12-06-2019  8:40 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

NORTHWEST NEWS

Black Food Professionals See Opportunities to “Scale Up” in School Cafeterias and on Store Shelves

Two Portland women are addressing disparities in the local food scene with Ethiopian and Haitian flavors, ingredients

Portland Fire Chief Sara Boone Climbing Historic Ladders

In 1995, Boone was the first African American woman hired by Portland Fire & Rescue; this year she became its first African American Chief

Christmas Tree Shopping is Harder Than Ever, Thanks to Climate Change and Demographics

For Christmas tree farms to survive, shoppers will need to be more flexible

November Holiday Travel at PDX Brings More Comfort, Convenience and Furry Friends

If you’ve not been to Portland International Airport in a few months, you’re in for some surprises.

NEWS BRIEFS

Conservation Breakthrough for Endangered Butterfly

The Oregon Zoo's breeding success provides new hope in an effort to save Oregon silverspots ...

Meet 80 Local Authors at OHS 52nd Holiday Cheer Book Sale and Signing

This free Oregon Historical Society event will be held this Sunday, December 8 from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. ...

Need for Blood Doesn’t Stop for Holidays – Donors Needed

Those who come to give through Dec. 18 will receive a Amazon.com Gift Card ...

North Carolina Court Decision Upholds Removal of Confederate Monument

Lawyers argued that the monument was installed at the end of Reconstruction to further the false “Lost Cause” narrative,...

Artist Talk with 13-year-old Local to be Held This Tuesday, Nov. 26

Hobbs Waters will be discussing his solo exhibit “Thirteen” at The Armory in Portland ...

Driver gets 16 years for striking pregnant woman in Gresham

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A man on methamphetamine was driving his Jeep with a suspended license in 2010 when he crossed into oncoming traffic and crashed into a sedan, causing catastrophic injuries to the pregnant woman inside, has been sentenced to 16 years in prison.The Oregonian/OregonLive...

North by Northwest: Minor league hires prez with proper name

HILLSBORO, Ore. (AP) — The short-season Northwest League has named a new president with a most fitting name for the post: North Johnson.The Class A loop made the announcement Friday, appointing the longtime minor league executive."I was literally born to have this job," Johnson kidded in an...

Missouri fires football coach Barry Odom after 4 seasons

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri fired football coach Barry Odom on Saturday, ending the four-year stay of a respected former player who took over a program in disarray but could never get the Tigers over the hump in the brutal SEC.The Tigers finished 6-6 and 3-5 in the conference after...

Powell, Missouri snap 5-game skid with win over Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — In a game started by third- and fifth-string quarterbacks, the outcome was decided by one of their backups. It was appropriate enough for Arkansas and Missouri, two teams facing their longest losing streaks in decades.Fayetteville High School graduate Taylor Powell...

OPINION

Will You Answer the Call for Moral Revival?

In embracing and expanding the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Revs. Barber and Theoharis have asked Presidential candidates to consider a debate that focuses exclusively on poverty ...

What I’m Thankful For This Season

Ray Curry gives thanks for a human right that shaped our country throughout the 20th century and that made Thanksgiving possible for so many Americans who, like him, didn’t get here by way of the Mayflower ...

Congressional Black Caucus Members Visit U.S.-Mexico Border: “Mistreatment of Black Immigrants is Another ‘Stain on America’”

Members said they witnessed first-hand the deplorable treatment and plight of Black immigrants ...

Portland, I'm Ready

Last month I had the privilege to stand with hundreds of supporters and announce my intention to run for re-election ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Illinois prison guards face federal charges in inmate death

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Three Illinois prison guards were arraigned in federal court Friday on charges of assault and civil rights violations in the May 2018 death of an inmate at Western Illinois Correctional Center. A grand jury indicted the correctional officers, who also face charges...

Haley: Killer 'hijacked' Confederate flag meaning for some

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said in an interview that a man who gunned down nine worshipers at an African American church in 2015 “hijacked” the ideals many connected to the Confederate battle flag.Haley told conservative political commentator and Blaze TV host Glenn Beck...

Germany's Merkel voices 'shame' during 1st Auschwitz visit

OSWIECIM, Poland (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced a feeling of "deep shame” during her first-ever visit on Friday to the hallowed grounds of the former Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, where Adolf Hitler's regime murdered more than a million people.Merkel...

ENTERTAINMENT

R. Kelly charged with paying bribe before marrying Aaliyah

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal prosecutors are accusing singer R. Kelly of scheming with others to pay for a fake ID for an unnamed female a day before he married R&B singer Aaliyah, then 15 years old, in a secret ceremony in 1994.The revised indictment, filed Thursday in New York, accuses...

Bloomberg: His news reporters need to accept restrictions

NEW YORK (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg says employees at his news organization need to accept restrictions with their paycheck, including the ban on investigating their boss.Bloomberg, billionaire founder of Bloomberg News, was asked in a CBS News interview about...

Billy Joel, Kardashians Diplo descend on Miami for Art Basel

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — As gallerists and collectors descend on Miami's most prestigious art fair by day, the Hollywood crowd knows it's all about the exclusive after parties. Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder and Pharrell were in town while DJ Khaled and rappers Travis Scott and Gucci Mane held...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Let's cancel 'OK Boomer' in 2020, and the humblebrag, too

NEW YORK (AP) — Either loudly sing your own praises or don’t in the new year, but let’s leave...

Officials list pot vape brands reported in US outbreak

NEW YORK (AP) — Health officials investigating a nationwide outbreak of vaping illnesses have listed, for...

US firms keep hiring, easing worries of weakening economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — American businesses have complained for years that they can’t find the workers...

World powers press Iran to reverse nuke deal violations

VIENNA (AP) — World powers pressured Iran on Friday to reverse recent atomic activities that violate the...

Germany's Merkel voices 'shame' during 1st Auschwitz visit

OSWIECIM, Poland (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced a feeling of "deep shame” during her...

US hits Iran-backed Iraqi militia leaders with sanctions

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration on Friday slapped sanctions on three Iran-backed Iraqi militia...

McMenamins
New America Media, News Report, Ngoc Nguyen

Jenny Do started a pro bono foreclosure clinic at her law firm in 2009 after she noticed that many of her clients filing workers' compensation claims were also facing housing troubles.

"I started to look into foreclosure procedures, and realized they were seriously unjust," said Do, an attorney with Efficio Law Group based in San Jose, California. "I stepped in and volunteered to do what I could to help."

Do's sentiments and actions are part of a groundswell of public dissatisfaction and anger with banks over their role in the country's financial and foreclosure crises. As part of the Occupy movement sweeping the country, this Saturday marks national "bank transfer day," a campaign that calls on consumers to switch their money from big banks to credit unions.

But for the most part, Do's efforts were futile. In some cases, homeowners who worked out a trial loan modification with their bank were told they didn't qualify for a permanent one. Other homeowners even had the sheriff show up at their house without warning and were told they had 15 minutes to leave. In one case, Do says, a client's bank promised not to sell their house within 30 days, but did so anyway.

"I'm running out of steam," she said. "The injustice I see, it's to the point you feel you have to do something, or else you feel guilty."

Recently, Do has taken steps to transfer $200,000 from her law firm's two investment accounts at Bank of America to a credit union. She closed one account in October, and has scheduled the other account to transfer next February.

"I believe it is the only power we have left," Do said. "The government is not looking out for our interests. Many nonprofits try to help, but to no avail. The only recourse we have left is to decide if we want to bank with [a particular bank].

For residents in east San Jose, an area particularly hard hit by foreclosures, the desire to divest from big banks took hold long before it was popular.

When the adjustable rate on her mortgage kicked in, Mercy Martinez, who works as an office clerk, could no longer afford the monthly payment on her condo in the east side of the city. She was able to modify her loan with Bank of America (then Countrywide), but her monthly payments still increased by $500.

Fed up, Martinez, who lives with her daughter, says last April she decided to move $40,000 from the bank to a credit union, and has pushed for her local church to do the same.

Last month, Most Holy Trinity Church in San Jose announced it would divest $3 million from Bank of America. They targeted Bank of America, says Martinez, because the church surveyed parishioners, who are mostly Latino and Vietnamese, and found a high number of people in foreclosure who had Countrywide (now Bank of America) as their lender.

Even though her housing situation is still in limbo, Martinez says she's happy the church decided to move its money, and she thinks it will make a difference.

But will withdrawals – even in the millions – cause Bank of America to blink?

Jim Wilcox, an economist who specializes in banking and a professor at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, says customer feedback counts for a lot, but such community level divestments won't impact most big banks.

"A few scattered withdrawals of that size do not loom very large at an operation the size of Bank of America, but sometimes large movements can really grow from a small number of voices in the beginning," he said. "Sometimes they peter out and sometimes they swell and become much larger. Withdrawals have the potential to have a high visibility and cause more people to think about their bank."

Case in point, earlier this week Bank of America backed off on a plan to charge customers a monthly $5 fee for debit card use, partly due to a backlash from angry customers and partly because several of its competitors dropped their debit card fees.

"It would be a PR disaster, likely to cost them a lot of customers," Wilcox said. "It was implicit in customer complaints [that] if there's a better deal down the street, I'll vote with my feet and checkbook."

Bank of America spokesperson Colleen Haggerty said the bank has no comment on the Occupy Wall Street movement, and said the bank has made strides to help homeowners during the unprecedented foreclosure crisis.

"Because some in the media have cited foreclosure matters as the reason for closing accounts, they may not be aware of all the efforts Bank of America has made to help keep people in their homes. This includes having made more HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program) modifications than any other lender, and modifying more than 193,000 mortgages in California since the housing crisis began in 2008," said Haggerty, adding that the bank has also opened 50 Customer Assistance Centers in the hardest hit markets nationwide, including 10 in California.

In California, an estimated 1.2 million homeowners have lost their homes to foreclosure in the last three years. And, with another 800,000 homes projected to receive foreclosure notices in 2012, the need far outweighs the number of homeowners who have been helped.

Jenny Do, who has many Vietnamese Americans visiting her foreclosure clinic, says more education and outreach is needed to help homeowners, particularly those from ethnic communities who face even greater hurdles, such as language barriers, in navigating the convoluted process to successfully modify their home loan and keep their house.

Arthur Bao, an organizer with People Acting in Community Together, an interfaith group that has worked on foreclosure prevention locally, says the organization is working with community members, including Do and Most Holy Trinity Church to use their sizeable and high visibility divestments to win some gains for community members, including principal reductions and speedier loan modifications for specific congregants.

The pastor of Most Holy Trinity, Eduardo Samaniego, or Father Eddie as he is known in the community, was a driving force behind the church's decision to divest from Bank of America. He says the divestment should send a message to the big banks:

"Like Netflix, who pulled a fast one by trying to charge for previously-free movies and then lost over 1 million subscribers, most of whom did not return once the new fees were dropped. So the banks must know that they are here to serve the people and when they do wrong, there are consequences."

mlkbreakfast2020 tickets 300x180

Martha Redbone Trio
Crown Royal Boss Play the Game
Calendar

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events