Inside Portland - June 27th, 2019

Inside Portland (Jun 27th, 2019)

Climate Bill Dies, but GOP Still Hiding / Spike in Cougar Sightings / Scooters in the River

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After the rain (and possibly a bit of thunder) today, it'll be sunny to partly cloudy over the weekend. Temperatures should stay in the 70s for the most part.

1. On Tuesday, Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney announced that he didn't have the Democratic votes to pass a carbon tax bill, but as of this morning, Republican senators are still on the lam. Republicans are skeptical that the bill is actually dead. The legislative session ends June 30, and it's unclear if Republicans plan to return to work before then. For every day they missed work, Republican senators have been fined $500, but lawmakers appear to be seeking donations to help pay off those fines. Environmental and other progressive groups have filed a legal complaint, arguing that accepting these donations (including from a GoFundMe campaign) violate ethics law. Meanwhile, Reddit has quarantined a Donald Trump forum because members were threatening violence against authorities who sought to force Republicans to return to work. – OPB

2. Despite the climate bill's demise, the CEO of Stimson Lumber is urging his employees to boycott any company that supports climate action—including Dutch Bros., Fort George Brewery, and the Blazers. The Portland area company is led by Andrew Miller. In a statement to employees, Miller said, "urban legislators so carelessly disregard Oregon's working families" with legislation that addresses climate pollution. The move comes less than a month after he laid off 60 workers at his Forest Grove mill, another economic act of defiance against attempts to combat climate change. The companies he named are members of "Oregon Business for Climate," an organization of more than 100 companies that support climate protection efforts including a carbon tax. – HILLSBORO TRIBUNE

3. We're doing some cross-pollination with our city newsletters and sharing the best places to visit on a long weekend as part of a regular feature we're calling "Inside Gets Out."

Our Inside Los Angeles writer Kayleigh Roberts discusses summer activities in Los Angeles, California: 

Thanks to LA’s near perfect weather, it can feel like summer here all year round. But, since summer means vacations which, in turn, means an influx of tourists (and friends and relatives of locals) looking for fun things to do, here’s a list of five must-do LA activities you can try this summer: 

LACMA: Not only is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art a cultural must-see, home to exhibits of work from world-famous and up-and-coming artists, it’s also a great source of special programming. The museum hosts discussions and events that locals should keep an eye on and offers visitors a chance at a classic LA Instagram pic—posing with the lamps at the museum’s “Urban Lights” exhibit. 

Upright Citizens Brigade: LA is home to a collection of some of the funniest and most creative up and coming actors, writers, and comedians in the world and many of them work their way through the ranks at improv studios like UCB to perfect their respective crafts. With two venues, each with full calendars of cheap (and sometimes free) shows, UCB is a great place to get a lot of entertainment bang for your buck—and maybe see some future famous people in the process. 

Griffith Observatory: In LA, many of the landmarks are famous themselves, having appeared prominently in films. The iconic Griffith Observatory is one of the best examples of this phenomenon. On the one hand, it’s a world-class planetarium that will please any science lovers in your group and on the other, it’s an iconic filming location (its most famous appearance is as the setting for the climactic scene in Rebel Without a Cause) that will please the more starstruck members of your group. 

Disneyland: While it’s technically in Anaheim and not in LA proper, Disneyland has rocketed above Universal Studios (which is actually in LA) as the must-visit theme park in the area this year thanks to the opening of the immensely immersive Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land in the park, which is a pilgrimage destination for geeks and still a genuinely fun time for non-geeks.

Pink’s Hotdogs: If you want to eat somewhere that’s iconically LA, you can’t get much more classic (or touristy) than Pink’s. Yes, you’ll have to wait in a long line for your meal, but you might just run into a celebrity while you’re there, so there’s that. 

When it comes to getting around in LA, if you’re not local, you should seriously consider renting a car, since navigating on public transit, while doable, can be complicated and time consuming and suck up a lot of your valuable experiencing LA time (not that riding the bus for three hours isn’t a kind of LA experience all in its own). If you don’t want to rent a car, download Uber or Lyft or make sure you have the Metro transit time and maps bookmarked on your phone.

4. Cougar sightings in eastern Multnomah County are on the rise. In the past week, officials recorded two sightings in Sandy. A little farther east, in Cascade Locks, two cougars have been killed this month. The first was killed after it killed livestock and tried to get into a home. The second was killed on Friday after trapping a woman and baby. There are lots of theories about why we're seeing more cougars. Fish and Wildlife officials point out there are more cougars in the state today—more than 6,000, compared to 2,000 in the '90s and just 200 in the '60s. Other possible factors include hunting patterns and wildfires. – OPB

5. Portland's Moda Health (yes, the same Moda from the Moda Center) is at the center of a Supreme Court challenge to Obamacare. Companies like Moda Health took a financial hit when the Affordable Care Act required them to rapidly expand coverage to previously uninsured Americans. Moda officials say they never received the compensation they were owed by the federal government. Moda claims it is owed $249 million, but this case includes several insurers and they're collectively seeking $12 billion. Their case lost in federal court last year. – PORTLAND BUSINESS JOURNAL

6. TriMet passed its newest budget plan last night, and it includes possibly closing several downtown MAX stations. The board agreed to study ridership at the Skidmore Fountain stop for three years before making a decision about its future. Other stops on the chopping block include the Kings Hill/SW Salmon and stops near Pioneer Place. – PORTLAND MERCURY

7. It's that time of the year again—time to take off all your clothes and bike around the city in the nude. The annual Naked Bike Ride starts at dusk on Saturday at Laurelhurst Park. If you've never been before, The Oregonian has a handy guide on how to not be a creep, avoid arrest, and keep clothed Portlanders tolerant of this quirky tradition. – THE OREGONIAN/OREGONLIVE

8. The GOP isn't letting the Senate conduct business, but in the House, lawmakers passed a bill that will allow cyclists to treat stop signs like yield signs. It's based on a similar law in Idaho. The Senate had already passed it, so it now heads to Gov. Kate Brown's desk. – WILLAMETTE WEEK

9. PDX Pop Now! has unveiled the lineup for this year's festival. There's a soft spot in my heart for this organization. Growing up, PDX Pop Now! helped keep antisocial and underage music lovers like me plugged into the vibrant local scene playing out in bars and house shows. If you can't make the festival on July 20 and 21, you can still pick up or stream the annual compilation. – PORTLAND MERCURY

10. Divers pulled 57 e-scooter and Biketown rental bikes from the Willamette River on Tuesday and Wednesday. One of them was one of those new Razor scooters (the ones with the seats), which have only been available for about a week. – KATU

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