Axios Portland

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🌸 Good morning, Tuesday. Another beautiful day.

Today's weather: Sunny, with clouds in the evening. High 74, low 46.

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πŸŽ‚ Happy birthday to Axios Portland member Alex Kocher!

Today's newsletter is 941 words β€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: How "recrim" could impact public defenders

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Public health advocates and lawmakers are concerned the recriminalization of possessing small amounts of illicit drugs will further burden Oregon's criminal justice system, which has been facing a public defender shortage for years.

Why it matters: Thousands of Oregonians charged with crimes and unable to afford attorneys are often left to defend themselves β€” a crisis some worry could soon be compounded by the rollback of voter-approved Measure 110.

Catch up quick: Earlier this month, the Oregon Legislature voted overwhelmingly to reverse the part of Measure 110 that decriminalized possessing small amounts of drugs like fentanyl, meth and heroin.

  • Part of the bill, HB 4002, includes an optional "deflection buy-in" for counties, where police officers can refer those arrested or cited for possession to treatment instead of having them enter pleas or standing trial.
  • Twenty-three out of 36 counties indicated they'll introduce deflection programs but because the bill doesn't require their approval by a state agency, policies vary on a county-by-county basis.

State of play: If Gov. Tina Kotek signs the bill into law β€” and she's indicated she will β€” criminal penalties for possession would begin on Sept. 1.

What they're saying: Five months may not be enough time for local jurisdictions to set up deflection programs, determine eligibility or apply for grant funding, state Sen. Floyd Prozanski told Axios.

  • Prozanski said optional deflection potentially will disproportionately impact people of color, and that's one of the reasons he voted against the measure.

Threat level: If a county doesn't have a deflection program set up in time, "it's likely that people are going to start churning through the criminal legal system," Kellen Russoniello, senior counsel with the Drug Policy Alliance, told Axios.

  • Overall, the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission estimates that "1,523 cases per year will enter into the criminal justice system and be added to the current system capacity" when recriminalization begins.

Friction point: Oregon only has 31% of the public defense attorneys needed to handle the state's current caseload, according to a 2022 report from the American Bar Association.

The bottom line

2. πŸ“ˆ Portland's "she-conomy" is growing

Data: Yelp; Table: Alice Feng/Axios

Women-owned business openings in the Portland area increased 16% in 2023 compared to 2022, new Yelp data shows.

Why it matters: The trend is more evidence that the "she-conomy" β€” economic growth attributed to women and marked by the release of "Barbie," BeyoncΓ©'s Renaissance tour and Taylor Swift last year β€” continues to expand, Axios' Hope King writes.

By the numbers: Nearly 600 women-owned businesses opened up in Portland, Vancouver and Hillsboro in 2023, compared to 512 in 2022, according to Yelp data.

The big picture: Women-owned business openings rose 17% nationwide, Axios' Analis Bailey reports from the data.

  • Austin (34%), Miami (31%), Washington, D.C. (25%), Denver (25%) and Orlando (22%) saw the highest growth rates among U.S. metros with at least 500 openings in 2023, according to Yelp.

Women are opening more businesses traditionally dominated by men, such as plumbing and HVAC repair, new findings from Yelp reveal.

  • Listings within the home services category created by women grew 38% in 2023 from 2022.

What they're saying: "Whether you attended a women-led stadium tour, adopted a new wellness routine, picked up a new bestselling book, or updated your wardrobe, the 'she-conomy' dominated cultural trends and ultimately drove economic growth," Yelp trend expert Tara Lewis told Axios.

  • Portlander Nai Zhao, who runs Charcuterie Me, told Axios she and her two business besties put on a networking event and 80 women showed up.
  • "Women need to see another person succeeding to believe you can do it too," Zhao said.

Read more

3. Rose City Rundown

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

πŸ’Έ Nike co-founder Phil Knight donated $2 million to the Bring Balance to Salem PAC, which gives money to Republican legislative candidates. (Oregon Capital Chronicle)

🧒 The Portland Pickles (yes the baseball team) is opening its own sports bar on N Mississippi Avenue on Thursday. Yankees fans not allowed. (Portland Business Journal)

πŸ€ The Portland Pilots play Kansas State and Oregon State play Eastern Washington on Friday in NCAA women's basketball as March Madness continues. (The Oregonian)

4. β˜• Last Meal: Deadstock Coffee's Ian Williams

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photo: Courtesy of Ian Williams

Ian Williams of Deadstock Coffee has been fostering community among Portland's sneakerheads since he first opened his streetwear-inspired cafe in 2015.

Zoom in: And even though coffee is the centerpiece of Deadstock (its slogan is "coffee should be dope"), it's not the only thing the brand is known for.

  • Williams has become a pillar of Old Town, hosting weekly pop-ups, running clubs and field days where anyone is welcome to join.

We wanted to know: If Williams had one last meal, what would he eat?

  • His drink of choice is an Arnold Palmer ("It's gotta be a Southern one," he told Axios), not a cappuccino.

πŸ— Appetizer: Williams would start things off at Alberta Street Market, the beloved convenience known for its chicken and jojos, with some wings.

πŸ” Entree: Heading south, the next stop is Bluto's for a wedge salad (iceberg piled high with bacon, pickled onion and ranch-tzatziki) and the spicy beef hummus.

Doughnuts for dessert

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5. πŸͺ΄ 1 photo to go: Field Office sits waiting

Dockside Saloon owners refused to move when Field Office was designed. Six years and one pandemic later, the LEED Platinum office complex is half empty but the Dockside is again open seven days a week. Photo: Joseph Gallivan/Axios

When Field Office on industrial NW Front Avenue opened in 2018 it was praised for its greenery inside and out.

Why it matters: This spec office building embodied design thinking and welcomed tech optimists such as Adpearance β€” a digital marketing agency β€” but stands half-empty six years later.

What we're watching: With workers reluctant to return to office life post-pandemic, office vacancies in Portland's central city are at 24-29% by some estimates, while research firm Colliers thinks they could hit 40% this year as leases expire.

πŸ€ Meira is giddy seeing all the tiny sprouts of clover in her backyard.

πŸ€ Joseph is being schooled in March Madness.

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