6/11/2023 News Roundup


<< Drag performer Poison Waters was slated to host a Drag Queen Storytime at Tigard Public Library on Sunday. That is, until online threats took over social media.

On Thursday, the library announced a decision to cancel the event due to “threats of violence and an indication that the safety of the community may be jeopardized.” Additionally, the library will close for the entire day.

Kevin Cook, who performs under the stage name Poison Waters, said he noticed hateful messages on social media about the event before he was scheduled to host it.>>

<<Cook said the biggest misconception about Drag Queen Storytime is that “there is anything remotely sexual going on,” comparing his role to being a clown at a party.



The O editorializes:

<<New homeless camping restrictions approved last week by Portland City Council are a step in the right direction. If Portland is ever going to turn the tide on homelessness, then enacting clear limits, such as the daytime ban on camping in public spaces, is necessary to curb the proliferation of tents in neighborhoods, downtown sidewalks and along trails.

But the success of such actions depends on thoughtful follow-through to ensure those rules come with consistent outreach, access to a range of services, collaboration with nonprofit and government partners and judicious enforcement – a combination that has largely eluded the city’s and county’s approaches to date. And early indications from Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office are worrisome: After initially deflecting a question about where the mayor’s office expected thousands of homeless campers will go each day, Wheeler’s spokesman Cody Bowman responded that “as long as they are not camping, anywhere they please.”

Such a flippant answer ignores that most people who are homeless – and who may have disabilities, mental illness or substance abuse issues ­– cannot go where “they please” very easily, especially if they’re carrying their life’s possessions with them. But it raises other questions. If the mayor’s office does not have a cogent answer for the intended consequences of a daytime camping ban, how will it possibly handle the unintended ones?

With just a few weeks before the law’s July 1 effective date, the city must quickly put in place the organizational and administrative structure to enact this ordinance competently. A camping ban that simply rousts thousands of people from tent sites each morning with insufficient support for where they will go will only add to the chaos and instability that the city is trying to counter.>>



<<The 22-year-old man accused of causing at least $20,000 worth of damage by tagging property in Portland and Vancouver took a plea deal Wednesday.

Emile Laurent, who allegedly left the tag “TENDO” across multiple Portland buildings, pleaded guilty to one felony count and three misdemeanor counts of criminal mischief. In exchange, Multnomah County prosecutors dropped 21 additional charges, according to court records.

A county circuit court judge sentenced Laurent to three years of probation, 100 hours of community service and $6,815 in restitution distributed amongst four victims.

Laurent, a high-profile skateboarder who has been featured in Thrasher magazine, turned himself in to police Aug. 22. Officials announced the day before that they were searching for the “prolific graffiti vandal.”

He was accused of damaging various locations owned by the city of Portland and the Oregon Department of Transportation, as well as several private businesses and properties in Portland and Vancouver.

Laurent was charged with criminal mischief in 2018, but prosecutors dropped the case.

Under the plea deal, Laurent cannot possess “spray paint, spray paint tips or other graffiti related instruments,” unless approved by a probation officer, court records show.

In another effort to curb vandalism in Portland, police arrested a 43-year-old man accused of graffiti tagging and ghost gun manufacturing in April. Jacob Ramos faces over 100 charges related to the crimes. He will appear in court next on June 21.

A poll of Portland voters found that 61% of respondents saw graffiti as a “very big” or “moderately big” problem in October.>>