Are Flushable Wipes Actually Flushable?

In the never-ending quest for better hygiene, I recently purchased some “flushable wipes,” the better to keep my nether regions shower-fresh all day. However, I now hear rumors that such wipes are not actually flushable after all. Are they?
—Cornholio

From Tic Tacs to Summer’s Eve, products that assuage what I call “orifice insecurity”—the gnawing fear that our holes are socially unacceptable—will always sell.

Flushable wipes fit the bill. Originally pitched as “baby wipes,” these pre-moistened towelettes are increasingly marketed to adults.

There’s only one problem: Baby wipes don’t dissolve like toilet paper does. You can’t flush them without causing problems down the line.

For people with babies, this doesn’t matter; they just toss them into the diaper pail and throw them out with the trash. But childless adults don’t have the battle-hardened indifference to poop that new parents do. We want those tainted (ahem) wipes gone yesterday.

This left the personal-care industry with two choices: invent a truly flushable wipe, or convince kicky young singles to keep diaper pails in their bathrooms alongside the Axe body spray.

Related: Stripper Beauty Tips

Then again, you could just take regular non-flushable wipes and slap the word “flushable” on the box. And that’s pretty much what they did.

“Products that purport to be flushable cause huge maintenance headaches for sewer utilities everywhere,” says Linc Mann of the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services. Lest you think that sounds like somebody else’s problem, these wipes can also block your plumbing.

If I ran the city, I’d sue the wipe-makers for negligent advertising. Granted, I would also attend city functions wearing a giant hamburger head like Mayor McCheese. Still, it might be worth a look.

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

Closing Time

IMAGE: James Rexroad

A world
was ending. Some wept openly, one woman danced the worm so hard she
thinks she might have shattered her knee, and the next night at least
two people had sex in the basement. We’ve all got our own ways of
grieving.

The Day of the Dead,
Nov. 1, was the last night of Slabtown, a cavernous punk-rock and pinball bar that sat in the shadow of the I-405 overpass
for nearly a half century. When it closed, it was the last independent
all-ages rock club on Portland’s westside. For some, it was more of a
home than the place where they actually slept that night.

None

“One guy did two
hours of karaoke all on his own,” says Doug Rogers, the last of many
owners of Slabtown, of the final evening. “There were people sitting in
chairs unable to move, people crying. It was intense.”

Bands
played on a small stage in a dim room, each one singing cover songs of
bands who’d lost a member to overdose, suicide or heart defect. Sad
Horse covered Nirvana, and the Gnash did Elliott Smith. It was an elegy
sung in the words of the dead.

the MatadorProduce
Row
Hollywood BowlMagic Garden

If we add up all the stories WW has written about closings, they’d rank near the top of our most-read stories this year.

If
we had to hazard a guess why, it’s that these old bars serve as canaries
in a coal mine. Aside from their place in the memories of Portlanders
who grew up in a much more rough-and-tumble city, their death signals a
change in Portland that many have already come to feel is irrevocable.

“Every good bar,
everything you see is going under,” says Jason “Plucky” Anchondo, a
bartender at underground Ethiopian-restaurant bar Langano Lounge until
that venue closed in May. “Everything’s going straight to shit.”

ut even as many of these classic institutions have closed, it’s not as if there are fewer places to have a pint.

The number of liquor
licenses in Portland, according to the Oregon Liquor Control
Commission
, keeps increasing. Over the past four years, there’s been a
steady uptick of about 100 new liquor licenses each year, to about 3,000
today.

But
Portlanders with a sense of history have been unnerved by the recent
rash of closures, says Jen Lane, owner of the BarFly website and
bar-tour buses. “Somebody just arriving here, obviously they’re not
going to notice it,” she says. “But the places that are closing, these
are places that have played vital roles in our lives.”

At
BarFly’s Christmas party, a packed house at Tonic Lounge raised a glass
to this year’s fallen bars. That’s not an annual tradition, but this
year it felt right.

When
the old, time-unchanged bars go away, it strips away a sense of shared
history and landscape that belongs to several generations. Once gone,
it’s lost forever—because there will never be another place like Magic
Garden
.

In
Old Town, where police take on the role of dorm RAs, and guys with vape
pens patrol the streets luring packs of drunken men with strip-club
coupons and promises of Portland’s hottest women, the half-century-old
Magic Garden was like finding a Fugs LP at Hot Topic. The rare strip
club that’s more a friendly and low-key dive bar than hall of sin, it’s a
place where couples might shoot pool all night and where dancers often
skipped a song or two without any complaints.

