Monday, April 04, 2005

Portland and Oregon in the news

Puliter Prizes :The Willamette Week reporter, Nigel Jaquiss, received the investigative award today for his reporting on a sexual relationship between former Gov. Neil Goldschmidt and a 14-year-old babysitter. The abuse took place while Mr. Goldschmidt was mayor of Portland in the 1970's. After the newspaper published its findings, Mr. Goldschmidt acknowledged the abuse.

Mr. Jaquiss, 42, is a relative newcomer to journalism, having been an oil trader for 11 years before joining The Week in January 1998, shortly after receiving a master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

"It's just a tremendous honor," Mr. Jaquiss tearfully told colleagues after his award was announced today, according to The A.P. "I never thought it would happen to me."

F*ck Foie Gras

Demonstrators Push Foie Gras Off of Menus

Published: April 4, 2005

SALEM, Ore., April 3 (AP) - At Hurley's restaurant in hip Northwest Portland, foie gras is not on the menu. You have to ask for it.

The restaurant is among several in Portland that have removed foie gras from their menus because of protests by animal rights activists, who have gathered outside restaurants with gruesome images of dead and diseased ducks they say are the result of force-feeding techniques used to produce foie gras, which is fattened duck liver.

Opponents say the practice should be outlawed, and persuaded the California Legislature last year to pass a bill that will ban foie gras in 2012 unless producers can prove the technique is humane.

Legislation also is being considered in Oregon, New York, Illinois and Massachusetts that would make it a criminal act even to possess foie gras. Activists recently persuaded about 10 restaurants in Pittsburgh to stop serving foie gras.

In the making of foie gras, ducks have a stainless steel tube inserted into their throats twice a day for two weeks and a measured amount of partly cooked corn is pumped down their esophagi. The technique packs on the pounds quickly, creating a fatty liver.

Some say the protesters and legislators are clueless and scoff at the idea that ducks, whose livers alone are worth $75 a pound, are mistreated.

But Gene Bauston, a co-founder of the animal rights group Farm Sanctuary, says the pictures and videos of foie gras farms show that force-feeding is a "cruel and unnecessary practice" that should not be legal.

Francine Bradley, a poultry specialist with the University of California Cooperative Extension Service, said foie gras farms simply take advantage of ducks' natural ability to store a large amount of fat.

Ms. Bradley has worked extensively with Sonoma Foie Gras in California, one of only three producers in the nation, and defends the production practice. She said Guillermo Gonzalez, the owner, and his family have been victimized.

Mr. Gonzalez is focused on clearing the industry that drew him to the United States from El Salvador.

"I am hopeful that the legislators will realize that this is only the tip of the iceberg," he said, "and that their decision is crucial to the future of animal agriculture in general."