Where to Eat in Portland This Week (Before It Heats Up and After)

Cully Central is a Lao beer bar that turns out dishes you can’t find anywhere else.

1. Miami Nice

2117 NE Oregon St., 818-200-5571, miaminicepdx.com. Noon-9 pm Wednesday-Sunday.

At Miami Nice, you may not immediately realize you’re eating vegan. The croquettas are fried up tightly, and the Cubanito is neatly pressed. Many menu items are versions of street/comfort food that owner Valerie Espinoza loves—with a vegan twist. The chop salad comes with marinated soy curls on top instead of chicken. The dish’s bright yellow sauce draws stares; it’s a mixture of curry, mustard and mayonnaise she worked on to get just right. Other menu items stand out for their Mami-specific flavor, like the Big Papi, which has green olives in the picadillo instead of raisins. The starchy food works well to stave off the high ABV in beers at Culmination Brewing, where Espinoza runs the kitchen.

2. Cool Moon

1105 NW Johnson St., 503-224-2021, coolmoonicecream.com. Noon-10 pm daily.

For conventional ice cream, we’ve long loved Cool Moon best. The chocolate flavors are more Valrhona than Hershey’s, and there remains a solid core of unusual—but consistently creamy—naturally flavored and well-balanced offerings. Definitely order the kulfi, redolent of cardamom and rose water, Thai iced tea and Mexican-influenced horchata cookie.

3. Nacheaux

4765 NE Fremont St., 971-319-1134, nacheauxpdx.com. 4 pm-8 pm Wednesday-Thursday, noon-8 pm Friday, 10 am-4 pm Saturday-Sunday.

At Anthony Brown’s relatively new brick and mortar—formerly a garishly teal-colored food truck—, Mexican favorites get hitched to Southern food and Cajun-Creole flavors. You can find “Mexicajun” food in both Louisiana and Southeast Texas, but it’s a rare concept in Portland, if not entirely unheard of. The “Nacheaux nachos” start with a big pile of fresh-fried chips and also feature carnitas that could just as easily be cochon au lait, while a cheesy “crunchwrap” comes stuffed with red beans, dirty rice and fried chicken.

4. Cully Central

4579 NE Cully Blvd., 503-206-8911, cully-central.business.site. 4-10 pm Monday-Friday, 11 am-10 pm Saturday, 11 am-9 pm Sunday.

Cully Central is something unique in Portland: a Lao beer bar with 20 handles, boasting favorites from Breakside and pFriem. It turns out dishes you can’t find anywhere else, in particular a subtle khao piek sen chicken noodle soup with thick and chewy rice noodles and a light cinnamon and pepper broth.

5. Cooperativa

1250 NW 9th Ave., 971-275-2762, cooperativapdx.com. 7 am-8 pm Tuesday-Saturday.

Cooperativa has a lot of what you need in a beautiful, air-conditioned environment—it’s a grocery store, a coffee shop, an ice cream place, a sandwich shop, a bar, a restaurant and a pizzeria, infused with the vibe and flavors of Bologna, Florence, Rome and the Italian “slow food” movement. Never go outside again!

A Tour of Portland’s Best Cantonese Barbecue Spots

YāYā PDX, Pure Spice, Happy Dragon and Chen’s Good Taste are our top picks for roasted duck, char siu pork and roasted pork belly.

Step away from the hamburger and ribs—this summer, it’s all about the Cantonese barbecue.

Pork and duck, marinated and roasted in ways that create crispy skin, and tender meat laced with the flavors of hoisin, soy and star anise. And of those Cantonese specialties, I present a holy trinity of sorts: roasted duck, chopped whole and bone-in, flush with flavor; roasted pork belly, rendered well and with a perfectly crisp layer of skin on the top; and char siu pork, sliced and infused with hoisin and soy. Sometimes there’s also steamed soya chicken, and that’s fine too, but those three are the supreme meats.

Newcomer YāYā PDX brings takeout Cantonese barbecue to a close-in neighborhood, with delicious results, which inspired me to take a li’l tour of all my favorite spots, just in case you too would like to subsist on leftover duck for the better part of a month. (Pro tip: It makes fantastic fried rice.)

YāYā PDX

Chef Steven Chin calls Cantonese barbecue his soul food, and you really feel that. The streamlined menu focuses on serving meat over rice with hot mustard, dipping sauce and pickled cucumber and carrot. It’s simple and it’s great.

