06-25-2021  6:25 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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Push to Condemn Seattle Park With Large Homeless Population

A local lawmaker wants to condemn a city-owned park in Seattle with a large homeless encampment next to a courthouse and declare the area a public safety hazard or nuisance property.

Oregon House Passes Expungement Reform, Bill Heads to Governor’s Desk

Senate Bill 397 would provide a more efficient and equitable path to a better future for thousands of Oregonians with a criminal record

Portland Police Halt Minor Traffic Stops, Citing Disparity

Police in Oregon's largest city are being advised to no longer pursue low-level traffic infractions

Loretta Smith Announces Run for Oregon’s New Congressional Seat

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PCC Won't Require Students, Staff to Be Vaccinated This Fall

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Vancouver Housing Authority Seeks Hotels and Motels to Turn Into Affordable Housing

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Bill passes to count ballots mailed on Election Day

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US seeks ways to recruit, retain wildland firefighters

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — U.S. wildfire managers are considering shifting from seasonal to full-time firefighting crews to deal with what has become a year-round wildfire season and making the jobs more attractive by increasing pay and benefits. There’s a push in Congress to...


Black America Needs a ‘New Normal’: Equitable Credit Access to Build Wealth

In Black America especially, the ‘old normal’ never delivered equitable access to wealth-building opportunities as those that well-served served much of White America. ...

Rx Upper Payment Limit Bill Will Worsen Chronic Disease for Oregonians Most at Risk

A measure being considered by Oregon state legislature will perpetuate a harmful trend for Oregon’s communities of color. ...

COMMENTARY: 100 Days of Biden-Harris

I see the trillion price tag on the Biden legislation as more of an investment than simple spending. ...

Power and Pride to the People!

Happy Pride month to Black LGBTQ readers and to all of us who love LGBTQ people! ...


Biden names special diplomatic envoy for LGBTQ rights

President Joe Biden is naming a special diplomatic envoy for LGBTQ rights. The White House said in a statement Friday that Jessica Stern, executive director of OutRight Action International, will fill the State Department post. Her responsibilities will involve ensuring that...

China slams US curbs on solar materials as economic attack

BEIJING (AP) — China’s government on Friday criticized U.S. curbs on imports of solar panel materials that might be made with forced labor as an attack on its development and said Beijing will protect Chinese companies, but gave no details of possible retaliation. The U.S....

Taliban gains drive Afghan government to recruit militias

KOH DAMAN, Afghanistan (AP) — For two days the fighting was blistering. Rockets and heavy machine gun fire pounded Imam Sahib, a key district on Afghanistan’s northern border with Tajikistan. When the explosions died down and Syed Akram finally emerged from his home earlier...


EXPLAINER: How conservatorships like Britney Spears’ work

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Britney Spears told a judge at a dramatic hearing Wednesday she wants an end to the conservatorship that has controlled her life and money for 13 years. Here's a look at how conservatorships operate, what's unusual about hers, and why she and so many fans...

Britney Spears tells judge: 'I want my life back'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — After 13 years of near silence in the conservatorship that controls her life and money, Britney Spears passionately told a judge Wednesday that she wants to end the “abusive” case that has made her feel demoralized and enslaved. Speaking in open court...

How songwriting saint Johnta Austin rewrote his career

NEW YORK (AP) — It’s the early ’90s and a preteen Johnta Austin is in the studio working on his debut album with a pair of unknown producers named Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo. Trading ideas, hearing beats and writing melodies — along with a future Grammy-nominated...


Taliban gains drive Afghan government to recruit militias

KOH DAMAN, Afghanistan (AP) — For two days the fighting was blistering. Rockets and heavy machine gun fire...

Parts of Sydney going into lockdown as virus outbreak grows

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Parts of Sydney will go into lockdown late Friday as a coronavirus outbreak in...

Late Philippine leader hailed for integrity, guts vs China

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Late Philippine President Benigno Aquino III was hailed Friday for his integrity in a...

Lebanon reduces fuel subsidies amid gasoline shortages

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister on Friday granted his approval for financing fuel imports at...

5 dead, hundreds injured by rare tornado in Czech Republic

PRAGUE (AP) — A rare tornado believed to be the most devastating twister in the Czech Republic’s modern...

Assailants ambush security forces in SW Pakistan, killing 5

QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — Assailants ambushed security forces patrolling a remote district in southwestern...

Shasta Darlington CNN

SAO PAULO, Brazil (CNN) -- Marta Umbelina pulled up in front of her house with her 11-year-old daughter. When she stepped out of the car, she was shot 10 times in the back.

Umbelina was an office worker at Sao Paulo's Military Police Northern Command -- and she is one of nearly 100 cops murdered in Sao Paulo this year, roughly 50 percent higher than 2011.

Most were ambushed while off duty, part of a deadly battle between police and Brazil's biggest criminal gang, the First Command of the Capital or PCC by its Portuguese acronym.

"Marta was my friend, my colleague, she knew everything about me," said Simone Mello, a police officer who worked with Marta at a desk job.

"Why her? Why Marta? We're just very sad," she said.

In a bid to rein in the PCC, Sao Paulo launched Operation Saturation at the end of October.

The government sent at least 500 police troops into the city's biggest shantytown Paraisopolis, or Paradise City.

They arrested dozens of alleged gang leaders, confiscated arms and drugs and even found a list with the names and addresses of 40 military police on it.

But police aren't the only casualties in this escalating war.

The number of homicides in Sao Paulo has jumped to almost 1,000 so far this year, largely concentrated in favelas or slums. For January to October 2011 there were 869 homicides, according to Sao Paulo government figures.

Some police are also being investigated for execution-style murders.

"Poor neighborhoods are caught in the crossfire," said Camila Nunes Dias, a professor at the Center for the Study of Violence at Sao Paulo University. "They suffer the consequences and we know that a lot of innocent people are being killed."

She said she believes the spiral of violence began in May when the Sao Paulo state government took a more aggressive stance against the PCC and drug gangs.

The PCC got its start in Sao Paulo prisons and often controls the country's drug trade from jail cells.

The Justice Ministry recently offered to send in Army troops to help quell the violence, as it has in done previously in Rio de Janeiro slums.

But the Sao Paulo government declined the offer. Instead they agreed to have alleged gang leaders transferred to more secure federal prisons and share intelligence more efficiently.

In the meantime, Operation Saturation has spread to other slums.

Police traverse the steep hills and sprawling shantytowns on horseback and motorcycles carrying out raids.

On a recent incursion into the northern favela, Brasilandia, police formed a human chain as they climbed the steep hills with their guns drawn.

They frisked young men and pulled over motorcycles, suspected of carrying anything from drugs to hired killers.

Residents of Sao Paulo's slums are divided. "It's a relief, it's very quiet now," said an older woman on her way to work.

But another woman carrying her baby said: "Now that it's full of police, I get very scared. I get worried about a shootout or confrontation."

Many argue that when the police leave, things will revert to the brutal status quo unless far-reaching community projects are introduced to improve public access to services like schools and hospital.

"It's not just a question of sending in police," said Joildo Santos, a spokesman for the Paraisopolis Residents Association. "You have to have public works that give young people opportunities, alternatives."

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