lazaro. “I wish I could compensate.” She didn’t need to. They were perfectly symbiotic, maintaining a delicate creative balance that stayed true even as their music constantly threatened to topple.

This Is Her Life

A destitute, hard-drinking Dubliner opens up in Corrib Theatre’s production of Myra’s Story.

On a cold December morning in 2002, lifelong Dubliner Myra McLaughlin (Luisa Sermol) awakens hungover following a boozedrenched marking of her 48th birthday.

After some nudging, she manag es to rouse herself and trudge to work, which for her means begging for change next to the Ha’penny Bridge. In between busking and cursing out pedestrians who won’t grant her the dignity of eye contact, Myra tells us, the audience, of her life and how she came to be the drunken, destitute derelict we now see before us.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Myra’s Story, written by Brian Foster and now being staged by the Corrib Theatre (and directed by Gemma Whelan), is how ordinary it is. Myra recounts instances of first love, friendship, motherhood, trauma, recovery, loss and a lifelong battle with “the beast” of alcoholism that has preyed on her family for generations.

Throughout it all, even in the darkest of circumstances, Myra recounts her history with a searing wit and pitch-black sense of

humor that can give the audience the respite of a laugh while underscoring the tragedies that have come to define her life.

Myra’s Story is presented minimally, with the only set decorations being a park bench worn down by time and a stencil of the bridge in the background. It lives and dies by Foster’s script and Sermol’s performance, both of which prove more than up to the task. Foster shifts tone so suddenly that some viewers might get whiplash, but it all feels earned and it’s clear the comedy is as integral to the telling as the heartbreak and bleakness of Myra’s situation.

By the same token, Sermol is eminently watchable as Myra. She switches gears from impersonating quirky characters to reliving the worst moments of her life to trying to scrounge up enough coins for a cheap bottle of vodka without ever missing a beat.

There’s a vibrant immediacy to her performance, which hammers home the idea that although Myra herself is fictional, there’s an immutable truth to her story. Ultimately, it’s Myra’s humanity, encompassing all the joys and pains of her life, that makes the show sing.

There’s significance in Corrib’s choice to stage Myra’s Story; it’s not only a show about stigmatization and isolation (themes very familiar to survivors of the COVID-19 pandemic), but more specifically, it’s a show about how we treat the unhoused.

Like all major cities, Portland has struggled with its homeless population, both the rising rates of transients and the community’s far from ideal response to their presence. Myra’s Story doesn’t pretend to offer solutions, instead acting as a plea for empathy and compassion for a vulnerable group.

As stated earlier, the circumstances of Myra’s life aren’t that unique, and anyone under the wrong circumstances can follow the same paths and make the same mistakes she did. Myra doesn’t ask for pity or forgiveness, but for understanding, for her story to be heard. And it’s definitely worth hearing.

SEE IT: Myra’s Story plays at 21ten Theatre, 2110 SE 10th Ave., 503-389-0579, corribtheatre.org. 7:30 pm Thursday-Saturday, 2 pm Sunday, through May 28. $15-$35. 15+.

26 Willamette Week MAY 17, 2023 wweek.com CULTURE Editor:
Bennett Campbell Ferguson | Contact: bennett@wweek.com


The Writer Is Present

How Jon Raymond captured “the psychodrama of bringing art into the world” in Kelly Reichardt’s Showing Up.

In the climactic scene of director Kelly Reichardt’s Showing Up, an injured pigeon takes flight in an art gallery. It’s a perfect metaphor for the unlikely sense of liberation that the film’s frazzled, frustrated characters experience—and it’s based on an incident from co-writer Jon Raymond’s life.

Raymond, an Oregon Book Award-winning author, has made even more movies with Reichardt than her longtime muse, Michelle Williams. The pair have collaborated on both adaptations of Raymond’s writing (Old Joy, First Cow) and original screenplays (Wendy and Lucy, Meek’s Cutoff, Night Moves).

Showing Up, a Portland-filmed dissection of the fraying bond between sculpturist Lizzy (Williams) and her landlord and fellow artist Jo (Hong Chau), is another original creation. Like all of Reichardt’s films, it is a movingly attentive look at the nuances of human interaction, chronicling the hectic days leading up to a showcase of Lizzy’s sculptures (which were created by Portland artist Cynthia Lahti).

