5 Oregon Stories to Watch this Week, November 22–28
We know, we know. You’re on vacation, the kids are out of school, you’ve got a turkey to cook. Who has time to think about the news? Look at it this way: You’ll need something to talk about over the Thanksgiving dinner table with all those relatives you haven’t seen since March 2020. (Because by now, you’re all vaccinated or on your way to be vaccinated or under 5 years old, right? And still taking precautions in crowded indoor spaces to protect the elderly and the immunocompromised?) Use our guide to what everyone in Portland will be talking about this week as your handy cheat sheet.
It’s Thanksgiving week in America, so it must be time for the proverbial Big Game, right? And around these parts, it doesn’t get much bigger than when the team in green and yellow faces off against the team in orange and black, this coming Saturday. Kick-off is at 12:30 pm. The Oregon Ducks are ranked number 11 in the entire country, which seems pretty good to us—until you find out that they were supposed to contend for the No. 1 spot, and are coming off a humiliating road loss to the University of Utah. The Beavers, meanwhile, are not so highly ranked but have won two games in a row, including most recently against Arizona State. If this is your kind of game, this is your kind of week.
The Money Chase
What, you thought the $37 million spent between Kate Brown and Knute Buehler during the 2018 governor’s race was big cheese money for little old Oregon? As the saying goes, you ain’t seen nothing yet. We’re still almost a year away from Election Day, but already the leading gubernatorial candidates are raking in serious bucks, and every week, it seems like there is a new eye-popping haul in the news, from Independent candidate Betsy Johnson’s $2 million total so far to former New York Times columnist Nick Kristof’s $1 million plus. Lots of intriguing questions ahead on this one: Will Johnson hover up some of the big business money that might otherwise have gone to the Republicans, aka Phil Knight watch 2022? Will Speaker of the House Tina Kotek catch up once her labor allies decide to go all in? Fortunately, you can track it all in real time: Bookmark each of the candidates on Orestar, the state's campaign finance database, and watch the donations roll in daily.
We’ve got our eye on the People for Portland campaign, which has taken aim at the city’s inertia on matters including policing, homelessness, and trash cleanup. Not everyone is fond of their slate of proposed solutions, and last week brought the launch of a counter-offensive fronted by a slate of progressive women of color, who’ve co-signed a letter denouncing the group and their calls for an expanded presence by the Portland police and more temporary shelter beds for the houseless. Nevertheless, last week’s fall budget update vote by the City Council suggests that People for Portland’s message is resonating, with more funding approved for recruiting and rehiring police officers and for joint city/county shelter solutions as winter sets in.
What Happens in Wisconsin…
…resonates in Portland. The Kyle Rittenhouse acquittal may not have come as a surprise to legal experts. But while protests in Wisconsin and the surrounding midwestern cities were muted, about 150 Portlanders turned out Friday night, eventually leading to a clash with police; a more robustly attended demonstration on Sunday afternoon culminated at a “die-in” in front of the Portland Timbers game.
Doorbusters or Bust
The annual holiday gift-giving extravaganza kicks off in earnest this coming Friday, but this year, things definitely feel more precarious. Well-documented shipping delays could translate to big shortages of the items on the wishlists of those you love—getting up a 5 a.m. to wait on line outside the Wal-Mart is even less fun if there’s nothing good to buy inside. Our advice is to skip the entire shebang and instead keep it small and local this year—later this week, Portland Monthly will have a timely look at all the holiday markets, makers fairs and pop-up for all your shopping needs. (And keep an eye out too for our annual celebration of nonprofits, Light a Fire, in case you’re inspired to donate to amazing causes during the sharing season.)