Week in Review

I thought I'd take a page out of Old's book and offer some tidbit news items for our readers. The last week was a busy one for Portland, in which the national spotlight was on our dear little Stumptown.

- First, the city got to show the world how well our emergency response teams, as well as city leaders, handle staged terrorist attacks. As you read in an earlier post, the Department of Homeland Security chose Portland to host TopOff4, a terrorism-preparedness exercise designed to measure our ability to respond to crisis situations. The supposed dirty bomb was detonated on Monday, and as the week played out, pretend victims (with fake blood and all) were admitted to hospitals (OHSU participated, as did a local high school fronting as a trauma center) and fake news reporters documented the catastrophic events. City buses were used to play the part of fire trucks and bomb-sniffing dogs were used to sniff out any remnants of other terrorist weapons. As it turns out, the multi-million dollar operation wasn't all just fun and games. While police dogs were sniffing out the "terrorists," a car belonging to a Homeland Security official gave off the smell of explosives, alerting multiple dogs to the car. Multiple blocks in the area were closed off, with local businesses and schools also proceeding with lock-out procedures. The actual scare didn't produce anything of substance, though, and all was declared safe some hours later.
- Speaking of terrorism, the nation's most "feared racist skinhead group," as labeled by the Anti Defamation League, came to town a couple weekends ago. The Hammerskin Nation (see dufus on left) chose Portland to celebrate the anniversary of their formation in Dallas, TX 20 years ago. While Portland is generally perceived as a liberal outpost, it is not without its racist roots. Volksfront, one of the most active skinhead groups in the U.S., was created in Oregon in the 1990s. Also, in 1988 an Ethiopian immigrant was beaten to death in Portland by members of East Side White Pride, a gang affiliated with Volksfront. Luckily, as the area is becoming more diverse, and its liberal ideals are strongly being maintained, Portland is seeing less activity of racist groups. However, the gathering of the Hammerskin Nation in the area is still disturbing. As it turns out, the public hall that was rented for the event (under the front of a reunion of old band members) received enough complaints that the gathering was shut down by its owners, leaving the foreskins, I mean hammerskins, without a place to gather. Yay!

- The president of Major League Soccer, Mark Abbott, was in town the other day. He and MLS commissioner, Don Garber, met with Merritt Paulson, the owner of the Portland Timbers, to discuss the possibility of bringing an expansion team to the city. If chosen, the city of Portland would have an MLS team beginning play in 2010 or 2011. They would most likely play at PGE park, on the condition that the park is renovated to MLS standards. Such a renovation would likely cost $50 million. An additional $30 mil would be paid as a fee to MLS to bring Portland its second professional sports franchise. In speaking of Portland, Garber stated, "this is a soccer town" and it "is a passionate soccer community." While I don't follow soccer, it would be a huge boost to the sports community and, if successful, may put Portland closer to acquiring another sports franchise in the future (please, for Christ's sake, bring baseball to Portland).

1 comment:

Oldie said...