Of the three in our meat triumvirate, YāYā particularly nails the duck and char siu pork. Of all the duck I’ve sampled (and it’s been many; sorry to my avian friends), Chin’s is the most five-spice forward. The ducks he selects also have more meat on the bones than many of the others, leading to luscious full bites of bird. As Cantonese duck is served chopped and bone-in, this means a bigger and better pay off as you nibble.

The char siu is even better—tender and softly sweet, it’s a far cry from the red food coloring-spiked barbecue pork served at some establishments. In both cases, the juices from the meat make their way into the bed of rice, which is itself perfectly cooked and seasoned beyond standard steamed rice. The one downside to YāYā’s dishes is that all of the rich meats are accompanied by sweet sauces, and while the pickles have a bit of acid, they also are a bit sugary, meaning the whole meal tends a bit toward the saccharine. Bites of rice and throwing an order of the cool, crisp cabbage salad onto your order maintains balance.

Chin’s Cantonese approach, done in partnership with Portland restaurateur Micah Camden, is certainly geared more toward a crowd on Alberta than in the Jade District, but the cheffy turns he takes make for a great takeout meal.

EAT: YāYā PDX, 1451 NE Alberta St., 503-477-5555, yayapdx.com.

Chen’s Good Taste

Unless you’re a vegetarian, I can’t think of a tastier sight than the roasted meats hanging near the entrance to Chen’s Good Taste, a holdout in downtown’s Chinatown. To be perfectly honest, the finest way to have the meats at Good Taste are by ordering Super Bowl A, an absolute unit of soup that’s filled with noodles, wontons and bok choy and topped with roast duck and roast and barbecue pork. It is nigh on physically impossible to finish in one go.

But if you’re not in a soup mood, each of the trinity is sold by the pound or is available in all sorts of dishes. The roasted pork here is a true delicacy, perfectly salty and not too fatty. The contrasting crunchy skin hits just the right textural note in a blend of fat and umami that I crave regularly. Chen’s know this is its signature meat: You can order an entire pig, and it’s a bucket-list birthday plan of mine.

EAT: Chen’s Good Taste, 18 NW 4th Ave.,503-223-3838, chensgoodtaste.com.

Happy Dragon

This Independence, Ore., restaurant is a central valley favorite for duck, and when the owners moved to Northeast 82nd, they immediately upped Portland’s duck game as well.

Happy Dragon is most famous for its super-crunchy and deeply seasoned Peking duck, but the roast duck is something a little more accessible for everyday eating. A little less crispy than Peking, the roast duck maintains its juiciness, with the meat absorbing the rendered fat, while the skin is a vehicle for the 18 ingredients used in the marinade. Here the barbecue Pork is a bit of an afterthought, and the roast pork belly is totally serviceable. You won’t go wrong ordering either of them, as long as you don’t skip that duck.

EAT: Happy Dragon, 707 NE 82nd Ave., 503-256-3828, happydragonchineserestaurant.com.

Pure Spice

Known more for its fresh-from-the-kitchen dim sum, Pure Spice low key holds it down in the Cantonese barbecue category as well. Pure Spice doesn’t mess with a roast pork belly but makes up for it with its barbecue pork. It’s just a shade more tender and meatier than most, and lacks the overt sweetness that is often typical in a char siu situation.

Pick the menu option that lets you order the roast duck, steamed chicken (another Cantonese classic), and barbecue pork together for $22.50, and then spend some time with the rest of the menu: Grab some har gow shrimp dumplings, a scallion pancake and a rice noodle roll with XO sauce for maximum sampling satisfaction.

EAT: Pure Spice, 2446 SE 87th Ave.,503-772-1808,purespicerestaurant.com.

Portland’s $114M Pandemic Relief Program Overwhelmingly Helped Black Residents, and Other POC

Portland
(Dave Killen / Staff) The Oregonian

A city of Portland drive to spend $114 million in federal coronavirus aid to help struggling residents last year overwhelmingly assisted Black Portlanders as well as other communities of color, according to an analysis released Tuesday.

The sweeping set of initiatives approved by the Portland City Council included providing everything from Chromebooks to those with limited digital resources to food boxes and direct cash payments to families to grants to businesses and artists that had fallen on hard times.