On Thursday, Raymond will interview Tom Hanks about his novel, The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece. As his encounter with the actor loomed, Raymond looked back at Showing Up, explaining how he and Reichardt divided up their screenwriting duties—and how the time he thought he was “a bad person” helped inspire the film.

WW: Tell me about the origins of Showing Up.

Jon Raymond: The political climate [in the Trump era] was so toxic and horrible that personally, I was wanting to do something where we got to think about something we liked. The politics of the time were so obvious and brutal that doing something about any of that stuff just seemed pointless. I like visual art. Kelly likes visual art. Being 50ish, I felt like I had something to say about the psychodrama of bringing art into the world.

The film captures the landlord-tenant relationship with so much realism and discomfort…

It’s weirdly so rare in movies to see people or situations that bear any resemblance to real life. It becomes a funny litmus test. Some friends of mine are like, “God, Jo is such an asshole. What a horrible landlord.” And other people are like, “She seems like a normal person, a little into her own thing, but it’s not crazy.” It’s just funny how people map their own emotional things onto [Lizzy and Jo].

The now-closed Oregon College of Art and Craft, where Showing Up was filmed, feels very much like a character in the film.

I grew up around here and I have very distant memories of being a young kid going there. They used to do Sunday brunch, where the students would become waiters. Not only does it have a very unique, beautiful architectural environment, but it also seemed like an opportunity to commemorate this kind of institution that is so endangered now. A groovy little art school is increasingly implausible.

Can you describe your collaboration with Kelly?

Generally, I’ll come up with the idea and then I’ll write the draft or a couple drafts that establish the characters, storyline, setting, all that stuff. Kelly will offer notes, and then it’s later in the process that she will add stuff as well. I create, then she comes in and creates it better.

I remember going through almost five different memos [for Showing Up] that I wrote that were of increasing length—and very different shapes. I started out going, “Maybe it’ll be about a relational aesthetics artist who gets into a weird relationship with some collaborators.” It was finally when I put the bird into it that a skeleton [of a narrative] became apparent and I wrote an actual draft.

The gallery scene with the pigeon must have been so tricky to get right. It had to be down to earth and also have a sense of catharsis and rebirth.

That actually sort of happened to me, when I was living in North Portland in a group house over there. One night, I woke up and the cat was torturing this poor bird on our bathroom floor. I did exactly what Lizzy does—I threw it out the window: “Go die somewhere else!”

Then, at that time, this beatnik family was squatting in the backyard of our neighbor’s house—this really beautiful family with young parents and long-haired kids. I woke up in the morning and saw that they had rescued the bird. I was like, they’re good people and I’m a bad person.

It’s really a testament to Kelly’s powers that that bird never becomes too much of a symbol of anything. It sort of flirts with that, but it’s kept to being a bird, instead of a symbolic bird, I hope.

SEE IT: Jon Raymond appears in conversation with Tom Hanks at the Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St., 503-248-4335, portland5.com. 7:30 pm Thursday, May 18. $30-$90.




To most moviegoers, Justin Lin is the director who refashioned the Fast & Furious series, originally a scrappy street racing saga, as a winking epic of 007 proportions. Yet he got his start with Shopping for Fangs (1997), a minor masterpiece about love, sex, Asian American stereotypes, and proper hair care for werewolves.

Co-directed by Quentin Lee, the film stars Radmar Agana Jao as Phil, a payroll clerk troubled by his rapidly growing beard (in order to comply with his office’s ban on facial hair, he has to shave every hour). Phil is also craving raw meat, but even his sister’s werewolf-researching boyfriend dismisses his fear of a full moon as paranoia.

In another strand of the story, a demure wife named Katherine (Jeanne Chinn) adopts an alternate personality: a lesbian waitress named Trinh, whose poofy blond wig and ever-present sunglasses mark her as a cinematic descendant of Brigitte Lin in Chungking Express (1994) and Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity (1944).

Like Lin’s breakout feature Better Luck Tomorrow (2002), Shopping attacks the racist myth that Asian Americans are the “model minority.” The more Phil and Katherine are urged to be stoic and submissive, the more they rebel (as does Phil’s mane, which eventually grows to his shoulders, making him look like a slacker Jesus).

After his Bruce Lee-inspired mockumentary Finishing the Game (2007), Lin became a Trojan horse filmmaker, smuggling subversive ideas into the Fast films and Star Trek Beyond (2016). I’m glad he did, but the beauty of Shopping, Better Luck and Finishing is that they allow him to sink his fangs into some unambiguous truth. Tubi.

TAMING THE BEAST: Michelle Williams.
27 Willamette Week MAY 17, 2023 wweek.com

Gods and Monsters (1998)

To hear pioneering horror director James Whale (Ian McKellen) tell it in Gods and Monsters, he prefers much of his oeuvre to his Frankenstein pictures. The Invisible Man (1933) is better, he argues, and he directed Showboat (1936) for God’s sake. That’s a serious film, in Whale’s mind.

So why does every person the retired director encounters in this snapshot biopic want to talk about Frankenstein? Pathos, pliability, costume design—you name it. In fact, Gods and Monsters finds its heartbeat when it just makes every character sit down and watch The Bride of Frankenstein (1935).

Upon viewing, Whale is both delighted and touched. His loyal caretaker Hanna (Lynn Redgrave) recoils in moralist fear. Across town, Whale’s gardener-turned-confidant Clay (Brendan Fraser) is upset that his barfly friends find Bride funny.

These responses speak to the many valid reactions to and intentions within great horror movies, but it’s the perilous quest for connection that resounds through both Frankenstein and Gods and Monsters. The dynamic between the ill, exiled director (Whale) and the wayward, boozy gardener (Clay) is complicated by exploitation and homophobia, but more powerful is their desire to be understood before it’s too late.

None of us ask to be created, but the monster’s guttural grumble of “friend” cuts to the core of what we need afterward. Hollywood, May 22.


5th Avenue: Canoa: A Shameful Memory (1976), May 19-21. Academy: Mulholland Drive (2001), May 19-25. Wayne’s World (1992), May 19-25. Cinema 21: Blue Collar (1978), May 20. Clinton: Dead Ringer (1964), May 20. School of the Holy Beast (1974), May 20. Embrace the Serpent (2015), May 23. Hollywood: Dog Day Afternoon (1975), May 18. La Haine (1995), May 22. The Hidden (1987), May 23.


When devout gardener Narvel Roth (Joel Edgerton) wants his staff to inspect a handful of dirt, he tells them to smell and kiss the soil; inhale the scents of animal, vegetable and mineral, he insists. What drives such discipline? When we see the swastika tattoos covering Narvel’s back, we begin to understand. Once a white supremacist, Narvel turned on his fellow neo-Nazis. Now sequestered in a witness protection program, he quietly and diligently tends to Gracewood Gardens, the verdant estate of the imperious Norma Haverhill (Sigourney Weaver). Racially insensitive, sexually ravenous, and baffled by the internet, Norma is a crude caricature of a wealthy old white woman—just as her drug-addicted grandniece Maya (Quintessa Swindell) is a crude caricature of a disenfranchised Black millennial. Director Paul Schrader’s illustrious career (from writing Taxi Driver to directing First Reformed) clearly hasn’t taught him much about women, but the deeper he digs into Narvel’s broken soul, the more persuasive Master Gardener becomes. “I was raised to hate people who were different than me,” Narvel says. Determined to nurture life instead of destroying it, he embraces gardening as both a path to joy and an act of penance. Can it lead to redemption? A radiant, hallucinogenic image of Narvel surrounded by pink blossoms gleaming in the night offers hope. Master Gardener may not fully earn its tender conclusion, but its faith in the power of both plant and human life to radically transform is profoundly moving. At 76, Schrader has learned what many of his filmmaking peers never have: that dreaming up a happy ending, not unlike gardening, is hard and worthy work. R. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON. Clackamas, Laurelhurst.




