Perhaps it’s fitting that “Portlandia,” the IFC comedy series lampooning Portland, Ore., is in its last season. The city famous for its quirky, liberal citizenry seems to be changing into an edgier – and more expensive – town than the cuddly one satirized on television, reports Jon Wertheim. His 60 MINUTES story featuring the city’s mayor, the founder of the town’s indie rock band The Decemberists, and the people behind the television series “Portlandia,” will be broadcast Sunday, Jan. 14 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen, part-time residents of Portland, created and star in “Portlandia.” They tell Wertheim they use their art to make fun of themselves. Clips from the comedy sketch series help Wertheim tell the city’s story.
The city’s unofficial slogan, “Keep Portland Weird,” can be found on public buildings, bumper stickers and signs. Portland earned the name after artists and free spirits flocked to the city for its jobs and low rents. It became a comfy nest for eccentrics and a fertile ground for music and art. “The real ideal was to work as little as possible to afford, you know, your basic living costs, and then have as much time left over to write or to play shows,” says Colin Meloy, founder of Portland’s indie rock band The Decemberists.
The city holds an annual adult soapbox derby and naked bike ride and is known for its specialty shops, food carts, microbreweries and generously tattooed residents. Across from a building sporting a “Keep Portland Weird” mural sits another local landmark: Voo Doo Donuts.
The last few years have seen a change in the city, with two events in particular disrupting Portland’s calm vibe. Two men were stabbed to death – allegedly by a white supremacist – on the city’s light rail system, and Hillary Clinton, for whom the town voted overwhelmingly, lost to Donald Trump. When protests erupted among the liberal population, far-right elements were attracted to the scrum, and violence broke out in a once peaceful place.
A booming economy has changed the city as well. The average monthly rent for a studio apartment in Portland is now $1,200. When Meloy moved to the city in the 1990s, his rent was approximately $180. Some of the artists and free spirits drawn to Portland are homeless now. “I think that there are cracks in that – in that sort of facade of cute and precious Portland,” says Meloy. “And… people are sort of frustrated and angry in the city, as there are in any city.”
KABUL UNDER SIEGE – The War in Afghanistan has taken 2,400 U.S. lives, 16 years and a trillion dollars to fight, yet it capital, Kabul, is still under siege and maybe more dangerous than its ever been. Lara Logan reports. Guy Campanile is the producer.
ELEMENT OF TRUTH – Sig Hecker, former Los Alamos Laboratory director, is one of the few to have seen the North Korean nuclear program up-close. Hecker tells David Martin the often-underestimated threat is real. Mary Walsh is the producer.
PORTLAND – The Oregon city famous for its quirky, liberal citizenry seems to be changing into an edgier town. Jon Wertheim reports. Rome Hartman is the producer.
The Afghan War has cost America 2,400 lives and a trillion dollars, but 16 years later, the country’s capital may be at its most dangerous. The threat of roadside bombs is so high that U.S. personnel must fly the two miles from Kabul’s airport to their headquarters. As costly as America’s longest war has been, failing in its mission would be even costlier, says the U.S. commanding officer in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson. Lara Logan interviews Nicholson and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, for a report on the war in Afghanistan to be broadcast on 60 MINUTES Sunday, Jan. 14 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Logan and crew under heavy security toured the inner city of Kabul, where they encountered a maze of protective check points and concrete blast walls. “Twenty-one international terrorist groups are operating in this country,” says President Ghani. “Dozens of suicide bombers are being sent. There are factories…producing suicide bombers. We are under siege. And conditions of siege require protective responses.”
The protection is nearly all paid for by American taxpayers, who foot 90 percent – more than 4 billion a year – of the Afghan military budget. “We will not be able to support our army for six months without U.S. support and U.S. capabilities,” Ghani tells Logan.
The airport road is so vulnerable to bombings that U.S. and allied personnel are shuttled from the airport by helicopter. Logan observes that this maneuver could be considered ceding territory to the enemy. Not so, says Nicholson. “I disagree. I think it’s answering our moral imperative to protect the lives of our soldiers and civilians. So that’s what we do.”
The U.S. began the war in Afghanistan as part of a response to the foreign terrorists who attacked the U.S. on 9/11. When Logan points out that Americans are now more afraid of domestic terrorists, the general says he thinks it’s all the more important to beat Islamic militant terror wherever it is. “We need to defeat the ideology,” says Nicholson. “If we were to lose here or if we were to leave here, the cost would be unacceptable. Why? It would embolden jihadists globally, those living in our own countries…In my view, the cost of failure here is unacceptable.”
President Trump shares Nicholson’s view. President Obama announced a withdrawal date and began drawing down troops before he left office. President Trump gave Nicholson 3,000 more troops and a change in policy that the general says will help him kill more Taliban leaders. “Yes, this is the end game. This is a policy that can deliver a win,” says Nicholson.