Plus: Dance at the Portland Mardis Gras Ball.
February 7, 2024 6AM-Top banner logo-small.png


Today’s Forecast

49º | Cloudy | 24% chance of rain | Sunrise 7:24 a.m. | Sunset 5:25 p.m.

Soaring to new heights
A single-story naturalist building with wooden shingles and a blue metal roof with a round sign of a heron surrounded by pine trees.
The Bird Alliance of Oregon rehabilitates injured and orphaned native animals at its Wildlife Care Center, the oldest wildlife hospital in the state. | Photo by Finetooth
A new chapter for the conservation and education group formerly known as Portland Audubon has taken flight.

One year after announcing its intentions to drop the name “Audubon,” the organization is now officially known as the Bird Alliance of Oregon.

This is the organization’s fourth name since it was founded in 1902 — past versions included Oregon Audubon Society and Audubon Society of Portland — but it’s the first iteration that doesn’t honor John James Audubon. The naturalist and author of a book published in 1827 called “The Birds of America” owned slaves, publicly criticized abolition, and robbed Native American graves.

“Our adoption of a new name is one of many steps in our years-long equity journey to create a more welcoming place,” Stuart Wells, executive director of the Bird Alliance of Oregon, told OPB.

Finding a new name, one that would simultaneously distance the organization from its slave-owning namesake and better underscore its work defending birds and their habitats, was an effort that included collecting feedback from nearly 2,000 Oregonians. Here’s how the Bird Alliance of Oregon defines each part of its new title:
  • Bird: “We were founded in 1902 to protect birds, and that remains at the heart of our work. By calling out birds, we get to quickly and effectively share who we are and why we’re here.”
  • Alliance: “We are strong because of our collaborative relationships with partners, members, volunteers, activists, birders, donors, and learners. It’s only through these connections that we can protect wildlife and wild places.”
  • Oregon: “Our advocacy and education efforts have always been statewide, from the coast to the high desert and sometimes even following ecosystems across state borders. Now our name reflects the fuller geographic scope of our work.”
The Bird Alliance of Oregon isn’t the first such group to distance itself from Audubon; the former Seattle Audubon Society is now Birds Connect Seattle. The National Audubon Society has chosen to not take similar action.
Wednesday, Feb. 7
  • Portland Winter Light Festival: What Glows Under Pressure | Wednesday, Feb. 7-Saturday, Feb. 10 | 6-10 p.m. | Venues across Portland, including Pioneer Courthouse Square, 701 SW Sixth Ave. | Free | Light up your February nights with the annual phenomenon showcasing illuminated installations across the city.
Thursday, Feb. 8
  • A Journey Through the Owyhee Canyonlands | Thursday, Feb. 8 | 6:30-7:30 p.m. | Online | Free | Listen as Oregon Natural Desert Association board members reflect on their experience rafting down the Owyhee River, a tributary of the Snake River running through remote southeastern Oregon.
Friday, Feb. 9
  • Portland Night Market | Friday, Feb. 9-Saturday, Feb. 10 | 4-11 p.m. | 100 SE Alder St., Portland | Free | Swoon over the delicious food, festive vibes, and of course dozens of local vendors selling everything from hot sauce that will set your heart ablaze to one-of-a-kind gifts for your special someone.
  • Slumber Party | Friday, Feb. 9 | 7 p.m. | Kickstand Comedy, 1006 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland | $10-$15 | Put on your cutest pajamas, pack some sour gummy worms and Cheetos, and get ready for a night of sleepover activities like Truth or Dare, prank calling, and other interactive improv comedy antics.
Saturday, Feb. 10
  • Tết Lunar New Year Celebration |Saturday, Feb. 10 | 3-7 p.m. | Kolectivo, 959 SE Division St., Ste. 201, Portland | Free | Celebrate the Year of the Dragon with family-friendly games like bầu cua cá cọp and AAPI-owned food and drink vendors; proceeds support community-focused and culturally driven events at Kolectivo.
  • 2024 Portland Mardi Gras Ball | Saturday, Feb. 10 | 7-11 p.m. | Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell St., Portland | $30 | Join the Mysti Krewe of Nimbus for an evening of live music, dancing, costumes, king cake, and other colorful elements of the famed tradition.
