Vegetarian Fish Are Coming to Portland

Portland’s already got what may be the world’s first vegan strip mall. So why not vegetarian fish?

San Francisco sustainable fish farmers and purveyors Two X Sea (pronounced “two by sea”) have created the “world’s first and only vegetarian feed for aquafarmed fish,” says the company’s Portland representative, Lauren Avis Vannatter.

Two X Sea, founded by Kenny Belov and Bill Foss in 2009, hopes to expand into Portland by next spring.

The notion of veggie-diet fish is not nearly as goofy as it might sound—Vice magazine has called it maybe “the most important idea in sustainable seafood.”

But it’s also not cheap, at $12.95 a pound for a filet.

Currently, most farmed fish are fed other small “forage fish” like mackerel or herring as food, along with corn and other proteins such as soy, bonemeal and chicken byproducts.

Not only does this mean that farm fish is subject to the same toxic mercury build-up concerns that affect predatory fish like marlin and shark, according to Vannatter, but it means that aquafarmed fish still depletes ocean stocks.

Click here for a long, nuanced examination of sustainability and fish farming (including Belov’s company).

Two X Sea’s feed is based primarily on red algae, along with nut and seed oils. In addition to their MacFarland Springs farm in California, Two X Sea has already formed a relationship with a Southern Oregon fish farm called Desert Springs to produce algae-fed trout and tilapia. For reference, much of the trout served in Portland restaurants currently comes from Idaho.

The company’s been in talks with Duane Sorenson’s Ava Genes and Woodsman Tavern since as early as July about supplying those restaurants with fish. “They’ve been very patient in waiting for it,” says Vannatter of Ava Genes.

Two X Sea had intially hoped they could open their Portland warehouse space  in August at a hundred-year-old warehouse at 2550 NW Vaughn St., with a public-facing retail space to follow.

That location has been held up because of potential need for seismic upgrades, however, and other suitable spaces have been difficult to find.

“The issue is finding the right space,” says Vannatter. “Portland’s really blowing up.”

Sit on #Authentic Santa’s Lap This Christmas

Are you sick of those #basic Pumpkin Spice Latte drinking, “Jingle Bells” singing, Love, Actually-watching mall Santas? Are you looking for a better way to express your #authentic #PNWlife self this winter? Well, you’re in luck.

Pioneer Place, which is yes, okay, a mall with yes, a GAP, is offering what they are calling “an authentic Santa experience” this year.

According to their press release, “Old Saint Nick’s home at the downtown shopping mall will include a PDX carpet chair, bicycle and all things quintessentially Portland.”

A bicycle? PDX CARPET?! Is it even possible to be more Portland than that?!

Turns out it is, because the press release goes on to mention: “Guests also will receive a temporary tattoo as a giveaway.”

Thank God, or the infant son of God, that we can finally take selfies sitting on a semi-employed old man’s lap in a mall without messing with our street cred.

It’s a Christmas miracle!

Is This Loafer-Wearing Guy From Michigan Actually D.B. Cooper?

Well, it turns out Don Draper wasn’t D.B. Cooper after all.

In 1971, on the eve of Thanksgiving, a man who identified himself as Dan Cooper hijacked a plane flying from Portland to Seattle.

His was the kind of romantic crime that begs for a Leonardo DiCaprio movie: He drank a bourbon and soda, hijacked a 727, was given $200,000 and a parachute, and jumped out of the plane, never to be heard from again.

He has attained a sort of folk-hero status, and his identity is still a matter of obsessive speculation, especially here in Oregon.

Now, according to Detroit Free Press, a Michigan man is saying he knows who the real D.B. Cooper is—and, surprise surprise, it’s another guy from Michigan.

In his new book, Still Missing, Ross Richardson suggests the true identity of “Dan Cooper” is Dick Lepsy, a man who disappeared mysteriously from Grayling, Mich., on Oct. 29, 1969.

