06-07-2023  9:13 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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Permit-to-Purchase: Oregon's Tough New Gun Law Faces Federal Court Test

The trial, which will be held before a judge and not a jury, will determine whether the law violates the U.S. Constitution.

Local Hire: National Park Board Appoints First Native American Member

Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission executive director and Yakama Nation member Aja DeCoteau joins team of 15 new appointees during revival of defunct group

Portland Mulls Ban on Daytime Camping Amid Sharp Rise in Homelessness

The measure before the Portland City Council on Wednesday would prohibit camping between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. in city parks and near schools and day cares.

Truck Driver Indicted on Manslaughter Charges After Deadly Oregon Crash That Killed 7 Farmworkers

A grand jury in Marion County Court on Tuesday indicted Lincoln Smith, a 52-year-old truck driver from California, on 12 counts, including seven charges of manslaughter, reckless driving and driving under the influence of intoxicants.


Letter to Mayor: Northeast 87th Avenue Maintenance Problems

For over 15 years, I have traversed Portland's bureaucratic quagmire attempting to determine which bureau is responsible for...

Rosie Reunion: WWII Rosies to Headline Grand Floral Parade

These iconic women will not only grace the parade but also hold the esteemed position of Grand Marshals. ...

Milwaukie Native Serves at U.S. Navy Helicopter Squadron in Japan

Spencer Mathias attended Milwaukie High School and graduated in 2005, and today serves as a naval aircrewman with Helicopter Maritime...

Jazz Singers Shirley Nanette, Nancy King, Rebecca Kilgore Perform June 10

The show benefits the Cathedral Park Jazz Festival 2023 ...

Albina Music Trust Special Event Free to the Public

Albina Music Trust announces a special collaboration between experimental video artists Spoiler Room and the band Greaterkind ft. Lo...

Missing Mount Rainier climber's body found in crevasse; he was celebrating 80th birthday

MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK, Wash. (AP) — Search crews on Mount Rainier have found and recovered the body of a man matching the description of an 80-year-old solo climber reported missing last week, Mount Rainier National Park officials said. Dawes Eddy of Spokane, Washington,...

Racist message, dead raccoon left for Oregon mayor, Black city council member

REDMOND, Ore. (AP) — Someone left a dead raccoon and a sign with “intimidating language” that mentioned a Black city councilor outside the law office of an Oregon mayor, police said. Redmond Mayor Ed Fitch found the raccoon and the sign on Monday, the Redmond Police Department...

Foster, Ware homer, Auburn eliminates Mizzou 10-4 in SEC

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — Cole Foster hit a three-run homer, Bryson Ware added a two-run shot and fifth-seeded Auburn wrapped up the first day of the SEC Tournament with a 10-4 win over ninth-seeded Missouri on Tuesday night. Auburn (34-9), which has won nine-straight, moved into the...

Small Missouri college adds football programs to boost enrollment

FULTON, Mo. (AP) — A small college in central Missouri has announced it will add football and women's flag football programs as part of its plan to grow enrollment. William Woods University will add about 140 students between the two new sports, athletic director Steve Wilson said...


Significant Workforce Investments Needed to Stem Public Defense Crisis

We have a responsibility to ensure our state government is protecting the constitutional rights of all Oregonians, including people accused of a crime ...

Over 80 Groups Tell Federal Regulators Key Bank Broke $16.5 Billion Promise

Cross-country redlining aided wealthy white communities while excluding Black areas ...

Public Health 101: Guns

America: where all attempts to curb access to guns are shot down. Should we raise a glass to that? ...

Op-Ed: Ballot Measure Creates New Barriers to Success for Black-owned Businesses

Measure 26-238, a proposed local capital gains tax, is unfair and a burden on Black business owners in an already-challenging economic environment. ...


As conservatives target schools, LGBTQ+ kids and students of color feel less safe

NOLENSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The first encounter with racism that Harmony Kennedy can remember came in elementary school. On a playground, a girl picked up a leaf and said she wanted to “clean the dirt” from Harmony’s skin. In sixth grade, a boy dropped trash on the floor and...

UN judges declare 88-year-old Rwandan genocide suspect unfit to stand trial because of dementia

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — United Nations judges have declared an 88-year-old Rwandan genocide suspect unfit to continue standing trial because he has dementia and said they would establish a procedure to go on hearing evidence without the possibility of convicting him. The...

Missouri prosecutor Wesley Bell vies for GOP Sen. Hawley's seat

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Black Missouri prosecutor who stepped into leadership in the aftermath of protests over the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown is running for Republican U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley's seat, the Democrat announced Wednesday. In his campaign announcement,...


Tony Award-nominated Betsy Wolfe on '& Juliet': 'This was the story I wanted to tell'

NEW YORK (AP) — One recent day, Broadway star Betsy Wolfe was up at 4 a.m. to perform on “Good Morning America.” Then there was a formal gala lunch and a few snuggle hours with her young daughter. Finally, as the sun set, her main job beckoned: A big new musical that needed her voice. ...

Too much information? Jason Isbell believes opening your life to fans builds a stronger bond

NEW YORK (AP) — If Jason Isbell is keeping many more secrets, it's hard to imagine what they might be. The singer-songwriter and his wife, fellow musician Amanda Shires, open their lives for public consumption in a manner unusual even to artists who mine their own world for...

Foo Fighters, Fall Out Boy, Kelly Clarkson, Kane Brown, Lil Wayne headline iHeartRadio festival

NEW YORK (AP) — Foo Fighters, Fall Out Boy, Kelly Clarkson, Kane Brown and Lil Wayne are among the headliners this fall at the 2023 iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas, which will be broadcast live throughout the country. The lineup for the two-day event Sept. 22-23 at T-Mobile...


Protesters brawl as Southern California school district decides whether to recognize Pride Month

GLENDALE, Calif. (AP) — Protesters briefly scuffled and punches flew Tuesday as a Southern California school...

For many Southern Baptists, the only campaign question is which Republican candidate to support

Southern Baptists form a core part of the white evangelical Christian bloc that has reliably and overwhelmingly...

The pause on student loan payments is ending. Can borrowers find room in their budgets?

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a good month, Celina Chanthanouvong has about 0 left after rent, groceries and car...

Greece seeks assistance from rival Turkey over migration spike along border river

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek officials have launched a series of high-level contacts with the newly elected...

Former ByteDance executive says Chinese Communist Party tracked Hong Kong protesters via data

HONG KONG (AP) — A former executive at ByteDance, the Chinese company which owns the popular short-video app...

Security guards at London's Heathrow Airport to escalate strikes over pay into busy summer months

LONDON (AP) — Security guards at London's Heathrow Airport, Europe's busiest, will escalate their strike action...

Lisa Loving of The Skanner News

Tuesday morning's news of the city of Portland's $1.6 million settlement in the 2006 death of James Chasse Jr. hit the embattled Portland Police Bureau in a tender spot.
Even as bloggers and critics pencil out the sky-high costs – both financial and ethical –of the unarmed man's tragic death while in the custody of law enforcement, the police bureau is mounting a fiscal appeal for mercy in the wake of Mayor San Adams' proposed budget, released late last week.
Ironically, the amount of one-time special resource money Adams has budgeted for the Portland Police in 2011 is $3.2 million -- almost exactly the same amount that city and county government and their private sector contractors have agreed to pay for settling the Chasse case since last year. They'll be covered by a patchwork of city insurance policies.

And, as The Portland Mercury's ground-breaking reporting on the case indicates, the cost of the legal fees are not included in that settlement price – meaning the cost may reach an additional million dollars or more.
The two cops who were the actual targets of the lawsuit against the city -- Portland Police Officer Christopher Humphreys and Sgt. Kyle Nice – have since Chasse's death triggered repeated complaints and scandals.
Currently Humphries is on stress disability leave after his acquittal in shooting a 12-year-old with a beanbag gun on a MAX train. More charges remain unresolved in his physical "tackling" of an unarmed woman named Lisa Ann Coppock who was accused of not paying for her MAX ticket in 2008; the incident resulted in stitches in the commuter's head. All charges against her were dropped in March of this year, and she is now suing the city for an undisclosed sum.
Nice is now on desk duty while being investigated for allegedly threatening an unarmed motorist with his service revolver during an April road rage incident in Beaverton while he was off duty, which has reportedly triggered a $145,000 lawsuit against the city.

