05-18-2021  2:01 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Portland Police, FBI Respond to Threats of Gun Violence

Citing intelligence that there are “imminent” efforts from outside groups to “engage and advance gun violence” this weekend, the Portland City Council announced police and the FBI will be on the streets of the city for the next few days

Gov.: Mask Requirement Lifted for Fully Vaccinated in Oregon

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has announced that the state will immediately follow guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Jay Inslee: State on Track to Fully Reopen June 30

Washington is on track to fully reopen its economy by June 30, and a full reopening could happen even sooner if 70% or more of residents ages 16 and older have gotten at least one dose of vaccine by then.

Inslee: Open Carry of Weapons Now Prohibited at Rallies, Capitol

Last week the Oregon Legislature passed a measure that bans guns from the state Capitol.

NEWS BRIEFS

The Skanner To Be Honored With Lifetime Achievement Award

The Daily Journal of Commerce and its Building Diversity program is honoring The Skanner on May 26 for its pivotal role in many...

OHS Looks Back to "Guatemalan Immigration: Indigenous Transborder Communities"

In the 1980s, people from Guatemala, seeking refuge from violence and harsh economic and social inequities, began building sister...

Vancouver Principal Resigns Amid Racist Language Accusations

Johnson had led Mountain View High School since 2014 but had been on paid administrative leave almost two months. ...

Oregon Cares Fund Resumes Disbursement of Funds to Black Community

Funds started being released again last week ...

Audit: Portland Skipped Safeguards to Get Virus Grants Out

The audit found that race was given priority, but women were not prioritized, and it was not documented how various factors weighed in...

Oregon Senate votes to reinstate foreclosure moratorium

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A bill that would reinstate Oregon's moratorium on foreclosures for those experiencing financial hardship during the coronavirus pandemic passed the state Senate on Monday. The bill, which would allow homeowners to put their mortgage in forbearance at least...

Police seek suspects in possible bias crime assault

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s help to identify people involved in an assault east of Portland at Glenn Otto Park near the Sandy River. At about 7:36 p.m., deputies responded to a report of an assault in Troutdale and...

OPINION

COMMENTARY: America’s Policing and Political Practices Inextricably Linked to KKK and White Supremacy

Several scholars told the Black Press that the United States, its police forces, and politicians now face a solemn question, “from the Klan to White supremacy, where does America go from here?” ...

OP-ED: The Supreme Court Can Protect Black Lives by Ending Qualified Immunity

The three officers responsible for the murder of Breonna Taylor are not the first to walk free after killing an unarmed Black person, and unfortunately, especially if things continue as they are, they will not be the last. ...

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Trade Arron Rodgers

Give Aaron Rodgers a break, Green Bay. Just like Bart Starr & Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers has been a Hall of Fame quarterback for the Packers for 16 years. ...

Editorial From the Publisher - Council: Police Reform Needed Now

Through years of ceaseless protest, activists have tried to hold Portland Police to account. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Arizona sheriff's immigration patrols to cost public 0M

PHOENIX (AP) — The costs to taxpayers from a racial profiling lawsuit stemming from former Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s immigration patrols in metro Phoenix a decade ago are expected to reach 2 million by summer 2022. Officials approved a tentative county budget Monday that...

Suit: Georgia election law threatens voting, speech rights

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia’s sweeping new overhaul of election laws threatens the fundamental right to vote, freedom of speech and the separation of powers, according to a federal lawsuit filed Monday. The lawsuit against the secretary of state and the members of the State...

At Athens Varsity, answer to 'What’ll ya have?' is bulldozer

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Chili dogs, onion rings and frosted orange milkshakes could soon be in shorter supply for students at the University of Georgia. The Athens Banner-Herald reports The Varsity has applied for permission to tear down its decades-old...

ENTERTAINMENT

New this week: Chrissie Hynde, loads of zombies & M.O.D.O.K

Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music platforms this week. MOVIES — In “The Dry,” Eric Bana returns to his native country for a taut, tense thriller...

Celebrity birthdays for the week of May 23-29

Celebrity birthdays for the week of May 23-29: May 23: Actor Barbara Barrie is 90. Actor Joan Collins is 88. Actor Charles Kimbrough (“Murphy Brown”) is 85. Actor Lauren Chapin (“Father Knows Best”) is 76. Country singer Judy Rodman is 70. Comedian Drew Carey is 63....

Poet Carl Phillips wins ,000 Jackson Prize

NEW YORK (AP) — Poet Carl Phillips has received a ,000 honor for a body of work which displays “exceptional talent.” On Monday, Poets & Writers announced that the 61-year-old Phillips has won the Jackson Prize, which in previous years has gone to Elizabeth...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Gaetz associate pleads guilty to sex trafficking charges

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A Florida politician who emerged as a central figure in the Justice Department’s sex...

US report: Allies of El Salvador's president deemed corrupt

MIAMI (AP) — Allies of Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele, including his Cabinet chief, have been included in a...

EXPLAINER: Do I still have to wear a mask? What about kids?

The government's new guidance on masks for vaccinated people has left some Americans confused and sent businesses...

Bangladesh arrests journalist known for unearthing graft

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Police in Bangladesh's capital have arrested a journalist known for her strong...

Joy for UK pubs and hugs tempered by rise in virus variant

LONDON (AP) — Drinks were raised in toasts and reunited friends hugged each other as thousands of U.K. pubs and...

Biden raises cease-fire, civilian toll in call to Netanyahu

President Joe Biden expressed support for a cease-fire between Israel and Gaza's militant Hamas rulers in a call...

The Skanner It's Easy
Vickie Cheng New America Media

SAN FRANCISCO – Elsa Eder stands in her lab coat, preparing to inject genes from one cell into another. Biotechnology isn't something the 40-year-old former journalist ever expected to be studying, but when she lost her job with a local media outlet at the height of the Great Recession she was suddenly forced to make a dramatic career change.

She eventually came across City College of San Francisco's Bridge to Biotech program, which works to expand access for the city's low-income and minority residents to this rapidly growing sector.

"I noticed the Bridge to Biotech course on [CCSF's] website a couple of times, but never had the courage to try," says Eder, who is Filipino American. She holds a bachelor's degree in international studies and psychology, as well as a master's degree in communications.

With no background in science, she credits the program's counselors for helping her get past her own reservations about being qualified. "They were very supportive … [and] explained to me what the course was about in detail, semester by semester," she said.

CCSF's Bridge to Biotech program began 10 years ago, one of the first such programs in the country. It aims to give people like Eder a chance to break into one of the Bay Area's – and the nation's – fastest growing industries. There are more than 250,000 California residents employed in the biotech field. The San Francisco Bay Area represents the largest cluster of such jobs, with close to 900 companies employing 30 percent of the state's biomedical workforce.

A lot of those jobs are in manufacturing according to Travis Blaschek-Miller with the San Francisco-based industry trade group Bay Bio. Unlike other industries that have outsourced entry-level work overseas, he notes, the Bay Area remains a "strong corridor" for this kind of work.

A fact sheet released by the group shows that the industry weathered the recession, with overall job growth contracting by only 0.2 percent. With the local economy again picking up steam, experts anticipate an increase in employment opportunities.

But for low-income and minority communities, access to these positions remains low. Program counselor Li Miao Lovett says part of the reason has to do with a basic ignorance about what biotech is. "Unlike in nursing or radiology [two other popular programs at CCSF], people don't see the role of biotech directly in the clinics."

Lovett also says there's a misplaced sense that biotech requires an extensive background in science, a concern that almost kept Eder from applying. "You don't need any science background," insists Lovett, who says the program has been key to "bringing underrepresented minorities to the field of science."

Indeed, in 2012 Bay Bio honored the program with a Biotechnology Educator award for its work with these communities. But with less than a year before CCSF's accreditation expires, the future of the program is in doubt.

The Accreditation Commission for Community and Junior Colleges ruled last month that it would revoke CCSF's accreditation in July 2014 for failing to meet a set of recommendations made by the commission a year earlier. School officials are appealing the decision.

In the meantime, faculty and students are contending with the fallout.

"They've come since day one," says Lovett, referring to the steady stream of students that have been in and out of her office since the accreditation crisis first erupted. With a cloud of uncertainty hanging over the school, students are eager for advice on everything from financial help to transfer options.

Lovett says such concerns reflect the reality of students in the program, most of whom can't afford the alternatives. "A lot of them are priced out of the private universities," she notes, "while public education [including California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC) schools] is growing less affordable."

In-state students pay $46 per unit at City College, far below the $3,000 price tag for a full semester at San Francisco State University and the $271 per-unit cost at a UC school.

Eder received a biotech scholarship, which helped her cover tuition and basic living expenses. But there were other challenges. Midway through her first year, her father passed away, causing her to miss several weeks of class. If it weren't for the support of classmates and teachers, she says she wouldn't have stayed with the program.

"They were supportive. That doesn't mean they lowered their standards, but they did give me the flexibility I needed at the time," she said. "It's something I'll always remember."

There are eight core instructors in the Bridge program and a number of part-time faculty. Most come straight out of big pharmaceutical and biotech companies, bringing with them years of experience and expertise. Eder says teachers often share tips on job interviews and other work-related advice.

She chose science because of her concern for the environment, she says, and because she wanted a challenge. "I thought to myself, 'I still have about 35 years of healthy brain activity,'" she says jokingly. "I wanted to really learn something."

Within a year Eder completed 15 of the required 21 units for the program's lab assistant certificate. She says that while much of her time was spent in the lab, her classes covered everything from research methods to resume writing. During her second semester, she took an internship with a consultancy group that focuses on food safety, and says the experience convinced her to continue her education past the program.

"Food is everything," she says enthusiastically, adding that when she's done with the Bridge program she plans to pursue a certificate in environmental monitoring, which could open the door to a career in biofuels and other food-related research.

Eder says it would be a "tragedy" if the program disappeared. She recently joined the Save City College campaign, which is working to boost enrollment as applications have fallen in the wake of the accreditation crisis. With much of the funding for City College and other community colleges enrollment based, any decline in the student body spells financial trouble for the school, even as it makes cuts to meet commission recommendations.

As for her own future, Eder is more optimistic.

"I hope to do something good for the world," she says. "I know it sounds idealistic and maybe a little pretentious, but who knows." She adds, "The Bridge program gave me this opportunity."

Additional reporting by Peter Schurmann

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