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News Notes
  • A 54-ton tapestry bearing nearly 110,000 names is on display in the OMSI Auditorium through Monday, Feb. 19. The AIDS Memorial Quilt, recognized as the “largest community arts project in history,” serves as a symbol of the AIDS pandemic, a memorial, and an “important HIV prevention education tool.”
  • A 225-lb beacon of hope for the critically endangered eastern subspecies of black rhinoceros has turned 2 months old at the Oregon Zoo. The youngster’s gender was recently confirmed (male) and he ventured outside for the first time. Guests may catch glimpses of him with his mom on dry, warm days.
  • A new mural will be officially unveiled this Saturday, Feb. 10 at 5:30 p.m. at Northeast Portland’s Broadway Grill & Brewery. Painted by local comics artist Damon Smyth, the mural — titled “It Can’t Rain All the Time” — is intended to illustrate the butterfly effect of small acts of kindness. (Willamette Week)
  • 10. That’s the milestone anniversary StormBreaker Brewing will celebrate this Saturday, Feb. 10. To celebrate, the brewery will offer 10 new and rare vintage beers (including an anniversary brew), special cocktails and mocktails, live music, and a visit from Dillon T. Pickle at its location off of North Mississippi Avenue.
  • Voting is open for Newsweek’s 2024 Reader’s Choice Awards — and two local spots are in the running. OMSI is nominated for “Best Science Museum” while Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden is vying for “Best Botanical Garden.” You can vote daily through the end of February; winners will be revealed March 7. (Newsweek)
Keep Portland Weird
  • Outside of swift season, the crow just might be Portland’s most recognizable avian species. But one bird that’s, rather mysteriously, in short supply for our metropolitan area? The pigeon. Willamette Week writer Marty Smith opened a can of worms that has us thinking, “Now that you mention it…”
  • Get trusted financial advice with Money Pickle, the service that connects you directly with experienced financial advisors to help with your investment + retirement planning needs (all through a complimentary video meeting). Take control of your financial future in 2024 by scheduling a free consultation.*
🗻 Observe from afar
Looking toward a snow-capped Mount St Helens from inside of a large paned window.
Views like this one, taken from inside Johnston Ridge Observatory, are out of reach for the time being. | Photo by Cambrie Juarez, PDXtoday
It’s been nearly 44 years since Mount St. Helens last erupted, forever changing the surrounding landscape. Last spring, a new natural disaster rewrote the area’s composition and its effects are lingering.

The May 14 landslide washed away a chunk of Spirit Lake Highway at Milepost 49, causing major damage to the Spirit Lake outlet bridge and cutting off access and electricity to Johnston Ridge Observatory.

The Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) built a temporary one-lane bypass providing administrative access, but a culvert failed in November and water eroded the roadway. Another temporary solution was considered but ultimately dismissed; WSDOT said another bypass would only increase the cost and timeline for a permanent, two-lane roadway and bridge fix.

As for that timeline… it’s a lengthy one. The goal is to complete repairs by late summer 2026, but it’s possible the observatory won’t reopen until spring 2027. In the meantime, visitors can access the Science and Learning Center at Coldwater, the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center, and some hiking trails.
The Buy
A Curry Up Broth Bomb, which will flavor five to eight portions of soup, beans, chili, or whatever you want to cook. Hello healthy, yummy dinner.
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The Wrap
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From the editor
Returning from Costa Rica has been a matter of readjusting to rainy reality. One thing the local weather can’t put a damper on is my newfound passion for fruits that aren’t commonplace in our grocery stores — so I was excited to find this OPB article about a new purple tomato that packs high levels of disease-fighting anthocyanins.
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