08-12-2020  2:34 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

PHOTOS: Snapshots From Downtown Portland

View a slideshow of recent photos taken by The Skanner downtown Portland.

Prosecutor Won't Act on Low-level Portland Protest Arrests

At least several hundred people who have been arrested in the past few months will not face criminal prosecution.

Lawmakers Adjourn Special Session, Restrict Choke Holds

Sen. James Manning, D-Eugene, says choke holds are "a tool to take a life."

Seattle Police Chief to Resign Following Department Cuts

Carmen Best, the city’s first Black police chief, said in a letter to the department that her retirement will be effective Sept. 2.

NEWS BRIEFS

MISSING: Michael Bryson Was Last Seen August 5

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Oregon Housing and Community Services Awards $60,822,101 to Build and Preserve 802 Affordable Homes

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Phase Two Re:Imagine Grant Deadline August 11

The fund focuses on supporting ten artists with grants of $5,000 as they reimagine their practices and pivot toward the...

U.S. Bank Announces $1 Million in Grants to Black-Led CDFIs; Additional Support for African American Alliance

A total of 15 CDFIs will receive grants ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 while the African American Alliance will receive...

Vote.org Holds #GoodTroublePledge Voter Registration Drive to Commemorate the 55th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act

2020 VRA anniversary observance to honor the memory of voting rights activist and late-Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) ...

Dozens of cats, dogs seized from Portland rescue facility

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Nearly 120 cats and dogs were seized from a Portland animal rescue and boarding facility Tuesday, officials say.Authorities served a search warrant at Woofin Palooza’s 82nd Avenue facility after receiving complaints alleging possible animal abuse or neglect, The...

Tear gas at Portland protests raises concern about pollution

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The presence of U.S. agents has diminished in Portland, Oregon, but city officials are still cleaning up tear gas residue from the streets, dirt and possibly the storm drains after the chemical was used frequently by both police and federal officers during more than two...

LSU adds Missouri, Vanderbilt in revamped SEC schedule

Defending Southeastern Conference and national champion LSU will host Missouri and visit Vanderbilt in its expanded Southeastern Conference schedule, while Alabama will visit Mizzou and host Kentucky in league play revised by the coronavirus pandemic. The league on Friday released two additional...

Missouri's Drinkwitz takes side in mask-or-no-mask debate

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Eli Drinkwitz has been the head coach at Missouri for just over seven months. He has yet to lead the Tigers onto the football field, much less win a game, yet his role in the community already has forced him to take some important stands.First, it was supporting his new...

OPINION

Historians Offer Context, Caution on Lessons 1918 Flu Pandemic Holds for COVID

Scholars find parallels of inequitable suffering between pandemic of 1918 and pandemic of 2020 ...

US Reps Adams and DeFazio Call on Postmaster General to Resign

The legislators say Trump appointee Louis DeJoy is sabotaging the US Postal Service and could harm the election ...

Da 5 Bloods and America Abroad

Even before I returned to the United States from my combat tour in Vietnam, I had decided that we were fighting an unjust war. ...

Falling Behind: COVID, Climate Change, and Chaos

Multiple Crises, Multiple Obstacles ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

NC candidate defends posts; says he despises racism

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A young Republican congressional candidate in North Carolina says suggestions from his rival and others that he has an affinity for white supremacist causes are ridiculous and based on a lack of historical knowledge. “I don’t run in those circles, so I...

Judge faces ethics charges over racist, demeaning comments

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pittsburgh judge who allegedly referred to a Black juror as “Aunt Jemima” was accused of misconduct in office Wednesday by the state's entity that investigates and prosecutes judicial wrongdoing.The Judicial Conduct Board complaint alleges that...

Black victims of U-Michigan doc seek equity in settlements

NOVI, Mich. (AP) — Dwight Hicks left New Jersey as a teenager, seeking to take a step toward his NFL dreams by playing football at the University of Michigan.Hicks was willing to do whatever it took to compete in the 1970s and says the price paid included being sexually assaulted by the late...

ENTERTAINMENT

American hopes to charm Brits in soccer series 'Ted Lasso'

NEW YORK (AP) — Jason Sudeikis was a huge sports fan growing up in Kansas, especially basketball. Not so much that game where you kick a ball into a goal. “The beautiful game? I didn’t get it a couple of years ago. I thought, ‘Well, good for them for getting that...

Film Review: A teenage political experiment in ‘Boys State’

Teenage political junkies at a leadership conference doesn’t seem like the most riveting subject matter for a documentary. As a product of teenage leadership conferences, I assumed that at best, maybe, it could be fodder for a black comedy. But the new documentary “ Boys State...