Besides the fact that Lepsy looks a lot like the sketch of Cooper—which, let’s be clear, is about as generic as a man in the late ’60s, early ’70s could look—his evidence is, well, circumstantial.

Take, for example, this irrefutable fact that he mentions: “The FBI says the skyjacker’s shoes were loafers; those were Dick Lepsy’s favorite shoes.

Where have you been, FBI? A man from 40 years ago who wore loafers! How many could there be?

Will we ever know for certain who D.B. Cooper was, or whether he survived his jump, or if he is in fact your weird neighbor who always glares at you when he’s walking his dog? Probably not.

But here’s hoping we keep getting theories for the next 100 years, and that we never forget a time when hijacking a plane was considered a civil and reasonable way for a middle-class, middle-aged white man to make some money.

Also, D.B. Cooper, if you’re reading this and are finally ready for an exclusive interview, call me, OK?

Kobe Bryant Calls Out Blazers Benchwarmer at Retirement Press Conference

Yesterday, Kobe Bryant officially announced that he will be retiring from the NBA at the conclusion of this season—in iambic pentameter, no less.

It wasn’t exactly a surprise. The 37-year-old Lakers star is nearing the end of the ginormous contract extension he signed in 2013, and coming off three years of season-ending injuries is a shell of his former self. Playing against the Blazers at Moda Center on Saturday night, the future Hall of Famer scored 21 points, shooting 7-20 from the field and 1-5 from three-point range—that’s one of his better performances of the year so far.

Everyone expected Bryant to confirm at some point that this season would be his last. What’s unexpected is that he’d call out an obscure Blazers player while doing it.

Last night, following another woeful game against the Indiana Pacers, Bryant held a press conference after issuing his retirement, um, poem earlier in the day. Toward the end, Bryant was asked about his role as one of the league’s eldest statesmen.

I feel like their grandfather. I’m not like the older guy, I’m the triple OG. LeBron (James) and them, they’re the old guys now. And I’m way older than them.They’re vets, and I’m like a triple vet. It’s fun, honestly. I remember playing Portland here, and a kid from the bench said something to me: “Hey, we’re gonna beat you guys tonight!” I looked at him and said, “I’ve got one rule: If you weren’t born when I started playing, you can’t talk trash.” It’s a simple rule. And he just looked and (said,) “Yes, sir.” (laughs) No argument.

The anonymous Portland benchwarmer in question, according to Blazers digital reporter Casey Holdahl, is Luis Montero.

Luis Montero.
Luis Montero.

You’re forgiven for not recognizing the name. Signed to a non-guaranteed contract over the summer, the 22-year-old guard—straight out of Westchester Community College in New York—has played a grand total of six NBA minutes, in which time he’s amassed three points, one rebound and one turnover.

Apparently, the kid’s mouth (and other extremities) are bigger than his box scores.

It should be noted, though, that Montero was indeed alive when Bryant started his career in 1996—he was 3-years-old—so, by Bryant’s own rule, he was acting within his shit-talking rights. Still, Mike Richman of The Oregonian confirms that Montero did demure when Bryant shot back at him.

So let this be a lesson to all the giant toddlers who may cross paths with the Wrinkled Mamba in these waning moments of his legendary career: He may no longer be able to put you on a poster, but he can still put you in a transcript.

Portlandia Season 6 Looks Classy

Portland is getting richer and classier. Portlandia says so.

Today IFC released it’s promo for the show’s sixth season, which starts January 21.  The newest portraits by New York photographer Tina Barney show a buttoned-up Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein in an ornate mansion of velvet chairs and tasseled chandeliers. Because now Portland homes look like the Getty. Californication, you know?

Photo from IFC
Photo from IFC

“Barney’s striking composition creates a sense of narrative and relays the duo’s unique intimacy,” said IFC’s press.

The sneak peek promises unique intimacy indeed, with a boudoir scene involving a lot of geometry and twin beds.

