Axios Portland

Newsletter branding image

It's Wednesday, and National Scribble Day, which is not as ridiculous as it sounds.

☂️ Today's weather: Showers and windy. High 54, low 44.

ğŸŽ§ Sounds like: "Famine" by Sinead O'Connor

Today's newsletter is 918 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Multnomah County among healthiest in U.S., report finds

<span style="text-align: center; display: block"> 2024 County Health Factors rankings</span>
Data: County Health Rankings; Note: Factors include the prevalence of healthy behaviors, quality of clinical care, socio-economic indicators and physical environment; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios

Multnomah County residents are healthier than most of the nation, according to a new report.

Why it matters: Multnomah County has a lower rate of premature death and a lower share of adults reporting they're in poor physical health compared to the rest of the country.

  • That's according to County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, program of the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Yes, but: Our mental health is below the national average.

  • Multnomah County adults reported that their mental health was not good on 5.8 of the previous 30 days. The national average is 4.8 days.

Between the lines: Multnomah County's generally high health outcomes are driven by several factors, including lower-than-average rates of obesity, and low rates of teen births and smoking.

  • Almost all Multnomah County residents report living close to a park or recreation facility, another factor measured in the report.
  • Residents also have better access to doctors and mental health care providers than the rest of the country.

The fine print: The health indicators measured in the study included social and economic factors, like high school completion and unemployment rates, and factors like pollution levels, access to doctors and commuting distance.

What they're saying: Places with strong civic infrastructure, such as broadband internet access and public libraries, "are often healthier," County Health Rankings & Roadmaps said in a news release.

Reality check: Some urban areas on the West Coast such as King County (Seattle) and San Francisco County have better outcomes than Portland and are some of the healthiest populations in the nation.

Read more

2. OSU and WSU score millions in Pac-12 settlement

The remaining two members of the Pac-12, Oregon State and Washington State, reached a financial settlement with the 10 departing members. Photo: Tyler Schank/Getty Images

The departing members of the Pac-12 finalized a multimillion-dollar settlement this week with Oregon State and Washington State — the two universities that will stay in the athletic conference beyond this summer.

Why it matters: The financial settlement marks the first step in rebuilding the conference, which has been marred with uncertainty since 10 teams announced plans to drop out last August.

  • There's plenty still up in the air, though, including the future of each teams' media rights, athletic budgets and future matchups.

By the numbers: According to the settlement, each departing school will have $5 million withheld during the 2024 fiscal year (totaling $50 million), and must pay an additional $1.5 million as a "supplemental contribution" to help the Beavers and Cougars navigate the conference's future.

Zoom in: OSU president Jayathi Murthy previously estimated the school could face a gap of about $40 million in its annual athletics budget due to the Pac-12's collapse. WSU predicted a similar loss.

  • Whether the settlement will be enough is unknown.

Catch up quick: Oregon, Washington, USC and UCLA will leave in August to join the Big Ten.

  • Four more teams — Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State and Utah — are heading to the Big 12, while Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley, will join the ACC.

What's next: Temporary agreements mean both Oregon State and Washington State will have games to play into next year, but could face harsh penalties if they try to recruit Mountain West members to join the Pac-12 before 2027.

The rivalry game

3. Rose City Rundown

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

🏢 Office vacancy in Portland's central city reached 30% at the end of 2023, making it the highest of the 50 largest downtown office markets in the country, according to real estate firm Colliers. (The Oregonian 🔐)

👾 KATU news producer Brian Anslinger will offer a non-credit course at Portland Community College on UFOs —"From Film to Real Life? UFOs, UAPs, Government and the Media" debuts this spring, online only. (Willamette Week)

🚒 Pacific Market complex in the 6700 block of NE Broadway was destroyed by a three-alarm fire yesterday morning. There were no injuries and fire crews are investigating the cause. (FOX12)

4. Best Day Ever: Art collector Jordan Schnitzer

Art collector Jordan Schnitzer's best day ever means hitting some old Portland eateries for pancakes, burgers and dogs. Photo: WSU Photographic Services

Jordan Schnitzer, president of Schnitzer Properties, is an art collector and philanthropist, and his personal collection of prints is one of the largest in the country.

While Schnitzer — the son of Arlene Schnitzer (as in the concert hall) — travels the country loaning works to multiple museums, his best day in Portland centers on old-school spots.

ğŸ¥ž For breakfast, he loves the Original Pancake House on Barbur Boulevard.

  • "Those German pancakes literally melt in your mouth," he told Axios.

🍜 Lunch is at The Boiling Bowl on NW 21st Avenue.

  • "It's a little hidden jewel."

🐟 If he has out-of-town visitors, he takes them to the Bonneville Hatchery to see Herman the Sturgeon.

🌭 For dinner, at Nick's Famous Coney Island, he gets the frankfurter and chili. He recently wore a suit and tie, but no one minded.

  • "It feels so neighborly and there's a sense of connection to being a Portlander."

Read more

5. 👀 Where's Joby, revealed

Joby gets a much-needed hug from his dad (Meira's husband Julian) after climbing up Beacon Rock. Photo: Meira Gebel/Axios

Only two wrong answers this week, which means y'all sure know what the view from Beacon Rock looks like!

🌋 Zoom in: Beacon Rock is the core of a volcano that erupted 57,000 years ago. The outer, softer material washed away with the Ice Age floods, which carved out what we know as the Columbia River Gorge.

  • William Clark named it "Beaten Rock" on his voyage west with Meriwether Lewis in 1805 but changed it to "Beacon" on their return.
  • Today, Beacon Rock is one of the most popular state parks in the Gorge, with nearly 300,000 visitors a year.

If you go: Be ready to traverse 52 steep switchbacks with a 680-foot elevation gain over the course of 1.8 miles — a serious glute workout.

👏 Congrats to reader Jan E. for correctly identifying this iconic landmark! Guess you can call yourself a geologist now?

👩‍❤️‍👨 Meira is taking the next few days off to celebrate her five-year wedding anniversary.

💫 Joseph is back from a deep cleaning.

This newsletter was edited by Rachel La Corte and copy edited by Steven Patrick and Anjelica Tan.