YEARS: 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99
FEATURES: Intro | the Mt. Hood freeway | city hall of fame | architexture | rhymin' rogues | some of our favorite Portlanders | 25 years of statistics | what ever happened to...| Nike's marketing muscle | The Oregonian's big oh's
1990: Wake up! It's Tom Peterson! | Mediterranean masterpiece: Zefiro | The black hole at starry night |
The ballot measure that ate oregon
The Trail Blazers whip the Phoenix Suns, lock up the Western Conference and reach the NBA Finals for the first time since 1977. They are demolished by the Detroit Pistons, who clinch the title at the Memorial Coliseum with a last-minute long shot by guard Vinnie Johnson.
Jaws drop when Gov. Neil Goldschmidt announces that he is separating from his wife and won't run for a second term. Rumors had become so intense in recent months that Goldschmidt's staff adopted a policy of making sure he was never alone with another woman.
Fanfare, balloons, confetti--yes, it's another shopping mall. The opening of the $134.5 million Pioneer Place sends Portlanders into a predictable materialist frenzy: Crowds are so heavy the escalators break down. "A little slice of Clackamas Town Center has opened in downtown Portland," sniffs WW.
Will Vinton proposes building a Claymation theme park and motion picture studio on a disused railyard next to Union Station. The idea goes nowhere.
Local rappers U-Krew embark on a national tour after making Spin magazine's "Hip-Hop Map of America." The smooth, middle-of-the-road quintet scores gigs opening for MC Hammer and the New Kids on the Block.
Police Chief Richard Walker retires after serving three years--an eternity by the standards of the Clark administration. Capt. Tom Potter becomes Mayor Clark's fifth chief. His mandate: to sell the bureau on community policing.
Flatten your collar, strap on your platform soles and prepare to shake your groove apparatus. Disco is back, and with it a bizarre nostalgia for that tackiest of decades, the '70s.
High-school bands, laser shows and a Navajo prayer greet the $91.5 million Oregon Convention Center, as 50,000 Portlanders come to gawk at the building's (purely decorative) twin spires and other examples of their tax dollars at work. Attractions include a city dump truck, a Tupperware display and a cougar cub named Toma.
Vice President Dan Quayle is confronted by a massive demonstration including the surreal reverse-peristalsis protesters who vomit red, white and blue. The event takes an ugly turn and 51 people are arrested. A Quayle aide later says, "We've never seen anything like it."
Arch-conservative independent Al Mobley polls 13 percent in the governor's race, stealing votes (and victory) from Republican Dave Frohnmayer. The upshot: Democrat Barbara Roberts becomes Oregon's first female governor, with 46 percent of the vote. Roberts' triumph is bittersweet: She will have to contend with the tax-slashing Measure 5.
Party's over. Five years after deregulation cut the savings-and-loan industry a virtual blank check, local thrifts wake up in a strange bed with a gold-plated hangover. Far West Federal Bank finds itself invested in a Las Vegas horse ranch owned by crooner Wayne Newton. Oh, yeah, it's millions of dollars in debt, too. Eventually, Far West will be bailed out by federal regulators.
The Oregon Citizen Alliance proposes an initiative that would outlaw abortion. It fails in every county.
Barbarians at the gate: After building up their fund-raising machine under party chairman Craig Bergman, the GOP takes over the Oregon House for the first time in two decades. Larry Campbell replaces Vera Katz as House Speaker and will preside over the GOP's slim 32-28 majority.
Ben Ellis and Tres Shannon open the UFO Cafe, an all-ages rock club at 214 W Burnside St., which they would later rename the X-Ray Cafe. Their motto: Live Music, All Ages, Bad Neighborhood.
BY MICHAELA LOWTHIAN
BY ROGER J. PORTER
One sensed it from the outset. I remember the first line of my early review: "This may be the place." To be sure, there were satisfying restaurants in Portland--L'Auberge, Atwater's, Genoa--but when Zefiro opened, the stakes shot upward like a meteoric bull market. It was not just that the cooking was superb, the service brisk and informed, the menu skillfully composed. What abruptly counted for so much was that Zefiro changed Portland. It was the first place that seemed to transcend the sweet, friendly, benign town that had not appreciably altered for decades, the town that still trailed its innocence and its dowager skirts. Zefiro brought Portland a metropolitan vibrancy, a buzz, a jolt of sophistication. You walked into the room and everything was different. You felt the urge to dress up, simply to meet the place on its terms.
No other eating house in town made you feel so unabashedly a sense of
well-being. The bar created cocktails that spoke of Tribeca; the Mediterranean
cuisine took you to France, Spain, Italy and Morocco with a concern for
authenticity but inflected with a modernizing impulse. Oysters with a
bracing mignonette sauce; the Platonic Caesar salad; the succulent gnocchi
bathed in cream; the Catalan braised duck legs; a tart lamb tagine; extraordinary
home-made ice creams--everything about Zefiro asserted poise, assurance,
quickened life and, above all, unflagging culinary confidence. Although
Zefiro didn't revolutionize the food of a region in the way that Alice
Waters' Chez Panisse did for Northern California in the '70s, Chris Israel,
Monique Siu and Bruce Carey's establishment altered this town and made
everyone conscious of what a restaurant should be. Its alumni are everywhere,
its epigones have sprouted and spread down the avenue, and for nearly
a decade now it has been the mother of us all.
Moreau had vanished three days after 180 counterfeit tickets were seized at a John Lee Hooker show at Starry Night. Hurwitz was the last known person to see Moreau alive, and the story examined Hurwitz's possible involvement with the ticket scam. Hurwitz said he confronted Moreau, who admitted to the scam but then drove away into the night, never to be seen again.
Hurwitz responded to the story by filing a libel suit against Redden and WW. By the time the lawsuit was dismissed in 1992, Redden had started up his own biweekly newspaper, PDXS, in which he continued to investigate Hurwitz's possible involvement in Moreau's disappearance as well as in other illegal activities, including the 1989 bombing of Sav-Mor Grub, a grocery in Old Town. Redden's hard-hitting epic, The Larry Hurwitz Story, ran for 23 issues of his now-defunct newspaper.
After several years, the leads had gone cold. Starry Night closed down, Portland police detectives had not found a body, and Hurwitz had moved to Vietnam, where he promoted rock concerts. But Moreau's parents would not give up: They pressed local police and federal officials to crack the case, while Redden kept up his serial exposé.
Finally, in July 1998--more than eight years after Moreau disappeared--federal officials tracked down Hurwitz in Vietnam and brought him back to Portland to face tax-evasion charges. He was convicted and sentenced to one year at the Sheridan Federal Correctional Institution. Miraculously, while Hurwitz sat in jail, investigators got their first big break. A former Starry Night employee said Hurwitz's former father-in-law, Harvey Freeman, had told him Moreau had been murdered. Freeman later told prosecutors what he knew of the murder in exchange for immunity.
In November 1998, George Castagnola, another former Starry Night employee, pleaded guilty to helping Hurwitz garrote Moreau in order to cover up their involvement in the ticket scam. Castagnola told police he and Hurwitz killed Moreau and buried the body in the Columbia River Gorge.
Currently locked up in Multnomah County Jail, Hurwitz awaits trial on four counts of aggravated murder. Redden, meanwhile, is compiling his Hurwitz series into a book. Almost 10 years later, he says his original story has been vindicated. "Everything that Hurwitz claimed I got wrong, history has proved right," he says.
1990 was the year Oregon's taxpayers revolted.
Oregonians were fed up and frightened. The metro economy was booming, but the combination of inflated home values (driven by rich outsiders) and soaring tax rates ($33 per $1,000) pushed tax bills through the roof. For a $95,000 house, that was more than $3,100 a year.
After years of failed promises and five unsuccessful ballot measures, Measure 5 looked like the solution. It rolled property taxes back to $15 per $1,000. In the Portland area, that meant a reduction of more than 50 percent.
What's more, proponents argued, lower property taxes would make voters more likely to support special levies, which would stabilize funding for schools.
So, dismissing the apocalyptic warnings of everyone from Gov. Barbara Roberts to the AFL-CIO and Associated Oregon Industries, the WW editorial board (narrowly) endorsed Ballot Measure 5.
One of our editorials during the campaign said, "Even if the measure does create chaos, it's a necessary sort of chaos that will eventually lead to support for an alternative source of revenue."
On this matter, we were wrong.
After 10 years, there is no alternative funding. The shift from property tax to income tax to pay for education has left school funding up to the state Legislature, and it's become the most partisan bone in the doghouse. A staggering 51 percent of the state's budget now goes to fund schools, up from 37 percent in 1991.
True, Measure 5 has meant more money for downstate school districts like Grants Pass and Lincoln City. But for the most part, its legacy has been grim. School programs, such as art and music, have been slashed, and every level of government has been forced to tighten its belt. The city of Portland has fronted more than $40 million to metro school districts to make up for shortfalls.
Far from building support for a sales tax, however, Measure 5 seems to have sparked a kind of recurring anti-tax fever. In 1996 voters raised the ax again and passed Measure 47, the property-tax cut-and-cap measure that was ultimately tweaked by the Legislature to become Measure 50.
Things are looking eerily familiar in 1999. This year, the state Legislature passed a bill that will allow school districts to increase local property taxes, opening the door to funding inequities; and Don McIntire, the author of Measure 5, says he's putting another rollback measure on the ballot for 2000.
Meanwhile, instead of tax reform, Kitzhaber has put forth two tepid measures to stabilize school funding.
Here we go again.