And it, too, is going away, on New Year’s Eve.

Bartender
Patty Wright is Magic Garden’s most beloved figure. She has worked
there 23 years, and legend has it she’s never been late to a shift. When
WW instated a Mayoral Madness tournament pitting prominent
Portlanders against each other in a faux mayoral race, Wright beat
Stumptown founder Duane Sorenson
and a successful tech CEO in online
voting.

But
the Suey Wing building that holds Magic Garden was declared unsafe by
the Portland Fire Marshal in inspections between 2008 and 2013. The
Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association sold its crumbling building
to Urban Development + Partners.

On a recent Thursday, patron after patron leaned across the bar to pay their respects to Wright.

“It’s
kind of scary,” she says. “It’s sad, because we worked so hard to turn
this place around. They write about us in newspapers, this little hole
in the wall. In New York magazine, in Playboy.

“We tried to make this a nice neighborhood place, with naked ladies. And now they’re going to take it all away.”


None

It’s true that if you
tell any Portlander a food cart or a hot-dog stand is closing, they
spit out the word condo like the pit to a cherry. Others mention the
money brought in by New Yorkers and Californians. But Lane says she’s
seen it firsthand, on a visit to Hawthorne District mainstay the Space
Room
in the early 2000s.

“There were literally
these sleazy real-estate guys from L.A., straight out of the playbook,
saying, “‘You don’t know what you have here,'” she recalls.

None

Chopsticks II

“My
friends wouldn’t come see me,” he says. “I remodeled, and every year
there was new ownership. The first three years, I lost money. I almost
gave up. A new owner comes in, and I say, ‘You’re number five.'”

When new construction
transformed Chopsticks’ section of Burnside for a more desirable
demographic, Chow’s newest landlord didn’t let him renew his 20-year
lease.

“I pay every time, no
problem,” he says. “They say I’m a good tenant. If you’re a good
tenant, you don’t get a good result. I don’t know why, but she must not
like me.”

Lisa Lucas, his
landlord, says Chow has indeed been a good tenant. But the neighborhood
had changed, and her company could make more money with a different
business on the property. Chopsticks will close in August 2015.

Historically boozy
Club 21 on Northeast Glisan Street—home to packed-house rock shows both
free and local, as well as an almost seizure-inducing density of ’70s
beer kitsch—may have avoided a similar fate only because its lease is
still good for another 12 years. Its landlord, real-estate firm
ScanlanKemperBard, submitted designs to the city of Portland to demolish
the bar’s distinctive witch-castle architecture, an artifact of the
building’s time as a Russian Orthodox church, in favor of a towering,
220-unit apartment building with a parking-lot basement.

To save the bar in
the future, says Club 21 bartender Bradley Shaver, the owners are
considering moving the entire building to a vacant lot before their
lease expires.

Meanwhile, rock dive
the Know‘s building on Northeast Alberta Street is also for sale. A
ramshackle, graffitied, dirt-cheap drinking hole that has become
Portland’s most reliable home of punk and hard rock, the Know has two
years left on its lease, after which owner Ryan Stowe hopes he can
continue business as usual. The auto-upholstery business next door
already had its rent doubled this year under the current owner, he says.

“We had an empty lot
across the street from us for almost eight years,” Stowe says. “Then a
bunch of stores went into the Acme Glass building, all these places that
had been there for generations. The owners saw dollar signs and sold
the building.”

He says it’s scary
not knowing what the future will hold. “But we kind of knew this was
coming,” Stowe says. “If it comes down to it, we’ll have to find
somewhere else.”

None

East End was lost to
an electrical fire, and the East Bank Saloon (home for years to the best
masters basketball team in the nation) and the Grand Cafe (home to the
old manager of the Portland Mavericks baseball team) were sold by owners
ready to retire. 

Landlords in better
economies also become more recalcitrant about terms: Both Slabtown and
the Matador were lost, in part, to disputes over who was responsible for
building improvements. And although Ethiopian restaurant-music venue
Langano Lounge was closed to become apartments, those apartments are run
by the bar’s former owners, a retirement-age Ethiopian couple.
According to Anchondo, the bartender, they’d grown tired of fighting
their neighborhood association over noise complaints.

For Rogers, the end
of Slabtown isn’t just the end of a bar. It’s the end of an idea, a
vision of Portland in which a bar is a reflection of its neighborhood
and its owner’s personality. “What we’re seeing now,” he says, with the
bars closing, “is the chickens coming home to roost from
gentrification.”

