Murmurs: A Rough Week for Neo-Nazis and the Bottle Bill

But a good week for generosity toward homeless families.

Threats and Support Follow Nazis to Lucky Lab

Staff at Northwest Portland's Lucky Labrador Beer Hall kicked out a group of self-proclaimed "national socialists"—that is, Nazis—after a tense standoff March 12. Three days later, the same day WW published a story on the incident ("A Face in the Crowd," WW, March 15, 2017), Portland police officers returned to Lucky Lab to follow up on the incident. Later that week, employees had their Facebook accounts hacked, and the bar received phone calls with what sounded like recordings of Hitler speeches, staffers tell WW. Portland Police Bureau spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson says there's no investigation into the initial confrontation "as there was no criminal conduct articulated by anyone." Antifa vigilantes also showed up to scope out the venerable beer hall. But mostly, Lucky Lab staffers say they were overwhelmed with good vibes from local patrons. "We will not tolerate any individual or group attempting to push any form of hate at our business," Lucky Lab management wrote on its Facebook page. "We raise our glasses and toast our staff who do an excellent job of taking care of our patrons yet do not tolerate these idiotic behaviors." Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, Multnomah County Chairwoman Deborah Kafoury and U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) all tweeted their support for the bar. "We should all stand up to Nazis and hate," Blumenauer wrote. "Great job, Lucky Lab."

Bottle Bill Expansion Could Get Crushed

On April 1, the Oregon deposit on returnable cans and bottles increases from a nickel to a dime. But this week, state lawmakers introduced a bill that would slam the brakes on a plan to add new drink containers to the Bottle Bill. Next January, the list of redeemable products is scheduled to expand to include containers that hold coffee, tea and all drinks except wine, liquor and milk. But state Rep. Mark Johnson (R-Hood River), a strong supporter of the Bottle Bill, says the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative has failed to develop enough free-standing BottleDrop centers to help accommodate tens of millions of new containers and buoy the recycling rate ("Used," WW, Feb. 1, 2017). Johnson says the OBRC is only halfway to its goal of building more than 40 new BottleDrop centers, and he wants the expansion delayed until the co-op catches up. "You are going to see a tsunami of new containers next year," Johnson says, "and there's nowhere to put them in large swaths of the state."

Granny Flats Plan Draws Enthusiastic Response

Multnomah County is getting a big response to a project that would build granny flats for homeless families in Portland backyards. After WW reported on the project last week ("Our House Is Your House," WW, March 15, 2017), at least 580 homeowners officially expressed interest in taking part in the project. County officials hope to build as many as 300 small homes in people's backyards, and are offering a major incentive: The county will cover the cost of building a 200-square-foot unit, up to $75,000 apiece, in return for homeowners agreeing to collect no rent for five years. "I believe, particularly in this community, that people want to help, but they don't know how," says Mary Li, director of the Multnomah Idea Lab, the county's policy center.

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