07-01-2022  7:14 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Eugene Woman Attacked With Acid for Third Time Since March

A Eugene, Oregon, woman who had acid thrown on her while walking her dog in March has been the target of two additional acid attacks at her home

Minimum Wage Increase Initiative Qualifies in WA City

An initiative to increase the minimum hourly wage in Tukwila, Washington, by more than has qualified for the November ballot.

Sydney McLaughlin Does It Again, Breaks Own World Record

When asked how she was going to celebrated afterward, McLaughlin joked: “Eating some real food besides vegetables. Like a cheeseburger or something, some pancakes.”

Inslee Seeks Abortion Rights Amendment to State Constitution

Gov. Jay Inslee will push for a state constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights within the state, and laws that make it difficult for other states to investigate whether their own residents have visited Washington for abortion care.

NEWS BRIEFS

State Continues Paying Out Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program Applications to Renters and Landlords Across Oregon

More than 60,000 Oregon households facing pandemic hardship receive over 6 million in rental assistance relief ...

KGW and TEGNA Foundation Award $40k in Community Grants to Aid Four Oregon Nonprofit Organizations

Among the grant recipients are Urban Nature Partners PDX, Self Enhancement, Inc (SEI), Portland YouthBuilders (PYB), and p:ear. ...

Hawthorne, Morrison Bridges Will Close to Motorized Vehicles for July 4 Fireworks Show

The bridges will remain open for bicyclists and pedestrians. ...

Increased Emergency Snap Benefits Continue in July

Approximately 422,000 households will receive an estimated million in extra food benefits ...

Opacity of Performance: Takahiro Yamamoto Opens at PAM

The Portland Art Museum marks a return to live art inside its galleries with a dance installation by Takahiro Yamamoto, the museum’s...

Puget Sound crabbing starts Friday

SEATTLE (AP) — Puget Sound crabbing kicks off Friday! While some Western Washington crabbing areas, like the South Coast / Pacific Ocean and Columbia River have yearlong crabbing seasons, the season starts July 1 in most Puget Sound areas. In a few areas, the crab season starts on...

Post-Roe, states struggle with conflicting abortion bans

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — In Arizona, Republicans are fighting among themselves over whether a 121-year-old anti-abortion law from the pre-statehood Wild West days, when Arizona was still a frontier mining territory, should be enforced over a 2022 version. In Idaho, meanwhile, it is not...

OPINION

Biden’s Menthol Ban Follows the ‘Racist Law’ Playbook

The ban on menthol threatens to do more harm than good for the Black people these activists purport to want to protect ...

Black Women Will Suffer the Harshest Consequences After the Overturn of Roe

Black women are nearly three times more likely to die during childbirth than white women and are more likely to face maternal health issues. ...

Justice Clarence Thomas and the Conservative Supreme Court Have Fanned the Flames of Racism in America

Former President Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again cry proved an easy between-the-lines moniker, but even that stood as a dog whistle – until now. ...

Portland Will Be Center of the Golf Universe as $25 Million Event Debuts in the Rose City

The last time Oregon hosted a PGA Tour event was the Portland Invitational Open back in 1966. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Jackson sworn in, becomes 1st Black woman on Supreme Court

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in to the Supreme Court on Thursday, shattering a glass ceiling as the first Black woman on the nation’s highest court. The 51-year-old Jackson is the court’s 116th justice, and she took the place of the justice she once worked...

New Zealand designates Proud Boys a terrorist organization

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand's government has declared that American far-right groups the Proud Boys and The Base are terrorist organizations. The two groups join 18 others including the Islamic State group that have been given an official terrorist designation, making...

Essence CEO Wanga: Festival is 'never leaving' New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Essence's chief executive officer said she's been asked multiple times whether the Essence Festival of Culture is staying in New Orleans. On Thursday, Caroline Wanga ended any speculation, making the answer to that question very clear. “The Essence Festival of...

ENTERTAINMENT

'Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery' to debut at TIFF

NEW YORK (AP) — “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” writer-director Rian Johnson’s follow-up to his whodunit hit “Knives Out,” will premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. The Canadian festival announced Wednesday that “Glass Onion” will make...

Trial winds down in shooting death of rapper Nipsey Hussle

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Both sides rested their cases Wednesday in the trial of a man charged with the killing of rapper Nipsey Hussle after a day's delay because of an assault on the defendant by fellow jail inmates. Closing arguments are set to begin Thursday in the trial of Eric...

Sonny Barger, figurehead of Hells Angels, dies at 83

LIVERMORE, Calif. (AP) — Sonny Barger, the leather-clad fixture of 1960s counterculture and figurehead of the Hells Angels motorcycle club who was at the notorious Rolling Stones concert at Altamont Speedway, has died. He was 83. Barger's death was announced on his Facebook page...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Xi defends vision of Hong Kong on 25th anniversary of return

HONG KONG (AP) — China’s leader Xi Jinping marked the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return with a speech...

N. Korea suggests balloons flown from South brought COVID-19

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea suggested Friday its COVID-19 outbreak began in people who had contact...

COVID cases up by more than 30% in Britain last week

LONDON (AP) — The number of new coronavirus cases across Britain has surged by more than 30% in the last week,...

Taliban supreme leader prays for Afghanistan's quake victims

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The Taliban’s supreme leader offered prayers Friday for Afghanistan's earthquake victims...

