10-20-2021  10:46 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

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.

Portland Shootings Prompt DA to Spend $1M to Handle Cases

Multnomah County plans to hire four prosecutors and two investigators to help with an increasing caseload of homicide investigations

NEWS BRIEFS

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 (

De La Salle North Catholic High School Completes New Campus

Faith-based, college-preparatory high school for underserved students opens permanent campus alongside Catholic church in...

Sen. Kayse Jama Announces Re-Election Campaign for Senate District 24

Since his appointment, Jama has worked to address the systemic inequality that Oregonians have faced ...

Dion Matthews Jr. Homicide Remains Unsolved After Six Years

The 2015 homicide is a Crime Stoppers featured case ...

Joint Center Commends Senator Whitehouse for Hiring Monalisa Dugué as Chief of Staff

Dugué is one of two Black Chiefs of Staff in the Senate ...

Abolitionist or Republican? Stark choice in Seattle race

SEATTLE (AP) — As police repeatedly filled her Seattle neighborhood with tear gas amid the racial justice demonstrations of 2020, Nicole Thomas-Kennedy bought a gas mask to protect her 9-year-old daughter from the irritants seeping into their home. She served as a legal...

176 Seattle first responders wait for vaccine exemptions

SEATTLE (AP) — About 176 Seattle police officers and firefighters are unable to report to work as the city’s COVID-19 mandate has taken effect and employees await possible accommodations to maintain their jobs without vaccines. according to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office. The...

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

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. ...

Waters Statement on 20th Anniversary of September 11 Attacks

Twenty years ago today, our nation suffered devastating terrorist attacks on our soil and against our people that wholly and completely changed the world as we knew it. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Police shooting looms over Emanuel in confirmation battle

WASHINGTON (AP) — The fatal police shooting of a Black teen in Chicago seven years ago is looming large over former Mayor Rahm Emanuel as he hopes to win Senate confirmation as President Joe Biden’s ambassador to Japan. Several liberal House lawmakers and activists complain...

Editorial Roundup: U.S.

Excerpts from recent editorials in the United States and abroad: Oct.18 The St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Colin Powell's efforts to build bridges, steer GOP from extremism: Much as Colin Powell deserves a tribute as America’s first Black...

Across Africa, major churches strongly oppose LGBTQ rights

In Ghana, home to a diverse array of religions, leaders of major churches have united in denouncing homosexuality as a “perversion” and endorsing legislation that would, if enacted, impose some of the harshest anti-LGBTQ policies in Africa. In Nigeria, the umbrella body for...

ENTERTAINMENT

New-York Historical Society selects new trustee chair

NEW YORK (AP) — The New-York Historical Society has chosen Dr. H.M. Agnes Hsu-Tang, a scholar of art and archeology, as its next chair of the Board of Trustees. Dr. Hsu-Tang, a current trustee who will succeed Pam B. Schafler, begins her new position in February. Her plans...

CNN's John King says he has MS, grateful for vaccinations

NEW YORK (AP) — CNN's John King revealed during an on-air discussion of COVID-19 vaccine mandates on Tuesday that he has multiple sclerosis. “I'm going to share a secret I've never spoken before,” King said while leading a panel discussion on his “Inside Politics”...

CBS wins for first time this season, led by '60 Minutes'

NEW YORK (AP) — CBS won its first week of the new television season, primarily by being the network of choice for people who wanted to watch something other than sports. CBS had 14 of the 20 most-watched non-sports shows on network television last week, while NBC had the other...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

UK encourages booster jabs, resists new virus restrictions

LONDON (AP) — Under pressure from rising infections and worried health experts, the British government on...

Bus bombs kill 14 in Syria capital; shells elsewhere kill 10

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Two bombs attached to a bus carrying Syrian troops exploded in Damascus during the...

Beirut clash fires up sectarian anger in echo of civil war

BEIRUT (AP) — He was only a year old when his panicked father picked him up and they fled with his mother from...

Across Africa, major churches strongly oppose LGBTQ rights

In Ghana, home to a diverse array of religions, leaders of major churches have united in denouncing homosexuality...

Brazil Senate report urges charging Bolsonaro over pandemic

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — A Brazilian senator has formally presented a report recommending President Jair...

EU chief says key to energy crisis is pushing Green Deal

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's top official on Wednesday exhorted the bloc's 27 member nations to wean...

Sal Rodriguez Solitary Watch

As of Monday, there were 415 California prisoners in seven facilities on hunger strike. Of them, 244 have been on hunger strike since July 8th, making this hunger strike the longest of the three statewide hunger strikes that California prisoners have launched demanding the "Five Core Demands." California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) spokesperson Terry Thornton told Solitary Watch that it appears that some hunger strike participants who resumed eating are going back on hunger strike, as the fluctuating numbers reflect.

Hunger strike participants are reporting that they are losing significant weight. The San Francisco Bay View reports that Mutope Duguma wrote on July 22nd, "I have lost 33 pounds thus far. I know things will start to turn for the worse real soon." Another hunger striker wrote to the Bay View that, "At the moment, my energy is too low to discuss current events." The Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition has received similar reports.