City officials said it was essential that programs created with Portland’s share of federal CARES Act money prioritize historically marginalized groups such as communities of color, immigrants and people with disabilities.

An interim a report issued to Portland’s mayor and city commissioners by the city’s Office of Management and Finance on Tuesday shows the programs largely achieved that objective.

For example, among those who received laptops or internet cards from the city’s $5 million “digital divide” program, 33% identified as Black and another 56% identified as Indigenous or other people of color.

Black residents also comprised 33% of those who received aid from a $2.3 million food assistance program and 58% of a $1.6 million homeowner stabilization fund.

According to the most recent census estimates, from 2019, people who identify as Black make up 8% of the city’s population, while 10% identify as Latino and 70% identify solely as white. In addition, 2% identify as Indigenous, 11% as Asian American and 1% as Pacific Islander.

Those percentages add up to slightly more than 100% because some people identify as more than one of those categories, such as Black and Latino.

The spending analysis, which faced multiple delays, comes as the City Council plans to approve a new $64 million assistance program using funds the city received from the federal American Rescue Plan, which Congress passed in March.

Ultimately, the city says it wants to pull all demographic and geographic data about relief recipients together to evaluate and share with the public.

Below is a breakdown for three of Portland’s largest CARES Act programs.

Read the full report here.

$500 gift cards ($18 million)

33,954 cards distributed, including 3,975 to those experiencing homelessness. So far, the report said, only 26,978 of them have been partly or fully used.

Recipients: 41% Black, 24% White, 18% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 15% Latino, 9% Asian, 4% Native American, 1% Middle Eastern.

Language: 64% English only, 28% Non-English speaking, 6% Unknown, 1% Multilingual.

Rent Assistance ($16 million)

3,243 households assisted, with the average assistance totaling $4,300.

Recipients: 42% Black, 24% White, 15% Latino, 9% Asian, 4% Native American, 4% Other, 1% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.

Small Business Relief Fund ($15 million)

928 small business grants, 423 block grants, with the average grant totaling $10,000.

Recipients: 27% Asian, 25% Black, 22% Latino, 11% White, 5% Native American, 5% Middle Eastern, 2% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.

The Portland Expo Center’s Summer Drive-In Movie Series Is Returning

Better still, Collin Hegna of spaghetti Western worshippers Federale has curated a lineup local bands and DJs to perform before each screening.

Movie theaters are back open, but the drive-in renaissance continues.

Of course, the Portland Expo Center’s annual Drive-In Movie Spectacular was a tradition for five years before the pandemic made watching movies through your windshield cool again, but it’s upped its game the past two summers via a partnership with Hollywood Theater.

This year’s slate features selections inspired by the Hollywood’s signature series, like the Portland Black Film Festival, Queer Horror and OregonMade. Better still, Collin Hegna of spaghetti Western worshippers Federale has curated a lineup local bands and DJs to perform before each screening.

Federale itself will play prior to cult classic Repo Man on July 30, while folk-punk vets the Builders and the Butchers perform before The Goonies on Aug. 6. Freddy Trujillo opens for La Bamba on Aug. 21, and the Portland Cello Project introduces The Empire Strikes Back on Aug. 19.

Other movies include series opener Raiders of the Lost ArkThe CraftBlade, Monty Python and the Holy Grail and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

The Drive-In Spectacular runs July 29-Aug. 28. Go here for the full schedule and ticket info.

Article by Matthew Singer | Source

Cheap and Free Portland Places to Escape Post-Pandemic Crowds

For some, the pandemic’s restrictions have come as an opportunity to lean in to the needs of your inner introvert. Whether that’s leaving a grocery store when it’s too crowded or sitting alone in the middle of an empty park for fun, these little gifts will be harder to give yourself as society returns to a post-vaccine pace. Even if you’re excited to attend your first post-COVID concert or counting the days to your first house party, finding time to be alone should remain on your to-do list. Fortunately, Portland is home to many great places that offer solace from humanity. Need to get away from it all? Look no further than these free and low-cost options:

Kelley Point Park

I grew up a ten minute drive from the Pacific Ocean, which made the beach my go-to escape if I needed some alone time. With ocean beaches now more than an hours’ drive away, I’ve relied on a local stand-in to obtain that dramatic feeling that comes with standing at the oceans’ shore. I’ve found that at Kelley Point Park, the far North Portland city park at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. Sure, it’s no ocean, but the sandy banks, small waves, and seagulls help set the mood. Kelley Point doesn’t just offer a quasi-beach experience, but it’s home to a few lovely meadows for picnics and sun lounging. If you’re feeling adventurous, bring a bike and explore the park’s paved bike trails, or hop on the nearby Marine Drive bike trail for some Columbia River views.