Hank Williams Jr., Marty Stuart to join Country Hall of Fame

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Hank Williams Jr., Marty Stuart and songwriter Dean Dillon are the newest inductees to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Announced by the Country Music Association on Wednesday, Williams, who often is referred to as Hank Jr. or the nickname Bocephus, will join his...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Stocks rebound on Wall Street, S&P 500 trades above record

Stocks marched broadly higher on Wall Street Wednesday, briefly nudging the S&P 500 above its all-time closing...

Tear gas at Portland protests raises concern about pollution

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The presence of U.S. agents has diminished in Portland, Oregon, but city officials are...

Prosecutors charge 3 with threatening women in R. Kelly case

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal prosecutors announced charges Wednesday against three men accused of threatening...

China blasts US for Taiwan visit while virus spreads at home

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese official lashed out at U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on...

State Department rejects further probe of diplomat's remarks

WASHINGTON (AP) — A report Wednesday by the State Department’s internal watchdog confirms news...

3 dead, 6 in hospital after train derails in Scotland

LONDON (AP) — Three people were killed and six others injured Wednesday when a passenger train derailed in...

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Jim Kuhnhenn and Kimberly Hefling Associated Press Writers

DENVER (AP) -- President Barack Obama recalled his struggles with student loan debt as he unveiled a plan Wednesday that could give millions of young people some relief on their payments.

Speaking at the University of Colorado Denver, Obama said that he and his wife, Michelle, together owed more than $120,000 in law school debt that took nearly a decade to pay off. He said that sometimes he'd have to make monthly payments to multiple lenders, and the debt meant they were not only paying for their own degrees but saving for their daughters' college funds simultaneously.

"I've been in your shoes. We did not come from a wealthy family," Obama said to cheers.

Obama said it's never been more important to get a college education, but it's also never been more expensive. Obama said his plan will help not just individuals, but the nation, because graduates will have more money to spend on things like buying homes.

"Our economy needs it right now and your future could use a boost right now," Obama said.

Obama's plan will accelerate a measure passed by Congress that reduces the maximum required payment on student loans from 15 percent of discretionary income annually to 10 percent. He will put it into effect in 2012, instead of 2014. In addition, the White House says the remaining debt would be forgiven after 20 years, instead of 25. About 1.6 million borrowers could be affected.

He will also allow borrowers who have a loan from the Federal Family Education Loan Program and a direct loan from the government to consolidate them into one. The consolidated loan would carry an interest rate of up to a half percentage point less than before. This could affect 5.8 million borrowers.

Student loans are the No. 2 source of household debt. The president's announcement came on the same day as a new report on tuition costs from the College Board. It showed that average in-state tuition and fees at four-year public colleges rose $631 this fall, or 8.3 percent, compared with a year ago. Nationally, the cost of a full credit load has passed $8,000, an all-time high.

Student loan debt is a common concern voiced by Occupy Wall Street protesters. Obama's plan could help him shore up re-election support among young voters, an important voting bloc in his 2008 election. But, it might not ease all their fears.

Anna Van Pelt, 24, a graduate student in public health at the University of Colorado Denver who attended the speech, estimates she'll graduate with $40,000 in loans. She called Obama's plan a "really big deal" for her, but said she still worries about how she'll make the payments.

"By the time I graduate, my interest rate is going to be astronomical, especially when you don't have a job," Van Pelt said. "So it's not just paying the loans back. It's paying the loans back without a job."

The White House said the changes will carry no additional costs to taxpayers.

Last year, Congress passed a law that lowered the repayment cap and moved student loans to direct lending by eliminating banks as the middlemen. Before that, borrowers could get loans directly from the government or from the Federal Family Education Loan Program; the latter were issued by private lenders but basically insured by the government. The law was passed along with the health care overhaul with the anticipation that it could save about $60 billion over a decade.

The change in the law was opposed by many Republicans. At a hearing Tuesday, Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., who chairs a subcommittee with oversight over higher education, said it had resulted in poorer customer service for borrowers. And Senate Republicans issued a news release with a compilation of headlines that showed thousands of workers in student lending, including those from Sallie Mae Inc., had been laid off because of the change.

Today, there are 23 million borrowers with $490 billion in loans under the Federal Family Education Loan Program. Last year, the Education Department made $102.2 billion in direct loans to 11.5 million recipients.

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Hefling reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Kristen Wyatt contributed to this report.

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Kimberly Hefling can be followed at http://twitter.com/khefling

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