Oregon Grew Too Much Weed Again: A bumper cannabis harvest in 2017 sent Oregon weed prices plummeting, and put some farmers out of business. This year's crop is even bigger. Beau Whitney, an economist for New Frontier Data, says this fall's harvest was 5 percent larger than the generous one in 2017. Whitney says the increase comes from new growers joining the already-crowded industry. He found that wholesale cannabis prices fell about 50 percent last year. The oversupply is driving some small cultivators out of business ("Too Much Weed," WW, April 18, 2018). But Whitney says the tough market may also have a positive side: It could run black-market growers into the ground as consumers turn to cheap legal weed, and reduce illegal marijuana sales.
Sondland Blasts the French: Gordon Sondland, the Portland hotel magnate whose $1 million contribution to President Donald J. Trump's inauguration helped land him the position of U.S. ambassador to the European Union, jumped with both feet into simmering trade disputes between the U.S. and the EU this week. Sondland, who is stationed at EU headquarters in Brussels, told Politico that Europeans are "out of touch." The trade talks involve European exports, such as German cars, and U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas and agricultural products. Sondland singled out the French for particular scorn: "They want to protect agriculture at all costs, even if it completely destabilizes the relationship, and I think they are taking a very parochial view." European officials declined Politico's request for comment.
Oregon Prison Sued For Flu-Related Death: The daughter of an Oregon woman who died during a prison flu outbreak in January filed a $7.5 million lawsuit against the Oregon Department of Corrections this week, claiming officials failed to provide adequate health care to women at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility. WW first reported in March on the flu outbreak that killed inmate Tina Ferri ("A Bug in the System," WW, March 21, 2018). "Tina Ferri would be alive today if the prison did its job," says Michael Fuller, one of the attorneys representing the family.
Artists Offered Free Studio Space: National co-working startup WeWork is joining an effort to keep Portland artists from being displaced by rising rents. WeWork is offering four artists six months of free studio space in its first-ever artists-in-residence program at its Pearl District location. Applications are due Jan. 13, and the move-in date for studio space is Feb. 4. "I strongly encourage the private sector to make these artists-in-residence programs available, and I applaud WeWork for taking the lead," say City Commissioner Nick Fish, who has championed efforts to address the shortage of affordable studio space for artists.
Rip City Assists Nonprofits: Give!Guide is collaborating with the Portland Trail Blazers to offer a chance to win twin tickets to two home games and a Jusuf Nurkić-signed jersey to anyone who gives $10 or more through Give!Guide on Thursday, Dec. 13. So far, the annual campaign has raised $1.3 million from 5,879 donors. You can make a difference to 150 of Portland's most impactful nonprofits by donating at giveguide.org.