Cost: FREE

8484 N Kelley Point Park Rd, Portland

Lan Su Chinese Garden

Among the hustle and bustle of Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown sits Lan Su Chinese Garden, an serene oasis of native Chinese plants representing the relationship between Portland and its sister city of Suzhou, China. The walled-off garden and tea house, which occupies an entire city block, was built to be a place of meditation and reflection. This goal is captured in a poem inscribed on a garden pavilion by Suzhou poet Wen Zhengming: “Most cherished in this mundane world is a place without traffic; Truly in the midst of the city there can be mountain and forest.” To ensure this feeling is captured in Lan Su during COVID-19, the garden currently requires guests to reserve a time slot for a visit before showing up.

Cost: $12.95 per adult.

239 Northwest Everett Street, Portland

Powell Butte

We all have our favorite Portland ex-volcanoes. For many, that’s Mount Tabor, and for good reason. But for those who find themselves often overwhelmed by Tabor’s crowds, might I suggest: Powell Butte! With numerous trails winding through dense cedar forests and airy grasslands, it’s easy to forget that Powell Butte is located in the middle of busy Southeast Portland, nestled between SE Powell and SE Foster, at SE 162nd. Visit the free city park on a clear day for stunning views of Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens, which can be enjoyed from the parking lot as well as a hiking trail.

Cost: FREE

16160 SE Powell Blvd, Portland

Sandy River Delta

If you’re like me, you’ve passed that sprawling, bucolic dog park on the north side of Interstate 84 as you cross the Sandy River and thought, “this is why I need to get a dog.” If this is the case, I have some excellent news for you: Dog ownership is not required to enjoy the 1,500-acre Sandy River Delta park! Sure, it’s a perfect place to let your urban pup run wild, but the park has offerings for anyone trying to temporarily disengage from humanity. The vast expanse of forest, beach, and meadows allows for horseback riding, hiking, biking, wading, fishing, birdwatching, and other solo activities. Avoid a ticket (and support the preservation of natural areas, you jerk) by paying the $5 parking fee before you start exploring.

Cost: FREE (but $5 to park)

Thousand Acres Rd, Troutdale

Hoyt Arboretum

Arboretums are notoriously excellent places to escape from the world. Located in Washington Park, Portland’s Hoyt Arboretum boasts 12 miles of hiking trails winding across 189 acres through more than 2,000 species of trees. Hoyt truly has something for everyone: If you’re looking for an evergreen escape, take the Redwood Trail; seeking springtime blooms, saunter down the Magnolia Trail, hoping for some fall color, peep the Maple Trail. Hiking isn’t mandatory in the arboretum, I also recommend bringing a blanket and a book to sit under a tree of your choosing on a warm day.

Cost: FREE

4000 SW Fairview Blvd

The Grotto

If there’s one thing consistently and earnestly keeping Portland weird, it’s the Grotto. Technically called the “National Sanctuary of our Sorrowful Mother,” the Grotto is an mostly-outdoor Catholic shrine centered around a 110-foot cliff in Northeast Portland. But just like you don’t need a dog to go to the Sandy River delta, you don’t need to be Catholic to visit the Grotto. Visitors can sit peacefully and gaze into the abyss of a giant cave-shrine (featuring a replica of the Pietà) for free, or pay $8 to ride the cliff elevator up to the manicured gardens, a collection of small shrines dedicated to different countries that practice Catholicsm, a labyrinth for guests to walk “in contemplation,” and a “meditation chapel,” that, despite looking like the headquarters of a dystopian religious cult, is actually a peaceful space with great views of Washington. If you’re seeking solitude with a side of wacky, pick the Grotto.

Cost: FREE (but $8 to ride the cliff elevator)

8840 NE Skidmore St, Portland

Lone Fir Cemetery

If cemeteries give you the willies, I urge you to take a chance on Lone Fir, the majestic historic cemetery in Southeast Portland. According to its caretaker, Metro Regional Government, the cemetery’s 700 beautiful flowering and evergreen trees (including the original lone fir—look for the plaque) make it Portland’s second-largest arboretum. Like any old cemetery, Lone Fir is full of stories. Whether it’s the the story of James and Elizabeth Stephens, the adorable pioneer couple chiseled in rock in the cemetery’s northwest corner, or the story of Block 14, the gravely southwest patch that holds the unmarked graves of more than 1,000 Chinese immigrants and former patients of the Hawthorne Asylum (the state’s first psychiatric hospital), a wander through Lone Fir Cemetery can turn into an ad-hoc history lesson. You’ll find familiar Portland names on the headstones—Pettygrove, Pittock, Cully, Tibbets, Hawthorne—and find sun-dappled benches for deep breaths and contemplation.

Cost: FREE

649 SE 26th Ave, Portland

Article by Alex Zielinski | Source

Despite Mixed Messaging, Oregon’s Indoor Mask Mandate Remains in Place

Mixed messages from the state leaves some residents and business owners thinking the mask mandate is lifted.

View video here

Whether or not a mask is required in Oregon businesses should be an easy question to answer. As of May 17th, Oregon’s rules do require people to wear masks indoors.

But after the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) announcement on May 13th, which said fully vaccinated people can ditch the mask for most indoor environments, and Gov. Kate Brown’s statement that Oregon would follow CDC guidance, it’s hard to blame anyone who thinks the mask mandate is gone in Oregon.

It is not gone.

In fact, when it comes to indoor retail businesses, nothing has changed. Masks are still required everywhere in Oregon inside businesses.

Oregon Health Authority (OHA) leaders are working on their own rules to go along with the CDC, but it’s not ready yet.

Last week, state epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger said he expected the new rules will include a requirement that customers show vaccination cards before they enter businesses without a mask.

Many business owners are against the idea, including Dan Afrasiabi who owns several Planet Fitness gyms in Oregon.

“We think some sort of honor system consistent with what president Biden and the CDC have said, as they’ve outlined, are sufficient to achieve the right balance for businesses and Oregon citizens,” Afrasiabi said.

He added that his gyms will follow whatever guidance the OHA comes up with, but he does not like the idea of his staff checking for vaccination proof.

“Standard retail teams are just not trained to be able to review things like vaccination cards or photos of vaccination cards – so it just needs to be well thought out,” Afrasiabi said.

In the meantime, mask mandates are all over the board in both Oregon and Washington. Washington allowed businesses to drop the mask rule for those who are fully vaccinated and is not requiring proof.

During phone calls to find out how stores handled the rules, we began in Vancouver with a Target store. We were told they were not requiring masks for those who are vaccinated.

A Vancouver area Walmart was requiring masks, which seemed to go against its national corporate policy.

A Vancouver Starbucks said masks were still required, even though the corporate office issued a statement, which said masks for those fully vaccinated were not needed unless mandated by local law.

In the Portland area, the Hillsboro Costco reported customers did not need a mask if fully vaccinated.

A Portland area Target said they were not enforcing mask use by customers.

A Portland area Walmart also did not require masks for those who said they were fully vaccinated.

A Starbucks store in NW Portland said masks were still being required and customers could not sit inside to sip coffee.

Article by Pat Dooris | Source

Is Portland Over? ‘Absolutely Not!’

‘Portland is not over. It takes every single one of us’

It’s easy to say “Don’t worry, we’ll recover quickly.” But it’s hard to ignore the destruction and vandalism that continues to eat away at Portland and its reputation. It’s hard to see a once-vibrant downtown wounded, still boarded up and vacant.

And it’s difficult to be optimistic when it seems everywhere you look your eyes land on graffiti, trash, garbage, filth. How does Portland recover when it’s this bad?

Red tape

“Well, we are dying,” said former Mayor Sam Adams. “We will cut through the red tape or die trying.”

Adams is now the Trash Czar, the man in charge of digging Portland out from under the tons of garbage choking the city.

“We’ve got an enormous task ahead of us so we cannot afford to have disconnected department and governmental efforts to clean up the city or red tape standing in the way,” Adams said.

There’s a lot of red tape to cut through.

Unlike almost every other major city, Portland has no city-wide sanitation service. More than a dozen departments and agencies are involved. It is a governmental garbage mess that wasn’t a priority before the pandemic.

Now it’s a disaster.

