Murmurs: Prosper Portland to Study Proposed Live Nation Venue

In other news: Portland police must stop using “flash-bangs.”

PROSPER PORTLAND TO STUDY PROPOSED LIVE NATION VENUE: WW first reported this summer that the events promotion giant Live Nation was eyeing Portland for its next concert venue, envisioning a 3,000-capacity indoor auditorium on the Central Eastside. That news was met with swift pushback by local music venue owners, who feared the arrival of such a mega-company, which signs exclusive deals with big-name artists and runs the ticket platform Ticketmaster, would crush existing concert halls. Now, Prosper Portland, which owns the land slated for the venue, has agreed to commission an economic analysis by Johnson Economics to study the potential effects of the venue. Prosper agreed to the analysis after receiving pressure from Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office and local advocacy group MusicPortland. Prosper spokesman Shawn Uhlman tells WW it’s paying the firm $18,200 for the analysis, which should be completed within the next few months. The mayor’s office and MusicPortland submitted questions to Prosper that it wished to incorporate into the study. Jerry Johnson says the analysis is close to completion and his firm has been looking at “typical economic impact” questions as well as Live Nation’s effects on local music economies in other cities.

PORTLAND POLICE MUST STOP USING “FLASH-BANGS”: The city of Portland has settled a 2-year-old lawsuit filed by activists accusing the Portland Police Bureau of using indiscriminate force against protesters. The city will pay $50,000 to each of the five people named in the lawsuit. It will also decommission the bureau’s “rubber ball distraction devices,” the “flash-bang” grenades used by police to control crowds during the summer 2020 protests following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. The grenades, advertised to deliver “four stimuli for psychological and physiological effects,” including rubber pellets, caused serious injuries. “This is a win for organizers and anti-fascist activists everywhere,” says Teressa Raiford, executive director of Don’t Shoot Portland, the advocacy group that brought the lawsuit. It isn’t the first time the bureau has had to discontinue its use of the munitions. In 2018, then Police Chief Danielle Outlaw temporarily suspended the use of flash-bang grenades after they seriously injured multiple leftist protesters. The city eventually paid out a six-figure settlement related to one of those incidents as well.

POSEY TAKES OVER AT THE NAACP: James Posey, a co-founder of the National Association of Minority Contractors Oregon and a onetime mayoral candidate, has been elected president of the NAACP of Oregon. Posey’s election, first reported by The Skanner, follows a period of rebuilding under outgoing president Sharon Gary-Smith. Gary-Smith succeeded the Rev. E.D. Mondaine, who resigned in October 2020 after The Portland Mercury reported on accusations of sexual abuse against him. Posey is a longtime activist and construction company owner who served as NAACP vice president when city Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty was the organization’s president. Posey told The Skanner he plans to enliven the NAACP’s committees, recruit younger members, and restore the organization’s stature. “The NAACP can mobilize the Black community in a way that maybe other organizations have not been able to mobilize it,” he said.

GROUPS SEEK CITY HALL TRANSPARENCY ADVOCATE: Now that voters have approved changing the form of Portland’s government, the Charter Commission is considering a slate of 15 “phase 2″ amendments. On the heels of Oregon Public Broadcasting’s recent report that thousands of text messages in the mayor’s office went missing, and the city’s persistent foot-dragging in producing public records, the League of Women Voters, ACLU of Oregon, and the Greater Oregon Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists asked the commission to consider including a “transparency advocate” as one of the charter amendments on which it will vote Dec. 3. The amendment would place an independent, objective person inside City Hall tasked with making the city’s records and operations more accessible to the public. The state’s new transparency czar has dramatically improved the public’s access to records. Advocates hope the same will happen at City Hall. “We commend the city of Portland for adopting transparency as one of its core values,” says Debbie Kaye, president of the League of Women Voters of Portland. “We feel, however, that the city has far to go in implementing this stated value.”