04-21-2021  7:47 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Housing Advocates Push to Free Public Funds for Housing from ‘Discriminatory,’ ‘Antiquated’ State System

Currently, organizations must apply for funds through one of 18 regional agencies. Even state officials decry the system.

Blumenauer Introduces Legislation to Reinstate Superfund Taxes; End 25-Year Polluter Tax Holiday That Slowed Toxic Cleanup

President Biden identified restoring payments from polluters into the Superfund Trust Fund as a top priority as part of a major infrastructure plan.

Lents Park Scene of Police Shooting During Protests

Amid protests across Portland against police brutality a man was shot and killed in Lents Park after reports he had a gun. Some protesters described by Mayor Ted Wheeler as a small group of "violent agitators" lit dumpster fires at the ICE and Multnomah County Sheriff's buildings and smashed windows downtown including at the Nike store building and the Oregon History Centre

Lawsuit Describes Night of Fear for Wall of Moms Protester

In the lawsuit filed in federal court in Portland, Jennifer Kristiansen also accused a federal agent of groping her as he trapped her against a wall, leading her to fear she would be raped

NEWS BRIEFS

Five Lucky Oregonians Won a Second Chance at Holiday Winnings

Prizes ranged from jumi,500 to 0,000 depending on the value of the original Scratch-it top prize. ...

Girls on the Run of Portland Metro Awarded Campbell Soup Foundation COVID-19 Recovery Grant

Supporting the Campbell Soup Foundation’s focus on encouraging healthy living, Girls on the Run inspires girls to be joyful,...

Ageless Awards Honor Older Oregonians Who Redefine Age

Four Oregonians will be honored for their inspiring contributions later in life during a free, public, virtual celebration on April...

Legislators Introduce Bill to Create a Statue of Shirley Chisholm Inside the U.S Capitol

Rep. Yvette D. Clark introduced the bill as part of a larger effort to increase the representation of Black women within the Capitol. ...

Grants Available For Portland Area Black-Led and Serving Organizations

To become a more equitable and just organization, the Providence Portland Service Area Advisory Council seeks to fund community...

Officials: Fire at Portland textile manufacturer was arson

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A large fire that gutted a Southeast Portland textile manufacturing facility early Monday was arson, according to fire officials. Portland Fire & Rescue said in a statement that a security camera recorded someone starting the fire in a nearby...

Guilty verdicts in Floyd's death bring joy — and wariness

London Williams stood in Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, D.C., moments before the verdict was read in George Floyd's murder trial Tuesday, wondering how he would cope if the white police officer who killed the Black man was acquitted. “I feel very nervous. It’s...

OPINION

Letter to the Editor: Portland Police Union Response to Chauvin Trial Verdict

The Portland Police Association union says in the coming days, their officers will work hard to preserve our community’s right to peacefully protest ...

Portland Commissioners Release Statement on Recent Protests

The murder of Daunte Wright is a reminder that the call for justice for Black lives, accountability, and systemic community safety reform never stops. ...

An Open Letter To the Community From Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese

Sheriff Reese outlines Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office's strategic plan and goals to reinforce equity now and in the future. ...

Candace Avalos On The Right Track With Public Housing

Our unhoused neighbors deserve a safe and clean place to sleep ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Jury's swift verdict for Chauvin in Floyd death: Guilty

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — After three weeks of testimony, the trial of the former police officer charged with killing George Floyd ended swiftly: barely over a day of jury deliberations, then just minutes for the verdicts to be read — guilty, guilty and guilty — and Derek Chauvin was handcuffed and...

Bus driver out of job after racist remark to student

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A white Louisiana school bus driver who made a racist remark to a Black student about the murder of George Floyd is out of a job after the child's mother complained to school officials. WWL-TV reported that 11-year-old Rashad Gabriel had a face mask below...

Floyd verdict sparks hope, inspiration for activists abroad

PARIS (AP) — The guilty verdict in the trial over George Floyd's death was not just celebrated in America. It signaled hope for those seeking racial justice and fighting police brutality on the other side of the Atlantic, where Black Lives Matter has also become a rallying cry. ...

ENTERTAINMENT

Searchlight Pictures chairs Nancy Utley, Steve Gilula retire

Veteran film executives Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula who in their two decades at Searchlight Pictures oversaw the releases of major hits including “Juno,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Little Miss Sunshine” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” are retiring. Disney Studios...

Scott Rudin says he will 'step back' from film projects also

NEW YORK (AP) — Scott Rudin says he's “stepping back” from film and streaming projects, along with his Broadway productions, as the fallout continued for one of the entertainment industry's most powerful and prolific producers following renewed accusations of bullying. In...

