🛒 Shopping while Black in Portland

Light cast from under bridge

Looking in today: Ukrainian assistance, an end to masks and a second life for a beloved tree.

Listen up, Thursday. The war in Ukraine began over a year ago, and there’s still no end in sight — as of late, Russia has committed thousands of troops to besieging the eastern town of Bakhmut, and refugees in places near and far have hunkered down for the long haul.

One spot of light for those forced to leave their homeland is Oregon’s Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO). They’ve provided material aid to refugees from all over the world, including those Ukrainains who landed in the Beaver State. However, with the war dragging on, the state legislature is considering bills that would waive credit-check requirements for Oregon’s 4,500 Ukrainian refugees and make it easier for those holding Ukrainian driver’s licenses to get state licenses. Removing those small barriers can make a big difference given that many refugees are short on funds. Perhaps removing barriers elsewhere could help long-term residents, too?

We’re keeping your headlines barrier-free as usual.

What Portland’s talking about

🛍 More than a dozen Black Portlanders are suing retailers for discrimination.

They say life in (very white) metro Portland has come with unwanted attention while out shopping — the law firm representing the plaintiffs says a rise in racism and ratcheted-up security in big-box stores has led to frivolous charges for “shopping while Black.” This comes despite “shrinkage,” the retail term for shoplifting, remaining at or below pre-pandemic levels. Four of the plaintiffs shared their stories to Willamette Week, and… just wow. Not a great look for our city. (Willamette Week)

😷 As of April 3, masks won’t be required in medical settings.

COVID test positivity has been declining, as have tests for flu and RSV, and with the sunsetting of federal emergency guidelines, Oregon is moving to end its own rules. It’s worth noting that despite the end of masking in clinics and hospitals, COVID continues to be deadly, and the Oregon Health Authority continues to state that masks “remain an effective way to reduce transmission of respiratory viruses.” (Portland Mercury)

🚜Feed’em Freedom is serving education.

Feed’em Freedom helps provide families with fresh produce and education on how to grow your own food, which in this economy we could all welcome. Members work on a one-acre farm in East Portland to help grow vegetables that help feed up to 500 people a week. The organization’s focus is on helping the Black community, indigenous peoples, and people of color, but their doors are open to anyone in need. The non-profit is also raising funds to build a Black community food center with a kitchen to give the community access to even more learning opportunities. (KGW)

🍄 It’s been a bumpy rollout for legal psilocybin 

Dutch company Synthesis Institute, which had until recently been facilitating mushroom training sessions, just announced its bankruptcy, leaving some students out thousands of dollars. Per state law, the students should be allowed to take other courses or receive a refund, and at least one Canadian company that organizes “psychedelic retreats” has expressed interest in taking on some Synthesis students. (Willamette Week

🌳From debris to furniture, the Sellwood chestnut tree is living on.

Last December, a storm took down a much-beloved neighborhood chestnut tree. Citizens in the Sellwood community decided to start a very successful GoFundMe, which funded a project to transform the 15,000-pound tree trunk into charcuterie boards and tables. From the tree, Rescued Oregon Timber was able to make over 200 charcuterie boards, a table top that will be going to Portland Parks and Recreation, and two coffee tables that will be raffled off. (KOIN)

🍲Here are the most anticipated restaurant openings so far:

Fall is a little ways away, but it’s not too soon to get excited for these openings. For instance, though you can already get Jojo at their food cart, they’re also opening a brick and mortar at 902 NW 13th Avenue. Another expansion to salivate over is the Mama Đút location opening on 1477 NE Alberta Street, a larger location that will feature an expanded menu with soups, yakisoba pan-made with pancit, and vegan milk bread. There are lots of new concepts coming that you can salivate over, too, like Fools and Horses, which will serve Hawaiian food with an American twist. (PDX Eater)

One more thing…

Someone help this man get his model boat back, please. Rick Piper describes the loss of his 10-foot, 100-pound model of the USS Missouri as more of a kidnapping than theft. That’s because he and his son started work on the model over ten years ago when his son was still in high school. They worked on the plan for years and then enlisted the expertise of a local craftsman to bring the museum-quality project to life. After its disappearance, they are now offering a reward for its return. If you know anything, please contact Portland Bureau of Police, which is aware of the missing model boat. 

Do good, Portland. Until next week!

— Colin and Kit, multi-city editors at Bridgeliner

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