March 2008

The oil painting of Dorothy Hirsch is by Henk Pander, donated to the Central Library through her estate. (Thanks Peggy!) Ms. Hirsch served on the boards of the Multnomah County Library for many years, the board of trustees of the Oregon Institute of Literary Arts and the Friends of History of Portland State.

It’s found a new place to hang, the second floor of the Multnomah County Central Library.

The reasons I love the Central Library are too many to ever count. But it’s getting a bit tight for easy use, serving too many functions in too small of a space. Albert Doyle made an elegant structure in 1913, which was considerably improved upon by a major renovation in eleven years ago.

But I recently visited Rem Koolhaus’ library in downtown Seattle, which should be the foremost destination for visitors. The building is a tremendous gong-bang for city planners, for bookworms, and for library planners. It serves a hundred functions at once.

Notably, the smell and grime of wet, sick humans was absent. It was a fine, clear spring day in Seattle, but easily half of the city’s chronic homeless were inside, burrowing into books or taking naps. But at over 360,000 square feet, everyone had sufficient space to stretch out and feel comfortable.

The Multnomah County collection is of better quality (not larger, Seattle is 2.4 million compared to about 2 million). Our patrons are nicer, circulation is higher, and our library is probably the county’s most laudable act. Nobody’s going to give Ted Wheeler and company more money to put people in jail, but a bond measure to build a world class downtown library would win easily.

Saturday April 5, 10 AM to Sunday April 6, 10 AM. Cosmic Monkey Comics – 5335 NE Sandy Blvd.

A 24-hour comic is exactly what it sounds: one complete comic story (24 pages) completed in 24 hours. Writing, drawing, lettering, and if you’re really ambitious, coloring — it’s all gotta be done on the spot. Similar to the ever-popular National Novel Writing Month, it’s an opportunity to celebrate your art form, get your creative juices flowing, and enjoy the rare opportunity to have some company working alongside you!

Respond to or 503-517-9050 to RSVP! Space is limited.

At 11 AM.

At 9 PM.

EXTRA – 24 Hour Comics Day

The best fresh pierogi in Portland is at International Meats on about 60th and SE Foster Road. It’s changed hands several times in the past few years I think, but maintains a great selection of handmade sausages, preserved fish, pickles and cheese.

Carrying the vittles, I found this.

Across the Holgate + Foster is a small alley where a history of Foster Road has been colorfully and crudely painted.

Flappin’ on Foster recounts the small history of outer Foster Road, from the turn of the last century to the 1930s, perhaps. Funding initially came from the Anne A. Berni Foundation, managed by Mary and David Becker (of Becker Co. and a trustee of, and perhaps came in two parts. An aluminum plate sign says the lead artist was Becky Bristol, now of Ohio. Signed in crude paint above “Part II” was led by Ping Khaw-Sutherland.

This mural has been vandalized by local idiots, expressing the current and dismal milieu of Foster Road.

From the Daily Astorian – March 20, 2008

Russel Reier said he tried to tell investigators he knew where to find the head of Sacagawea.

The Clatsop County jail inmate said he knew where two heads from a bronze statue stolen from Fort Clatsop were, he just needed someone to listen to him.

A 5 1/2-foot statue of Sacagawea and her baby, Jean Baptiste Charboneau, was stolen from its mounting bolts at the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park site Jan. 19. The case attracted national publicity. One man has been sentenced to 50 days in jail after admitting the crime March 5.

As Reier was being moved from the jail to the Community Corrections Transition Center Monday, he approached Paul Tesi, the county jail commander.

Tesi said Reier told him, “Lieutenant, I need to talk to you. I know where the head of Sacagawea is.”

So Tesi took him aside and Reier began to draw a map.

“How about I just take you to them?” he volunteered.

Deputies took Reier a few blocks down Bond Street, where he pointed out a truck.

The law enforcement officers couldn’t see the heads in the truck. And they didn’t have a search warrant. So while they were deciding what to do, they heard Reier behind them yell, “Here they are!”

The man had reached in the truck and pulled out a canvas bag containing the heads.

They were in reasonable condition, although the necks were tangled where they had been ripped off the statue.

The owner of the truck wasn’t available.

His aunt reportedly told police officers that he was out of town … and didn’t plan to return.

