02-26-2021  4:30 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
I-5 Rose Quarter Project Open House
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NORTHWEST NEWS

All Oregonians Eligible for the COVID-19 Vaccine by July 1

People who are 45 to 64 with underlying health conditions will be eligible starting March 29

City Permanently Cuts Funds to Portland Neighborhood Group

Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who oversees the city’s civic life bureau, opted to remove funding from Southwest Neighborhoods Inc. after an audit found that money had been mismanaged.

Black Restaurant Week Comes to Portland

National event highlights Black-owned restaurants, cafes, and food trucks, creates countrywide database to support Black businesses

Portland Police Launch Team to Investigate Shootings

 The Enhanced Community Safety Team will be comprised of three sergeants, 12 officers and six detectives, and will staff a seven-member on-call unit to respond to shooting scenes, examine evidence, interview witnesses and do immediate follow-up investigations

NEWS BRIEFS

Senators Markey, Smith, and Booker and Rep. Jackson Lee Re-introduce Legislation to Make Juneteenth a National Holiday

“Juneteenth,” observed on June 19, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States ...

HB 1465, To Increase the Death Tax Rate in Washington State To 40%

The Washington Policy Center's Vice President for Research, Paul Guppy today released a study on the bill ...

Seattle Black Artist To Be Featured in Amazon Prime Series

The Northwest African American Museum (NAAM), in Seattle, Washington, is launching a call for artist...

NIKE, Inc. and Goalsetter Partner to Increase Financial Literacy Among America’s Youth

Goalsetter uses digital platforms to engage youth and help them better understand financial well-being, while saving for their future ...

Six Trailblazing Black Judges to Discuss Overcoming Challenges Feb. 26

The online program panel judges include Justice Adrienne Nelson, the first Black justice of the Oregon Supreme Court and the first...

Oregon high court affirms juries can acquit in split votes

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Supreme Court, ruling before the start of a murder case, has upheld that a defendant can be acquitted by a nonunanimous verdict, months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that guilty verdicts must be unanimous.The decision Thursday keeps Oregon as the only state...

All Oregonians eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by July 1

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — All Oregonians who are 16 and older will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations no later than July 1, Gov. Kate Brown announced Friday. The governor presented her new vaccine eligibility timeline for the state during a news conference Friday — outlining...

Ex-Cardinals coach Wilks new defensive coordinator at Mizzou

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Steve Wilks is returning to coaching as the defensive coordinator at Missouri.Wilks, who was hired by Tigers coach Eli Drinkwitz on Thursday, took last year off after spending the previous 14 seasons in the NFL. The stint was highlighted by a year as the head coach of...

OPINION

Democracy and White Privilege

“White Nationalists” who believe that America only belongs to its “White” citizens, who live and have lived according to “White Privilege” are ignoring the words of the Declaration of Independence ...

The Leadership Conference Submits Letter in Support of H.R. 40

H.R. 40 finally forces the U.S. government to recognize and make amends for the decades of economic enrichment that have benefited this nation as a result of the free labor that African slaves were forced to provide ...

Letter to the Editor Re: Zenith Energy

The time is now for Portland City Council to stop Zenith Energy’s transporting fossil fuels into and out of our city. ...

The Heroes Within Us

Black History Month, as it exists today, continues the practice of “othering” Black people in America. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

New Orleans move to vacate 22 non-unanimous jury convictions

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Prosecutors in New Orleans moved Friday to have convictions overturned for 22 people found guilty of felonies by non-unanimous juries, and to review hundreds of other such convictions obtained under a law with roots in the Jim Crow era. District Attorney Jason Williams,...

Oregon high court affirms juries can acquit in split votes

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Supreme Court, ruling before the start of a murder case, has upheld that a defendant can be acquitted by a nonunanimous verdict, months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that guilty verdicts must be unanimous.The decision Thursday keeps Oregon as the only state...

WNBA approves Montgomery's role in new Dream ownership group

ATLANTA (AP) — Former Atlanta Dream guard Renee Montgomery made history on Friday as part of a three-member investor group that was approved to purchase the team.The ownership change follows pressure on former Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a Republican who angered WNBA players with her opposition to...

ENTERTAINMENT

Maren Morris, Chris Stapleton lead ACM Awards nominations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Maren Morris and Chris Stapleton are the leading nominees for the Academy of Country Music Awards, but only Stapleton joined the all-male ballot for the top prize of entertainer of the year. The academy announced on Friday that Morris and Stapleton both had six...

Tonywatch: Playwright Katori Hall 'reaching for humanity'

NEW YORK (AP) — Most playwrights who dip their toes into musical theater for the first time go small. Not Katori Hall: Her first assignment was to capture the life of a musical giant — Tina Turner.“I’m not really scared of much, which is probably why I felt like...

Laying out data, Netflix touts its record on inclusivity

NEW YORK (AP) — Netflix on Friday released a study it commissioned from top academic researchers that shows the streaming giant is outpacing much of the film industry in the inclusivity of its original films and television series.For years, academic studies have sought to capture...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn't happen this week

A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week. None of these are...

Hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls taken in mass abduction

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Gunmen abducted 317 girls from a boarding school in northern Nigeria on Friday,...

Some local GOP leaders fire up base with conspiracies, lies

A faction of local, county and state Republican officials is pushing lies, misinformation and conspiracy theories...

Pandemic leaves many Romanian patients without critical care

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Andrei, a 32-year-old Romanian man who has been HIV positive since he was a baby,...

Officials: 400 escape, 25 dead after Haiti prison breakout

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haitian authorities announced Friday that more than 400 inmates escaped and 25...