He says Portland has
recently courted an upwardly mobile, white, technical class of
transplants, and this leads to a homogenization of a city once based in
eccentricity. “Those neighborhoods frequently have all of the same
businesses,” he says. “Little Big Burger, Pine State, Salt & Straw.”

None

Tony Mengis, co-owner
of upstairs-downstairs music venue East End—an equal-opportunity home
to punk, glam and metal that was just as famous for its restroom lines
as its taste in music—says he has a hard time understanding what
Portland has become in the meantime. Mengis plans to move to Amsterdam
by early 2015. In November, he sold almost everything he owns.

“I see Portland
changing,” he says, “and I don’t know how to change with it. And frankly
I don’t care to. I don’t know what people with beards want.”

When the old bars
finally fail, the bars that replace them often reflect a new set of
values. The site of longtime dive Hal’s Tavern is home, as of this year,
to a bar called There Be Monsters, filled with British Empire maps,
distressed walls and barrel-aged cider; the city’s best shuffleboard
table has been moved from the front to the back of the bar. The new
owners of 20-year dive Madison’s taped over their neon sign’s “I” and
burned the Declaration of Independence’s signing into the bar to become
Mad Sons, a bar themed after the American Revolution that has both nitro
coffee and root beer on tap, alongside artisanal cocktails. A rotating
array of failed sports dives at Southeast 20th Avenue and Division
Street became an Old West-style bar called Double Barrel. 

Oddly, all of these bars took considerable pains to make themselves look older than the ones they replaced.

None

“There’s a particular
element about the Portland subculture,” Marchi says. “When a ship
catches fire, the rats can swim to another ship.”

In the early ’90s, Marchi says, the Americans with Disabilities Act caused a number of bars to close; in the late ’90s, a building boom did the same.

“They’ll
appropriate another place that will suit their needs,” Marchi says.
“There’ll be a transmogrification of some steely-assed, meth-induced
biker bar. The loss is what will fuel them to congeal in another place.”

The
bars will live on mostly in the memories of the people who went there.
Unlike successful restaurants—which may make careers, and garner
attention from national media—the old bars belong only to the people who
go there most. Like churches, they aren’t just a building but a
gathering of the faithful, and they can inspire near-equal devotion. And
like all things sacred, they come with a reliquary.

On
the last night of the Matador on West Burnside Street in September,
people took most of the bar out the door with them. The bar’s final
owner, Casey Maxwell, ceded the bar’s many velvet paintings to valued
regulars and staff.

“He said we could have everything except Scott Bakula,” says bartender Nathaniel Hubbard.

Those
paintings have since spread around town—although not at Maxwell’s other
bar, the Conquistador. One painting hangs above the entry door of Star
Bar
on Southeast Morrison Street. The Matador’s old hand-painted sign
hangs above the kitchen door at Club 21. Other toreador paintings are in
the homes of the many bartenders who passed through the Matador over
the years.

Some of the bars may live beyond memories, and actually revive elsewhere.

“We’ll
be back,” says Slabtown’s Rogers, who says he’s already looking at
places in North and Northeast Portland to create another all-ages music
venue. “I’ve got three different people I’m talking to right now,” he
says. In the meantime, he’s excited about the venue that Black Water
Records
, a punk-rock label, is starting on Northeast Broadway.

On a
busy recent Thursday, David Chow of Chopsticks sat at his bar,
surveying a room whose walls are papered with photographs of the many
people who’ve sung there.

“Look at all these people,” he says, his arm out toward the karaoke stage. “How can be?”

This is his catchphrase—it can mean anything—printed on the T-shirts that bear his face. After WW
reported his bar was set to close, he says, his 19-year-old venue
filled with customers, sometimes people he hadn’t seen in years.

“I
thought, ‘People don’t care,'” he says. “But everybody came. From
Longview, they come down to buy T-shirts. Last week I have one couple
who proposed marriage onstage.”

He’s
scouting locations in inner Northeast and Southeast Portland for a new
Chopsticks. While he spoke, one of his regulars stopped to suggest he
buy Starky’s, a bar near Southeast 28th Avenue that was put up for sale
in November
.

“People know me,” says Chow, smiling, drink in hand. “I think, I can’t stop now.”

Read some of our favorite bar stories from some of the bars that closed here.

Closing Time

 IMAGE: James Rexroad

 

A world was ending. Some wept openly, one woman danced the worm so hard she thinks she might have shattered her knee, and the next night at least two people had sex in the basement. We’ve all got our own ways of grieving.

