Month: June 2010

Yam Yam’s crack dealer sentenced; restaurant to be sold?

A few weeks after James Yoakum was sentenced to thirteen years in prison for dealing cocaine out of Yam Yam’s Southern Barbeque, the restaurant is up for a foreclosure auction.

Yam Yam’s owner Larry Matthews told the Portland Observer he’s found a way to keep the restaurant open, however:

Matthews, who has owned Yam Yam’s for 13 years, said that business tanked after the story broke in October, and had to lay off all of his employees and run the restaurant by himself. The drop in customers caused him to fall behind on payments, he claimed, but has worked out something with his lender and will keep the eatery open.

He also noted that his restaurant has been community oriented, helping out with fundraisers for high schools and other organizations, giving ex-cons a second chance with a job, and providing food at the annual Juneteenth celebration- an event that commemorates the abolition of slavery in the U.S.

“I’ve never been a thorn in the community,” he said.

Matthews denied to the Observer that he knew that Yoakum sold drugs out of the restaurant, despite what the government found at the restaurant:

In September, law enforcement agents raided Yam Yam’s and discovered $60,000 cash in a safe, which investigators claimed came from laundering drug money.

“Why am I not in jail?” said Mathews, who has not been indicted. “Why not arrest me if you can prove these allegations that you are bringing up against me?”

Yoakum, who cooked at Yam Yam’s, also had another hobby that caught the court’s attention during his trial, according to the Oregonian:

Judge Jones said he was glad Yoakum stepped up and pleaded guilty, but chided him for his lack of responsibility in fathering 24 children with multiple women, without any means of support. “That’s the height of irresponsibility,” Jones said, verifying in court Monday that Yoakum has fathered 24 children, ranging in age from 5-month-old twins to 38.

The auction of Yam Yam’s is scheduled for June 22, according to The Skanner News.

Yam Yam’s is at 7339 NE MLK:

You can see in that picture a pink Continental Mark V parked out front.  According to wikipedia,

The Mark V was tested by Germany’s car magazine “Auto, Motor und Sport” in 1977 and to this day (2005) holds the record as the least fuel efficient car ever tested by them, averaging no more than 7 mpg and giving only an (extrapolated) 3.5 mpg under full acceleration.

“From the rooter to the tooter” — check out this Yam Yam’s commercial, starring Matthews:



‘Queer Comedy Showcase’ and Parallax @ Curious Comedy this weekend.

Local and non-local comediennes will headline a fundraiser for the Q Center. More information on the show can be found at the PDX Comedy Blog! Curious Comedy is at 5225 NE MLK, in Vanport Square.

After an eventful night of sleepwalking, a man wakes to find himself covered in ink, pants ripped to shreds and the love of his life no where to be found.

The Berger-Duffy Institute cordially invites you to analyze the case study of Lawrence Phillips.

One Horn Goat Presents a multi-media theatrical production, integrating film, animation, live action and live music. A romantic absurdity. You’ll laugh.

Juneteenth Oregon parade/festival at MLK & Alberta this Saturday.

from Juneteenth.com:

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.

Later attempts to explain this two and a half year delay in the receipt of this important news have yielded several versions that have been handed down through the years. Often told is the story of a messenger who was murdered on his way to Texas with the news of freedom. Another, is that the news was deliberately withheld by the enslavers to maintain the labor force on the plantations. And still another, is that federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. All of which, or neither of these version could be true. Certainly, for some, President Lincoln’s authority over the rebellious states was in question   For whatever the reasons, conditions in Texas remained status quo well beyond what was statutory…

Juneteenth today, celebrates African American freedom and achievement, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures. As it takes on a more national, symbolic and even global perspective, the events of 1865 in Texas are not forgotten, for all of the roots tie back to this fertile soil from which a national day of pride is growing.

The future of Juneteenth looks bright as the number of cities and states creating Juneteenth committees continues to increase. Respect and appreciation for all of our differences grow out of exposure and working together. Getting involved and supporting Juneteenth celebrations creates new bonds of friendship and understanding among us. This indeed, brightens our future – and that is the Spirit of Juneteenth.

Information on the parade, the festival, and volunteering can be had at Juneteenth Oregon’s website.



Mute instrumentation.

Two folks in white were playing cardboard instruments in front of the Union Market yesterday, and filming themselves doing so:

The Union Market opened in 1994, after Union Avenue became Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. At the time of the name change, it was known as Johnny & Lennie’s Market, at 3837 NE Union.

Gayest Day of the Year Ride!

From Just Out:

This year, the LGBQT bicycling community is invited to join the Sexual and Gender Minority Youth Resource Center to host Portland’s first gay bike ride. A family-friendly bike-decorating party in the SMYRC parking lot kicks off the event, when you can learn more about various LGBQT resources and boost your energy with snacks from on-site vendors. The seven-mile ride begins at 1 pm, and non-riders can cheer on participants along the route or sit tight and enjoy live music, acrobatics, and more. After an ice cream social pit stop at Q Center, the event concludes back at SMYRC. Exercise before sweets: SMYRC’s got the right idea.

The event is free, but a $20 minimum donation is requested, to benefit SMYRC. Contact Ledah Wilcoz at ledah.wilcox@cascadiabhc.org or Favor Ellis at favor.ellis@cascadiabhc.org for more information.