Can White Portland’s Fragility Handle a Megaquake?

“Acknowledge it away—your white privilege—but it will always be a tool you can employ at will as a weapon against Black people or a tool to shield your own transgressions. Defund the police? Yes and defund and disinvest in yourselves. Liberal, conservative—whatever. You are superspreaders of a sickening power none of us can wholly break free from.”

Published: Jun 16, 2020
Length: 9 minutes (2,345 words)

The Spirit of ’77: How the Blazers Won Portland

Beyond the food carts, the bike lanes, the tired use of the suffix –andia, is a basketball team that helps unite this surprisingly sporty city. This is their story. I didn’t read it. I was too busy hand-grinding my coffee beans.

Published: May 15, 2017
Length: 15 minutes (3,969 words)

Will One Doctor’s Radical New Vaccine End the AIDS Epidemic?

At Portland Monthly, Jennifer Abbasi profiles Louis Picker, a vaccine researcher at Portland’s Oregon Health & Science University who is working toward an AIDS cure within the next two decades.

Published: Dec 21, 2015
Length: 12 minutes (3,092 words)

The Lost Album of Okinawa

A family photo album is returned 70 years after being found during the Battle of Okinawa:

Shortly after Duke’s death in 2012, his youngest son, Ken, discovered the Okinawa album, its pages damp and moldy, photos stained and falling out. Spearheaded by Duke’s determined second wife, Carolyn, the family had taken up the search for the album’s owner, and after nearly two years of translation, dead ends, new clues, and dumb luck, they had succeeded. Now the Wieden clan planned to head to Okinawa to return it, departing in two days.

Published: Jun 2, 2014
Length: 12 minutes (3,081 words)

Marketing Portland’s Music to the Masses

A profile of the music supervisors in Portland, Ore. who are getting local musicians exposure and money by licensing their music for films and advertisements:

“By profession, Matarazzo is known as a ‘music supervisor.’ Marketing companies, brands, and filmmakers hire her to find that perfect song—such as an electronic track by the artist Dabrye that sonically propelled a Motorola commercial in which a sleek room fractures and folds up into a Moto Razr phone. When she can’t find the right song, she hires someone to write it, to order. The string quartet she commissioned from the young composer Nicholas Wright for Nike’s ‘Find Your Greatness’ London Olympics spot, showing everyday athletes around the world, won the Association of Independent Commercial Producers’ award in June for best original music. Often, the tracks she discovers come from Portland’s fertile independent music scenes. She’s placed the swinging rock of Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside in ads for Target and J. Crew, casting the band’s songs farther than any radio play has. Given the otherwise dismal state of the music industry, any of those phone calls Matarazzo relentlessly places or receives could change the life of a starving songwriter or a scruffy band.

“This power has helped Matarazzo and a few local colleagues make Portland a fulcrum for a major shift in how the music business works, especially for the kind of independent, edgy, underground artists the city prides itself on breeding.”

Published: Jul 23, 2013
Length: 13 minutes (3,445 words)

Hot Water in Sunriver

Is a local businessman stalking police in a resort town in Oregon? Or are the police causing the trouble?

“On a more sinister level, Foster claims that ever since a particularly divisive community meeting in 2007, in which he says he felt he was finally making headway with local leaders, the police have been actively dogging him.

“‘From that day forward, it’s been follow me everywhere I go,’ he says. In one episode, he says he looped through one of Sunriver’s many traffic circles to see if police would continue tailing him. He made it through a couple of times with a cop car close behind. Police, he claims, once videotaped him walking his toddler grandchildren through a grocery store, then putting them in car seats.

“Police even follow him outside their legal patrol area. ‘A disproportionate amount of everything they claim I’ve done, had I done it, has happened outside their jurisdiction,’ Foster says. ‘When you look at the police files, it gets pretty obvious who’s following who.'”

Published: Dec 18, 2012
Length: 14 minutes (3,511 words)

Amanda Marshall Cracks Down on Child Prostitution

U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall is making a career out of going after sex traffickers:

“Marshall says she has a few high-ranking priorities, national security among them. But one stands out as unusual for her position: child sex trafficking. In her short time so far, Marshall has directed her staff to get more busts, more indictments, and more convictions for a crime that typically victimizes teenage girls in metro areas. It’s very rare for a federal prosecutor to emphasize child sex trafficking, according to Lewis & Clark law professor Tung Yin, a close observer of federal law enforcement and a former clerk for several federal judges. Marshall has directed three attorneys to focus on the issue and integrated the fight against trafficking with her office’s anti-gang work: a significant upgrade in attention for a crime usually left to local cops and prosecutors.”

Published: Oct 11, 2012
Length: 11 minutes (2,977 words)