WWeed Grow Off Week 16

On July 1, recreational weed became legal in Oregon. One of the things that means is that everyone can now legally grow up to four marijuana plants. Here at Willamette Week, we were so excited that we decided to have an old-fashioned office grow-off. All of our plants started the same size and they are all the P-91 strain, but each department elected to grow its plants in different ways.

See previous installments of our weed growing journey here

Candis spend her last night on earth cold and wet.

I found her about 6:30 am, bent over outside her little house, soaked and chilled by the night’s short, thick bursts of rain. It would have been so easy for her caretakers to bring her back into the house, to allow her to spend her last hours alive in the relative warmth and comfort of the little plastic tent that we built expressly for this purpose, but they simply did not care enough.

Over the past few weeks they’d done this a few times, neglected to bring her out of the house during the day to get a little fresh air and some sunshine, and, if they did remember that, neglected to bring her back inside so that she would stop turning purple from the chill.


You can’t blame them, they are only interns. And not even the interns who knew Candis back when she was a spry young sampling. That was Allie. Allie, I think, truly loved Candis. Allie named her. Allie cared.

The two guys that left Candis out in the cold and rain, they did not love her. They’re just some dudes who showed up here to write about Insane Clown Posse and were told it was their job to climb a rickety wooden ladder a couple times a day to take care of a plant on the roof. She was just a chore to them. Whenever I would inquire about her well-being, the paler one we make the sign of a Ninja Turtle, which I took to mean she was “radical.” That one made up a story about a dentist appointment to get out of the morning’s grim work; the taller one with a mustache simply no-called, no-showed.

I thought they might want to be there, but they did not.

They abandoned her in the end, to the cold, and the rain, and finally to the scissors.

My scissors.

Cutting Candis down fell to me. I wanted to do it right, so I arrived before dawn, before her roots would suck up the embittering nutrients they needed for a day’s growth. Because there would be no growth today. Today, by daylight, Candis would be a stump.

I didn’t wear gloves. Did I mention that? I probably should have worn gloves.

It’s about 8 am and I’m… Not exactly buzzed, but, uh…it’s weird.

Finger hash.

That’s what they call it. A good term. It’s a high very few people have experienced, I suppose. Mild, warm on the front of the face and cold on the sides, like a dram of brandy by the fire in a ski lodge.

Poor Candis. Her purple color is beautiful, but it comes from misery.

Soon you will be warm, Candis. As soon as the fluid finishes dripping from your trunk and stems, and your flowers become dry and brittle, we will take you into the warm oven of a vaporizer and allow it to milk the powerful tonic you spent the last four months making for us.

Good night, sweet Candis.


Princely Trolley Tourism—Including Portland Junket—Costs Phoenix Transit Chief His Job

Ever since a youthful city commissioner nicknamed “Choo-Choo” Charlie Hales spearheaded the development of the nation’s first new urban streetcar in decades here in 2001, transit officials from around the country have traveled to Portland to witness the rolling magic.

One of those officials may have enjoyed Portland a bit too much.

Last week, The Arizona Republic reported that trolley tourism played a role in the abrupt resignation of Stephen Banta, executive officer of Valley Transit in Phoenix—the city’s equivalent of TriMet.)

The Republic reported that Banta’s first-class travel, lavish restaurant meals and taxpayer-funded alcohol didn’t sit well with the elected officials who sit on Valley Transit’s board.

Especially galling: Banta’s visit to downtown Portland steakhouse El Gaucho.

Valley Metro paid $18,834 for Banta to take Glendale officials to Portland, Ore., in late September to examine that city’s light-rail system. The two-day trip with Glendale’s mayor, City Council members and staff included a nearly $4,700 dinner at El Gaucho, which boasts shimmering candlelight and live flamenco guitar music nightly. A New York-cut steak cost $74 at the restaurant.

After The Republic reported on that dinner and other outsized expenses, Banta abruptly resigned his $264,000-a-year job last Tuesday.

