07-27-2017  7:52 am      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

PAM Presents African American Portraits

Exhibit demonstrates diversity of the African American experience, late 1800s to 1990s ...

Humboldt Sewer Repair Project Update

Construction continues on a project repairing more than three miles of public sewer pipes ...

Augustana Lutheran Church Hosts Summer in the City Aug. 6

Free event includes BBQ, book sale, children’s games, music ...

Health Officials Warn of Spike in Heroin Overdoses

Emergency providers urge use of nalaxone, which is available without a prescription ...

Students Reach New Heights

Two rising sophomores attend aviation camp in Vancouver, Wash. ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

EDITORIAL: It’s Time to Sunset the 48-Hour Rule

This week Mayor Ted Wheeler will ask Portland City Commissioners to end the hated 48-hour rule ...

Throw the Doors of Opportunity Wide Open for Our Youth

Congressional Black Caucus member Robin Kelly says it’s time to pass the “Today’s American Dream Act.” ...

Trump’s Proposed Budget Cuts Threaten Civil Rights

Charlene Crowell of the Center for Responsible Lending talks about the impact of President Trump’s budget on civil rights...

Nooses on National Mall Echo Domestic Terrorism

Lauren Victoria Burke reports on a series of domestic terrorist attacks across the U.S ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

Multnomah County Library’s 15th annual community reading project, Everybody Reads 2017, kicked off a new year with the distribution of thousands of free copies of “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” by Harvard associate professor and MacArthur “Genius” Matthew Desmond.

“Evicted” was included in the Ten Best Books of 2016 by both The New York Times and The Washington Post. The non-fiction work examines low-income households and the consequences of eviction through the personal stories of eight struggling families in Milwaukee, Wisc.  

“What the reader takes away from this book is the complexity of eviction, through the eyes of not just the tenants, but also the landlords, and the whole range of pressures and conditions involved with evictions,” Shawn Cunningham, director of communications at Multnomah County Library, told The Skanner.

While Portland’s housing crisis – culminating in a lack of affording housing, rent increases, no-cause lease terminations and homelessness – persists, Everybody Reads 2017 is using “Evicted” to initiate a community dialogue in addressing these county-wide issues.

“The library really wanted to approach this from a solutions-based perspective,” explained Cunningham. “So starting with the question: how do we create a thriving community for everyone?”

To encourage participation, Multnomah County Libraries are offering a lengthy program of discussions, lectures and meetings, which includes reading parties, renters’ rights workshops, personal housing stories, a poverty simulation, and more.

As of 2016, legislation has been put into place to slow the pace of evictions, including a statewide rule requiring 90-day notices for rent increases after a year of tenancy; and in Portland, 90-day notices for no-cause evictions and rent increases of more than 5 percent. During his campaign, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler pledged to restrict no-cause evictions, while House Speaker Tina Kotek has been a proponent of rent control. Although such actions are yet to take form, the debate on the ground is creating noise that could result in new laws which protect vulnerable communities. 

“Homelessness in Portland is a critical and acute issue, but that’s also bringing new people to the table for real conversations,” said Matthew Desmond, in an interview with Multnomah County Library. “Communities like Portland are coming forward to make important statements: we want economic diversity in our neighborhoods, we want to make livable communities and we’re willing to give a bit up personally so that families know what ‘home’ means.”

Matthew Desmond will present a talk on March 9, at 7:30 p.m. at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. This event is presented by Literary Arts, which will provide ticket information.

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