Late last week, the Portland Trail Blazers lived up to its name, becoming the first NBA team to formally endorse a marriage equality campaign. When asked Friday about Oregon United For Freedom's November 2014 ballot initiative that would overturn the state's 2004 constitutional ban on same-sex marriages, the team had this to say:
"The Portland Trail Blazers are in support of the Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection ballot initiative. We do so as believers in individual choice as a fundamental right of all people."
The Portland Mercury, the paper that broke the story, says that the Trail Blazers have also become the first team from the "big four" professional leagues (basketball, baseball, football, hockey) to formally endorse a marriage equality ballot measure.
The team's statement followed similar endorsements by Portland's Timbers and Thorns soccer teams.
A Portland cab driver has been accused of forcing Kate Neal, Shanko Devoll and one of their friends out of his taxi and stranding the three of them along the side of a dark interstate early Friday morning. The couple claim that a Broadway Cab company driver forced them to get out of his cab after he witnessed the two of them become affectionate. A second cab driver arrived soon after but eventually threw them out of his cab, as well.
"I guess he discovered that we were a couple," Neal said. "We were showing some affection towards each other. And he started shouting some pretty hurtful and homophobic things. And then he proceeded to pull over on the freeway and let us out of the cab. I didn't realize at first what was happening, but the more he yelled, the more clear it became," Neal added.
"When he initially pulled over I said 'I do want to get out of this cab, but I don't want to get out of this cab here," Neal said. "And he would not move farther. We had no choice."
So they got out of the cab - a few miles from home - and were left there alone and in the dark. They said they had every intention of paying their fare, but didn't. "We were planning to pay for a cab ride home - that's why we called a cab," said Neal.
The couple said that a second Broadway Cab showed up, they got in and then that driver kicked them out after speaking with the other driver. At that point, they had to walk. Instead of heading along I-84 with cars and trucks whizzing by, they decided to climb an embankment and scale a fence.
The women said they made it to Northeast 102nd Avenue and flagged down an officer. They said the police officer told them that he had actually been looking for them - that he had been dispatched to find two women who had skipped out on their cab fare.
A Portland Police Bureau spokesman told us this isn't a criminal case, but the officer involved did handle it as a civil matter. "He picked us up and called the cab company and told them that we were not to pay the fare and that he was going to take us home," said Neal. "And he did - he drove us home."
The president of Broadway Cab has issued a statement on the company Facebook page which reads in part: "I would like to take this opportunity to say that Broadway Cab is fully committed to the concept and practice of non-discrimination, equal opportunity, and diversity." Read the full statement here.
The initial driver involved has been suspended and the company has begun an investigation into the incident. The entire ride was apparently videotaped by the cab's security camera and this footage will also be be reviewed.
Portland has a new slogan--"Portland, Maine. Yes. Life's good here."--with an awesome backstory. The new slogan was announced by city leaders this Tuesday, to mostly positive reviews, the Portland Press Herald reports:
City and business leaders introduced Portland's new slogan Tuesday, saying its simplicity and versatility open up many marketing opportunities.
The new slogan got less favorable reviews from a local marketing firm. And the upbeat line about Portland's quality of life got skewered by droves of Facebook users.
The slogan – "Portland, Maine. Yes. Life's good here." – was inspired by a writer who lived in Portland, and is part of a branding effort the city expects to roll out over this summer. That effort includes a promotional video, which also debuted Tuesday, and other yet-to-be-developed strategies for promoting the city.
The title stems from a question Preston was asked repeatedly by his friends in New York City, who couldn't for the life of them figure out what he was doing in a city of 60,000 that looked from the Big Apple like the middle of nowhere.
"Are you ready to come back yet?" his friends would ask.
"No," Preston would reply. "Life's good here."
"I always call it the toy city, because it's so small, but it is a city," he wrote. "It has all the urban accoutrements that keep it from being just a place where a lot of people happen to live -- someplace like Manchester, New Hampshire, for example, which has more people but none of the cultured air of Portland."
During his time in Portland, Preston advocated for LGBT rights measures, and was a major force behind the city's Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Ordinance in 1992. He probably couldn't have imagined that same-sex couples would be able to wed in Maine less than two decades after his death, and that Portland would be among the first communities to issue marriage licenses at 12:01 a.m. on December 29.
A tragic story out of La Grande, Oregon, where 15-year-old Jadin Bell has been taken off of life support after hanging himself in a schoolyard last week, KOMO News reports:
Dozens of people came together last week in La Grande in a vigil for Jadin, trying to understand what drove him to despair nine days ago. He came to the playground of Central Elementary School in La Grande. He climbed on a play structure and hanged himself. Someone passing by tried to rescue him. He was brought to Portland and Doernbecher Children's Hospital where he was put on life support.
Hill says Jadin was pushed to suicide after being bullied in person and on the Internet for being gay.
"He was different, and they tend to pick on the different ones," Hill said.
Hill says Jadin asked his parents to home school him. He feared turning in the bullies would make things worse. But he had found the courage, recently.
Q: What advice would you give to new couples today?
Marcoux: God, that's just a terror of a question. To know it's not easy, and leave if it's toxic. Wait long enough to know whether or not it's toxic or just a pain. And be in love with love.
Woodworth: The main thing that I come back to is commitment. You have to decide from the very beginning whether it's going to be a committed relationship for a long period or if it's just going to be as long as it lasts. Which is what most people do. They fall in love with lust instead of love. And they think that when the sex starts getting bad, that's the end of the relationship. That's the beginning of the relationship! That's when you start working on it.
Q: What's the biggest lesson about love and partnership you've learned along the way?
Woodworth: It never lets up.
Marcoux: To be more gentle toward my own vulnerabilities and to his inadequacies, because they disappoint him as well as me. Oh, that didn't make any sense at all.
Woodworth: You never were worried about disappointing me.
Marcoux: Oh, God, I'm going to leave him right now. May I get a ride?