03-07-2021  1:43 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
I-5 Rose Quarter Project Open House
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Iowa Reporter Fights Charges Connected to Covering Black Lives Matter Protest

The case of Des Moines Register reporter Andrea Sahouri who was pepper sprayed and arrested while reporting on a clash between protesters and police, highlights the First Amendment and the right to a free press

Brown Pauses Rollbacks to COVID-19 Extreme Risk Level

Counties that have moved out of the COVID-19 extreme risk level will not be moved back into it without giving them two weeks to improve their case numbers

March to Literacy Confronts the Ways We Fail Black Students

The virtual event aims to empower parents, educators of students who struggle with reading

'Falling Through Cracks': Vaccine Bypasses Some Older Adults

An untold number of older adults are getting left behind, unseen, because they are too overwhelmed, too frail or too poor to fend for themselves.

NEWS BRIEFS

Commercial Rent Relief Program to Open Applications March 8

The program targets landlords with tenant businesses with 100 or fewer employees who are behind on lease payments ...

Powell's Books Presents Richard Brown on Zoom March 5

Richard Brown, long-time Portland activist and photographer, will talk about his memoir, “This Is Not For You, An Activist’s...

Freedmen’s Bureau Among Free Classes at GFO Virtual Open House

This is one of the 18 free classes the Genealogical Forum of Oregon is offering during its 75th anniversary Genealogy Open House. ...

Oregon Worker Relief Fund Creates Fund for Small Businesses

The program received million to support small businesses owned by ITIN holders and impacted by the pandemic. ...

$500,000 Grant Funding Will Invest In Racial Equity In WA

Kaiser Permanente commits funding to grassroots organizations to dismantle practices and structures that prevent communities of color...

US states look to step up wolf kills, pushed by Republicans

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Payments for dead wolves. Unlimited hunting of the animals. Shooting wolves from the air.Wolf hunting policies in some states are taking an aggressive turn, as Republican lawmakers and conservative hunting groups push to curb their numbers and propose tactics shunned...

Oregon governor gets Johnson & Johnson vaccination

SCAPPOOSE, Ore. (AP) — Democratic Oregon Gov. Kate Brown received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Saturday and is encouraging others to get it.Brown said she got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to demonstrate that it’s safe and effective, and to counter rumors and...

Ex-Cardinals coach Wilks new defensive coordinator at Mizzou

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Steve Wilks is returning to coaching as the defensive coordinator at Missouri.Wilks, who was hired by Tigers coach Eli Drinkwitz on Thursday, took last year off after spending the previous 14 seasons in the NFL. The stint was highlighted by a year as the head coach of...

OPINION

OHA Marks 1 Year One-Year Anniversary of Oregon’s First COVID-19 Case

Director thanks Oregonians and asks state residents to maintain pandemic precautions and choose vaccination ...

Democracy and White Privilege

“White Nationalists” who believe that America only belongs to its “White” citizens, who live and have lived according to “White Privilege” are ignoring the words of the Declaration of Independence ...

The Leadership Conference Submits Letter in Support of H.R. 40

H.R. 40 finally forces the U.S. government to recognize and make amends for the decades of economic enrichment that have benefited this nation as a result of the free labor that African slaves were forced to provide ...

Letter to the Editor Re: Zenith Energy

The time is now for Portland City Council to stop Zenith Energy’s transporting fossil fuels into and out of our city. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

From vote to virus, misinformation campaign targets Latinos

WASHINGTON (AP) — Tom Perez was a guest on a Spanish-language talk radio show in Las Vegas last year when a caller launched into baseless complaints about both parties, urging Latino listeners to not cast votes at all. Perez, then chairman of the Democratic Party, recognized many of the...

Board to begin search for permanent Capitol Police chief

WASHINGTON (AP) — The board that oversees the U.S. Capitol Police is beginning a search for a permanent police chief, a person familiar with the matter said, as the fallout from the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol continues.Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman has faced scrutiny from Capitol Hill...

Opponents suspect environmental racism in pipeline project

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Clyde Robinson treasures the acre of land he inherited, a verdant space tucked into a cul-de-sac in a south Memphis neighborhood, surrounded by houses and trees beside a railroad track.For more than five decades, he nurtured it while his relatives lived in a home on the...

ENTERTAINMENT

Grammys to partner with Berklee, ASU for study on women

NEW YORK (AP) — The Recording Academy is partnering with Berklee College of Music and Arizona State University to complete a study focused on women's representation in the music industry.The academy, which puts on the annual Grammy Awards, said the lack of female creators in music is...

New York cinemas reopen, brightening outlook for theaters

NEW YORK (AP) — After growing cobwebs for nearly a year, movie theaters in New York City reopen Friday, returning film titles to Manhattan marquees that had for the last 12 months instead read messages like “Wear a mask” and “We’ll be back soon.”Shortly...

Hotly anticipated Meghan and Harry interview to air at last

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The time has finally come for audiences to hear Meghan and Harry describe the backstory and effects of their tumultuous split from royal life.Sunday night’s airing of a two-hour special hosted by Oprah Winfrey will provide the first, and unprecedented, peek into the...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Carla Wallenda, member of famed high-wire act, dies at 85

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Carla Wallenda, a member of “The Flying Wallendas” high-wire act...