The luminous cinematography of Ruben Impens takes the lead until filmmakers Charlotte Vandermeersch and Felix van Groeningen allow their characters to wrestle it back in this adaptation of Paolo Cognetti’s 2016 novel, which took home a Jury Prize at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. The film embarks on a four-decade journey with Pietro (Lupo Barbiero), whom we first met as an 11-year-old city kid in 1984. His family has rented a house in a small mountain village for the summer. There, he’s introduced to the only other child in town, Bruno (Cristiano Sassella), who lives and works with his aunt and uncle. Each summer, Pietro returns, cultivating their friendship until they’re separated by diverging paths not of their choosing. Then, the boys reunite several years later, with unspoken envy frustrating any efforts to recapture that idyllic childhood connection. As the film progresses, the captivating imagery washes away, revealing a gruff reality resulting from the characters’ inability to communicate and the hidden traumas caused by their fathers. The oscillating nature of their friendship gets tedious over the two-and-a-half-hour runtime, but the film movingly explores family and identity, asking, “Can we truly ever go home again?”

NR. RAY GILL JR. Cinema 21.

Jamie (Anwen O’Driscoll)

is a teenager who moves to small town Quebec in 1992—and is forced to acknowledge, with some awkwardness, that the relatives she’s moved in with are Jehovah’s Witnesses. On the plus side, Jamie quickly connects with Marike (June Laporte), a sweet girl who’s also a hardcore Jehovah’s Witness, despite their obvious sexual chemistry. Viewers are more likely to watch You Can Live Forever for the lesbian coming-of-age story than any kind of commentary on Jehovah’s Witnesses (Marike’s sincere positivity toward her faith muddles any interpretation of the film as an attack on a belief system). On that front, You Can Live Forever delivers well enough. The film tells a sad yet nostalgic story that’s likely to resonate with many young moviegoers, whatever their sexual or religious orientations. Even the small-town Quebec backdrop mainly serves to accentuate a sense of joy in the midst of Jamie’s loneliness. NR. WILLIAM SCHWARTZ. On demand.


Carmen has been devouring men since the 19th century, and we can count first-time director Benjamin Millepied among them. The opera by French composer Georges Bizet that brought this

femme fatale turned modern-day feminist icon to life was a misunderstood masterpiece in its time, boldly critiquing race, power and gender. Subsequent adaptations have seen portrayals by Dorothy Dandridge (leading to her being the first African American to receive a Best Actress Oscar nomination, for 1954’s Carmen Jones) and introduced a 19-yearold Beyoncé Knowles to acting in MTV’s “so bad it’s kinda good” cult classic Carmen: A Hip Hopera (2001). In this Carmen, Millepied’s criminally underutilized rising star, Melissa Barrera (In the Heights, Scream VI ), is one of the few highlights of a scattered rendition with nothing to say. Attempts to mesh Millepied’s own choreography and the cinematography of Jörg Widmer fall flat, while Carmen is robbed of her arc and saddled with a tormented companion (Paul Mescal). Even the romance is seemingly born more from convenience than passion, with a potentially timely tale of an undocumented immigrant crossing the Mexico-U.S. border that does little more than move the plot from one location to the next. Carmen has an immersive score (by Nicholas Britell, Taura Stinson and Julieta Venegas), evocative dance sequences, and stunning visuals, but they paint a pretty picture that Millepied altogether fails to frame. R. RAY GILL JR. Living Room.

MAGNOLIA PICTURES LIONSGATE 28 Willamette Week MAY 17, 2023 wweek.com MOVIES
29 Willamette Week MAY 17, 2023 wweek.com


"Sandwiched Between"--some deep cuts here.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Aries dramatist Samuel Beckett, winner of the prestigious Nobel Prize for Literature, wrote 22 plays. The shortest was *Breath*. It has no dialogue or actors and lasts less than a minute. It begins and ends with a recording of the cry of a newborn baby. In between there are the sounds of someone breathing and variations in the lighting. I recommend you draw inspiration from *Breath* in the coming weeks, Aries. Be succinct and pithy. Call on the powers of graceful efficiency and no-nonsense effectiveness. Relish the joys of shrewd simplicity.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): In the coming weeks, you Bulls must brook no bullies or bullying. Likewise, you should tolerate no bullshit from people trying to manipulate or fool you. Be a bulwark of integrity as you refuse to lower your standards. Bulk up the self-protective part of your psyche so you will be invincibly immune to careless and insensitive spoilers. Your word of power is BUILD. You will align yourself with cosmic rhythms as you work to create situations that will keep you strong and stable during the next 12 months.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): How much do you believe in your power to become the person you want to be? Ninety percent? Fifty-five? Twenty? Whatever it is, you can increase it in the coming weeks. Life will conspire with you to raise your confidence as you seek new ways to fulfill your soul's purpose. Surges of grace will come your way as you strive with intense focus to live your most meaningful destiny. To take maximum advantage of this opportunity, I suggest you enjoy extra amounts of quiet, meditative time. Request help from the deepest core of your intelligence.


