02-27-2021  8:28 am   •   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...

Seattle ups its outdoor dining game, Seahawks-style

SEATTLE (AP) — Sick of the same old, same old pandemic dining? Seattle says: Game on.For a limited time, foodies can score a socially distanced, outdoor meal at the home of the city's NFL team, the Seahawks.The “Field to Table” dining series kicked off this month at Lumen...

Hotel fined for overcharging people during wildfire

ROSEBURG, ORe. (AP) — A hotel in Roseburg, Oregon, has been fined ,000 for overcharging dozens of area residents who sought rooms after fleeing a large wildfire in September.The News-Review reports SUBH Investment LLC, which does business as Days Inn by Wyndham in Roseburg, entered into...

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

Analysis: Biden ambitions run into reality of Senate's rules

WASHINGTON (AP) — The early ambitions of Joe Biden's presidency are quickly running into the guardrails of archaic Senate rules, testing his willingness to remake an institution he reveres to fulfill many of the promises he has made to Americans. It's a wonky, Washington dilemma with...

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...

ENTERTAINMENT

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...

Black News Channel reloads with talk focus, morning show

NEW YORK (AP) — Four hours of morning television is a lot of time to fill, but new Black News Channel hosts Mike Hill and Sharon Reed don't expect to run out of things to say.Their new program, which debuts Monday at 6 a.m. Eastern, is the centerpiece of Black News Channel's relaunch to...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Pandemic leaves tribes without US recognition at higher risk

Rachel Lynne Cushman is used to getting calls from Chinook Nation members worried about losing housing or having...

Yellen's encore: Lending economic heft to Biden's virus plan

WASHINGTON (AP) — On a cold, gray February afternoon, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stepped out of the...

Texas jail inmates hungry, shivering during unusual freeze

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — When an unusually heavy winter storm blanketed much of Texas with snow, knocking out...

EXPLAINER: How US airstrike in Syria sends message to Iran

BEIRUT (AP) — A U.S. airstrike targeting facilities used by Iran-backed militias in Syria appears to be a...

The Latest: Virus sidelines most Toronto Raptors coaches

TAMPA, Fla. — The Toronto Raptors played without most of their coaching staff and one player on Friday...

Experts notice pandemic's mental health toll on German youth

BERLIN (AP) — Pollina Dinner returned to school in Berlin for the first time this week after two months of...

I-5 Rose Quarter Project Open House 2
Martiga Lohn Associated Press

Gov. Mark Dayton

 

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- In an echo of the debate unfolding in Washington, Minnesota hurtled toward a midnight government shutdown Thursday in a dispute over taxes and spending that could force thousands of layoffs, bring road projects to a standstill and close state parks just ahead of the Fourth of July weekend.

As the deadline drew ever closer without a resolution, people rushed to get driver's and fishing licenses, and park officials began warning campers to pack their gear and leave.

Though nearly all states are having severe budget problems this year, Minnesota stood alone on the brink of a shutdown, thanks to Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton's determination to raise taxes on high-earners to close a $5 billion deficit and the Republican Legislature's refusal to go along.

Negotiations between Dayton and legislative leaders were fitful, starting and stopping with no outward signs of progress, and details were scant, since the two sides agreed to what they jokingly called "the cone of silence."

Late Thursday afternoon, GOP leaders again demanded the governor avert a shutdown by calling a special session to enact a "lights on" budget bill that would keep the state running while talks continued. Top Democrats said Dayton would not take such a step.

Republican Sen. Michelle Benson said she wasn't budging, either.

"If we don't start taking a different approach to how we manage our government, we're going to swing from one bad economic circumstance to another," Benson said. "We can't just keep throwing more money at government and hoping that makes things better."

The showdown was something of a small-stage version of the drama taking shape in Washington between President Barack Obama and the Republicans over taxes and the nation's debt ceiling.

Though many states are having budget difficulties this year, those where political power is concentrated in a single party easily passed budgets. Some of those with divided government had healthy reserves, including Alaska, Iowa and Montana; Minnesota's rainy-day accounts are drained. Others such as Louisiana and Nevada used one-time money or federal dollars to patch things together. Nevada and Missouri renewed taxes.

In New Jersey, Republican Gov. Chris Christie used the line-item veto Thursday to pare a budget from the Democratic-controlled Legislature before signing it into law, preventing a shutdown.

Only four other states - Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Tennessee - have had shutdowns in the past decade, some lasting mere hours.

A stoppage in Minnesota would halt non-emergency road construction, shut the state zoo and Capitol, and stop child-care assistance for the poor. More than 40 state boards and agencies would go dark. Critical services, including the State Patrol, prisons, disaster response and federally funded health, welfare and food stamp programs, would not be affected.

State park officials told campers to strike their tents well before the deadline, even though there was still a chance of a deal. They said it would be too difficult to herd campers out in the middle of the night if talks failed.

In Afton State Park, near St. Paul, Rick Miller of Elko-New Market pushed up a camping trip with his 7-year-old son, Jack, to beat the shutdown. Miller originally hoped they could spend Thursday and Friday nights in the park on the picturesque St. Croix River, but he booked a campsite for Wednesday night.

"With the shutdown we decided we better come and get it in," he said. "We don't know how long it will be before we can get back into a state park." He added: "It's too bad they can't just get the job done."

A small group of protesters paraded before reporters clustered outside Dayton's office on Thursday afternoon, chanting and waving signs to support the governor's position. "You say cut back, we say fight back!" they yelled. One woman carried a handmade sign that read: "GOV DAYTON DON'T BACK DOWN!"

Dayton is Minnesota's first Democratic governor in 20 years, and Republicans are running the entire Legislature for the first time in 38 years.

The governor has proposed raising taxes on couples earning more than $300,000 and individuals making more than $180,000. Republicans have opposed any new taxes or new revenue sources, arguing instead that the state should rely on spending cuts, including deeper reductions in health and welfare spending than Dayton is willing to accept.

Some GOP moderates have talked of breaking the impasse with other means of raising revenue, such as eliminating tax breaks or authorizing a casino. Dayton has said he is open to such ideas.

Rank-and-file Republicans gathered at the Capitol on Thursday, more than a month after their regular session ended. Members of the large Republican freshman class, whose election victories in November helped the party take control of the Legislature for the first time in decades, held tight to their message that a total two-year state budget of $34 billion is big enough.

"I personally think the Republicans will probably be more damaged than the governor" by a shutdown, said freshman Rep. Mike LeMieur, R-Little Falls, who toppled an incumbent Democrat in November. "The fact is that we're all up for re-election again next year, and he's not up for three years."

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Associated Press reporters Amy Forliti and Patrick Condon contributed to this report. Forliti reported from Afton, Minn.

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