The Year’s Movers, Shakers, and Newsmakers

From music to politics to roller derby, Oregon women have made serious waves lately. We take a look back.

By Ramona DeNies February 23, 2016 Published in the March 2016 issue of Portland Monthly

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In November 2015, Portland's own Rose City Rollers brought home a roller derby world championship.

Image: Danny Ngan

 January 11, 2015: Two former dancers sue “infamous vegan house of sin” Casa Diablo for physical harassment, forced kickbacks, and unpaid wages.

Kate Brown becomes governor of Oregon on February 18—the second woman to hold the state’s top job, and the nation’s first LGBTQ state executive.

On May 5, Sleater-Kinney packs the Crystal Ballroom for its first Portland show in 10 years; reunion album No Cities to Love later makes year-end “best of” lists in Rolling Stone, Billboard, the New York Timesyou get the picture.

In its Spring 2015 session, the Oregon Legislature passes bills that authorize pharmacists in the state to directly prescribe birth control and let women pick up a full year’s worth at a time, all covered by insurance. A national first, the legislation goes into effect on January 1, 2016.

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A very bloody Donald Trump

Image: Sarah Levy

Following a Republican primary debate in August, local artist Sarah Levy goes big with a portrait of Donald Trump painted in her own menstrual blood—a response to his comment that Fox moderator Megyn Kelly must have had “blood coming out of her wherever.”

August 5: Portland dancer Ching Ching Wong wins a Princess Grace Award (a national honor for new talent in theater, film, and dance).

A September report from the National Women’s Law Center ranks Oregon 12th in state gender wage gaps, with women paid 82 cents to a man’s dollar. (That’s overall: Oregon’s African American women make just 70 cents; Native American women, 62 cents; and Latinas, a meager 51 cents.)

In October, Portland Thorns star striker Alex Morgan—newly crowned at the Women’s World Cup—asks to transfer to Orlando for family reasons; the trade earns Portland first rights to draft US National Team defender Meghan Klingenberg.

“Dear Planned Parenthood, thanks for helping with my yeast infections,” read the sign that went viral on October 25, when Purringtons Cat Lounge employee Mary Numair crashed an anti-PP protest across the street.

On November 2, Nina Freeman—a Forbes “30 under 30 in Games” newsmaker and designer at local game studio Fullbright—releases true-to-life romantic video game Cibele, which becomes a surprise worldwide hit.

November 8: All-star roller derby team the Rose City Rollers Wheels of Justice defeat New York’s Gotham Girls to win their first International Women’s Flat Track Derby Association Championship.

In December, Portland Bicycle Studio owner Molly Cameron, a Category “A” cyclocross star who has identified as female for 20 years (while racing against men), is barred from registering for the men’s 2016 USA Cycling Cyclocross Nationals—spurring debate on the sport’s policies regarding trans athletes. (The USAC later reversed  the policy; Molly went on to place in the top 10 in three events.)

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Lynn Nakamoto

On December 7, Lynn Nakamoto is appointed to the Oregon Supreme Court, becoming its first Asian Pacific American judge.

“I felt more American than ever.” —Salma Ahmad, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Portland, on attending the January 12, 2016, State of the Union Address in Washington, DC. Four days prior, Esperanza Spalding, a Portland native, serenaded the President and First Lady on PBS for a jazz concert taped at the White House.

First Stop Portland assistant director Sarah Iannarone declares her candidacy in Portland’s mayoral race on January 21; Reading Frenzy owner Chloe Eudaly files days later for Steve Novick’s seat on Portland’s City Council.

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