Parks & Speck
Southeast Portland just got a new park—sort of. In the small concrete triangle where Stark and Washington streets split, someone put up a sign that reads "Mill Ends Park 2," alongside a pair of potted plants and a giant Excalibur sword carved out of wood. The compact park is a nod to the "Smallest Park in the World," the Mill Ends Park on Southwest Naito Parkway, which recently saw its lone tree cut down and then mysteriously replanted. Although the Mill Ends Park 2 sign bears the Portland Parks & Recreation logo, parks spokesman Mark Ross says it's not a city project and his agency was unaware of its existence. "I'm not surprised people would do it," Ross says, "but we'd prefer people not use our trademarked logo."
If you bet on the Golden Globes on Sunday, chances are your money in the Best Animated Feature category was on one of the three Disney projects up for the award. Well, apologies to your wallet, because Laika's Sasquatch adventure, Missing Link, delivered perhaps the biggest upset of the ceremony. The film, produced by the Hillsboro studio that specializes in stop-motion animation, beat out a field of nominees with larger budgets and better box office returns, including Toy Story 4, Frozen II, The Lion King and the latest installment of DreamWorks' popular How to Train Your Dragon franchise. All were among the highest-grossing movies of 2019, while Missing Link, which hit theaters in April, bombed at near-historic levels, grossing $5.9 million its opening weekend—the 12th-worst debut of all time for a film playing in more than 3,000 theaters. Accepting the trophy onstage at the ceremony, writer-director Chris Butler said he was "flabbergasted" by the win. This was Laika's first Golden Globe victory, though the company has been a contender three times before, with nods going to Coraline (2009), The Boxtrolls (2014) and Kubo and the Two Strings (2016).
Open Door Policy
Waiting in line for brunch at Screen Door has been a rite of passage ever since it opened on East Burnside in 2006—and soon you can wait for it on the westside, too! The soul food staple will open a second location this year in the Pearl District, at a spot right around the corner from Powell's City of Books, preceding a third Screen Door at Portland International Airport coming in 2021. The new restaurant will have an expanded menu and longer hours, and allow Screen Door to "do things we've never been able to do in our present location," say owners Nicole and David Mouton—most notably, serve their famous chicken and waffles all day, rather than just during brunch and lunch. The downtown location opens this summer, but there might already be 20 patrons in the queue as you read this.
Freaky Fly Day
According to the Air Force Safety Center, there were 12 incidents in which Air Force pilots fainted while flying in the past year—and one of them happened over Oregon. During a training flight last March, a student passed out for 11 seconds after a sharp turn exerted enough G-force, Popular Science reported, to make the pilot lose consciousness. The student kept the plane in the air and neither the pilot nor the instructor flying in a separate jet was injured, but the F-15 did sustain $2.5 million in damage recovering from the maneuver.
From the city that brought you squabbling strip clubs and pork-related chef brawls comes a new brand of public in-fighting: celebrity llama drama. In a lengthy Instagram story posted New Year's Eve, Shannon Joy—co-founder of Mtn Peaks Therapy Llamas & Alpacas in Woodland, Wash., and an owner of the late, much-lamented therapy llama Rojo—accused the owner of another prominent Oregon camelid, Caesar the No Drama Llama, of making disparaging references to Rojo on social media. The dispute boiled over in December when Caesar's handler, Larry McCool, brought his llama to a holiday display on Peacock Lane meant to honor Rojo and his fellow therapy animals at Mtn Peaks. "This shameless hypocrisy and exploitation of Rojo, purely for self-promotion, is what finally crossed an ethical line that we felt had to be confronted," Joy wrote in a post on Rojo's Facebook page. McCool denied any ill intent, referring to the accusations as "mischaracterizations" and "completely unfounded."