Trash in one spot is PBOT’s problem. Filth and debris in another spot is TriMet’s job. The garbage and human waste next to the homeless camp is Metro’s responsibility.

Asked about the graffiti and filth along the roadways leading into the city, Mayor Ted Wheeler said, “That’s not the city. That is the state. Those are ODOT right-of-ways and that’s their responsibility.”

When you’re trying to clean up Portland, it’s easy to pass the buck.

Adams is already cutting through the bureaucratic mess. He’s working with ODOT and other agencies, organizing business groups, volunteers, community leaders to come together to just get the job done.

The phenomena of trash

“I have never seen the trash problem this bad,” said Chris Carico, the head of SOLVE. “I’m a native Oregonian. I was born at Good Sam and in all my years here I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Carico has mobilized hundreds of volunteers and groups to meet the challenge and working with Adams as a key part of the solution.

It’s overwhelming. Once trash piles up it attracts more trash.

“There’s another phenomena happening right now with people dumping their household trash in encampments of the homeless,” she said. “So once again you see where people are littering because there’s already trash.”

A company contracted by Metro to cleanup garbage sites is required to sift through every pile, every bag, checking for used needles and biohazards. It’s not the kind of work well-meaning volunteers are equipped to do without training and precautions.

“It’s got to be a staff-led event because we are the ones that know what we are doing,” Carico said. “We are discouraging volunteers from going out on their own for some of these areas that are a little bit rough.”

Trash can be picked up and the results are instantly seen. But the long-term damage to Portland’s downtown can’t be undone quickly. It’s difficult to bring boarded up businesses back and make people feel safe again.

Portland’s tarnished reputation

How do you restore a city’s heart, its reputation?

“Some people think the solution to a bad reputation is a public relations campaign,” said economist Bill Conerly.

Conerly wrote a scathing article about Portland in Forbes Magazine earlier this year titled, “Death of a City.”

“The solution to a bad reputation is to stop doing the things that gave you a bad reputation,” he said. “Portland needs to address these really significant issues.”

The issues include ongoing vandalism from repeat offenders. Wheeler recently took a firmer stand on arrests and put pressure on Multnomah County DA Mike Schmidt to follow through with prosecutions.

Adams agrees with Mayor Wheeler’s tougher stance.

“This is about stopping self-described anarchists who just last week said, ‘Maybe we should, you know, start another fire inside the Multnomah County Courthouse,’” Adams said. “This group of self-described anarchists with their quote-unquote direct action is a code word for ‘destroy property.’ That’s a crime. And our job is to stop that crime and to prosecute, to arrest and get the DA to prosecute those that are guilty of it.”

Time to re-think downtown Portland

Jim Mark heads up Melvin Mark properties. His family has been in business 75 years owning, operating and managing buildings, many in the downtown core. His buildings have been damaged. They’ve been boarded up. He’s waived rent for the last year for many of his tenants.

But he continues to invest in downtown Portland and remains optimistic.

“Protests and violence over the past year has put us in a very difficult spot and it’s going to take some time to get it back,” Mark said. “I think leadership comes from all of us. So we’re all responsible for where our future is in Portland.

“I’m not quite on the ‘Let’s blame the mayor or let’s blame the council.’”

If Portland wants a last recovery, Mark said it may be time to re-think the downtown like the city did in the 1970s and 1980s — a time when downtown Portland was a model other cities admired and copied.

“Portland did have to reinvent itself. It had to give people a reason to come down, whether it was retail or just the urban environment,” Mark said. “We’ve got to re-think the way that works again.”

Can Portland work again? Can the city did out from the current mess? Can it recapture the spirit and drive that made Portland such a special place to live, to raise families, to grow businesses, to dream?

Or is Portland over?

“Absolutely not! Portland is not over,” Carrico said. “We’re still a wonderful community. Everytime I’m out at an event and I see my community members, my neighbors, it gives me hope everyday.”

Sam Adams, former mayor and currently part of Mayor Wheeler’s team, also believes things will turn.

“Portland is not over if people lean in to helping to recover. It takes every single one of us.”

