02-16-2020  5:11 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Trump Appointees Weigh Plan to Build Pipeline in Oregon

If the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approves the project, which lacks state permits, it would likely set up a court battle over state's rights

Oregon Lawmakers Ask U.S. Attorney to Investigate Whether Local Police Violated Black Man’s Civil Rights

U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer said this racial targeting of Michael Fesser "reflects the worst abuses of African-Americans in our nation’s modern history"

DA to Investigate West Linn Cops Handling of Wrongful Arrest

Former West Linn Police Chief Terry Timeus had his officers initiate an unwarranted, racially motivated surveillance and arrest of a Black Portland man as a favor to the chief’s fishing buddy

State and Local Leaders Push Back Against Fair Housing Changes

Trump administration proposes weakened regulation, tracking of housing discrimination

NEWS BRIEFS

Seattle Pacific University Hosts Music Events

Seattle Pacific University invites the public to a series of free music events during the months of February and March ...

A Celebration of Portland’s Role in the Negro Leagues to be Held Thursday, Feb. 20

The community is invited for a celebration of Black History Month and the 100th anniversary of Negro League Baseball in America ...

Kresge Foundation Selects PCC To Participate in Its National Boost Initiative

The $495,000 grant awarded to PCC and Albina Head Start will help connect low-income residents and students to services and...

Attorney Jamila Taylor Announces Run for State House of Representatives in Washington

Taylor pledges to continue outgoing Rep. Pellicciotti’s commitment to open, accountable government in a statement released today ...

Legislation Introduced to Prohibit Irresponsible Government Use of Facial Recognition Technology

The technology heightens the risk of over-surveillance and over-policing, especially in communities of color ...

Jury decides convicted Oregon meth dealer should lose home

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Yamhill County jury has concluded that police can seize the home of a woman convicted of a felony drug crime under Oregon’s civil forfeiture law.Sheryl Sublet, 62, pleaded guilty in 2018 to to selling less than 1,000 grams of methamphetamine, The...

Police seek suspect who robbed 3 Portland banks in 1 hour

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A man robbed three Portland banks in less than one hour last week, according to the Portland Police Bureau.The robberies occurred Friday, The Oregonian/Oregon Live reported.The man wore glasses, a black beanie and flannel shirt.He robbed the Bank of the West on...

OPINION

Black America is Facing a Housing Crisis

As the cost of housing soars the homeless population jumps 12 percent, the number of people renting grows and homeownership falls ...

Trump Expands Muslim Ban to Target Africans

Under the new ban on countries, four out of five people who will be excluded are Africans ...

Martin Luther King Day is an Opportunity for Service

Find out where you can volunteer and make a difference to the community ...

Looking to 2020 — Put Your Vote to WORK!

Ronald Reagan, who turned his back on organized labor and started America’s middle-class into a tailspin, has recently been voted by this administration’s NLRB into the Labor Hall of Fame ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Teammates appear to stop Marega leaving after racist abuse

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — FC Porto striker Moussa Marega, who tried to walk off the field after being the target of racist abuse from fans, faced apparent attempts Sunday by his own teammates and opposition players to prevent him from leaving. Marega, who is black and plays for Mali, was...

Rival Democrats accuse Bloomberg of trying to 'buy' election

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — With the Nevada caucuses less than a week away, Democratic presidential candidates campaigning Sunday were fixated on a rival who wasn't contesting the state. Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg all targeted billionaire Mike Bloomberg,...

The Latest: Nevada's lieutenant governor endorses Biden

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Latest on the 2020 presidential campaign (all times PST):3:30 p.m.Joe Biden has picked up another endorsement from a top Nevada politician, with Lt. Gov. Kate Marshall announcing that she will back the former vice president’s White House bid.Marshall joins two of...

ENTERTAINMENT

Snoop Dogg apologizes to Gayle King for rant over Bryant

NEW YORK (AP) — After days of blistering criticism, Snoop Dogg has finally apologized to Gayle King for attacking her over her interview with former basketball star Lisa Leslie about the late Kobe Bryant.“Two wrongs don't make no right. when you're wrong, you gotta fix it," he said in...

Voigt shocked paper ran her photo with Freni's obituary

Deborah Voigt was in California earlier this week when she got a text from a friend on the East Coast."So sorry to hear the news of your passing," read the Monday message.The Gazzetta di Parma newspaper in Italy had run an obituary of Mirella Freni, the great Italian soprano who died Sunday at age...

Lizzo talks diversity, self-confidence and femininity

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Fresh from winning three Grammys, singer Lizzo visited Mexico City for a private concert, surprising her fans with acoustic versions of her hits and a toast with tequila.The star from Detroit, who won best pop solo performance (“Truth Hurts”), best...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Elton John, sick with pneumonia, cuts New Zealand show short

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) — An emotional Elton John had to cut short a performance in New Zealand on...

Virus renews safety concerns about slaughtering wild animals

BEIJING (AP) — China cracked down on the sale of exotic species after an outbreak of a new virus in 2002...

California to apologize for internment of Japanese Americans

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Les Ouchida was born an American just outside California's capital city, but his...

Banksy's Valentine's Day mural covered after it was defaced

LONDON (AP) — The family that owns a house in southwest England where an artwork from Banksy appeared in...

Esper says Taliban deal is promising but not without risk

MUNICH (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Saturday that a truce agreement between the United...

US secretary of state visits Senegal to start Africa tour

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration is working to...

McMenamins
Ivana Kottasov

LONDON (CNN) -- A year ago, Gisella Asante and her daughter Jan Asante found themselves standing in tears in the middle of broken glass, scattered clothes hangers, bits of wedding dresses and burnt pieces of fabric. Their small shop in south London had been targeted by a mob of looters during the city's worst riots in two decades.

It happened a few days after they celebrated the 20th anniversary of opening their business -- Gisella's, a fashion workshop. In just a few hours of riot madness, Gisella and Jan Asante lost 20 years' worth of work.

A display of valuable dresses made for high-profile celebrities: gone.

Unique accessories, some from remote parts of the world: gone. Handmade jewelry: gone. Wedding dresses ready to be picked up by brides-to-be: gone.

The overall loss is hard to estimate -- on top of all the things lost and damaged, business slowed down for months. "We were boarded for three months, that's how long it took," Jan said. "People thought we folded, it felt like we were in prison," Gisella added.

They estimate a loss of £30-40,000 ($55,000-65,000), but say it's hard to put a number on it. "The things are worth so much more. We made them all, they are irreplaceable," Jan said.

Fast forward a year and the place looks like nothing had ever happened. The only visible reminder of last year's events is a couple of wooden boards leaning against the wall. They used to cover the smashed windows.

Now they serve as a notice board, with pictures and supportive letters from customers that flooded the boutique after the riots.

"People sent messages, emails, they phoned to say they were sorry," Jan said. The reaction was overwhelming. "A friend of mine had to come in for a week just to answer the phone and reply to messages. It was like bereavement."

The revival of the boutique is down to the Asantes' loyal customers. "Lots of our regular customers made an effort to help. They didn't really need anything, and they would still come and buy something. Our customers are amazing," Jan said.

There was a point, they say, when they wanted to leave the shop closed and walk away. But the customers kept coming. "Having the customers, the work, it kept us going, we were on autopilot," Jan said. "It was exactly as the British say: 'Keep calm and carry on.'"

Thank-you notes from clients are displayed all around Gisella's. Many include wedding and honeymoon photos, as the boutique has long been a hotspot for brides who want something special.

"For the brides, weddings are about culture," Jan said. "They want to express their heritage, even if they are very modern, and they always ask us how they can show where they come from and who they are."

The traditional-meets-modern is the key to their success.

Gisella, originally from Tanzania, came to London from Kenya, where her daughter Jan was born to a Ghanaian father. It may sound complicated, but the multicultural heritage of the two women is exactly what makes their clothes special.

"We are inspired by modern Africa," Jan said. "We consider ourselves African, but are also Londoners, and that shows in our designs."

Their dresses are a mixture of modern cuts, African-inspired prints and precious fabrics from all around the world. Picking up a beautifully shaped dress, Jan points out the fabric. It comes from a remote area in Nigeria, where it was handmade. Together with a Western-style cut, it makes for a special piece of couture.

"I always talk to our customers about the story behind fabrics," she said. "It's nice to walk around knowing where your clothes came from."

The mother-daughter pair work as a team. Jan talks to the customers and prepares the designs, while Gisella is the one cutting the fabric and sewing.

The workshop is strictly divided in two zones. Each woman has her own territory, where she rules. They say it works perfectly, even though they both admit there are clashes from time to time.

"She is my mum, you always have to do what your mum tells you to," Jan admitted. "But we are also business partners. We have to negotiate and agree on everything. Sometimes it stretches your relationship to the limits."

On the one-year anniversary of the looting the boutique was unusually quiet, and there was time for reflection.

"I couldn't ask for a better daughter," Gisella said, doubting she would have been able to cope without her during the long months of recovery.

Then suddenly, she turned to Jan and said: "You have more strength than I thought you have. I've seen you rise so much. I am proud of you -- I never had the time to tell you."

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