Wilson High School Teacher Pushes School to Acknowledge Namesake’s Racist, Sexist Views

Three thousand miles from Portland, a debate is raging at Princeton University that sounds familiar to Hyung Nam.

Nam teaches social studies at Wilson High School in Southwest Portland, and for months Nam has waged a public campaign to persuade Portland Public Schools to change his school’s name and acknowledge former U.S. President Woodrow Wilson’s deeply racist and sexist policies.

Students at Princeton, where a residential college and a graduate school carry Wilson’s name, have urged trustees to strip the university of those honors, even though Wilson served as president of Princeton before moving to the White House.

Tuesday, the New York Times editorial board sided with Princeton students, calling Wilson’s legacy “toxic.”

“[Wilson] was an unapologetic racist whose administration rolled back the gains that African-Americans achieved just after the Civil War, purged black workers from influential jobs and transformed the government into an instrument of white supremacy,” the editorial board wrote. 

Here in Portland, Nam has had less traction. None of the top administrators he’s emailed about his idea has responded, he says. But he’s equally convinced “Wilson” has got to go. In addition to having racist views, Wilson was no friend of the burgeoning women’s movement.

“We’d have to be ignorant about history to continue to affiliate ourselves with this man,” Nam wrote in an email to PPS staff last spring.


VIDEO: Brittany Laughlin at TechFestNW 2015

In August we put on our fourth TechFestNW. Every Saturday we’ll be rolling out videos of our many engaging speakers, who explored topics ranging from drones to digital storytelling to the future of virtual reality.

This week Brittany Laughlin talks about how tech companies can stop talking about diversity and actually do something about it.

Live! Tonight! Not Sold-Out!

Want to see some live music tonight? Here are your best options, curated by the Willamette Week music staff.


Dirty Revival, Philly’s Phunkestra

[BIG BRASS] Portland’s Dirty Revival just releases its self-titled debut. An energetic mix of soul, hip-hop and plenty of brass, it’s a boisterous, hard-to-contain sound that resides somewhere between the Roots and Sharon Jones. The quintet draws from jazz, funk and big-band routines as well, affording a depth and quality that can’t quite be timestamped. Frontwoman Sarah Clarke has the pipes of a massive church organ, throwing powerful gusts that will knock the beanie right off your head. MARK STOCK. Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside St. 9 pm. $15. 21+.

The Curtis Salgado Band

[DAD BLUES] Curtis Salgado has a super-massive soul. The blues singer became the inspiration for The Blues Brothers after meeting John Belushi as he was filmingAnimal House, and his cool, collected stage presence is the stuff of local legend. Now an elder statesman on the Portland scene, Salgado’s gravelly tenor and clean harmonica tone pairs well with his bowling shirts. He plays the sort of blues that your dad puts on while telling you about the good ol’ days. It’s not groundbreaking stuff, but the classics are well executed, and the band is filled with some of the heaviest hitters in the region. PARKER HALL. Jimmy Mak’s, 221 NW 10th Ave. 8 pm. $25. Under 21 permitted until 9:30 pm.

The Domestics, Esmé Patterson, Sunbathe

[INDIE FOLK-POP] This showcase features three local bands with extra-Portland reach. The Domestics have since been heralded as one of the best new bands in town, based on its earnest narratives and textured arrangements, while Esmé Patterson, one of the founding members of Americana septet Paper Bird, has released two solo albums, the raw All Princes, I in 2011and concept record Woman to Woman in 2014. She’s since moved from Denver to Portland, and has earned a reputation through collaborating with Shakey Graves on last year’sAnd The War Came. Finally, Sunbathe represents the solo project of Genders’ Maggie Morris. Although the alt-rock trio—a Best New Band finalist in 2013—has toured with bands like Built to Spill, Morris’ solo work shows a softer, more emotional side to the singer/guitarist. HILARY SAUNDERS. Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave. 9 pm. $10. 21+.