The Office of the Receiver has confirmed several hospitalizations of hunger strikers the last few days, including at least one overnight hospitalization. The most recent hospitalization took place on Monday night, with one hunger striker at Pelican Bay being transferred to an off-site hospital for evaluation. Spokesperson Joyce Hayhoe told Solitary Watch that all hunger strikers are receiving "daily nursing checks, additional assessments by nurses based on their daily checks, and subsequent visits to our in-patient infirmaries, our in-house correctional treatment centers or hospitals."

CDCR head Jeffrey Beard wrote an Op-Ed in the LA Times yesterday, declaring the hunger strike as a "gang power play." Beard was previously head of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, a system known to house thousands in solitary, including hundreds diagnosed as seriously mentally ill. Beard argues in the Op-Ed that the leaders of the hunger strike are self-interested gang leaders "directly responsible for at least five ruthless murders, 35 violent assaults, including stabbings, and they have racked up more than two dozen violations for possession of weapons and other contraband."Ad Hominem attacks against the hunger strike leaders, whatever their factual basis, have been an increasing element of CDCRs portrayal of the current round of mass hunger strikes as gang activity, orchestrated not out of frustration of spending an average of 6.8 years in a confined cell with limited outlets, but merely for the benefit of prison gangs. CDCR has invoked this claim of "gang activity" as justification for restricting the release of information about the hunger strike; Public Information Officers at all facilities have been ordered to refer journalists to the CDCR press office.

Further, Beard notes that not all in the SHU are in solitary. In making this claim, he points to the ability of those in the SHU to have visitation and receive letters. Of course, this ignores the reality that not everyone in the SHU will receive letters and, given how remote SHU facilities are, not all families can afford visists to facilities as far north as Pelican Bay. Having a cellmate in a SHU cell presents it's own set of challenges. Sharing a cell designed for one, with confinement in limited cell space for 22 1/2 to 24 hours a day, coupled with the humiliation of sharing toilets just feet away from where they will eat and sleep, has led some to tell Solitary Watch that having a cellmate can be an infuriating experience.

J. Heshima Denham, incarcerated in Corcoran SHU has stated that having cellmates doesn't lessen the effects of isolation: "All of us have been both with and without cellies over our periods of indefinite SHU confinement. Despite our level of development and continued advancement, it would be the height of hubris for us to contend this isolation has not adversely affected our minds and bodies. For anyone to consider these conditions anything less than torture could only be a prison industrialist or some other type of draconian public official."

Having a cellmate also doesn't address the reality that those in the SHU have severely limited access to constructive programming, human contact, or that CDCRs process of validating gang members and associates has, by their own measure, been wrong most of the time in identifying associates and members of prison gangs. Beard provided updated figures on the case-by-case reviews CDCR began in October 2012 of all gang validated SHU prisoners to determine whether or not the person reviewed should be released directly into the general population or placed in the Step Down Program (SDP). The SDP would allow participants to transition out of the SHU in five years, with a four step process with increasing privileges and rehabilitative services as the participant moves up the "steps." After the fourth step, participants may be released to the general population. The reviews, initially halted when the strike began, appear to have resumed, and Terry Thornton told Solitary Watch that reviews may be resuming with the end of hunger strike activity. According to the latest figures, 399 have been reviewed. Of them, 62%, or about 240, have been released or endorsed for release directly to general population. Presently there are no figures available as to how long the average person released directly to general population spent in the SHU for apparently illegitimate reasons.

Beard also references an incident in which an individual was assaulted for not sharing food with hunger strike participants, which was earlier reported in a CDCR press release. Joyce Hayhoe, according to an LA Times report, recently spoke with a "spectrum" of hunger strikers, some of whom "felt conflicted and pressured not to eat." Hayhoe also reported that there were also "inmates that were fully supportive of the strike." These incidents and pressures add to the complex reality of what is motivating hunger strike participants, though Beard doesn't acknowledge the other side of the spectrum of motivations, instead insisting that many "participating in the hunger strike are under extreme pressure to do so from violent prison gangs, which called the strike in an attempt to restore their ability to terrorize fellow prisoners, prison staff and communities throughout California."

Beard cites this review process and the creation of the SDP as reasonably addressing the concerns of the hunger strike participants. Further, Beard insists that the new gang validation process is now based more on "gang-related behavior," which Beard says is in line with what the hunger strikers have demanded. The hunger strike leaders wrote in their explanation of their Five Core Demands that "employs such criteria as tattoos, readings materials, and associations with other prisoners (which can amount to as little as greeting) to identify gang members." These criteria are still present in the CDCR gang validation guidelines. CDCR currently uses a point system to assess whether or not a person is a gang member or associate; ten points or above are grounds for validation. CDCR policy states that four of ten points can be possession of "training materials," which in the past has included possession of pamphlets reference "Marx" and possession of Sun Tsu's "The Art of War." Also contrary to Beard's characterization, "gang-related behavior" remains a vague concept, and the revised system prompted attorney Charles Carbone to blast the revised system as allowing for an even broader definition of gang activity and ultimately more SHU placements.

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