By: Jeff Gianola | Source

Portland-Filmed ‘Shrill’ Brings Aidy Bryant and the Cast for an Unsettled Final Season

Shrill
Annie (Aidy Bryant) and Nick (Anthony Oberbeck) in a scene from the Portland-filmed “Shrill” Season 3. (Photo: Allyson Riggs/Hulu)

 When “Shrill” premiered on Hulu in March 2019, the show felt like another example of a comedy filmed in Portland that both reflected and advanced the national image of the Rose City as a comfy haven for unconventional, creative types. Like “Portlandia” before it, “Shrill” starred a “Saturday Night Live” veteran, Aidy Bryant, who led a diverse cast in a show that was too unique to fit snugly into the usual TV boxes.

The Friday, May 7 premiere of the third and final season of “Shrill” arrives at a very different time for Portland. After a year of pandemic shutdowns, racial justice protests and demonstrations that resulted in property damage, Portland’s national image has shifted. Where Portland used to be stereotyped as a home for quirky progressives, now the national media often portrays the Rose City through a harsher lens.

In Season 3, “Shrill” still leans into a warm portrait of Portland, where the show is set and has filmed all three seasons. But this final season also takes on a sense of melancholy. The third season filmed during the pandemic, though that isn’t mentioned. What does come through, though, are the financial challenges faced by the Thorn, the alternative publication that Annie (Bryant) writes for. And perhaps because of challenges presented by observing safety protocols during filming, Season 3 sometimes feels disjointed, with supporting characters turning up, then disappearing (notably Patti Harrison as Ruthie, the entertainingly tart-tongued Thorn staffer).

Inspired by Seattle writer Lindy West’s nonfiction book, “Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman,” the show has consistently been subtle and smart about how Annie, the writer played by Bryant, has been impacted by being fat, as she would say. Annie has grappled with feeling limited by her size, and her writing breakthrough came when she honestly wrote about being fat, and not allowing others to shame her for it.

To its credit, the show has presented Annie as a character who’s not defined by her body. In Season 3, Annie finds herself judging a potential romantic partner because of his size. It’s an interesting development in that it both comments on how far Annie has come in accepting herself, and how she’s still aware of how others might judge her if it looks like she’s “settling” for a boyfriend who’s also overweight.

But Season 3 also spins its wheels a bit. Even though she’s dumped her overgrown man-child boyfriend, Ryan (Luka Jones), Annie spends a heck a lot of time obsessing about her romantic relationships.

About the only time we get a sense of Annie at work is when, restless with being pegged as the body-image writer, she heads off to rural Oregon to report on a far-right, anti-government family who may remind Oregonians of the Bundys, a clan that includes family members who staged an armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016.

In one of the show’s telling moments of naivete about publishing, Annie is horrified to find that Gabe (John Cameron Mitchell), her editor at The Thorn, has put a sensationalistic, “crazy clickbait” headline on her article.

“I am not canceled!” Annie protests, when colleagues and random Portlanders condemn her for giving a platform to the family’s objectionable views. “You must be feeling a lot of white guilt right now,” as someone tells her. But even that ultimately blows over, one of several plot elements that pop up and then fade away.

It’s likely not the fault of Bryant, West or executive producer and showrunner Alexandra Rushfield that the final season feels less like a conclusion to Annie’s story than an uncertain pause. During a virtual Television Critics’ Association winter press session, Rushfield said that as they went into Season 3 of “Shrill,” the creative team didn’t know this was going to be the final season.

“But we knew somewhere in the middle,” that Season 3 would be the end, Rushfield said. That gave them “enough time to make it an ending that we were good with,” she said. The ending “lands the characters in a good place,” Rushfield said, adding, “We feel good with the way it landed.”

Despite Rushfield’s remarks, by the final episodes, “Shrill” seems like the show is preparing for another season, leaving unresolved plot points dangling in the air. Bryant is very appealing, for example, but surely the show meant to dig into Annie’s self-absorption, and how it affects her and those around her.

The fate of The Thorn also isn’t quite clear. And we’re also left with some big questions about Fran (Lolly Adefope), Annie’s best friend and housemate, and her romance with Em (E.R. Fightmaster). It’s good to see Fran, who has, in the past, been characterized by her relationship to Annie, have her own story. We want to see more about how Fran will react to her relationship, but her emotions feel unconvincingly vague.

The performers are all good company, and guest appearances by “Portlandia” vet Fred Armisen and another “SNL” veteran, writer and performer Julio Torres (“Los Espookys”), liven things up for the brief moments they’re on.

Ultimately, by the time “Shrill” reaches its conclusion, it just feels unsettled. There’s more to this story, but we apparently won’t know what happens next.