Jim Steinman, hitmaker for Meat Loaf and Celine Dion, dies

NEW YORK (AP) — Jim Steinman, the Grammy-winning composer who wrote Meat Loaf's best-selling “Bat Out Of Hell" debut album as well as hits for Celine Dion, Air Supply and Bonnie Tyler, has died, his brother said. He was 73. Bill Steinman told The Associated Press that his...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Seoul court rejects sexual slavery claim against Tokyo

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A South Korean court on Wednesday rejected a claim by victims of Japanese wartime...

Putin warns of 'quick and tough' Russian response for foes

MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday sternly warned the West against encroaching further on...

US Sikh community traumatized by yet another mass shooting

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Ajeet Singh had to steel himself for a return to work at a FedEx warehouse in Indianapolis...

Myanmar refugee crisis brewing as turmoil hits economy

BANGKOK (AP) — Aid workers and activists are warning Myanmar’s political upheavals risk causing a regional...

Majority of nations approve suspending Syria's OPCW rights

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — In an unprecedented vote Wednesday, member states of the global chemical weapons...

Queen Elizabeth expresses thanks for 'support and kindness'

LONDON (AP) — Queen Elizabeth II has expressed her thanks for all the “support and kindness” shown following...

Albina Highway Covers
Annalyn Censky CNN Money

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke
 

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The Federal Reserve announced plans to unleash more stimulus Thursday, in its third attempt at a controversial program to rev up the U.S. economy.

The policy, known as quantitative easing and often abbreviated as QE3, entails buying $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities each month. The end date remains up in the air, as the Fed will re-evaluate the strength of the economy in coming months.



The Fed is wasting no time. The purchases begin Friday and are expected to add up to only $23 billion for the remainder of September.

The bond-buying policy "should put downward pressure on longer-term interest rates, support mortgage markets, and help to make broader financial conditions more accommodative," the Fed's official statement said.

Meanwhile, the Fed will continue its existing policy known as Operation Twist. Together the two programs will add $85 billion in long-term bonds to the Fed's balance sheet each month.

In addition, the Fed also indicated that it plans to keep short-term interest rates at "exceptionally low levels" until mid-2015. Previously, the Fed had forecast rates would remain low until late 2014.

The central bank's main objective is to lower interest rates and mortgage rates in particular. By keeping rates low, the Fed hopes to fuel more spending and eventually, more hiring.

The Fed has been trying to stimulate the economy for over three years now, and has exhausted its usual tool by keeping interest rates near zero since late 2008. Quantitative easing is an unconventional way of trying to lower rates further.

But given that the unemployment rate has remained above 8%, the Fed is still not satisfied.

"The weak job market should concern every American. It imposes hardship on people and a waste of human skills and talents," Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said in a press conference later Thursday.

Last week, the government's jobs report showed hiring slowed substantially in August and the labor force shrank.

In its statement, the Fed indicated it will not only continue QE3, but also "employ its other policy tools" if the "labor market does not improve substantially."

Bernanke also admitted that the Fed alone is not strong enough to fix the job market.

"I want to be clear -- While I think we can make a meaningful and significant contribution to reducing this problem, we can't solve it. We don't have tools that are strong enough to solve the unemployment problem," he said.

The Fed's accommodative policies have been contentious from the start. Republicans often warn that as the Federal Reserve has expanded the money supply, it has set the economy up for rapid inflation in the future.

Meanwhile, economists expect the benefits to be minor, and the risks are uncertain. The first two rounds of quantitative easing lowered interest rates and fueled stock market gains, but banks haven't been eager to lend out money readily.

Banks are sitting on $1.6 trillion in reserves and credit standards remain tight following the financial crisis. Households continue to pay down debt, and are in no hurry to ramp up their spending.

That said, it's possible the Fed's move could help the housing market slightly. New construction and home prices have already started picking up recently, and should mortgage rates fall further, that could fuel a quicker housing recovery.

The QE3 move comes after Bernanke has repeatedly urged Congress to do more to support the recovery in the short term, while still addressing the country's debt problem over the long term.

But Congress has done little to heed his advice, and given it's an election year, they're not expected to act anytime soon. Economists often cite the threat of fiscal cliff as one of the key reasons businesses remain reluctant to hire new workers.

"We're looking for policymakers in other areas to do their part," Bernanke said at the press conference. "We'll do our part and we'll try to make sure unemployment moves in the right direction but we can't solve this problem by ourselves."

The Fed may have acted Thursday, partly to offset the drag from fiscal policy.

In implementing QE3, the central bank does not use taxpayer money to buy bonds. Rather, it expands the U.S. money supply and electronically credits banks with more funds.

Of the Fed's 12 voting members, Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker was the only one to oppose Thursday's decision. He objected against the 2015 forecast and QE3. He has dissented at every Fed meeting since January.

Trial: George Floyd's Death

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