Vaccination 'passports' may open society, but inequity looms

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Violet light bathed the club stage as 300 people, masked and socially distanced,...

I-5 Rose Quarter Project Open House 2
Helen Silvis of The Skanner News

News that police believe Yashawnee Vaughn was killed March 19, has hit Portland teens hard.
Emotions are raging on social networking websites, as teens express everything from disbelief and confusion to raw pain and anger. Accustomed to posting without censoring themselves, comments are sometimes veering into dangerous territory.
Vaughn was a student at Helensview High School, a small alternative school serving around 250-270 students. Principal Kris Persson said she felt awed by the compassion and caring her students are displaying, while facing a grief quite unlike any they have known.
"They are amazing," Persson said Friday. "We have set up a special remembrance room and they have decorated it with pictures and flowers and candles. They are showing enormous caring and concern for one another, and for the staff here." The Skanner News Video: Memorial


Teens At Many Schools Are Affected
The long wait to find out what had happened to the missing teen, and the arrest of 16-year-old suspect, Parrish Bennette, has left teens struggling to understand. How could their friend have disappeared? How did she die? And what possibly could have happened that involves a boy many of them also know?  Police are searching on Rocky Butte, but have released no further information.
"This is hard because of a lot of the students knew both Yashawnee and Parrish," Persson said. "And it's been very, very difficult, because it has gone on for a long time – since Yashawnee went missing – and because of the darkness surrounding what has happened. It scares them, and they have a deep sense of grief."
At Helensview, Persson and her staff are working to support students with counseling, remembrances and by offering a safe place to grieve and to talk. But the tragedy is touching students across the city and in particular at several Eastside schools where students knew either Yashawnee or Bennette.
Facebook and Twitter are buzzing as students pour out their hearts. Yashawnee had friends at several other neighborhood schools -- Madison, Jefferson and Parkrose to name a few. One tweet, from Lauren Hanks reads: RIP Yashawnee <3 we all miss you and love you. Many other tweets and posts offer up love to Yashawnee.
 As Persson notes, Bennette too was known to students at Helensview. But he also has connections at Franklin, Grant, Madison, David Douglas and Parkrose high schools. He had been a student at Mt. Tabor Middle School, where he was in the Japanese Immersion Program.

Facebook Posts Show Teens Are Hurting
Since the news broke, dozens of those students have been posting their disbelief, caring, shock and outrage to Bennette's Facebook page, in heartwrenching teen shorthand. The Skanner News has decided not to identify these teens by name.
"Man when I first heard this I called your phone 5 times for you to answer & tell me it's not true," wrote one. "But Why??...WTF. I know you, we been through hella f****** sh**… your not the tipe I'm shocked!!!..."
Another writes: "Bestfriend. I can't believe it. I hope it's not true…But you neva no wat too Belive at a Time like this. Wow G** D*** Every Thing Needa Stop."
A third says: "D*** I really don't wannna believe this sh**. Your such a good person. I know you wouldn't do no sh** like this on purpose. I'm sitting here like wtf Your never going to get out…"
Some express their loyalty to Bennette, saying things like "keep your head up yung G… no matter what happens" and "I love you lil cuddy and when dis craziness is over u know where you can come," or "No matter what, you always my lil bro & I keep you in my prayers…." One girl says: "Parrish ths is so crazy.. people accusing you, your face all over the news! I don't believe it… your way too good of a person for that and your heart is way bigger then this. I jst wanna cry…I love you." She ends her post with a heart.

Sad and Mad: Posts Veer Into Threats
Devastated by Yashawnee's death, other teens are furious with Bennette, and with posts they disagree with. "Aint enough words in this world…The only thing in mind is 'I HOPE YOU GET A DEATH SENTENCE! & ROTT IN HELL ! B****," one teen writes. Another says: "the b**** a** n**** need to burn in h***, they need to sit his a** in the electric chair…"
A few teens are getting into vicious arguments with one another or posting direct threats to Bennette, such as: F*** U Parrish. Die N***** ROTT BECKAUSE I SWEAR IF YHU GET OUT IMMA KILL U" and "…you better pray they keep you there for life cause you will never make it and that' a promise…"
Rumors are circulating about Bennette, his family, the crime and the arrest. Parents may find their students are deeply affected, even if they didn't know either of the teens.
Kiki Tolbert-Griffin has set up a special Facebook page named: Yashawnee Vaughn RIP We want justice.
"It's never a goodbye but a see you later," reads one of her posts. "People die but their spirits live on and you have to believe that one day you're going to see them again... RIP shawnee you are going to be missed...Until we meet again."
Like Persson, Tolbert-Griffin is trying to create a safe outlet to express the intense emotions gripping high school students. One of her posts read: "Kiki Tolbert-Griffin would strongly like to encourage everyone to allow the authorities to do their thing don't take matters in their own hands. We already lost Shawnee and we don't need anyone else lost. We just want justice and closure for her mother and her family."
Adults are invited to join a search party gathering at 9 am Saturday morning in Powell Park, at 26th and SE Powell. And a candlelight vigil is planned for 7 pm Saturday also at Powell Park.

PHOTOS: Bennette's Facebook photos and the Memorial for Yashawnee Vaughn outside the Northeast police precinct.

Related Stories
Search Crews Scour Rocky Butte Park for Yashawnee Vaughn; Vigil Set for Saturday
 
Police Arrest 16-Year-Old in Yashawnee Vaughn's Murder
 
Police Now Consider Yashawnee Vaughn to be 'Missing'

Family, Friends Searching for 14-year-old Black Female Missing Since March 19

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