PROTESTER LEADS LEGION POST: A Northeast Portland post of the American Legion that drew national fame for its progressive policies elected right-wing protester and conservative provocateur Gregory Isaacson as its commander this month. Isaacson's election stoked outrage on social media, where some veterans and Portlanders called for his removal. A no-confidence vote was supposed to be held at Post 134's headquarters Sunday afternoon, but Isaacson called off the vote and rescheduled it for Feb. 9. Isaacson, who is a Marine Corps veteran says he's been mischaracterized. "I served to support freedom," he tells WW. "To be libeled as a Nazi, racist, fascist is so antithetical to everything we produced." Portland resident and Army veteran Robin Eckstein showed up to Post 134 to switch membership so she could participate in the vote. "I'm looking forward to voting you no-confidence," she told Isaacson. As of Jan. 14, members of the post were organizing to oust Isaacson from leadership.
HOMELESS SERVICES MEASURE COMING IN 2020: A coalition of nonprofits championing a measure to fund homeless services announced plans Jan. 14 to place a regionwide measure on the November 2020 ballot. The group, HereTogether Oregon, is crafting a citizens' initiative to raise $250 million to $300 million a year to target chronic homelessness. It unveiled its plans at a Multnomah County Commission briefing, after unsuccessfully lobbying the regional government Metro to refer the measure. Metro Councilor Sam Chase, who has championed affordable housing, says he supports the group's plans to collect signatures. Metro President Lynn Peterson declined to. "There's no question the region needs to have more of these services to deal with the problems we face," she says. "But we have governance questions, outcome questions and accountability questions. We need to do more community engagement."
TOESE BARRED FROM ATTENDING PROTESTS: Right-wing brawler Tusitala "Tiny" Toese was barred from participating in protests in Multnomah County for two years after pleading guilty Jan. 14 to charges he punched Portland antifascist Tim Ledwith in the face in June 2018. Multnomah County Circuit Judge Kathleen Dailey also sentenced Toese to two years of probation and 80 hours of community service. Toese initially faced no charges following the incident. WW raised questions last February about the police investigation of the assault. Shortly after WW's story, prosecutors filed an indictment against Toese. Ledwith tells WW he's grateful the ordeal is over but says he felt conflicted about Toese being banned from protesting. "I don't feel good about that," he says. "I also think that's probably unconstitutional."
WARREN WINDOW BROKEN: On Jan. 12, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) opened a presidential campaign office in Northeast Portland. By the morning of Jan. 14, its front window had been smashed in. Warren is the first 2020 presidential candidate to open a brick-and-mortar office in Portland, at 10240 NE Halsey St. Photos of the vandalism were sent to WW by a reader. Nothing about the vandalism indicates the motive of whoever did it. A Portland Police Bureau spokeswoman said no report had been filed as of press deadline.
FREE FOR ALL: Action surrounding the vacancy created by City Commissioner Nick Fish's death Jan. 2 has reached a fever pitch. Although no candidate has yet qualified for the ballot, among those considering the race or being urged to run include former Mayor Sam Adams (see page 10); housing activist Margot Black; Ronault "Polo" Catalani, a former city official; Metro Councilor Sam Chase; Tera Hurst, director of Renew Oregon; Marc Jolin, director of Multnomah County's Joint Office of Homeless Services; Nova Newcomer, executive director of Friends of Baseball; former All Hands Raised executive director Dan Ryan; and onetime Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith.