12-01-2021  4:03 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Sen. Manning on the Year Ahead and the Year That Was

Prominent BIPOC Caucus member concerned with gun regulation, access to Covid-19 testing

Dozens of Oregon Workers Fired for Not Getting COVID Shot

Officials in Oregon say at least 99 state workers have been fired for failing to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Attorney General Rosenblum Says She Won’t Run for Governor

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum on Monday put to rest rumors and officially said she will not enter Oregon’s crowded race for governor.

Portland’s Black Population Grew in the Last Decade, but That’s Not the Whole Story

The Black population in North and Northeast Portland declined by 13.5% over the last 10 years as more than 3,000 Black residents moved away, new numbers from the 2020 census show.

NEWS BRIEFS

Oregon's Cannabis Industry Could Be More Vulnerable Than Ever

Portland is the first in the country to allocate cannabis tax revenue to relieve the industry's impacts of...

Open Enrollment Deadline Is Dec. 15 for Health Insurance Coverage Starting Jan. 1, 2022

Help applying and financial assistance is available through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace ...

Commissioners From Three Counties Select Lawrence-Spence to Fill Senate District 18 Vacancy

District 18 includes portions of west Portland and Tigard. ...

Congressional Black Caucus Issues a Statement on the Passing of Former Congresswoman Carrie P. Meek

Meek, the first Black person to represent Florida in Congress since the post-Civil War Reconstruction, died Sunday, Nov. 28 at her...

Vsp Global Partners With Black EyeCare Perspective to Eliminate Inequities and Increase Representation of People of Color in the Eye Care Industry

Partnership includes scholarships, leadership development, and outreach to prospective optometrists ...

COVID vaccines becoming tougher to find in some places

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Vaccines have suddenly become scarce in some parts of Oregon after months of vaccine surplus in the state and across that nation, officials said. The situation is a dramatic shift from the late spring, summer and early fall, when Oregon tossed out over...

Kentucky author and 'Merry Prankster' Ed McClanahan dies

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Ed McClanahan, a Kentucky author, teacher and friend of counterculture icon Ken Kesey, died Saturday at his home in Lexington, according to his wife. He was 89. McClanahan lived in Lexington with his wife Hilda, who remembered him as a “great man.” ...

No. 25 Arkansas beats Missouri, caps best season since 2011

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Sam Pittman grinned for almost the entirety of his postgame press conference Friday night. The Arkansas coach and his team had done something no others ever had. The No. 25 Razorbacks capped their regular season with a 34-17 victory over Missouri,...

Mizzou's Drinkwitz returning to Arkansas for rivalry game

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Just 45 miles of interstate highway separate Eli Drinkwitz from where he started and where he is now as Missouri's head football coach. Raised in the small Arkansas town of Alma, Drinkwitz will come full circle Friday when his Tigers visit No. 25...

OPINION

State is Painting Lipstick on Its One-of-a-kind, Long-term-care Law

Starting in January, the unpopular law imposes a stiff new tax of 58 cents per 0 earned for every worker in the state ...

Giving Thanks

Just by being alive we can be sure of having moments of sadness as well as happiness. When you’re active in politics, you experience both wins and losses. Sometimes it can be hard to feel grateful. ...

Acting on Climate will Require an Emphasis on Environmental Justice

Climate change affects us all, but its effects aren’t distributed equally. ...

Small Businesses Cannot Survive With Current Level of Postal Service

At The Skanner News office we received an important piece of correspondence that was postmarked June 12, 2021, and delivered to us on November 4, 2021. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Study: WNBA again earns A-plus grades in diversity hiring

A diversity report has awarded the WNBA high grades again when it comes to racial- and gender-hiring practices. The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida Wednesday issued an A-plus to the WNBA for the league’s overall, racial...

Police shooting raises questions over Black man's gun rights

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — Leaders in the Black community of Virginia Beach called Wednesday for a federal investigation into the fatal police shooting of a Black man, saying his right to carry a gun for protection was ignored during a night of violence earlier this year on the city's oceanfront....

Death of bullied Utah girl draws anger over suicides, racism

DRAPER, Utah (AP) — When her 10-year-old daughter tried spraying air freshener on herself before school one morning, Brittany Tichenor-Cox suspected something was wrong with the sweet little girl whose beaming smile had gone dormant after she started the fifth grade. She...