The Day of the Dead, Nov. 1, was the last night of Slabtown, a cavernous punk-rock and pinball bar that sat in the shadow of the I-405 overpass for nearly a half century. When it closed, it was the last independent all-ages rock club on Portland’s westside. For some, it was more of a home than the place where they actually slept that night.

UP IN SMOKE: Slabtown owner Doug Rogers on Dec. 6, the day before he had to hand over the keys to his bar.
IMAGE: Cameron Browne

“One guy did two hours of karaoke all on his own,” says Doug Rogers, the last of many owners of Slabtown, of the final evening. “There were people sitting in
chairs unable to move, people crying. It was intense.”

Bands played on a small stage in a dim room, each one singing cover songs of
bands who’d lost a member to overdose, suicide or heart defect. Sad Horse covered Nirvana, and the Gnash did Elliott Smith. It was an elegy sung in the words of the dead.


The death of Slabtown is noteworthy on its own. But it speaks to a larger drift in the Portland bar scene. This year, it seems as if the map of Old Portland bars has been blasted with a shotgun. Dozens of bars have shut down (see sidebar), as they do most years. But this year those hit hardest have been the longtime institutions. Among the mainstays open for 20 years or more who have closed their doors or will soon are the Matador,Produce Row, Hollywood Bowl, and beloved pole-free strip bar Magic Garden. In Portland, 2014 was closing time.

If we add up all the stories WW has written about closings, they’d rank near the top of our most-read stories this year.

If we had to hazard a guess why, it’s that these old bars serve as canaries in a coal mine. Aside from their place in the memories of Portlanders who grew up in a much more rough-and-tumble city, their death signals a
change in Portland that many have already come to feel is irrevocable.

“Every good bar, everything you see is going under,” says Jason “Plucky” Anchondo, a
bartender at underground Ethiopian-restaurant bar Langano Lounge until
that venue closed in May. “Everything’s going straight to shit.”
But even as many of these classic institutions have closed, it’€™s not as if there are fewer places to have a pint.

The number of liquor licenses in Portland, according to the Oregon Liquor Control
Commission
, keeps increasing. Over the past four years, there’s been a steady uptick of about 100 new liquor licenses each year, to about 3,000 today.

But Portlanders with a sense of history have been unnerved by the recent rash of closures, says Jen Lane, owner of the BarFly website and
bar-tour buses. “Somebody just arriving here, obviously they’re not going to notice it,” she says. “But the places that are closing, these
are places that have played vital roles in our lives.”

At BarFly’s Christmas party, a packed house at Tonic Lounge raised a glass to this year’s fallen bars. That’s not an annual tradition, but this
year it felt right.

When the old, time-unchanged bars go away, it strips away a sense of shared history and landscape that belongs to several generations. Once gone, it’s lost forever—because there will never be another place like Magic Garden.

In Old Town, where police take on the role of dorm RAs, and guys with vape pens patrol the streets luring packs of drunken men with strip-club coupons and promises of Portland’s hottest women, the half-century-old Magic Garden was like finding a Fugs LP at Hot Topic. The rare strip club that’s more a friendly and low-key dive bar than hall of sin, it’s a place where couples might shoot pool all night and where dancers often skipped a song or two without any complaints.

And it, too, is going away, on New Year’s Eve.

Bartender Patty Wright is Magic Garden’s most beloved figure. She has worked
there 23 years, and legend has it she’s never been late to a shift. When WW instated a Mayoral Madness tournament pitting prominent Portlanders against each other in a faux mayoral race, Wright beat Stumptown founder Duane Sorenson and a successful tech CEO in online voting.

But the Suey Wing building that holds Magic Garden was declared unsafe by
the Portland Fire Marshal in inspections between 2008 and 2013. The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association sold its crumbling building to Urban Development + Partners.

On a recent Thursday, patron after patron leaned across the bar to pay their respects to Wright.

“It’s kind of scary,” she says. “It’s sad, because we worked so hard to turn
this place around. They write about us in newspapers, this little hole in the wall. In New York magazine, in Playboy.

“We tried to make this a nice neighborhood place, with naked ladies. And now they’re going to take it all away.”


ANNIE, ORPHANED: On Dec. 31, Magic Garden, the friendliest little strip club in Portland, will close. Shown is Annie, dancing on the club’s pole-free stage.
IMAGE: Christopher Onstott

It’s true that if you tell any Portlander a food cart or a hot-dog stand is closing, they spit out the word condo like the pit to a cherry. Others mention the money brought in by New Yorkers and Californians. But Lane says she’s seen it firsthand, on a visit to Hawthorne District mainstay the Space Room in the early 2000s.

