02-19-2017  6:13 pm      •     

 
Loretta Young

Reflections Coffeehouse owner Gloria McMurtrey, Red Cross emergency educator Clarence Harper, Loretta Young. manager of the City of Portland's Minority and Women Business program, and Pastor Fred Woods are among the Spirit of Portland Award winners announced last week.
The award ceremony will be held in the Council Chamber at City Hall on Thursday,
Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. with a reception immediately following. City Hall is located at 1221 SW 4th Ave.
Young, who is on the board of National Forum for Black Public Administrators, and served on Mayor Tom Potter's Charter Review Commission, will be honored for Public Involvement. Pastor Woods, who has worked with area youth and homeless Portlanders for decades, receives the Independent Spirit Award.
Gloria McMurtrey, winner in the Community Harmony category, has run the Reflections Coffeeshop on Northeast Killingsworth Street at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard for 13 years.
She was honored for providing such a vital gathering space, which was recently renovated into a free community computer lab, in partnership with the Sabin Community Development Corporation.
"The most important thing is that it's a central meeting place for many viable organizations in the community as well as a place for local residents to just commune with each other about neighborhood issues, political issues, world issues,"

 
Gloria McMurtrey

McMurtrey said. "And play chess."
Regular customers at Reflections on any given day might include lawmakers, kids, parents, retirees, construction workers, schoolteachers and commanders from the Northeast Precinct next door.
McMurtrey can't think of any single memorable event that stands out from her years as a barista. Rather, she says, what's remarkable about her business is the flow of friends and neighbors through her doors.
"It's hard to say any one event – because it kind of happens daily. You know what I'm saying? Even when a mother from the Boys and Girls Club comes over and says, I told my son to come over an meet me here if I'm ever late picking him up because it's a safe environment," she said.
"That's kind of like how I always thought Reflections should be, it's a safe space for children and adults – and safe doesn't necessarily mean just bodily safe, it means that I can say the things I want to say without people pointing their fingers – people feel very comfortable to voice their opinions about things, and reach out to other people."
Clarence Harper will be honored with the Emergency Preparedness award. He helps staff the fire call desk at the Oregon Trail chapter of the American Red Cross, fielding calls from concerned neighbors, Fire Battalion Chiefs and others involved in disaster-related incidents.
He is a member-in-training with the Disaster Assistance Team and has been dispatched throughout the tri-county area to provide immediate aid at disaster scenes. 
Harper has received the Star Award for 10 years of service as a Neighborhood Emergency Team member, in 2006. He was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award for 13 years of service to Portland Office of Emergency Management NET program in April. He also received a Presidential Call to Service Medal in 2008 and was knighted as a Royal Rosarian for his volunteer work as a volunteer First Aid Responder during the Grand Floral Parade in 2004.
"I think that as far as the emergency neighborhood teams that Portland's in real good shape, but we're really fortunate, from when I started in 1995 to have Rachel Jacky as the coordinator of the neighborhood emergency teams," he said. "She went on in April to become the SERT director for the Department of Homeland Security, so I brag about her a lot because she taught me everything, and she always provided me with fantastic training opportunities."
Harper says it's critical that local residents understand their own responsibility in taking care of their neighborhoods in the event of a disaster – especially in communities of color.
"When I first started I was scared to death I was one of maybe two minority members that stuck out the training and at that time," he said. "I got into it for selfish reasons, I just wanted to know what to do, you know what I mean? With my mother, and my brothers and myself in case of an emergency."
Now he is a member of the Woodlawn Neighborhood NET Team, and he continues to recruit and train others.
"It doesn't matter what your condition is, everybody can contribute in time of emergency," he says.
The Selection Committee is made up of representatives from Council Members' Offices, the Office of
Neighborhood Involvement, District Coalitions, neighborhood business associations, and past recipients.
The nominees are evaluated using five categories in which they exemplify commitment to the community.
How they helped with outstanding projects, enriched our community, provided a special service, wereresponsive to neighborhood issues and how they helped raise cross-cultural awareness.

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  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
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