READ – Stolen Sacagawea statue head found in pickup truck,
READ – Portland Public Art Man gets 50 days for Sacagawea statue theft.
READ – Portland Public Art Art for meth: What an unholy bargain

I’ve noticed one of the rehab options for the Portland Public School District is to use the term “arts integrated curriculum” as a panacea, as an anchor for parents logically advantaging their children through the district’s incredibly stupid student transfer option. (Using this option students can lottery into “better” schools, causing tides to shift with rumor, test scores and speculation. Little or no school transport is offered for these students so many/most of them come from middle-class or better two-parent or better households, reinforcing race and class barriers.)

In the 1970s and 1980s Jefferson High was a non-integrated performing arts school which sent more than it’s share to Julliard. Personalities clashed with principals, the program evaporated, and the magnet which drew students from all classes and communities switched off. Now Jefferson is a troubled school, on it’s umpteenth transformation, and we all hope for the best. Congrats go to the boys AND girls basketball teams, which both just won state championships.

John Marshall High School starts off badly, in a tough neighborhood, landscaped for invisibility, its orangy bricks might remind visitors of a poorly maintained penitentiary or other state institution. To stem migration to other more promising schools through the student transfer option, Marshall High has recently been split by the district into four schools, one of which was named Renaissance Arts Academy.

The unfinished web site for the new school leaves few clues. A tour of the campus exterior reveals no artwork. Who was John Marshall anyway? Why if nothing else, the author of Cohens v. Virginia.

Discouraging, at best, is the new school sign – a readerboard, changeable as a whim. The usage of code terms “Renaissance” and “Academy” reveal the corporate toolism involved.

Not far from Marshall High School are two endangered murals, one of which is by former Marshall students. The first is Peace In Portland (below) painted on a lonely bodega at 92nd and SE Holgate. It’s simple, Mt Hood in the moonlight and a wish.

The flag reads, “Dedicated to the People of SE Portland / By Marshall High & Friends / In the Spirit of Pride & Peace. Mural Design: Jacqueline McKay, Travis Wallender, Robbie Koch, Ray Baxter.”

Wallender became the nationally known graffiti artist BORE, and died in 2005. His memorial was in PPA – BORE – in Memoriam.

South across Lents Park is Music In Community, (below), an endangered mural painted on plywood, the back of a tennis backboard. The mural is labeled as being made through Portland Youth Builders, which is located nearby. More like an advertisement. The mural is designed by a bunch of kids and volunteers, the mural is painted by Bob Swan, a criminal justice prof at PSU.

The next negotiation with City Hall over a new and more mural friendly sign code will be Tuesday, March 18th.

That evening, Portland Mural Defense offers a public update on how this process is going.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008 at 6 PM
Olympic Mills Commerce Center
107 SE Washington Street
(Near 2nd & SE Stark Street. Use South entrance to the building)

If you haven’t checked in for a while to hear what City Council staffers are thinking about outdoor murals, here’s your chance. Limits on mural painting in Portland are the topic of this meeting (height, location, materials, and more). Let us hear from you!

Questions? Contact Joe Cotter 503/637-3381, Mark Meltzer 503/281-0809, Joanne Oleksiak 503/233-1004 or email

“A liberal is a conservative who hasn’t been mugged yet” – Frank Rizzo, Philadelphia mayor.

Man gets 50 days for Sacagawea statue theft – KATU / AP

ASTORIA, Ore. – The man who stole a statue of Sacagawea and her baby from a national park in January pleaded guilty to the crime Wednesday and was sentenced to just 50 days in jail, prosecutors said.

Marcus D. Bologna, 32, of Gearhart, pleaded guilty to charges that included first-degree aggravated theft, first-degree criminal mischief and abuse of a venerated object.

According to Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis, Oregon sentencing guidelines prevented Circuit Judge Philip Nelson from imposing a more severe sentence. The prosecutor did not specifically explain why in a press release.

The aggravated theft charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Bologna had a criminal record that included felony burglary and three misdemeanors, prosecutors said.

The 5 1/2-foot bronze statue of Sacagawea and Jean Baptiste Charbonneau was discovered missing from Fort Clatsop National Memorial Park near Astoria on Jan. 20. It was worth an estimated $20,000.

Prosecutors said Bologna tried to sell pieces of the statue to a Portland scrap metal yard but was turned down. Eventually, three people in Bend were arrested after selling pieces of the statue for $517, prosecutors said. The status of those three was not clear Wednesday.

Authorities said such crimes occur because people sell metal to get fast cash to buy illegal drugs.

EXTRA – Art for meth: What an unholy bargain

Next Page »