“There were literally these sleazy real-estate guys from L.A., straight out of the playbook, saying, “‘You don’t know what you have here,'” she recalls.

 

POSTCARDS FROM THE END: Patty Wright, Portland icon, at Magic Garden

 

When popular Chopsticks II opened in 1995, owner David Chow says his strip of East Burnside Street near 28th Avenue was a no-man’s land of crime and boarded buildings. He outlasted several landowners.

“My friends wouldn’t come see me,” he says. “I remodeled, and every year
there was new ownership. The first three years, I lost money. I almost
gave up. A new owner comes in, and I say, ‘You’re number five.'”

When new construction transformed Chopsticks’ section of Burnside for a more desirable demographic, Chow’s newest landlord didn’t let him renew his 20-year
lease.

“I pay every time, no problem,” he says. “They say I’m a good tenant. If you’re a good tenant, you don’t get a good result. I don’t know why, but she must not
like me.”

Lisa Lucas, his landlord, says Chow has indeed been a good tenant. But the neighborhood had changed, and her company could make more money with a different business on the property. Chopsticks will close in August 2015.

Historically boozy Club 21 on Northeast Glisan Street—home to packed-house rock shows both free and local, as well as an almost seizure-inducing density of ’70s beer kitsch—may have avoided a similar fate only because its lease is
still good for another 12 years. Its landlord, real-estate firm ScanlanKemperBard, submitted designs to the city of Portland to demolish the bar’s distinctive witch-castle architecture, an artifact of the building’s time as a Russian Orthodox church, in favor of a towering, 220-unit apartment building with a parking-lot basement.

To save the bar in the future, says Club 21 bartender Bradley Shaver, the owners are considering moving the entire building to a vacant lot before their
lease expires.

Meanwhile, rock dive the Know‘s building on Northeast Alberta Street is also for sale. A ramshackle, graffitied, dirt-cheap drinking hole that has become Portland’s most reliable home of punk and hard rock, the Know has two
years left on its lease, after which owner Ryan Stowe hopes he can continue business as usual. The auto-upholstery business next door already had its rent doubled this year under the current owner, he says.

“We had an empty lot across the street from us for almost eight years,” Stowe says. “Then a bunch of stores went into the Acme Glass building, all these places that had been there for generations. The owners saw dollar signs and sold
the building.”

He says it’s scary not knowing what the future will hold. “But we kind of knew this was coming,” Stowe says. “If it comes down to it, we’ll have to find
somewhere else.”

 

POSTCARDS FROM THE END: David Chow, owner of Chopsticks II. “Every holiday we have from now on is our last holiday,” Chow says. “Last Halloween was the last Halloween at Chopsticks.” Chopsticks II will close Aug. 31. Chopsticks III will remain open on Northeast Columbia Boulevard.

IMAGE: nataliebehring.com

 

But most of the bars that closed this year did not do so because of rapacious developers. In many ways, the end of these bars came for reasons as much cultural and idiosyncratic as economic.

East End was lost to an electrical fire, and the East Bank Saloon (home for years to the best masters basketball team in the nation) and the Grand Cafe (home to the old manager of the Portland Mavericks baseball team) were sold by owners
ready to retire. 

Landlords in better economies also become more recalcitrant about terms: Both Slabtown and the Matador were lost, in part, to disputes over who was responsible for building improvements. And although Ethiopian restaurant-music venue Langano Lounge was closed to become apartments, those apartments are run by the bar’s former owners, a retirement-age Ethiopian couple. According to Anchondo, the bartender, they’d grown tired of fighting
their neighborhood association over noise complaints.

For Rogers, the end of Slabtown isn’t just the end of a bar. It’s the end of an idea, a vision of Portland in which a bar is a reflection of its neighborhood
and its owner’s personality. “What we’re seeing now,” he says, with the bars closing, “is the chickens coming home to roost from gentrification.”

He says Portland has recently courted an upwardly mobile, white, technical class of transplants, and this leads to a homogenization of a city once based in eccentricity. “Those neighborhoods frequently have all of the same businesses,” he says. “Little Big Burger, Pine State, Salt & Straw.”

SHORE LEAVE: Sand Bar was owned by Dan Zilka, who also owned Boxxes, one of the last holdouts in the West End district that was once the center of Portland gay nightlife.
IMAGE: Vivian Johnson

Tony Mengis, co-owner of upstairs-downstairs music venue East End—an equal-opportunity home to punk, glam and metal that was just as famous for its restroom lines as its taste in music—says he has a hard time understanding what
Portland has become in the meantime. Mengis plans to move to Amsterdam
by early 2015. In November, he sold almost everything he owns.

