10-21-2021  1:33 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Tool for Police Reform Rarely Used by Local Prosecutors

Brady Lists flag officers whose credibility is in question due to misconduct – a designation that must be shared with defense attorneys. Defense attorneys, public defenders, civil rights groups and some prosecutors are calling for an increased use of the lists.

Portland Parks & Recreation’s Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center (IFCC) Proposed as a Center for Black Arts and Culture

Feasibility Study for community-led vision moving forward thanks to Parks Local Option Levy

Oregon Housing and Community Services Makes Progress on Federal Emergency Rental Assistance

Agency stresses importance of applying for the program and works with partners to prevent evictions from moving forward 

Oregon Set to Expand Hotline for Bias Crime Reporting

With a rise in hate crimes and bias incidents in Oregon and nationwide the two-person office just couldn’t handle the volume.

NEWS BRIEFS

Bootcamp for Prep Cooks Supplies Ingredients for Entry Into Food Service Career

Individuals interested in starting a career in food service have an exciting new choice – Prep Cook Bootcamp ...

WA BLM Demands Resignation of Criminally-charged Sheriff Troyer

"He is being charged with two crimes: false reporting and making a false statement when he said that newspaper deliverer Sedrick...

'A Dangerous Time': Portland Sees Record Homicides

Unlike previous years, more bystanders are being caught in the crossfire — from people mourning at vigils and sitting in cars to...

State Agency Inadvertently Releases Employees Vaccine Status

Oregon’s central administrative agency inadvertently released the COVID-19 vaccination status of more than 40,000 state employees to...

Simple Safety Tips for Trick-or-Treating After Fauci Greenlighted Halloween 2021

Halloween 2020 brought creative ways to trick or treat while minimizing the spread of infection (

Pet hospital to pay K to settle sex harassment suit

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland veterinary services provider Hannah Pet Hospital will pay over ,000 to a former pet nurse to settle a federal sexual harassment lawsuit. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Hannah last fall on behalf of a nurse at Hannah’s...

FBI: 1 person found dead after standoff at Portland home

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The FBI say sone person was found dead in a Portland, Oregon, home Thursday morning after a standoff. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the FBI says it was unclear how the person died. No law enforcement agencies used force during the standoff in Northeast...

No. 21 Texas A&M runs over Missouri, 35-14

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher warned his team all week that it couldn’t afford a letdown after its upset of top-ranked Alabama. His message got through, as the 21st-ranked Aggies buried Missouri early in a 35-14 victory Saturday. “We preached it,...

No. 21 Texas A&M heads to Mizzou after 'Bama upset win

No. 21 Texas A&M (4-2, 1-2 SEC) at Missouri (3-3, 0-2), Saturday at noon EDT (SEC Network). Line: Texas A&M by 9 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Series record: Texas A&M leads 8-7. WHAT’S AT STAKE? ...

OPINION

Letter to the Publisher: Black Publishers Shed Light on Pending Litigation Against NNPA

NNPA members Carole Geary, Dorothy R. Leavell and Amelia Ashley-Ward provide an update on pending litigation against the organization, its CEO and its former Treasurer. ...

How Food Became the Perfect Beachhead for Gentrification

What could be the downside of fresh veggies, homemade empanadas and a pop-up restaurant specializing in banh mis? ...

Homelessness, Houselessness in the Richest Country in the World: An Uncommon Logic

When and why did the United States of America chose the wealth of a few over the health, wealth, and well-being of so many ...

American Business Leaders Step Up to Fight Inequities in the South

With COVID-19 still an omnipresent concern and the country’s recovery still very much in jeopardy, individuals, families, and communities are struggling to deal with issues that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Memorial service in honor of Colin Powell set for Nov. 5

WASHINGTON (AP) — A memorial service for Colin L. Powell, the retired Army general and former secretary of state who died on Monday, will be held Nov. 5 at Washington National Cathedral, a spokeswoman said Thursday. “There will be very limited seating and it will be by...

Biden bill would put US back on path of reducing uninsured

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democrats’ social spending and climate change bill would put the United States back on a path to reducing its persistent pool of uninsured people, with estimates ranging from 4 million to 7 million Americans gaining health coverage. Those getting...

Australia, UK defend AUKUS pact, say fears overhyped

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Australia and Britain on Thursday defended their nuclear submarine deal with the U.S. amid concerns it could escalate tensions in the region and spark an arms race. U.K. Minister for Armed Forces James Heappey said there “has been a lot of...

ENTERTAINMENT

Review: ‘Harder They Fall’ updates the Western, with style

These. People. Existed. Those three words — and that very emphatic punctuation — appear onscreen at the beginning of “The Harder They Fall,” setting a definitive tone for this stylish and bold new Western by Jeymes Samuel. Yes, Samuel is saying, his...

Gwyneth Paltrow tackles bedroom taboos in Netflix series

NEW YORK (AP) — Gwyneth Paltrow admits she has insecurities about her physical appearance in an episode of her new Netflix series “ Sex, Love & goop,” but she’s working on that. The Oscar-winner and entrepreneur behind the goop beauty and wellness brand opens up in the six-episode...

