Axios Portland

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⭐ It's Thursday. Thanks for being with us, Portland.

🌧️ Today's weather: Rain, wind and snow. High 46, low 35.

🎧 Sounds like: "Take On Me" by A-ha

🥶 Situational awareness: Multnomah County has opened four severe weather shelters, at least through 10am today.

Today's newsletter is 832 words — a 3-minute read

1 big thing: Climate change's impact on air quality

Estimated days with unhealthy air quality, 2024
Data: First Street Foundation; Note: Maximum count of days with unhealthy air quality from anywhere within each county; Map: Axios Visuals

Air quality in Oregon, and across the Pacific Northwest, is poised to worsen over the next three decades due to an increase in prolonged wildfire seasons and persistent drought, a new report suggests.

Why it matters: Research published by First Street Foundation, which provides climate-risk data, shows that even after decades of progress in the U.S. toward cleaner air, climate change-related events will cause a steady deterioration through 2054 — yielding a growing "climate penalty" to air quality.

  • The effects of this penalty are not evenly distributed around the country, however.
  • Washington, Oregon and California are projected to see some of the worst air quality impacts, chiefly from wildfire smoke.

What they found: The study finds that climate change is increasing the prevalence of two of the air pollutants most harmful to human health: particulate matter, also known as PM2.5 and tropospheric ozone.

  • PM2.5 are tiny particles emitted by vehicles, power plants, wildfires and other sources. They can get lodged in people's lungs and enter the bloodstream, causing or exacerbating numerous health problems.

Zoom in: Through the use of air quality observations and the development of the new model, First Street's researchers found that the West will be particularly hard hit by increasing amounts of PM2.5 emissions, as wildfires become more frequent and severe.

  • EPA data shows that in the West more broadly, orange air quality days — where the air quality index level is above 100 — exploded by as much as 477% between 2000 and 2021, the report states.

By the numbers: Multnomah County is predicted to experience 16 days annually where the air quality index is above 100 by 2054. For 2024, the average is expected to be 12 days.

Keep reading

2. "Holy Frit" peeks inside Bullseye Glass

The stained-glass window under construction at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kan., as featured in the documentary "Holy Frit." Photo: Courtesy of Kyle J. Mickelson

A documentary about a Portland glass company will have its first local screenings in Camas (4pm Saturday) and Portland (6pm Sunday).

What's happening: Shot over 3.5 years, "Holy Frit" shows one man's struggle to deliver on a project for which he knew he didn't have the skills.

Context: The documentary tracks artist Tim Carey as he works on a 100 feet wide, 35 feet high, stained glass window for the Resurrection megachurch in Leawood, Kansas.

  • Film director Justin Monroe began shooting footage as soon as his friend Carey, at the traditional stained glass company Judson Studios, won the multimillion-dollar contract.

The intrigue: Carey designed a storyboard packed with biblical characters, but did not know how to turn his painterly image into glass.

  • Traditionally, stained glass has a paint-by-numbers simplicity, but Carey wanted detail and blended colors.
  • Enter Portland's Bullseye Glass, which since 1974 had been making colored glass for artists to fuse, slump and blow.

Read more

3. Rose City Rundown

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

🪫 Portland General Electric says it has spent more than $30 million on outage repairs and restoration to recover from January's ice-and-wind storm, and the bill may grow. (The Oregonian 🔒)

⚕️Sejal Hathi, the new director of the Oregon Health Authority, came to Oregon for the state's ambitious health goals, strong reproductive health laws and groundbreaking Medicaid programs, she said on Oregon Public Broadcasting's "Think Out Loud." (OPB)

🛝 Hennebery Eddy Architects' boss Tim Eddy has advice for the designers of downtown's Darcelle XV Plaza: Keep it simple. (Willamette Week)

🏥 Lawmakers and health care leaders are supporting a bill to stop private investors from buying out medical practices, a growing trend seen around the country. (Oregon Capital Chronicle)

4. Art Snack: Labor of Love

Patrick Martinez and Jay Lynn Gomez's work "Labor of Love" (2022) is part of the Labor of Love exhibit at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at Portland State University, now through April 27. Photo: Courtesy of JSMA at PSU

"Labor of Love" is a group show that runs at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at Portland State University now through April 27 (free).

  • It's also a key work in the exhibit, the kind of cheerful, pop art-influenced critique of capitalism that has become standard in academia and on the streets.

Why it matters: The show, curated by Alexandra Terry, explores the issue of forms of labor that go unnoticed or unacknowledged and thus unregulated.

Details: Patrick Martinez and Jay Lynn Gomez's work "Labor of Love" throws in everything but the kitchen sink: stucco, neon, ceramic, acrylic paint, spray paint, latex house paint, family archive photos, ceramic tile, LED signs and more.

Go deeper: Don't miss the guided tour (1pm Saturday, March 2).

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Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that the artworks featured in "Labor of Love" do not come from Jordan Schnitzer's personal collection, and to clarify the theme of the show.

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5. “Old man yells at cloud” — and turns 70

Happy birthday to a Portland legend. Photo: Lisa O'Connor/Variety via Getty Images

🥳 The creator of "The Simpsons," Matt Groening, turns 70 today.

The intrigue: The cartoonist confirmed Springfield is not in Oregon, but references to our city are pretty apparent in the show.

  • The fictional town of Springfield is surrounded by rolling hills, forests, a Trojan-esque power plant and even a polluted body of water.
  • Many characters share the same name as Portland streets — Mr. Burns, Mayor Quimby, Reverend Lovejoy and, of course, Ned Flanders, who had a pedestrian bridge named after him in 2021.

The bottom line: Groening now lives in Los Angeles, but Oregon's "independent oddness" has forever influenced his work.

🌲 Joseph is looking forward to a weekend of cold, wet yard work.

🌷 Meira will be sad to see all the newly sprouted tulips die if we end up getting another snowstorm soon.

This newsletter was edited by Emma Way and copy edited by Steven Patrick and Anjelica Tan.