“I see Portland changing,” he says, “and I don’t know how to change with it. And frankly I don’t care to. I don’t know what people with beards want.”

When the old bars finally fail, the bars that replace them often reflect a new set of values. The site of longtime dive Hal’s Tavern is home, as of this year,
to a bar called There Be Monsters, filled with British Empire maps, distressed walls and barrel-aged cider; the city’s best shuffleboard table has been moved from the front to the back of the bar. The new owners of 20-year dive Madison’s taped over their neon sign’s “I” and burned the Declaration of Independence’s signing into the bar to become Mad Sons, a bar themed after the American Revolution that has both nitro coffee and root beer on tap, alongside artisanal cocktails. A rotating array of failed sports dives at Southeast 20th Avenue and Division Street became an Old West-style bar called Double Barrel. 

Oddly, all of these bars took considerable pains to make themselves look older than the ones they replaced.

 

None

 

“There’s a particular element about the Portland subculture,” Marchi says. “When a ship catches fire, the rats can swim to another ship.”

In the early ’90s, Marchi says, the Americans with Disabilities Act caused a number of bars to close; in the late ’90s, a building boom did the same.

“They’ll
appropriate another place that will suit their needs,” Marchi says.
“There’ll be a transmogrification of some steely-assed, meth-induced
biker bar. The loss is what will fuel them to congeal in another place.”

The
bars will live on mostly in the memories of the people who went there.
Unlike successful restaurants—which may make careers, and garner
attention from national media—the old bars belong only to the people who
go there most. Like churches, they aren’t just a building but a
gathering of the faithful, and they can inspire near-equal devotion. And
like all things sacred, they come with a reliquary.

On
the last night of the Matador on West Burnside Street in September,
people took most of the bar out the door with them. The bar’s final
owner, Casey Maxwell, ceded the bar’s many velvet paintings to valued
regulars and staff.

“He said we could have everything except Scott Bakula,” says bartender Nathaniel Hubbard.

Those
paintings have since spread around town—although not at Maxwell’s other
bar, the Conquistador. One painting hangs above the entry door of Star
Bar
on Southeast Morrison Street. The Matador’s old hand-painted sign
hangs above the kitchen door at Club 21. Other toreador paintings are in
the homes of the many bartenders who passed through the Matador over
the years.

Some of the bars may live beyond memories, and actually revive elsewhere.

“We’ll
be back,” says Slabtown’s Rogers, who says he’s already looking at
places in North and Northeast Portland to create another all-ages music
venue. “I’ve got three different people I’m talking to right now,” he
says. In the meantime, he’s excited about the venue that Black Water
Records
, a punk-rock label, is starting on Northeast Broadway.

On a
busy recent Thursday, David Chow of Chopsticks sat at his bar,
surveying a room whose walls are papered with photographs of the many
people who’ve sung there.

“Look at all these people,” he says, his arm out toward the karaoke stage. “How can be?”

This is his catchphrase—it can mean anything—printed on the T-shirts that bear his face. After WW
reported his bar was set to close, he says, his 19-year-old venue
filled with customers, sometimes people he hadn’t seen in years.

“I
thought, ‘People don’t care,'” he says. “But everybody came. From
Longview, they come down to buy T-shirts. Last week I have one couple
who proposed marriage onstage.”

He’s
scouting locations in inner Northeast and Southeast Portland for a new
Chopsticks. While he spoke, one of his regulars stopped to suggest he
buy Starky’s, a bar near Southeast 28th Avenue that was put up for sale
in November
.

“People know me,” says Chow, smiling, drink in hand. “I think, I can’t stop now.”

Read some of our favorite bar stories from some of the bars that closed here.

Portland Transplants vs Portland Natives

The results are in.

transvsnat_4107

New Portlanders: The Interviews

 

Previous New Portlander Interviews: Slices from the Fresh Meat Column 

Chart: Portland Transplants vs. Portland Natives

Personnel Foul

When it comes to football, Central Catholic High School has a lot to cheer about. The  Rams—with a long tradition of winning—finished the season with 12 wins  and just one loss while outscoring opponents by a 3-to-1 ratio.

And on Dec. 6, Central Catholic crushed Tigard High School in the 6A championship 49-0—giving the Rams their second state title in a row.

Off the field, however,there’s plenty about the football team that Central Catholic doesn’t want to celebrate.

