As the State Turns

stateturnssymbolPortland Schools Finally Get the Lead Out… Sort of
I’ve done it. I’ve imbibed cool water from a disgusting high school water fountain. I held my breath to avoid smelling the really old gum that was stuck near the nozzle. I walked away satisfied because this was before I had any money and, honestly, to hell with that cafeteria anyway. I’m not waiting in line for 15 minutes to buy a paper tub of cow’s breast juice. That’s right kids, no vending machines. Not everything about the 90s was cool.

Now that I’ve buried my lead, let’s talk about the Portland public school system, and how they found unacceptable lead levels in the water back in March. Of course they freaked out, changed all of the plumbing with crews of tough-looking dudes and dudettes, some with cool beards. Then the school administration did that dance that Kirby does at the end of a level and all was well. Only the water continued to test positive for elevated levels of lead. And they decided not to tell anyone. Yep. Not the parents, not the students, not even the superintendent. And though I’m not sure what the hell that is, I do remember thinking in high school that it was the only warlord powerful enough to force my principal to kneel and kiss the ring.

So when did this information finally get out? Oh, week before last. So right now what is happening is this: everyone who could possibly fry for what has happened, including their subordinates, is running around like a bunch of headless chickens, trying to cover as much of their a*ses as possible, trying to do the right thing to various degrees. Part of that is, of course, shutting off all of the drinking water… and attempting to replace it with what could be millions of bottles of… well, bottled water. Which is going to cost a fortune. Also, apparently they have no idea where to get it all. But you gotta do what you gotta do.

The good news is that public school system employees, amongst others, will be checking and re-checking everything over the summer. When the water works eventually go back online you can pretty much guess that no stone will be left unturned, and if there is, I pity the poor bastard that forgot to flip it over.

I should also mention that the construction bond currently being considered to fix all of this is over half a billion dollars. Discounts aside, that’s worth at least 420,168 burritos at the going rate.

Portland Makes the Move to Gender-Neutral Whiz-Holes
Also water-related, Portland is quickly become a leader in the movement towards redefining gender and bathrooms. Yesterday they took on a new policy that will de-genderize over 600 single-occupancy bathrooms across the city. The long and the short of it (perhaps an unwise choice of words) is that all single-occupancy restrooms will now be designated “all-user,” and all new buildings will have to include these as 10% of their total bathroom armada.

What Portland wants is to make sure everyone has an option. Not aimed at just people from the transgender community, these changes will also benefit parents with children or older people that require a caregiver, etc. Believe it or not, there are a ton of single-person bathrooms around the city that have a specific gender listed outside. They might as well say, “Nobody else is in there, but please, poop your wang-filled pants.”

Following other cities such as Seattle and Los Angeles, Portland is also facing its fair share of resistance. Thankfully these folks, who have been complaining since the city first started talking about it back in December, are kind of dumb, unorganized, and apparently can’t read. The conspiracy theory of the times is that the city is getting rid of all gender assignments on bathrooms, which… just… they never said that. It’s not in the policy. Please report that back to Art Robinson, preferably before he sprinkles the uranium in his corn flakes. He doesn’t like to be disturbed while eating.

Portland Releases Earthquake Danger Map
Portland has released a new map showing where all of the unsafe spots are if you were to be caught in the city during an earthquake. Spoiler alert: everywhere is unsafe. Oregon is built out of crumbling bricks, dry rot, and duct-tape. Literally, the city has about 1,800 unreinforced buildings that are at least 56 years old. You’d be safer climbing into that swirling vat of glass in that one Punisher movie.

I guess that at least here in Corvallis, there’s less stuff to fall on you.

By Johnny Beaver