“Shrill” Season 3 streams its eight episodes Friday, May 7, on Hulu.

By: Kristi Turnquist | Source

Portland Non-Profit Develops Rigid Plastic Tents for Homeless People

Oregon Harbor Of Hope has sent six new tents into the field as prototypes and they are gearing up for more.

Homer Williams with Harbor of Hope is on a mission to help the homeless find a path back to housing.

The nonprofit addresses the basic needs of the homeless population in Portland and surrounding communities. Last year they handed out thousands of tents and sleeping bags.

But all the rain Portland gets was a problem for their clients. “All their clothes get soaked, their sleeping bags get soaked, their feet rot,” explained Williams. “So I just thought they needed to be a better solution.”

Williams teamed up with LIT workshop to come up with a solution and came up with rigid tents made out of corrugated plastic.

They are warmer, waterproof and sturdier than regular tents. The inventors went around Portland with the tents and asked homeless people what they thought. They used that feedback to perfect the tent.

The floor is now insulated with enough space for 2 people, their belongings and a pet. There’s also a light and a solar pad to charge cell phones.

homeless tents
Credit: CK | A look inside Harbor of Hope’s rigid tents

So far six of these tents are being tested out in the community with plans to release more. “They will do best, and the clients will do best, in a facility that is protected and managed,” said Williams.

He hopes the tent will serve as a path off the streets. “Of course we want them to move on, maybe to a tiny house, maybe it’s to a repurposed motel or an apartment that will get built,” he said.

He says regardless of how small the first step is, the priority lies in getting people into a safe place where they can stay healthy. “If we can do that, we can be successful,” said Williams, “If we can’t get people off the street, we will not get our city back, it’s that simple.”

 Christelle Koumoué (KGW) | Source here

Vaccine Freebies and Incentives Are Starting to Pop Up Around Portland

Got your shot? Congrats—you qualify for a discount on pot. Or a free Jell-O shot!

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Doughnuts, yes, but also discounts on weed and free Jell-O shots for the vaccinated among us in Portland. IMAGE: EWY MEDIA/SHUTTERSTOCK

In West Virginia, to lure the young, restless, and COVID vaccine-resistant (or even just those who haven’t gotten around to making their appointment), the Republican governor has a pretty sweet perk on offer: cold, hard cash.

The state’s offering a $100 savings bond to every resident between the ages of 16 and 35 who gets their shot, available retroactively and projected to cost about $27.5 million.

In the Portland area? Well, no free money as yet—but you can get a discount on weed or a free Jell-O shot, if that helps?

The concept of incentivizing vaccines (beyond the CDC’s announcement this week that if you are among the vaccinated, you can now feel free to walk around outside without your mask on, most of the time), got a big boost nationally back in March when Krispy Kreme jumped on the bandwagon with an offer of a free doughnut every day for a year, with proof of vaccination.

But in Portland proper, the concept has been slower to take off, perhaps because demand for vaccines has been high and space limited, though that could be changing, if Seattle’s example is any indication.

That’s part of why local cannabis chain Kaya Shack launched its “Pot for Shot” program, offering a 10 percent discount to anyone who brings in their vaccine card from now until the end of the pandemic, whenever that might be.

“We hope that even with our small reach, by encouraging and offering discounts to those who have been kind enough to get a vaccine, that we can all take part and help each other get back to enjoying our local restaurants and businesses that have been struggling for too long,” says Bryan Arnold, Kaya Shack’s Vice President of Marketing. “We have had many customers take advantage of the ‘Pot for Shot’ promotion and express their thankfulness for positively recognizing the importance of the COVID vaccine program.”

From over in Vancouver, WA, meanwhile, comes word that local bar Vault 31 is offering free —yes, free — Jell-O shots with proof of vaccination, as a thank you for customers who’ve rolled up their sleeves and done their part for the common good. (It does not hurt that those who’ve come for the Jell-O shots usually stick around to order food and drinks.)

Looking for even more freebies? Here’s a helpful national list—unfortunately, not too many of these apply in Oregon. We’re not in Lyft’s service area for free rides to vaccine appointments, and there are no White Castles in Oregon, just a sad Change.org petition with 17 signees from eight years ago petitioning the company to open a location here. Maybe it is time to move to West Virginia?

By Julia Silverman | Source here