N. Korea suggests balloons flown from South brought COVID-19

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea suggested Friday its COVID-19 outbreak began in people who had contact...

Mudslide leaves 19 dead, 50 missing in northeast India

GAUHATI, India (AP) — Rescuers found more bodies Friday as they resumed searching for dozens of missing after a...

Anna Challet New America Media

SAN FRANCISCO -- Despite soaring home prices in the Bay Area, many homeowners in communities of color are dealing with a perfect storm of housing ills.

"The Bay Area has strong pockets of homeownership by people of color – in Oakland, in Richmond, in the Bayview," says Gloria Bruce, Deputy Director of East Bay Housing Organizations. But due to the number of foreclosures in recent years, she adds, "there are fewer homeowners than there used to be, and the homes are less likely to be controlled by people who live in the community."

In 2011, the Center for Responsible Lending reported that homeowners of color nationwide, particularly Latinos and African Americans, were about twice as likely to lose their home to foreclosure as their white counterparts – owing in part to the fact that these homeowners were more likely to have been targeted for subprime loans.

Today, of the 6.9 million California homeowners who have a mortgage, over 2 million of them are underwater according to foreclosure database Property Radar, meaning they owe more on their home than it is actually worth on the open market. Many of the hardest hit areas in terms of home devaluation are in communities of color. Some 46 percent of the homes in the 94607 area code of West Oakland, for example -- a historically African American neighborhood -- are currently underwater, according to real estate database Zillow.

In addition to losing money on their property, many of these same homeowners are still grappling with the economic recession in other ways. Cheyenne Martinez-Boyette, who leads the Homeownership Program at Mission Economic Development Agency in San Francisco, says that many of his clients are struggling due to "being unemployed or underemployed," leaving them unable to get back on their feet. Without the income to qualify for a loan modification, many could eventually wind up losing their homes. Ironically, if they did lose their home, many would be unable to afford a rental unit in their neighborhood due to rising property values and rents. For families with children in school, says Martinez-Boyette, relocating is especially difficult.

"We don't see a lot of affordable rentals," says Martinez-Boyette. "We have a large base of people who have lost their homes – where do they go to?"

Bruce says that with the elimination of redevelopment agencies under Governor Brown in 2011, which provided for affordable housing projects, places to live are even scarcer.

"There's increasing concern about what people are going to do," agrees Kevin Stein, Deputy Director of the California Reinvestment Coalition. "It's expensive to rent and we have an affordable housing crisis."

Investors and Cash Buyers

So, who is buying up foreclosed homes? One indicator is the dramatic increase in cash sales, which have recently accounted for over a quarter of the home sales in California, according to Property Radar. In 2007, that number was below 10 percent.

The nonprofit Urban Strategies Council found that in Oakland, investors bought nearly half of the over 10,000 homes that foreclosed between January 2007 and October 2011. Over 90 percent of the homes those investors purchased are in low-income neighborhoods.

"Investors are coming in with cash and crowding out people who want to buy [a] house because it's affordable and rates are low, and the seller might rather deal with an investor," says Stein.

Foreclosed homes that are "distressed" -- fallen into disrepair or in need of work to bring them up to code – present another challenge for prospective homeowners who rely on loans. Stein says that, for example, if a buyer wants to use a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan, he or she can't bid on a property that doesn't meet FHA requirements, which many distressed homes don't. Those same homes are often snatched off the market by cash-paying investors who can afford to bring them up to code. The end result is a diminished stock of affordable housing for buyers who are looking to be owner-occupants.

Foreclosed properties in communities of color are more likely to be in distress and left vacant, as banks and lenders are less likely to maintain foreclosed properties in communities of color, according to an investigation by the National Fair Housing Alliance.

"A lot of local people are really priced out of buying a home," says Bruce. "People with deep pockets can make cash offers, and the average local home buyer can't compete."

"The average middle class family just cannot afford to buy a home that's decent, let alone low-income individuals," she says.

Bank Malfeasance and Scammers

Thanks to the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, which went into effect in January, there is one bright spot in the landscape: both Stein and Martinez-Boyette say that they've seen a recent decrease in homeowners being foreclosed on while they are in the process of obtaining a loan modification -- a practice known a "dual tracking" -- which the Homeowner Bill of Rights prohibits.

But the fact remains that the largest mortgage servicers continue to deny loan modifications to homeowners who are qualified to receive them. Over 60 percent of federally certified nonprofit housing counselors and legal service lawyers surveyed by the California Reinvestment Coalition earlier this year said that the largest mortgage service companies continue to do this, while over half of counselors reported that the banks are offering no clear explanations for the rejections.

The same study found that in many cases, clients who spoke little English were unable to speak to their servicers in their native language or through a translator.

Martinez-Boyette also continues to see mortgage loan scams. Recently he's seen "realtors who are trying to pawn themselves off as lawyers," and they typically target clients with limited English proficiency.

Martinez-Boyette cites the case of one family that had hired a realtor who had falsely identified himself as a bankruptcy attorney. The realtor was charging the client an ongoing fee to assist with a loan modification, despite the fact that the client was ineligible for a loan modification due to lack of income.

For stories of Bay Area homeowners and tenants who have been helped by free legal advice, see the stories of the Castillofamily, the Camelofamily, and the Jonesfamily.

Jan. 6 Committe Hearings - Day 6

A suprise hearing with newly discovered evidence will be held Tuesday, June 28 at 9:45 a.m. PT (12:45 p.m. ET).

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events