On Nov. 24, Central Catholic President John Harrington announced that the program’s freshman coach, Jay Wallace, would not return next year. Harrington made the announcement after WW reported Wallace had been fired from David
Douglas High School in 1997 following allegations of sexual misconduct with a 17-year-old female student (“Off-Field Pursuits,” WW, Nov. 19, 2014).

Harrington had been the David Douglas principal who investigated Wallace—but at Central Catholic kept Wallace in his coaching job.

WW has now learned that a second Central Catholic football coach faced allegations of sexual misconduct with a student at a local public school.

In 2010, Portland police questioned the coach, Jon Taylor, after he exchanged sexually explicit text messages with a 19-year-old developmentally disabled
student from the Parkrose School District in Northeast Portland. Taylor worked at Parkrose as an educational aide. 

According to a police report, Taylor told an officer he sent the texts, including a photo of his erect penis. Law enforcement officials didn’t charge Taylor, but he
left Parkrose two days after the report.

Today, Taylor tells WW the allegations of misconduct are untrue. Taylor says the student sent him sexual messages but that he didn’t reciprocate. Told the police
report includes an admission from him, Taylor says, “I’m not sure why they wrote that.”

Still, this second incident raises new questions about Central Catholic’s vetting of its football coaches—especially in light of the Catholic Church’s history with sexual misconduct and a pledge from the Portland archdiocese to protect children from abuse. It also points to statewide gaps in Oregon’s system for keeping tabs on coaches accused of such misconduct.

Harrington tells WW he was unaware of Taylor’s history at Parkrose. He said Central Catholic performed a background check in June 2010 before the school hired Taylor, and the report cleared him for employment. “To have potentially two issues just shocks me,” Harrington says.

Jim Mountain, chairman of Central Catholic’s board of trustees, echoed Harrington’s unease. “We’re concerned about any reports of impropriety by our
coaches, or our faculty or staff,” Mountain tells WW. “Particularly at Central, with its connection to the Catholic Church, we really take this stuff seriously.”

A parent of a Central Catholic football player—who declined to be identified out of fear her son would be ostracized—says she is disappointed by the school’s failure to tell parents about Wallace’s departure in November. She says that suggests Central Catholic would prefer to ignore what happened.

“These are the people who are teaching our children not only football but how to interact with the world,” she says. “I think the community needs to step forward and address the issue head on.”

Taylor, 50, was a football standout at Beaverton High School in the early 1980s who went on to play for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He coached the
Parkrose High School football team from 2001 until the beginning of the 2003 season, when he was replaced after a few games. Taylor resigned as coach for reasons that were never made public.

Parkrose Superintendent Karen Fischer Gray declined to release Taylor’s personnel records, saying they are exempt from disclosure under the state’s public records law. 

State law allows a public body to release a personnel file, and can require its release when “the public interest in disclosure outweighs the public employee’s interest in confidentiality,” according to the state’s public records manual.

Parkrose officials did confirm Taylor left the school district, where he had worked for 15 years, on March 12, 2010, two days after police questioned him.

On March 10, 2010, a woman reported that she had evidence Taylor and a Parkrose student had exchanged sexually explicit texts. According to the report, the woman was an ex-girlfriend of Taylor’s who had discovered the images on his old cellphone.

 

The messages included a photo of an erect penis sent from Taylor’s phone to the student, and images of a vagina sent from the student’s phone to Taylor.

According to the report, Taylor asked the student not to tell anyone about the photos, but then told her she was “cute” and that he wanted to see “the whole
thing.”

“How about a new picture so I can see more,” Taylor wrote in one text message, according to Kulp’s report. “I like it.”

When confronted by the police officer, Taylor admitted sending the texts and the photo of his penis. 

“Stupid, so stupid,” the report quotes Taylor as saying. “I knew as soon as I hit send I made a huge mistake.”

The officer found no evidence that Taylor had exchanged sexual messages with the student when she was under 18, which would have made the act a felony.

When the officer contacted the student, she admitted sending the texts and sharing the images with Taylor. She told Kulp she and Taylor had never had any
sexual contact in person, something Taylor had also said during hispolice interview.

“I asked [her] if Jon had sent her a picture of his penis,” the officer wrote. “[She] kinda laughed and said ‘yes.’ I asked her if she sent a picture of her vagina to Jon. [She] first said, ‘no,’ but then said ‘yes.’ I asked her why they were doing this. [She] said ‘I don’t know, fun.'”

