01-29-2023  1:36 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Oregon BIPOC Caucus Calls for Action to Support Victims of Gun Violence

The Legislative Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Caucus has released the following statement in response to the tragedy at Half Moon Bay, CA that left seven dead and one person wounded, all of whom were people of color

Democrats Voice Priorities for Coming Year in the Capitol

Highlights from the Democrats 2023 legislative agenda. 

Colorado Lawmakers Look to AI to Detect Wildfires Earlier

A historic drought and recent heat waves tied to climate change have made wildfires harder to fight in the American West and scientists say warming weather will continue to make fires more frequent and destructive.

Justices Weigh Effort to Balance Washington State's Tax Code

Washington is one of nine states without an income tax, and its heavy reliance on sales and fuel taxes to pay for schools, roads and other public expenses falls disproportionately on low-income residents.

NEWS BRIEFS

Oregon Graduation Rate Rises With Gains Made In Every Student Group

Class of 2022 graduation rate is second highest In Oregon’s history ...

City Council Approves 13 to Independent District Commission

The commission will lead the effort to establish four new geographic districts for Portland’s next city council. ...

Incorporating Mindfulness Into Social Justice Classes Topic of Feb. 8 Oregon State Science Pub

The free event, which can be attended in person or viewed online, will feature a presentation by Kathryn McIntosh. She will discuss...

Exhibit "Flowers for Elders" Celebrates Living Portland Artists

Free, public, multimedia exhibit runs through Feb. 25 in SE Portland ...

The Skanner Foundation's 37th Annual MLK Breakfast to Air on TV

The sold-out event will air on 5 upcoming dates and times on Comcast Xfinity channels at the start of Black History Month. ...

Fully clothed bathing burglar found in Seattle bathroom

SEATTLE (AP) — A man suspected of breaking into a Seattle home has refused to come clean about his intentions, even though police found him fully clothed in a bathtub filled with water. A woman returned to her home Friday night to find a window smashed and an unknown man inside the...

Man accused in substation vandalism is released from custody

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — One of the two men charged with vandalizing electrical substations in Washington state over the holidays to cover a burglary was ordered released from federal custody Friday to seek substance abuse help. A federal judge issued the order for Matthew Greenwood,...

Krikke scores 30, leads Valparaiso over Evansville 81-69

VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) — Ben Krikke scored 30 points to lead Valparaiso over Evansville 81-69 on Saturday. Krikke added nine rebounds for the Beacons (10-13, 4-8 Missouri Valley Conference). Kobe King added 13 points and Connor Barrett scored nine. Gage Bobe finished...

Russell leads SE Missouri State over Eastern Illinois 79-68

CHARLESTON, Ill. (AP) — Phillip Russell scored 19 points and Southeast Missouri State beat Eastern Illinois 79-68 on Saturday. Russell added six assists for the Redhawks (12-11, 7-3 Ohio Valley Conference). Adam Larson and Israel Barnes scored 11 points apiece. Larson blocked three...

OPINION

It's Time to Irrigate the Fallow Ground of Minority Media Ownership

In 2023, one aspect of civil rights and racial justice that barely remains addressed is racial inclusion in media ownership. ...

A Letter to Residents of N. and N.E. Portland from Commissioner Susheela Jayapal

Susheela Jayapal, Multnomah County Commissioner for District 2, North and Northeast Portland, reviews her first four-year term and looks forward to her second term ...

Are Black Individuals Like Kanye West, Van Jones, and Stephen A. Smith ‘Perpetrating a Fraud,’ or is Self-Hate a Primary Motivator for Anti-Blackness

“So, you have two types of Negro. The old type and the new type. Most of you know the old type. When you read about him in history during slavery he was called ‘Uncle Tom.’ He was the House Negro.”-Malcolm X ...

