This week on “State of Wonder,” we discuss the legacy of former mayor and arts booster Vera Katz, the best music of 2017, and get a glimpse into Portland’s past through the photos of Minor White.


Former Portland Mayor Vera Katz served three terms as Portland mayor and was the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House in the Oregon Legislature.

Former Portland Mayor Vera Katz served three terms as Portland mayor and was the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House in the Oregon Legislature.

Oregon Historical Society

Remembering Beloved Former Mayor Vera Katz - 1:24

This week, former Portland Mayor and Oregon House Speaker Vera Katz died. A trailblazer who steered Portland into an unprecedented period of growth and vitality (see: Pearl District, South Waterfront, East Bank Esplanade, etc.), she always had her eye on how arts and creativity could enrich public life.

We look back on Katz’s legacy and then sit down with two arts leaders who worked during Katz tenure: Eloise Damrosch, the longtime head of the Regional Arts and Culture Council, and Linda K. Johnson, a dancer, choreographer and teacher who brought many projects to life inside and outside the public sector, including an artist-in-residency program in the early days of the South Waterfront.


The Year In Jazz With KMHD - 16:35

We’re going to take some time to look back at the year that was in music. First up, we talk the ever-widening world of jazz with the mighty triumvirate behind KMHD Jazz Radio: program director Matt Fleeger and hosts/producers Isabel Zacharias and Derek Smith.

They talk some of the best albums and best concerts of the year (hey, Solange!) that remind us why jazz continues to be so important — it uplifts, inspires, reflects and makes space for honesty.

For more, read KMHD’s Top 10 Jazz Albums Of 2017 and Top Singles Of 2017.


A few of opbmusic's favorite albums of 2017

A few of opbmusic’s favorite albums of 2017

OPB

opbmusic’s Favorite Music Of 2017 - 26:35

It’s been a big year for local pop, rock and hip-hop artists. Jerad Walker of opbmusic joins us to talk the two biggest songs to come out of Portland maybe ever: Portugal. The Man’s “Feel It Still” and Amine’s “Caroline” (don’t miss Portugal’s performance of their whole album live in the OPB studio). Then we move onto some of the year’s other breakouts and best live opbmusic sessions, including Portugal. The Man, The Last Artful, Dodgr, Kelli Schaefer and Wild Ones.

For more, check out opbmusic’s Best Albums of 2017.


Bullseye Glass in Southeast Portland.

Bullseye Glass in Southeast Portland.

Bryan M. Vance/OPB

Bullseye Glass: The Heavy Metal Saga Continues - 34:46

Bullseye Glass came under heavy state and county scrutiny last year after scientists found heavy metals in air and plants near the art glass maker’s southeast Portland headquarters. The company has since spent millions of dollars to comply and now is suing the state for civil rights violations, claiming Gov. Kate Brown’s actions were arbitrary, capricious and violated the company’s right to due process.


An early rendering of the Rothko Pavilion, the proposed new entrance to the Portland Art Museum that would connect its two buildings. Details like the placement of doors and ramps are still to be determined.

An early rendering of the Rothko Pavilion, the proposed new entrance to the Portland Art Museum that would connect its two buildings. Details like the placement of doors and ramps are still to be determined.

Courtesy of the Portland Art Museum

City Council Approves Portland Art Museum’s Expansion - 37:49

Last year, the Portland Art Museum announced plans for a new entrance called the Rothko Pavilion that would connect the museum’s two existing buildings and fix its notoriously inaccessible layout. However, advocates for disability, pedestrian and bicycle rights argued that the expansion would obstruct the current pedestrian passage along Madison Street. This week, the council voted 3-1 in favor of the museum.

“The public interest in my view overwhelms the inconvenience this may cause to some people in the neighborhood,” said Commissioner Nick Fish. “And that’s because we have a chance to have an art museum that sets a standard for accessibility on the West Coast and beyond.”


Minor White, Front Avenue, Portland, Spring 1939, gelatin silver print

Minor White, Front Avenue, Portland, Spring 1939, gelatin silver print

The Minor White Archive, Princeton University Art Museum, © Trustees of Princeton University

Minor White’s Photographs Of The Portland Before Old Portland - 39:18

We talk a lot about how much Portland has changed in the last few decades, but if you want to really blow your mind, look at the city compared not to the 1990s, but to the 1930s. Talk about a whole different town.  The artist Minor White spent several years photographing Portland for the Works Progress Administration.
Now there’re two exhibitions of his work: “In the Beginning: Minor White’s Oregon Photographs” at the Portland Art Museum and “Parting Shots: Minor White’s Images of Portland, 1938-1942” at the Architectural Heritage Center. Eric Slade dropped by to discuss “Oregon Art Beat’s” recent profile of White.


Explode Into Colors perform in the opbmusic studio last fall.

Explode Into Colors perform in the opbmusic studio last fall.

David Christensen/opbmusic

Explode Into Colors Are Back In The Music Game - 43:56

The reunion of Explode Into Colors for two epic live shows last fall fall — and an opbmusic studio session — had Portland music fans in ecstasy. They liked playing together so much that they’re back for a two-night stand at Mississippi Studios Dec. 30 and 31.