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Inside Portland

Inside Portland (Jul 1st, 2019)

We've got some clouds in the forecast the next couple days, but temperatures should stay in the 70s and 80s. Most importantly, July 4 should sunny. Here at Inside, however, we will be going dark—that means no newsletters. Your next Inside Portland newsletter will go out on Monday, July 8.

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1. It was a very busy weekend in Salem as Republican state senators returned to the capitol, ending their second walkout of the session. This time, the walkout ground legislative progress to a complete halt for nine days. After returning, lawmakers passed dozens of bills before the end of the legislative session. Some of the highest profile bills addressed paid family leave, zoning regulations, and sent tobacco taxes and campaign finance reform to the 2020 voter ballot. The 2019 session adjourned before 5:30 yesterday afternoon, a little more than six hours before Oregon's constitutional limits would have forced lawmakers to end the session. – OPB

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2. Before lawmakers could start passing bills, they had to address the controversial statements from Republican Sen. Brian Boquist. You may remember that, just before the Republican walkout began, the senator from Tillamook told KGW that state police seeking to bring Republican senators back to work should "send bachelors and come heavily armed." He also told Senate President Peter Courtney that "hell's coming to visit you personally." According to Democratic Sen. Sara Gelser, an outside investigator has determined that Boquist "poses a credible threat of violence." He was barred from returning to the Capitol over the weekend, and a formal complaint about the comments is expected to have a hearing later this month. – KGW

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3. By the Numbers: Cannabis and Epilepsy

87.2% – According to a new survey conducted by OHSU, that's how many epilepsy patients tried using cannabis to treat their condition. It's part of Epilepsy & Behavior's new issue that examines the relationship between cannabis and epilepsy.

82% – Of those who tried using cannabis, 82 percent either "agree" (28.2 percent) or "strongly agree" (53.8 percent) that cannabis improved their ability to control seizures.

66.7% – That's how many patients smoked the cannabis to treat themselves, though many patients used multiple methods of ingestion, including edibles and concentrated products.

30.8% – That's how many patients used CBD-dominant cannabis (as opposed to THC-dominant). The same percentage of patients also used multiple types of cannabis strains and compound balances.

10% – The split between CBD and THC users saw huge differences between genders. Only 10 percent of women sought out THC-dominant cannabis.

47% – That's how many men sought out THC-dominant cannabis.

0.05% – Of those who used cannabis to treat seizures, less than one percent could measure their exact dosage in milligrams. – OPB

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4. It's been a while since dueling protests last hit the streets of Portland, but that streak of peace was broken Saturday. Hundreds of left-leaning demonstrators showed up to oppose dozens of right-wing demonstrators at Patriot Prayer and "HimToo" events scheduled downtown. Like in past instances, the dueling protesters clashed violently, leading to at least three arrests. Counter-protesters handed out milkshakes. Some drank the milkshakes, others threw them. Police claimed that the milkshakes contained quick-drying cement, but they offered no proof, other than to say an officer believed a cup "appeared to have material on it consistent with quick drying (sic) cement." The lack of evidence didn't stop the quick-drying cement angle from getting picked up by national news outlets. – PORTLAND MERCURY

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5. There's been a lot of talk in the national media about the way the U.S. deals with immigrant children, but here in Portland, lawmakers still haven't been able to tour our own facility for detained immigrant children. It was almost exactly a year ago when Gov. Kate Brown, Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, and Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden were originally denied access to the facility. Shocking stories have detailed "inhumane conditions" at facilities in Texas, and Sen. Merkley has called for formal investigations into those conditions. Morrison Child and Family Services, the organization running the facility, actually gave lawmakers a green light to tour the facility, but federal authorities revoked that invitation before lawmakers could gain access. – PORTLAND MERCURY

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6. Starting today, Portland's minimum wage has been bumped up to $12.50. It's the latest increase under a law passed in 2016, which gradually raises Portland's minimum wage to $14.75 by the end of 2022. The law is statewide, but the highest minimum wage only applies to the Portland metro area. The minimum wage is now $11 in rural counties and $11.25 in the rest of the state. – WILLAMETTE WEEK

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7. Businesses are pulling their support for legislation to address climate change. Deschutes Brewery cited "the importance of local business" as it reversed its stance on carbon taxes. Dutch Bros. pulled out of the "Oregon Businesses for Climate" group as well. Last week, I wrote about Stimson Lumber's CEO urging his employees to boycott businesses who support carbon taxes. It isn't clear whether that played into the businesses decisions or not. – THE BEND BULLETIN

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8. Will the future of the MAX be underwater? Metro leaders are studying the feasibility of running the MAX underground through downtown Portland and the Willamette River. It's part of an effort to reduce congestion on the Steel Bridge. They're accepting public comment, so make sure to make your voice heard! – THE OREGONIAN/OREGONLIVE

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9. If last week's mention of PDX Pop Now! didn't strike your fancy, maybe you'd prefer to check out the Montavilla Jazz Festival. The annual nonprofit festival just unveiled its lineup, including former Motown session drummer Mel Brown. – PORTLAND MERCURY

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10. In the wake of the tense GOP walkout, and with the 2020 campaign kicking off around the country, I thought it'd be worthwhile to give some context to Oregon politics. That's why, next Monday, I'm doing a takeover issue about recent political trends around the state. If there are any specific issues, political trends, or political figures you want me to look into, hit reply and let me know in an email! Happy Fourth, everyone, have a great week! – Schuyler

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Schuyler Durham writes Inside Portland and Inside Finance. He’s a lifelong Portlander who got his start covering the local music scene, but later became enamored with the complexities of financial and political reporting. After three years in broadcast news, he's now diving back into the digital realm. You can keep up with his writing on Twitter at @SchuylerWriter or watch him goof around on Instagram at @bitterbuddha.

Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside), David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology), and Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).

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