Chapelle special spurs Netflix walkout; 'Trans lives matter'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Netflix employees who walked out Wednesday in protest of Dave Chappelle's special and its anti-transgender comments were joined by allies who chanted “Trans lives matter,” getting pushback from counterprotesters who also showed up. A pre-noon rally at a...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Billions in environmental justice funds hang in the balance

Tens of billions of dollars for U.S. environmental justice initiatives originally proposed in a .5 trillion...

Biden ties legislative agenda to MLK push for racial justice

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Thursday tied his legislative priorities on voting rights, police...

Trump plan for new media venture gets investors' thumbs up

NEW YORK (AP) — Some investors aren’t waiting to see if former President Donald Trump’s plans for a media...

Year after Nigeria's deadly protests, police still accused

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Joshua Samuel painfully recalls the day, one year ago, when Nigerian soldiers opened fire...

Putin says new pipeline could quickly pump more gas to EU

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Russia could quickly boost natural gas...

World's biggest triceratops sells for .7 million in Paris

PARIS (AP) — The world’s biggest triceratops skeleton, known as “Big John,” was sold for 6.6 million euros...

Ryan J. Foley the Associated Press

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- After years of litigation, a judge will soon decide whether to grant thousands of black employees and job applicants monetary damages for hiring practices used by every agency of Iowa state government that they say has disadvantaged them for decades.

Experts say the case is the largest class-action lawsuit of its kind against an entire state government's civil service system, and tests a legal theory that social science and statistics alone can prove widespread discrimination.

The plaintiffs - up to 6,000 African-Americans passed over for state jobs and promotions dating back to 2003 - do not say they faced overt racism or discriminatory hiring tests in Iowa, a state that is 91 percent white. Instead, their lawyers argue that managers subconsciously favored whites across state government, leaving blacks at a disadvantage in decisions over who got interviewed, hired and promoted.

Judge Robert Blink's decision, expected in coming weeks, could award damages and mandate changes in state personnel policies or dismiss a case that represents a growing front of discrimination litigation.

Similar cases against local governments have failed because proving broad bias is extraordinarily difficult, with a myriad of possible factors to explain disparities, said David Friedland, a California human resources consultant who is an expert on discrimination in hiring. Success in Iowa could encourage similar lawsuits elsewhere, he said.

"If they are successful in getting the court to agree to that, it probably will come up more," Friedland said. "A monetary award in a case like this is likely to be pretty substantial. ... It will be interesting to see how it comes out."

University of Washington psychology professor Anthony Greenwald, an expert on implicit bias who testified on behalf of the plaintiffs, said the decision would be one of the first of its kind because similar cases against corporations have usually been dismissed or settled before trial.

"The decision will be important. It will be certainly looked at outside of Iowa," he said.

Scholars and employment lawyers have shown a growing interest in implicit bias in the last several years, after Greenwald and other scientists developed the Implicit Association Test to test racial stereotypes. Their research found an inherent preference for whites over blacks - in up to 80 percent of test-takers and among many people who do not consider themselves racist.

The theory hit a legal obstacle last year when the U.S. Supreme Court disqualified a class-action lawsuit against Wal-Mart's pay and promotion practices for women. The court found the class was too broad and failed to challenge a specific hiring practice as discriminatory.

Lawyers defending the state have cited that decision in asking Blink to dismiss the case. But the high court's decision did not specifically reject the theory of implicit bias, and dissenting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote that such claims can be allowed.

Class attorney Thomas Newkirk said the science and other evidence that shows disadvantaged groups such as blacks face employment discrimination in subtle ways "is becoming overwhelming."

"Clearly, the problem is not in Iowa alone, but we believe Iowa is the exactly the right place to ask society to take control of this important issue fairly for all races, and to seek a better future for all as a result," he said.

During a monthlong trial last fall, experts called by the plaintiffs' lawyers testified that blacks are hired at lower rates than whites with similar qualifications and receive less favorable evaluations and lower starting salaries. An employment consultant hired by the administration of Gov. Tom Vilsack, who served from 1999 to 2007, warned of hiring disparities between whites and minorities in a report issued after he left office.

Vilsack's successor, Democratic Gov. Chet Culver, issued an executive order requiring agencies to improve the diversity of the workforce. State officials called that evidence of progress, but class lawyers argued it turned out to be ineffective because rules meant to prevent bias still were not followed.

Republican Gov. Terry Branstrad said last fall his administration had ensured agencies were following uniform rules to stop any abuse - but a top state employment official testified days later he'd seen no substantive changes to hiring practices in years. Blacks represented 2.9 percent of the state's population in 2010 and 2.4 percent of the state workforce.

Among those who testified was Charles Zanders, of Waterloo, who was passed over for an interview for a position with the Iowa Communications Network in 2008 despite having worked 29 years in the telecommunications industry.

"I was very angry at that time and felt like I'd been stepped on," Zanders, 60, said.

In a brief submitted in December, plaintiffs' lawyers sought lost wages of about $67 million minus what they earned in the meantime. But in court documents, Newkirk said it was even more important that Blink order changes in the way state officials train managers, screen candidates and track disparities in hiring.

Lawyers working for Attorney General Tom Miller, a Democrat, argued that the plaintiffs failed to show bias across state government.

"The record simply does not support Plaintiffs' charge that some monolithic, immutable force of bias infected the decisions made by every department, at every step, for every job, for every year of the class period," they wrote in a final brief last month.

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