1. Burger essential

6. Nadal's nickname

10. Limerick, e.g.

14. Get along

15. Responsibility

16. U2's guitarist, with "The"

17. Add "minus" to your math skills?

20. Like all leap years

21. Former "Bake Off" host Fielding

22. Amounts on Monopoly cards

23. Po's color

24. Is apt

25. Exuberant feeling

26. Fighting

28. Question of possibility

29. Maple syrup base

32. Part of 12-Down

34. Face boldly

37. Manuscript about the Milky Way, maybe?

39. Some of them are famous

40. Cancelled

41. Check follower?

42. Drink suffix

43. Comedian Crowder known as "The Liberal Redneck"

44. "Harper Valley ___"

45. "Frozen" role

47. Wiz Khalifa's genre

50. Sandy site

53. Totally get, slangily

54. Taj Mahal site

55. Undermining scheme by a blanket hog?

58. Numbered piece

59. "I Am Not My Hair" singer India.___

60. Damages

61. Directors Robbins and Burton

62. Planters products

63. Dental restoration


1. "Table's ready" signaler

2. It's used to make tequila

3. Worked in court, perhaps

4. Al Gore's state, for short

5. "OK"

6. "Futurama" character, maybe

7. Some poker bets

8. Fold up, like a flag

9. Harvard botanist Gray

10. "The Little Rascals" dog

11. "Thor" role for Anthony Hopkins

12. Four-award feat

13. ___ Wearhouse (suit retailer)

18. Single part

19. Get carried away at a concert?

24. Moonshine, by another name

25. "Big Yellow Taxi" singer Mitchell

27. Social wisdom

28. Overactors

©2023 Jonesin’ Crosswords (editor@jonesincrosswords.com) For answers to this puzzle, call: 1-900-226-2800, 99 cents per minute. Must be 18+. Or to bill to your credit card, call: 1-800-655-6548. Reference puzzle #JNZ990.

29. "Mayday" Parker's alter ego

30. "Bonne fete ___" ("Happy Birthday" line, in Canada)

31. Polliwog's place

32. Site of the Kon-Tiki Museum

33. Bridge length

34. "OK"

35. Up in the air, briefly

36. Annapolis inst.

38. Bartender's mixer

43. "___ On Me" (A-ha song)

44. News coverage

45. Planetary path

46. Really enjoys

48. Tacoma ___ (local slang for a nearby industrial emanation)

49. Violet family flower

50. "Nae" sayer?

51. Arizona language

52. Cell in a Fallopian tube

53. All-knowing advisor

54. ___ alternative

56. ___ Rafael, Calif.

57. Letter after pi

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Early in the 19th century, cultural researchers Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm gathered an array of old folk stories and published a collection of what we now call fairy tales. Because the two brothers wanted to earn money, they edited out some graphic elements of the original narratives. For example, in the Grimms' revised version, we don't get the juicy details of the princess fornicating with the frog prince once he has reverted to his handsome human form. In the earlier but not published stories of Rumpelstiltskin, the imp gets so frustrated when he's tricked by the queen that he rips himself apart. I hope you will do the opposite of the Brothers Grimm in the coming weeks, Cancerian. It's crucial that you reveal and expose and celebrate raw, unvarnished truths.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Is there a job you would love to have as your primary passion, but it's different from the job you're doing? Is there a calling you would delight in embracing, but you're too consumed by the daily routine? Do you have a hobby you’d like to turn into a professional pursuit? If you said even a partial yes to my questions, Leo, here's good news: In the coming months, you will have an enhanced ability to make these things happen. And now is an excellent time to get underway.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Virgo-born Samuel Johnson (1709–1784) was a versatile virtuoso. He excelled as an essayist, biographer, playwright, editor, poet, and lexicographer. How did he get so much done? Here’s one clue. He took his own advice, summed up in the following quote: “It is common to overlook what is near by keeping the eye fixed on something remote. Present opportunities are neglected and attainable good is slighted by minds busied in extensive ranges and intent upon future advantages." Johnson’s counsel is perfect for you right now, Virgo. Forget about the future and be focused on the present. Dive into the interesting work and play that’s right in front of you.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): I would love you to go searching for treasure, and I hope you launch your quest soon. As you gather clues, I will be cheering you on. Before you embark, though, I want to make sure you are clear about the nature of the treasure you will be looking for. Please envision it in glorious detail. Write down