We Need Not Forgive

We need not forgive racial injustices in America’s past, and we must never forget them. But as a nation, we can reconcile. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

State of emergency declared over Atlanta 'Cop City' protest

ATLANTA (AP) — Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency Thursday, giving him the option of calling in the Georgia National Guard in response to a violent protest in downtown Atlanta over the killing by authorities of an environmental activist said to have shot a state trooper. ...

Jury rejects lawsuit filed by family of teen killed by cop

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A federal jury has found that a white Ohio police officer did not violate a Black teenager's civil rights when he shot and killed the boy while responding to a reported armed robbery. Jurors reached their verdict Wednesday in a lawsuit filed by Tyre King’s...

New US race, ethnicity standards proposed; first since '97

A Middle Eastern and North African category could be added to U.S. federal surveys and censuses, and changes could be made to how Hispanics are able to self-identify, under preliminary recommendations released Thursday by the Biden administration in what would be the first update to race and...

ENTERTAINMENT

Review: Joe Henry returns with varied 'kind-word blues' set

“All the Eye Can See,” Joe Henry (earMUSIC) “There goes the sun,” Joe Henry sings, sounding nothing like George Harrison as he contemplates our long, cold, lonely winter. “All the Eye Can See” is the most diverse album of Henry’s career, surrounding his...

Smokey Robinson, 'King of Motown,' to release new solo album

NEW YORK (AP) — It's been nearly a decade since Smokey Robinson's last album, but new music from the King of Motown is on the horizon. Robinson will release the nine-track album “Gasms” on April 28, the music legend behind hits like “My Girl” and “The Way You Do the Things...

Jesmyn Ward novel 'Let Us Descend' to be published Oct. 3

NEW YORK (AP) — The next novel by Jesmyn Ward, the two-time National Book Award winner, is the story of an enslaved teenage girl that the publisher is calling a blend of magical realism, historical narrative and Dante's “Inferno.” Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster,...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Pence: 'Mistakes were made' in classified records handling

MIAMI (AP) — Former Vice President Mike Pence said Friday that he takes “full responsibility” after...

Japan firm opens whale meat vending machines to push sales

YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — A Japanese whaling operator, after struggling for years to promote its products amid...

Online system to seek asylum in US is quickly overwhelmed

TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — Hours before sunrise, migrants at one of Mexico’s largest shelters wake up and go...

Emhoff says somber Auschwitz visit key to antisemitism work

KRAKOW, Poland (AP) — Doug Emhoff, the husband of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, said he was deeply moved by...

3 dead, 1 missing as rain pounds New Zealand's largest city

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Authorities said Saturday that three people had died and at least one was missing...

Retired Czech army general Pavel wins presidential election

PRAGUE (AP) — Petr Pavel, a retired army general, decisively defeated populist billionaire Andrej Babis in a...

Jen Chien Kalw/ New America Media

Pazhae Horace has a summer job with California Youth Energy Services, or CYES. It's a program that hires youth aged 15-22 to do free "green house calls" in their communities. They go into people's homes to evaluate energy and water efficiency, and then help install things like water-saving shower heads, or compact fluorescent light bulbs. Horace is 22, and this is her third summer working for the CYES site in Berkeley and Emeryville. She says that, at first, she was worried about talking to strangers, but now she really likes meeting new people, and helping them become more green.

Jodi Pincus is executive director of Rising Sun Energy Services, the non-profit which runs the CYES summer program, along with other green job training for youth and adults. She says CYES gives youth more than just employment. "You know, they're not getting a job at Starbucks," she says, "where they could learn equally valuable soft skills or professionalism. But it's not as meaningful in the sense of their contribution to the environment or to their community."

Rising Sun has been doing the CYES program for 14 summers now, long before the current green jobs trend. This partnership with PG&E and local city governments has grown from a pilot program of 15 youth serving 300 homes in Berkeley, to about 100 youth going into 3000 homes in 10 Bay Area cities. Pincus says one key to Rising Sun's longevity has been its so-called "triple bottom line" of people, planet and prosperity.

What that means in practice is giving young people -- especially low-income and at-risk youth -- job skills and paid employment. At the same time, they're learning about climate change and sustainability.

