Ohayo gozaimasu, Portland 👋

Ohayo gozaimasu, Portland 👋

Matthew Bacon-Brenes teaches history (in Japanese) at Mt. Tabor Middle School, and he’s Oregon’s 2018 Teacher of the Year.


It doesn’t take long in Matthew Bacon-Brenes’ classroom to notice that something is special — and very, very different. For one, everyone is speaking Japanese.

It’s a little jarring at first — and seriously impressive — to see a roomful of 13-year-olds writing and talking conversationally in another language. Matthew says teaching social studies in the school’s Japanese Immersion Program encourages students to make sense of their own country’s history “from a multicultural perspective.”

Here’s what Oregon’s 2018 Teacher of the Year had to say about making history come to life, teaching in a foreign language, and making schools inclusive.

What drew you to teaching history?

When I was in high school, I didn’t want anything to do with history because it was taught in a way that was “here are the facts, the events — remember them.” It was a very linear approach, a disconnected approach. [In college], I realized that the purpose of history is to tell us why we’re here today.

That makes history alive and worth going after. History gets good when it has purpose. I think a great deal of the problems we have in this country are consequences of not understanding a multicultural perspective of history.

How have your students responded to learning about history in another language?

People often say, “that’s bizarre.” Teaching in Japanese presents its challenges, but I try to convince my students that that’s a gift that they get to do two things at once.

For me, the evidence really comes in when the kids are excited or get super animated or even angry. History gets really interesting when it’s not decided.

What roles do equity and diversity play in our schools today?

I think it’s absolutely critical… that we approach our classrooms in a way that allows, linguistically and culturally, a diversity of students to participate in a place that they feel safe, that they feel included, and heard. It really makes a difference in who you are and how you walk in the world.


A compromise on police. Mayor Wheeler wanted to hire 93 new police officers this year and pay for it with cuts to other services. But the budget proposal Wheeler released yesterday shows that public pushback paid off: Portland Police will now get 58 new officers, and they’ll be paid for by a tax increase on local businesses. Portlanders have one more chance to weigh in, on May 10, before City Council votes on the proposal on May 16. (Portland Mercury)

Vote 2018. Need help learning the candidates and issues before this month’s election? We’ll be unveiling our voter guide tomorrow — but for now here are more editorial endorsements, this time from The Skanner, which is backing Jo Ann Hardesty and Nick Fish for City Council. (The Skanner)

Baseball buzz. The campaign to bring pro baseball to Portland got a high-profile endorsement last week from Sen. Ron Wyden, but it also hit one potential roadblock: Portland Public Schools announced it would open a competitive bidding process for its Lloyd District headquarters instead of negotiating solely with the Portland Diamond Project, which offered $80 million for the facility last month in a bid to secure a stadium site. (Willamette Week)

Eagle Creek update. If you’re feeling in an itch to return to your favorite Gorge hikes, the Forest Service has mixed news for you. The good news: A few trails will reopen early this summer, including the Benson Bridge trail at Multnomah Falls. The bad news: Many of the Gorge’s most popular trials won’t be open again until this fall or later. (OPB)

Go here instead? It’s not the Gorge, but the Oregon Coast is beautiful, too — and it now has a new state park. Portland Monthly has the scoop on the Sitka Sedge Natural Area, a coastal park between Lincoln City and Tillamook that features forest, dunes, wetlands, and lots of wildlife. (Portland Monthly)


Tomorrow: Watch our Facebook Live with Timber Joey (Facebook) 🆕

🏃 Sunday: Come run with us and our friends at The Athletic (NW | Alphabet)



🌷 Catch Tulip Fest’s final week – through May 6 (Woodburn)

🤓 Play team Jeopardy with buzzers and all (Beaverton)


🔥 Get fire-recovery updates for your favorite Gorge trails (NE | Broadway)

😂 Go to a comedy night with axe-throwing (Oregon City)


🎨 Check out Star Wars-themed string art (Vancouver)

💄 Go to Portland’s weekly drag show competition (NE | Laurelhurst)


🤓 Celebrate May the 4th (Be With You) at Nerd Out (SE | Belmont)

🎹 See soul legend Booker T. Jones in concert – almost sold out (NE | Alberta)

🐐🍺 Pair goat yoga with beer tasting (Oregon City)

🎙Catch Rob Lowe (aka Sam Seaborn) at the Schnitz (Downtown)

🇲🇽 Go to Portland’s 34th Cinco de Mayo Festival – through Sunday (Downtown)


👒 Wear a big hat to Pope House’s Derby Party (NW | Alphabet)

🍻 Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a special cider release (SE | Hawthorne)

🏇 Or celebrate Derby weekend at North 45 (NW | Alphabet)

🐸 Take the kids to a Frog & Toad musical – through May 27 (Downtown)

🍺 Go to Stammtisch’s 4th anniversary party (NE | Kerns) 🆕


🎶 Jam out to Prince and MJ at a ‘silent disco’ (SE | Laurelhurst)

🗣 Or see Broadway hits performed live (N | University Park)


Take us with you! Email a pic to [email protected] or tag #bridgeliner on Instagram or Twitter to be featured.


Portland’s bright orange Biketown bikes are getting a makeover, and you can help decide what they look like.

The competition to design custom bikes for each “quadrant” of the city — North, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, and Southwest — has come up with 15 finalists, and Biketown members get to vote on the winners.

And even if you’re not a member, you can still enjoy the art. 🙌

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