a description of it and keep it with you for the next seven weeks. I also suggest you carry out a fun ritual to formally mark your entry into the treasure-hunting chapter of your life.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): In the coming weeks, you'll be guided by your deep intelligence as you explore and converse with the darkness. You will derive key revelations and helpful signs as you wander around inside the mysteries. Be poised and lucid, dear Scorpio. Trust your ability to sense what's important and what's not. Be confident that you can thrive amidst uncertainty as you remain loyal to your core truths. No matter how murky this challenge may seem, it will ultimately be a blessing. You will emerge both smarter and wiser.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): If you take the Bible’s teachings seriously, you give generously to the poor and you welcome immigrants. You regard the suffering of others as being worthy of your compassionate attention, and you express love not just for people who agree with you and share your cultural traditions, but for everyone. Numerous Biblical verses, including many attributed to Jesus Christ, make it clear that living according to these principles is essential to being a good human. Even if you are not Jewish or Christian, Sagittarius, I recommend this approach to you. Now is an excellent time to hone your generosity of spirit and expand your urge to care for others.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): In 1982, Capricorn actor Ben Kingsley won an Oscar for his role in the film *Gandhi*. Then his career declined. In an animated movie in 1992, he voiced the role of an immortal frog named F.R.O.7. who worked as a James Bond-like secret agent. It was a critical and financial disaster. But Kingsley’s fortunes rebounded, and he was nominated for Academy Awards in 2002 and 2003. Then his trajectory dipped again. He was nominated for the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor for four separate films between 2005 and 2008. Now, at age 79, he's rich and famous and mostly remembered for the great things he has done. I suggest we make him your role model for the coming months. May he inspire you to emphasize your hits and downplay your misses.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): I’m devoted to cultivating the art of relaxation. But I live in a world dominated by stress addicts and frenzied overachievers. Here's another problem: I aspire to be curious, innocent, and open-minded, but the civilization I'm embedded in highly values know-it-all experts who are very sure they are in command of life's secrets. One further snag: I’m an ultra-sensitive creator who is nourished by original thinking and original feeling. And yet I constantly encounter formulaic literalists who thrive on clichés. Now here's the good news: I am a successful person! I do what I love and enjoy an interesting life. Here’s even more good news, Aquarius: In the next 12 months, you will have a knack for creating rhythms that bring you closer than ever before to doing what you love and enjoying an interesting life.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Most of us suffer from at least one absurd, irrational fear. I have a daft fear of heights, even when I’m perfectly safe, and a manic fear of mosquitoes dive-bombing me as I sleep, an event that has only happened four times in my life. My anxiety about running out of money is more rational, though, as is my dread of getting sick. Those worries help motivate me to work hard to earn a living and take superb care of my health. What about you, Pisces? Do you know which of your fears are preposterous and which make at least some sense? The coming weeks will be a favorable time to get a good handle on this question. Ask yourself: “Which of my fears are misdirected or exaggerated, and which are realistic and worthy of my attention?”

Homework: Make a pledge to the person you’ll be two years from now: a beautiful promise. NewsletterFreeWillAstrology.com

WEEK OF MAY 18 © 2023 ROB BREZSNY FREE WILL last week’s answers ASTROLOGY CHECK OUT ROB BREZSNY’S EXPANDED WEEKLY AUDIO HOROSCOPES & DAILY TEXT MESSAGE HOROSCOPES freewillastrology.com The audio horoscopes are also available by phone at 1-877-873-4888 or 1-900-950-7700 30 Willamette Week MAY 17, 2023 wweek.com
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