"We're preparing them for any job that they will have in their future, and ideally, they will have a job in the green economy," Pincus says.

The Green Economy

Early in the Obama administration, the "green economy" was getting a lot of attention. The President's massive 2009 economic stimulus plan included $500 million for job training in the emerging clean energy market. $150 million of that was supposed to go to low-income communities, through a program called Pathways out of Poverty.

People like former Oakland resident Van Jones -- for a time the White House's "Green Czar" -- predicted that the emerging green economy would lift low-income communities out of poverty. In response to the flood of federal funding, hundreds of "green job training" programs sprung up around the country. But according to a 2011 report by the Department of Labor, many couldn't do what they promised -- get their graduates into steady, well-paying jobs.

Carol Zabin, a labor researcher at UC Berkeley, says there was a misconception that green jobs were somehow different from regular occupations. She says most green jobs -- at least the ones in the big sectors of energy efficiency and renewables -- are really construction jobs.

"So we made a pretty big mistake I think," she say, "in developing a lot of short-term green jobs training that weren't really related to these broader occupations."

Broadening the Definition of a Green Job

Like Rising Sun in Berkeley, Solar Richmond started as more of a traditional job training model -- in this case for solar panel installation. It's now grown into something more complex, with other types of training, and job opportunities built right into the organization. In the city of Richmond, unemployment is high --about 4% higher than the national average. And median family income is about 12% less than in California as a whole.

Akeele Carter, Solar Richmond's program manager, says there just weren't enough jobs out there for her solar installation graduates. So the organization branched out into marketing, advocacy, and outreach. And with the help of partners like the City of Richmond, they created paid positions -- within the organization -- that used those skills.

"Because some people aren't meant to go on the roof," she says. "Some people like to talk and advocate, and they like to go out and meet people, and they like to canvas, or even sales."

According to the Solar Richmond website, they've created over 300 temporary jobs and 50 permanent ones since 2006. But Carter, who went through the program herself, says its about more than just job training.

"They have to be built up," she says, "to have that confidence and say, 'You know, I may be from a low-income community, but there's so many skills that I have innately inside of me, and talent that I need to tap into. That's going to allow me to get that job -- whether it's green, blue or white.'"

22-year-old Lela Turner found Solar Richmond's training program after a year of community college. She learned the carpentry and construction trade, but also skills like meditation, public speaking, and time management.

"I got my license, I got my first apartment, I got a lot of stuff," Turner says. "I got my first car through Solar Richmond -- they helped me out with so much stuff."

She now works as an administrative assistant in the main office. She's also one of four people -- and the only woman -- chosen to start Solar Richmond's new solar installation co-op, Pamoja Energy Solutions.

Labor researcher Carol Zabin says in-house initiatives like the co-op are a good response to the lack of green jobs. But most graduates of training programs go into entry-level jobs, which are often low-wage or short-term. Zabin says that placing people into better-paying jobs is a link that's often broken.

"It's also the link that's most challenging for organizations that sit in the position of training at-risk youth and low income folks, and folks with barriers to employment," she says. "Because they don't have any control over the whole system. And they don't have any control over how jobs get created.

And especially since the stimulus funding has run out, they don't have the money to just create hundreds of jobs on their own. So, even though Lela Turner says she's happy to be working at Solar Richmond, she actually has to have another job to make ends meet. "I also work at Ross as a retail associate," she says. "I'm in the fitting room and I'm a cashier. So I work normally six days a week."

Pazhae Horace is also glad to be where she's at this summer, doing green house calls for Rising Sun. But she says she's looking further down the road.

"I'm planning on going back to school for like business and communications, so that I can get a degree, further my career that way," she says. "And maybe stay in this nonprofit, or stay in the green field."

The "green field" may not have the same luster it did a few years ago. But for these young people just entering the workforce, it's still a good place to start.

MLK Breakfast 2023

Photos from The Skanner Foundation's 37th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast.