Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Good morning Northwest people, wherever you may be on this chill Autumn morning! It’s Tuesday, October 16, 2018, just another remarkably sparkly day, and highs near 75. Next rain? Next Tuesday, maybe. Sunrise 7:28 AM, sunset 6:23 PM.

We’ve noticed Portland Trail Blazer flags popping up at homes and office cubicles, on news of the death of Paul Allen. The latest is coming up, but first…

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, saying the public has a right to be alarmed by the right vs. left brawls that occur with regularity on city streets, announced that he plans to crack down on demonstrations by groups on both sides with a history of political violence. Then he made a revelation that floored reporters: we now learn that heavily-armed members of the Patriot Prayer group stationed themselves on a downtown Portland parking garage rooftop with a cache of guns just before a protest on August 4–and the mayor, like the rest of us, is just now finding out about it. Police contacted the group on that day and took their guns, but returned them because they had concealed carry permits. No arrests were made. Why weren’t the public or the mayor–who is the police commissioner–informed under months later about the possibility that rooftop snipers were in position? “Hindsight is always perfect,” said Police Chief Danielle Outlaw.

Today is the last day to register to vote in Oregon for the mid-term election, which is just three weeks from today. Oregon ballots start flooding the mail tomorrow.

A deer hunter near Mt. Hood says a trio of cougars advanced on him, growling with teeth bared and ears back, so he shot and killed one of them; the other two ran. It happened near Badger Lake, about 20 miles southeast of the summit.

After denying it vehemently to President Trump, the Saudi government is reportedly preparing a report acknowledging that missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead as the result of “an interrogation that went wrong,”

*****

It was such a shock to hear the news of Paul Allen’s passing, at just 65, only two weeks after the announcement that the cancer he’d beaten had come back. So much to say on the passing of a person who’s had a profound, multi-layered impact on our lives, both here in our Portland community and in the big world beyond. He always seemed like the all-time-best answer to the question: if you won both the current Megamillions and Powerball jackpots, not once, but twenty times….what would you do? Buy an NFL team? check! NBA? hello Portland! Now what? Front a rock band. Create a rock museum! Buy and sell KXL in Portland. And: much more importantly, do good works. Billions of dollars given to humanitarian causes, the environment, wildlife, education. He donated $100 million to fighting Ebola in Africa. He founded the Allen Institute for Brain Science. The Institute for Cell Science. The Institute for Artificial Intelligence. He funded exploratory missions on the high seas, retrieving long-lost artifacts from World War Two. He gave millions to the search for intelligence in deep space. There was no end to the man’s generosity, nor will there be: he was an early signer of his Microsoft partner Bill Gates’ Giving Pledge, promising to donate at least half of his wealth to philanthropic causes. And that wealth is substantial: over twenty billion dollars, by one estimate; the 46th richest person in the world–which he has left much better than he found it.

By the way…we have to ask…what happens to the Blazers? The teams Paul Allen owned are the property of his estate, and his family didn’t share his fascination with sports. So. The Blazers and the Seahawks are for sale. Their respective leagues say they will work with the estate to find owners who will carry on in their communities, and the conventional wisdom is that there’s no danger of, say, some billionaire in some NBA-starved city like…Seattle…swooping in and taking the team away. Doesn’t seem like the NBA is Jeff Bezos’ thing, but…perish that thought. Think positive. Let’s see if Merritt Paulson feels like stepping up and doing for Blazer fans what he’s done for the Timbers Army: brought them a winner. He’d be a great NBA owner.

****
A 16-year old Boy Scout from Corvallis was killed in a fall during a troop expedition near the Willamette Pass Ski Area.

We now know that the Sears store at Washington Square is shutting down by the end of the year, along with the store at Willamette Town Center in Salem. The Kmart on Murray Blvd. in Beaverton is closing as well, as the parent company, Sears Holdings, is in chapter 11 bankruptcy. I bet you have memories of Sears! Loved the catalog when I was a kid…from the days when my grandma, who ran a cash register in ladies’ things at the Sears in the Chicago loop…to the 80s and 90s when the Washington Square store is where I bought my first lawn mower, every pair of wingtips I’ve owned, plus a vacuum we still use…Sears was always around. Wonder what Washington Square will do without it.

****

Let’s find the good stuff!

–“Famous rapper goes undercover as Lyft driver to raise money for Chicago Public Schools”

–“Researchers have restored memory in mice with Alzheimer’s disease”

–“Bear cub’s head freed from jar after three days”

–“A mysterious good-guy hacker has broken into 100,000 computers and patched them so bad-guy hackers can’t in”

–“Gay penguin couple have been given an egg to look after”

****
Edie Brickell & New Bohemians play at the Crystal Ballroom tonight! Wonder if hubster Paul Simon will come along, now that he’s retired from touring, and visit the town where he wrote “The Boxer?” Nah. He’s on The Today Show this morning.

“Doonesbury” creator Garry Trudeau was scheduled to speak at the Schnitz tonight, but the event was canceled. Not sure why.

The Cuban missile crisis began on the date in 1962, when President Kennedy was informed that spy plane photos had revealed the presence of Soviet missile launch sites in Cuba. Most scared I’ve ever been.

*****

Let’s close with some insights from Paul Allen, the WSU dropout who convinced his high school co-nerd Bill Gates to bail out of Harvard and come home to Seattle and start inventing the software to enable regular people to use computers, which they sold to IBM, but nonexclusively, at Paul’s insistence, thus guaranteeing a competition in the coming personal computer industry that would make the technology available to all, and change the world.

–“The possible is constantly being redefined.”

–“Each failure contains the seeds of your next success”

–“Any crusade requires optimism and the ambition to aim high.”

–“When it comes to helping out, I don’t believe in doing it for the media attention. My goal is to support.”

Paul Allen, 1953-2018.

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