At least 15 dead, 400 wounded in Equatorial Guinea blasts

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — A series of explosions at a military barracks in Equatorial Guinea killed...

Embiid, Simmons to miss All-Star Game; Zion to start instead

Philadelphia 76ers teammates Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons were ruled out of Sunday's NBA All-Star Game after being...

UN says fire in Yemeni migrant detention center kills 8

CAIRO (AP) — A fire broke out Sunday in a detention center for migrants in Yemen’s capital, killing...

Greek police, protesters clash in Athens suburb

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek police clashed with more than 500 protesters in an Athens suburb on Sunday...

3,000 at Romania anti-vaccination protest amid COVID-19 rise

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Around 3,000 anti-vaccination protesters from across Romania converged outside...

I-5 Rose Quarter Project Open House 2
Ryan Kost Associated Press Writer

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- How much are politicians straining to convince people that the government is stimulating the economy? In Oregon, where lawmakers are spending $176 million to supplement the federal stimulus, Democrats are taking credit for a remarkable feat: creating 3,236 new jobs in the program's first three months.
But those jobs lasted on average only 35 hours, or about one work week. After that, those workers were effectively back unemployed, according to an Associated Press analysis of state spending and hiring data. By the state's accounting, a job is a job, whether it lasts three hours, three days, three months, or a lifetime.
"Sometimes some work for an individual is better than no work," said Oregon's Senate president, Peter Courtney.
With the economy in tatters and unemployment rising, Oregon's inventive math underscores the urgency for politicians across the country to show that spending programs designed to stimulate the economy are working -- even if that means stretching the facts.
At the federal level, President Barack Obama has said the federal stimulus has created 150,000 jobs, a number based on a misused formula and which is so murky it can't be verified.
At least 10 other states have launched their own miniature stimulus plans and nine others have proposed one, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Many of them, like Oregon, have promised job creation as a result of the public spending.
Ohio, for instance, passed a nearly $1.6 billion stimulus package even before Congress was looking at a federal program. When Gov. Ted Strickland first pitched the idea last year, he estimated the program could create some 80,000 jobs.
In North Carolina, a panel authorized hundreds of millions of dollars in new debt to speed up $740 million in government building projects. According to one estimate, the move could hurry the creation of 25,000 jobs.
As the bills for these programs mount, so will the pressure to show results. But, as Oregon illustrates, job estimates can vary wildly.
"At best you can say it's ambiguous, at worst you can say it's intentional deception," said economist Bruce Blonigen of the University of Oregon. "You have to normalize it into a benchmark that everybody can understand."
Oregon's accounting practices would not be allowed as part of the $787 billion federal stimulus. While the White House has made the unverifiable promise that 3.5 million jobs will be saved or created by the end of next year, when accountants actually begin taking head counts this fall, there are rules intended to guard against exactly what Oregon is doing.
The White House requires states to report numbers in terms of full-time, yearlong jobs. That means a part-time mechanic counts as half a job. A full-time construction worker who has a three-month paving contract counts as one-fourth of a job.
Using that method, the AP's analysis of figures in Oregon shows the program so far has created the equivalent of 215 full-time jobs that will last three months. Oregon's House speaker, Dave Hunt, called that measurement unfair, though nearly every other state that has passed a stimulus package already uses or plans to use it.
"This stimulus plan was intentionally designed for short-term projects to pump needed jobs and income into families, businesses and communities struggling to get by," Hunt said in a statement. "No one ever said these would be full-time jobs for months at a time."
Still, critics say counting jobs, without any consideration of their duration, isn't good enough.
"You can't let them say, 'Well, we never said it was going to be full-time,''' said Steve Buckstein, a policy analyst for the Cascade Policy Institute, a free-market think tank. For the price of Oregon's $176 million, lawmakers could have provided all 3 million state residents with a one-hour job paying about $60, he said.
"By their definition, that's 3 million jobs," Buckstein said. "Is anybody gonna buy that?"
Oregon's 12.4 percent unemployment rate surpasses the national average of 9.4 percent. To supplement the federal stimulus, the state sold bonds to pay for everything from replacing light bulbs to installing carpet and finishing construction of a school in the farming community of Tillamook.
The "Go Oregon" program is still new. According to its latest progress report, 8 percent of the money has been spent and hundreds of projects have yet to be completed. More paychecks are bound to be written as construction continues.
If Oregon's dollars-to-jobs ratio remains steady, the program will create about 688 full-time, yearlong jobs. So far, it's generated only enough hours to employ 54 people full-time for a year.
Still, contractor Deborah Matthews of Pacificmark Construction, based in Milwaukie, Ore., is happy for any work. Her company picked up three contracts for painting, installing a water filter system and refurbishing a maintenance building. Prior to those contracts, which lasted about six weeks, she had laid off nearly all her construction workers. She brought back three full-time and hired a part-time worker.
"It was a little bit," she said, "to just keep us going."

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