Sir! No Sir! screening Saturday

by Steve, February 23rd, 2009

Sir! No Sir!, the suppressed story of the GI movement to end the war in Vietnam, is being screened this Saturday as a benefit for the Portland Central American Solidarity Committee’s anti-war delegation to Venezuela.


  • Saturday February 28
  • Doors open at 5:30pm
  • Event begins at 6pm
  • Limited seating – Tickets: sliding scale $5 to $10
  • Musicians Union Hall, 325 NE 20th Ave., Portland, Ore.
  • For tickets call: Dan Shea 503.661.1317, or e-mail

Fundraiser for PCASC’s anti-war delegation is an effort to cultivate ties of international solidarity between activists for peace and social justice in the US and Venezuela.

Proceeds from this event will go to help send IVAW (Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans Against the War) along with a PCASC delegation as observers to witness and to report back on the recent elections, supports and oppositions to the Government of Venezuela. An event is being arranged in Caracas to have a Winter Soldier hearing (eyewitness reports by IVAW) on US policies that have endangered the lives of our military men and women and innocent Iraqi civilians leading to war crimes and reasons why members of IVAW are refusing to redeploy, or to further participate in the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. IVAW is organizing active military soldiers to join them in building a GI resistance movement and to advocate for returning veterans rights, jobs, benefits and healing by working for peace and reintegration into our communities.

If you cannot attend or if the screening is sold-out but you want to help support this effort and would like to make a tax-deductible contribution you can write a check to Education WithOut Borders, earmark PCASC/IVAW 2009; mail to: EWOB, 19716 NE Flanders, Portland , OR 97230.

Not if but when

by Steve, February 16th, 2009

What else can you say when your new mayor is sidelined on the top two items on his 100 days plan: first education, and now economic development?

Even while many local politicos cower quietly in fear of retribution from a wounded and cornered Sam Adams (and his sycophants repeat the canard about prudes), the big dogs are openly snubbing him, citing the desire to avoid “distractions”.

Next on Adams’ 100 day plan (scrubbed from his Web site, but still in the Google cache as of this evening, which includes this creepy campaign video, where Adams talks about needing to keep his clothes on) is transportation. While not entirely sidelined on that, he’s certainly crippled.

Randy Leonard is playing hardball on the I-5 bridge Michael Powell is whining that his pet project to get another streetcar line stopping at his business’s front door is “up in the air.”

The remaining items on the erstwhile 100 day plan are planning and sustainability, arts and culture and emergency management.

Sam still seems to have a great deal of unqualified support in the arts community, but otherwise, his credibility as a leader is looking increasingly like toast.

One education leader put it to me this way (paraphrasing): He wouldn’t be allowed to coach a little league team or lead a Boy Scout troop. Why should we let him be mayor?

Keeping Portland, uh… weird

by Steve, February 13th, 2009

News that the state of Oregon is considering reinstating the teaching license of an admitted serial child sex abuser is weird enough. But it gets weirder.

Roberta Weber, cited in the O as someone “who directed hard-of-hearing education and other special education programs in Portland for years”, defended the former teacher, Kimberly Horenstein: “Kim has a unique talent for working with this special population … and maintains clear and appropriate boundaries with staff and children. … I am fully aware of Kim’s … issues in her past, and can support, without reservation, that Kim should return to the field of education.”

But wait, here comes the really fun part.

Weber’s current job with Portland Public Schools: director of strategic partnerships” charged with building external relationships with “strategic community partners.”

Could that include our illustrious mayor Sam Adams and his well-regarded plan to increase high school graduation rates?

I just love how warm and tolerant Portland is… (unless you’re a child or other vulnerable member of society).

Peter Pan Syndrome

by Steve, February 9th, 2009

I’ve promised a post on Portland’s collective extended adolescence, but somebody beat me to it (don’t worry, I’ve still got a thing or to to add to the conversation). Adrienne calls it Peter Pan Syndrome (PPS). Here’s a mature 25-year-old’s take on some of the 40-something behavior she observes in Portland.

Industrial Portland

by Steve, February 8th, 2009

M/V Campanula and M/V Pharos SW

In transition

New and old

Sustainable, of course

Sustainable Portland

Things I hate about Portland

by Steve, February 4th, 2009

First off, I friggin’ love Portland, so don’t give me that hater bullshit.

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s cut to the chase: Portland is over-the-top passive aggressive.

It manifests in traffic, politics and inter-personal relationships. At the grocery store. At work. In lines. At concerts, sporting events, and the library.

Passive-aggressiveness rules so much, there is a taboo on directness. One cannot say “It creeps me out that the mayor was sucking face with a 17-year-old in a City Hall men’s room” without being labeled a prude. (In the words of Bob Dylan, “They smile to your face, but behind your back they hiss….”)

The People’s Republic of Portland (that’s not a put-down; that part I like) is a one-party state, as Willamette Week‘s Nigel Jaquiss said in his close-up on Newsweek’s Web site this week. “[P]ortland is a … go-along, get-along town where people don’t question the orthodoxy. They’re very comfortable having a real absence of critical debate of most issues.”

Nigel was talking (politely) about the reporters and editors at The Oregonian, which has thrice been scooped (twice by the Willamette Week) on stories about Oregon politicians with (ahem) self-control issues surrounding where they put their penises. (Oh, I’m sorry honey, am I being a prude again?)

That lack of critical coverage of our politics and government means that those with land and money can pretty much do what they want with our city, as long as they call it green.

Commercial real estate developers, the power behind the throne in Portland, have successfully co-opted environmentally-minded liberals in Portland and operate with impunity under the cover of many layers of indignity generated by their unwitting minions.

Example: you cannot be opposed to a streetcar project without being a tool of big oil (yeah, that’s me!), even if a primary goal of said streetcar project is to move not people but real estate.

If somebody says it’s “sustainable,” you damn well better not speak out against it, even if that sustainable condo block is driving gentrification and pushing black and brown folks further to the margins of our city and society.

We’ve got a real race problem in Portland, but you better not talk about it. It makes white liberals very uncomfortable to be confronted with their racism. Our neighborhoods are pretty segregated, but our schools are worse, like the Jim Crow south: separate and way unequal.

Are you a white person with some kind of “bikability” issue? The city’s got you covered! You got a problem with finding a place you can afford to live off your service-sector wages? Sorry, pal, Portland can’t help you unless you work “sustainable” into your pitch. Mental health problems? Hit the road, Jack.

Perhaps my biggest gripe is the disconnect between Portland!! and Portland; that is, between the hip and trendy little Pacific Northwest city as seen in the New York Times (Powell’s! Foodies! Coffee! Sustainable! Green! Did I mention Sustainable?) and the sometimes rough-around-the edges part of Portland I live in.

Next installment: Portland’s extended adolescence.

St. Johns in the fog

by Steve, February 1st, 2009

St. Johns Bridge in the Fog

St. Johns Bridge Reflected