09-20-2019  2:30 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

New Treasurer Steps In At Multnomah Dems

Self-described ‘boring guy’ Dean Price steps in amid party tensions

Governor's Lawyer Declines Court Nod Amid Uproar

Misha Isaak has declined his appointment by Gov. Kate Brown to the Court of Appeals after the state's public records advocate accused him of unethical behavior

Resignation of Oregon Public Records Advocate Stirs Doubts

Ginger McCall says Brown's general counsel pressured her to secretly advocate for governor's office

NEWS BRIEFS

Buffalo Soldier Dedication to Be Held at Fort Vancouver on Saturday, Sept. 21

The installation will be the first African-American memorial in the city of Vancouver ...

Africa-America Institute Set to Honor Angola, New York Times Magazine, and Netflix Film During 35th Annual Awards Gala

New York City’s premiere Africa event takes place during the week of the United Nations General Assembly’s 73rd session. ...

YouTube Originals Debuts Michelle Obama’s Reacher College Prep Course

‘A Student’s Guide to Your First Year of College’ debuted last week ...

Man suspected of theft critically hurt outside Home Depot

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Police say a Home Depot customer and a man suspected of theft near a Northeast Portland store got into an altercation that left the suspect critically injured.The Oregonian/OregonLive reports a security guard was on a bike trail confronting a suspect Thursday when a...

Cowlitz Fire battalion chief dies in line of duty

KELSO, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say a firefighter died in the line of duty in southwestern Washington.The Kelso Police Department said Thursday that Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue battalion chief Mike Zainfeld died Thursday.Police have not released further details surrounding his death.Zainfeld's...

South Carolina tries to keep success against Missouri going

The only player on the Missouri roster who knows what it's like to beat South Carolina is Kelly Bryant, and the quarterback transfer didn't even accomplish the feat with the Tigers.He did it two years ago while playing for Clemson.The Tigers, who welcome South Carolina to Faurot Field for their SEC...

SEC building some of the top defenses in college football

While defenses are still a work in progress around the Southeastern Conference, they still rank as some of the best in college football.Florida leads the nation with 16 sacks, including 10 in the opener against rival Miami. Missouri, Tennessee and Georgia combined to shut out overmatched opponents...

OPINION

Why Would HUD Gut Its Own Disparate Impact Rule?

"You can’t expand housing rights by limiting civil protections. The ’D’ in HUD doesn’t stand for ‘Discrimination’" ...

Despite U.S. Open Loss, Serena Williams Is Still the Greatest of All Time

Serena Williams lost her bid for what would have been her sixth U.S. Open Singles title ...

Do Black Kids Deserve This Treatment in School?

Three White Pearland ISD employees are named in a federal lawsuit after humiliating a 13-year-old Black student by blackening his scalp with a Sharpie ...

Why I’m Visiting the Border

People of color are feeling less safe today and any day when we see the realities of domestic terrorism and racially-motivated acts of violence ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

AP Explains: Brownface part of racist face makeup history

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The scandal surrounding Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after a yearbook photo showing him in brownface at a 2001 costume party was published is bringing attention to a practice that scholars say white people have been using for years to demean minorities.In...

Canada's Trudeau comes under fire over brownface photo

TORONTO (AP) — At a time when bigotry seems on the rise around the world and doors are being shut, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has become known as a champion of diversity. Now, amid his bid for re-election, that reputation is under attack in a furor triggered by a photo of him in...

Feds cite Islam focus in review of Duke-UNC language grant

The Trump administration is threatening to cut funding for a Middle East studies program run by the University of North Carolina and Duke University, arguing that it's misusing a federal grant to advance "ideological priorities" and unfairly promote "the positive aspects of Islam" but not...

ENTERTAINMENT

Benefit concert to feature "Supergirl" co-stars, newlyweds

NEW YORK (AP) — "Supergirl" co-stars and real-life newlyweds Melissa Benoist and Chris Wood will join performers Jane Lynch, Wayne Brady and Laurie Metcalf for a concert being livestreamed Saturday to benefit low-income migrants.The show will also feature Marcia Cross, Grant Gustin, Cheyenne...

Theater-related podcasts find a hub in new digital network

NEW YORK (AP) — Podcasts are exploding and the world of theater isn't immune. Now comes a digital hub that pulls together a lot of that theater talk — the Broadway Podcast Network.The network , unveiled Thursday, is the brainchild of Tony-winning producer and filmmaker Dori Berinstein...

'No path is easy': Black opera singers detail struggles

NEW YORK (AP) — More than 60 years after Marian Anderson broke the color barrier at the Metropolitan Opera, black singers still face unique obstacles in building their careers within the industry."We've made some strides, but not a whole lot," said Naomi Andre, a professor at the University...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Key Senate panel approves 0 million for election security

WASHINGTON (AP) — A key Senate panel on Thursday approved 0 million to help states beef up their...

Central America's dengue epidemic deadly in Honduras

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — In a ward usually reserved for juvenile burn victims, children lay listlessly...

Music starts for Earthlings around Area 51 events in Nevada

HIKO, Nev. (AP) — Sound checks echoed from a distant main stage while Daniel Martinez whirled and danced at...

China: FedEx pilot suspected of 'smuggling weapons'

BEIJING (AP) — A FedEx pilot who was detained in southern China is under investigation on suspicion of...

Kiribati cuts ties with Taiwan, presaging switch to China

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — The Pacific island nation of Kiribati cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan on Friday,...

NKorea welcomes Trump's call for 'new method' in talks

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea has praised President Donald Trump for saying Washington may pursue...