The officer bagged Taylor’s phone as evidence and referred the report to senior officers and the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office.

Senior deputy district attorney Travis Sewell says the DA’s office never received a copy of the report. That might have been because the young woman was legally an adult at the time and Portland police may have determined no crime had occurred, says Portland police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson.

Simpson also says records show the report also went to Multnomah County’s Developmental Disabilities Office for a possible abuse investigation. County
spokeswoman Julie Sullivan-Springhetti says she couldn’t confirm whether the county received the report, or if there had been an investigation.

Taylor says he wasn’t fired by Parkrose but instead resigned to protect his family. He says the district faulted him for failing to report receiving the texts.

“There was nothing legally I did wrong,” he says. “From the school’s point of view, I didn’t make the right decision in not reporting it.”

Taylor joined Central Catholic’s program as a defensive line coach in summer 2010, just months after leaving Parkrose. He coached the varsity and junior varsity defensive lines during the championship-winning 2014 season, according
to the school’s website.

Harrington says Taylor underwent Central Catholic’s standard background check, which means his name and Social Security number went to an outside
company for vetting. He says it turned up nothing about the allegations at Parkrose.

Harrington says Central Catholic has made changes since Taylor’s hiring. On July 1, 2010, the Oregon Legislature required schools to seek employment records from schools where a job applicant previously worked. Oregon schools are now required to disclose all “substantiated” abuse claims or ongoing investigations of abuse claims. Harrington says Central Catholic now seeks that information for all new hires.

The Archdiocese of Portland strengthened its background checks of employees in August, requiring for the first time that employees resubmit to background checks every three years. Before the change, employees underwent background checks only when they were hired or switched positions, says Cathy Shannon, director of the archdiocese’s Office of Child Protection/Victim Assistance.

But the system for checking coaches’ criminal histories still isn’t perfect. The background checks pull up arrests and convictions, but they don’t reveal accusations that aren’t prosecuted, Shannon says.

Oregon does a better job keeping tabs on teachers than coaches.

The Teacher Standards and Practices Commission, the state agency that oversees teachers in public and private schools, can revoke the license of a teacher who sexually abuses a student even if no criminal charges are brought, says Vickie Chamberlain, the agency’s executive director. The agency can also enter disciplined teachers’ names in a national database, flagging them in case they try to seek jobs elsewhere. (As an education aide, Taylor was not licensed by the state.) 

No such system exists for coaches, who aren’t required to obtain teaching licenses. The Oregon School Activities Association certifies all coaches in the state, but certification deals with training, not criminal background checks, says Brad Garrett, assistant executive director of OSAA.

Neither Taylor nor Wallace, the other Central Catholic coach under scrutiny, has faced new allegations while at the school.

Peter Janci, a Portland lawyer with O’Donnell Clark & Crew who has brought sex-abuse cases against the Catholic Church, says Central Catholic parents should demand that more is done to protect kids.

“It’s very, very concerning to hear about multiple staff members having this type of background at the same institution in 2014,” Janci says. “It sounds like
there’s a lot of work to be done.”

Nike CIO Anthony Watson Quit His Job Because Portland Is Boring, Says Fortune.

IMAGE: Anthony Watson’s Twitter pic

Nike Chief Information Officer Anthony Watson—one of the very few and first openly gay top executives in Fortune 500 companies—quit his job very suddenly December 10 for what he called “personal” reasons on Twitter. He’d arrived at Nike only this April, after a job as CIO of the European and Middle Eastern markets for Barclays bank, which left room for a lot of speculation as to the reason for his mysterious-seeming departure.

Well, according to Fortune magazine, the reasons were indeed personal. Portland, whatever its hold on the national imagination, is apparently still basically a boring backwater hick town with no social scene—provided, that is, your idea of a social scene isn’t eating elevated streetside waffles and drinking really yeasty beer after a bracing hike up Dog Mountain in your best fleece with your golden retriever, who is being ridden by your pet cat, who likes bacon.

From Fortune:

Now, a source close to the situation has told Fortune the precise reason for Watson’€™s departure: though he was happy with his job, he was unhappy with the social scene (or lack thereof) in Portland. “€œAs a single gay guy from London,” the source says, Watson “€œunderestimated what it would be like. It was a culture shock. And there’s no point in having a great job if you feel unhappy with your surroundings.” The decision to leave the shoe giant crystalized for Watson while home in London with his family over the Thanksgiving break.

And to think just a few months ago, moneyed London periodical Monocle was calling us the only place worth living in the United States. But that doesn’t mean we’re London or Paris, apparently.