ENTERTAINMENT

Review: Leaving the Children of God 'sex cult'

NEW YORK (AP) — “Sex Cult Nun” by Faith Jones (William Morrow) Faith Jones’ vivid memoir “Sex Cult Nun” chronicles her 23 years in the infamous Children of God cult and her slow journey to leave. Born into the cult in 1977 in Hong Kong, Jones was cult royalty, the...

Review: Animated doc 'Flee' tells young refugee’s journey

Filmmaker Jonas Poher Rasmussen was 15 when he encountered a new face on a local train in his sleepy Danish town. It was the kind of place where immigrants couldn’t help but stand out, but Rasmussen noticed this kid’s style first. He had some and most people there didn’t. ...

Parton, Oh, Biles and teachers named 'People of the Year'

NEW YORK (AP) — People magazine has named Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, actor Sandra Oh, country icon Dolly Parton and the nation's teachers as its “2021 People of the Year.” “This year has been a transformative one, pushing us all to create something new and hopefully...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Vaccine champions Spain, Portugal focus on the reluctant few

MADRID (AP) — Juan Esteban Mariño, a healthy 29-year-old, has been part of the rare cohort in Spain who have...

Death of bullied Utah girl draws anger over suicides, racism

DRAPER, Utah (AP) — When her 10-year-old daughter tried spraying air freshener on herself before school one...

Baldwin to ABC about shooting: 'I didn't pull the trigger'

NEW YORK (AP) — Alec Baldwin told ABC's George Stephanopoulos in an interview airing Thursday that he did not...

South Korea confirms first five cases of omicron variant

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea on Wednesday confirmed its first five cases of the new omicron coronavirus...

UK police investigating antisemitic hate crime in London

LONDON (AP) — British police said Wednesday they are investigating a video which appeared to show a group of men...

WHO nations launch steps toward deal to fight pandemics

GENEVA (AP) — The head of the World Health Organization hailing a key step by its member states on Wednesday to...

Lois Beckett of Propublica

With housing prices dropping sharply, and foreclosure filings against more than 1 million properties in the first half of this year, the Obama administration is scrambling for ways to help homeowners.

One place they won't be looking: an estimated $30 billion from the bailout that was slated to help homeowners but is likely to remain unspent. Instead, Congress has mandated that the leftover money be used to pay down the debt.



Of the $45.6 billion in Trouble Asset Relief Program funds meant to aid homeowners, the most recent numbers available show that only about $2 billion has actually gone out the door.

The low number reflects how little the government's home loan modification and other programs have actually helped homeowners deal with the foreclosure crisis.

The programs have been marked by poor oversight and consistent under-enrollment. Homeowners have been forced to navigate an often bewildering maze at banks marked by slow communication, lost documents and other mistakes.

The amount of money spent is also low because the government pays out its incentive over a number of years. As of July, according to a Treasury spokeswoman, the government is on track to eventually spend $7.2 billion helping homeowners enrolled in its main loan modification program. That number doesn't factor in other homeowners who may enter the program before it ends in December 2012, but it does assume that all homeowners currently in the program will be able to continue making payments.

In November, the Congressional Budget Office lowered their estimate of the total amount of money the government would spend on its foreclosure relief programs from $22 billion to $12 billion. (The New York Times reported today that the government has "spent or pledged" $22.9 billion of the TARP money so far, a figure that's dramatically higher than ours and that the Treasury spokeswoman said was the Times' own number.)

According to the original TARP legislation, unused funds should be returned to the Treasury and used to reduce the debt. While Congress has the power to re-route those funds into new programs, Republicans seem unlikely to endorse such a plan.

An Obama administration statement noted that they were continuing to look for ways to "ease the burden on struggling homeowners" through new proposals and reconsidering old ones.

The other ideas the administration is looking at have received mixed reviews. Among them: turning foreclosed homes into rental properties or allowing homeowners to refinance their mortgages at today's lower interest rates, an old idea that may not actually help a large new segment of homeowners.

"We have no plans to announce any major new initiatives at this time," the statement noted.
PHOTO: Foreclosed home in Salinas California, by Nick Anfinsen

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