McMenamins
Adrian Sainz and Matt Sedensky the Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- The Mississippi River rose Monday to levels not seen in Memphis since the 1930s, swamping homes in low-lying neighborhoods and driving hundreds of people from their homes. But officials were confident the levees would protect the city's world-famous musical landmarks, including Graceland and Beale Street, and that no new areas would see any serious flooding.

As residents in the Home of the Blues waited for the river to crest as early as Monday night at a projected mark just inches short of the record set in 1937, officials downstream in Louisiana began evacuating prisoners from the state's toughest penitentiary and opened floodgates to relieve pressure on levees outside of New Orleans.

In Memphis, authorities have gone door-to-door to 1,300 homes over the past few days to warn people to clear out, but they were starting to talk about a labor-intensive clean up Monday afternoon, signaling the worst was likely over.

"Where the water is today, is where the water is going to be," Cory Williams, chief of geotechnical engineering for the Army Corps of Engineers in Memphis, told The Associated Press.

Exactly how many people heeded the warnings was not immediately clear, but more than 300 people were staying in shelters, and police stepped up patrols in evacuated areas to prevent looting.

Aurelio Flores, 36, his pregnant wife and their three children were among 175 people staying in a gymnasium at the Hope Presbyterian Church in Shelby County. His mobile home had about 4 feet of water when he last visited the trailer park on Wednesday.

"I imagine that my trailer, if it's not covered, it's close," said Flores, an unemployed construction worker. "If I think about it too much, and get angry about it, it will mean the end of me."

Sun Studio, where Elvis Presley made some of the recordings that helped him become king of rock `n' roll, was not in harm's way. Nor was Stax Records, which launched the careers of Otis Redding and the Staple Singers. Sun Studio still does some recording, while Stax is now a museum.

Graceland, Presley's former estate several miles south of downtown, was in no danger either.

"I want to say this: Graceland is safe. And we would charge hell with a water pistol to keep it that way and I'd be willing to lead the charge," said Bob Nations Jr., director of the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency.

The main Memphis airport was not threatened, nor was FedEx, which has a sorting hub at the airport that handles up to 2 million packages per day.

An NBA playoff game Monday night featuring the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedEx Forum downtown was not affected, and a barbecue contest this weekend was moved to higher ground.

"The country thinks were in lifeboats and we are underwater. For visitors, its business as usual," said Kevin Kane, president and chief executive of the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Sandbags were put up in front of the 32-story tall Pyramid Arena, which was once used for college and pro basketball but is now being turned into a fishing and sporting goods store.

Forecasters said it appeared that the river was starting to level out and could crest as soon as Monday night at or near 48 feet, just shy of the all-time high of 48.7 feet. Forecasters had previously predicted the crest would come as late as Wednesday.

The Army Corps of Engineers said homes in most danger of flooding are in places not protected by levees or floodwalls, including areas near Nonconnah Creek and the Wolf and Loosahatchie rivers. About 150 Corps workers were walking along levees and monitoring the performance of pumping stations.

Levees in the Memphis area are 58 feet high on average, and the floodwalls downtown are 54 feet.

"We still have significant room before we even consider overtopping," Elizabeth Burks, deputy levee commander for the Memphis sector of the Corps.

At Beale Street, the thoroughfare known for blues music, people gawked and snapped photos as water pooled at the end of the street. Beale Street's world-famous nightspots are on higher ground.

At Sun Studio, where Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and a multitude of others also recorded, tourists from around the world continued to stream off buses and pose beneath the giant guitar hanging outside.

"We didn't really know what to expect," said Andy Reilly, a 32-year-old musician from Dublin, Ireland, who was in town to perform. "We're delighted it's not as bad as we thought it was going to be."

Because of heavy rain over the past few weeks and snowmelt along the upper reaches of the Mississippi, the river has broken high-water records upstream and inundated low-lying towns and farmland. The water on the Mississippi is so high that the rivers and creeks that feed into it are backed up, and that has accounted for some of the worst of the flooding so far.

Because of the levees and other defenses built since the cataclysmic Great Flood of 1927 that killed hundreds of people, engineers say it is unlikely any major metropolitan areas will be inundated as the high water pushes downstream over the next week or so. Nonetheless, they are cautious because of the risk of levee failures, as shown during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

In Louisiana, the Corps partially opened a spillway that diverts the Mississippi into a lake to ease pressure on the levees in greater New Orleans. As workers used cranes to remove some of the Bonnet Carre Spillway's wooden barriers, hundreds of people watched from the riverbank.

The spillway, which the Corps built about 30 miles upriver from New Orleans in response to the flood of 1927, was last opened in 2008. Monday marked the 10th time it has been opened since the structure was completed in 1931.

Rufus Harris Jr., 87, said his family moved to New Orleans in 1927 only months after the disaster. He was too young to remember those days, but the stories he heard gave him respect for the river.

"People have a right to be concerned in this area because there's always a possibility of a levee having a defective spot," Harris said as he watched water rush out.

The Corps has also asked for permission to open a spillway north of Baton Rouge for the first time since 1973. Officials warned residents that even if it is opened, they can expect water 5 to 25 feet deep over parts of seven parishes. Some of Louisiana's most valuable farmland is expected to be inundated.

At the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, home of the state's death row, officials started moving prisoners with medical problems to another prison as backwaters began to rise. The prisoners were moved in buses and vans under police escort.

The prison holds more 5,000 inmates and is bordered on three sides by the Mississippi. The prison has not flooded since 1927, though prisoners have been evacuated from time to time when high water threatened, most recently in 1997.

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Associated Press writers Michael Kunzelman in Norco, La.; Mary Foster in Angola, La.; Jim Salter in St. Louis and Chuck Bartels in Little Rock contributed to this report.

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