Budget Disagreements

Chief Rosie Sizer on Monday announced that Mayor Sam Adam's citywide budget cuts, made public last week, will force the layoff of 25 officers; close the mounted division and the Cold Case Squad; and cut public availability of police services and facilities.
Adams fired back with comments describing his disappointment at Sizer's public statements.
"Many Portland households have had to cut spending to match reduced incomes. Most households prioritize their basic needs. Portland city government should be no different," Adams said.
"That is why I protected public safety from deeper cuts than I requested from other city bureaus. And, it is why I used 68 percent of one-time resources to fund requested basic needs and public safety requests: homelessness, hunger and housing programs received $3.8 million; the Police Bureau received $3.2 million; and Fire and Rescue received $2.2 million.
"Sizer and her team and I met numerous times during the budget development process to strategize on how to make the necessary cuts in the least painful manner. Today Police Chief Rosie Sizer in her press conference neglected to mention that fact. Or that she approved the cuts recommended by her Bureau and included in my proposed budget."
All told, the Chasse case – considered to be by far the largest payout in Portland history -- has cost local government more than $3 million, not including attorneys' fees. Last year Multnomah County settled for $925,000, and AMR, the ambulance service contracted by the county, paid a reported $600,000.

Finally, Answers

Meanwhile, the long-awaited Portland payout to the Chasse family – which promises to be much higher than the settlement amount because the city has also agreed to pay all legal fees to the family's attorney – will be taken up next week by the Portland City Council for a confirmation vote, Mayor Sam Adams said today.
Saltzman confirmed that a feared gag order on the case has been swept aside by the terms of the final agreement, a major point of contention for community activists who have waited to examine documents relating to the internal affairs investigation for four years.
Add to that an estimated $250,000 in legal fees incurred by Portland city attorneys who fought the settlement for years, even recently hiring a legal consultant who is also a famous television personality.
A respected musician and artist in Portland's alternative community since his preteen years, Chasse was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Since his death, he's become an enduring symbol of the need for mental health reforms across the board.
Chasse, 42 at the time of his death, had been chased down and cuffed by Humphries, after he, Nice and Multnomah County Deputy Bret Burton say Chasse urinated in public. After being hogtied and handcuffed by the officers, emergency medical workers called to the scene declared his condition stable; however jail workers refused to allow his admittance by Humphries and Nice, who put Chasse in the back of a police car and drove him on a wild goose chase between the jailhouse, a location on the side of a road and finally to a hospital emergency room, where he was declared dead.
The Oregon Medical Examiner ruled Chasse's fatal injuries were caused by blunt force trauma to the chest. However the Chasse family has consistently argued that witness statements contradicted the officers' claims.
In the family's public statement today, they and family attorney Tom Steenson issued a bittersweet statement about the pain of Chasse's death and the victory of bringing the whole story to light.
"During the course of the lawsuit, the family's attorneys took over 75 depositions of witnesses, Portland Police Bureau employees, and others, obtained over 40,000 pages of documents, retained a police expert and spoke with countless other individuals to assist the family in evaluating what caused James' death on Sept. 17," the statement says.
"During the case, the City and the other defendants sought a protective order which the family and the media opposed. Once the order was entered, the family repeatedly, but unsuccessfully, sought to vacate the order in the interest of allowing the public access to information which was subject to the protective order. As a result of the protective order and other considerations in the case, the family has not been able to share much of the information they have gathered during the litigation, including important training information and information about the City's internal investigations into James' death.
"As part of the tentative settlement of the case, the family insisted upon and the City has agreed to vacate the protective order as it applies to training information relevant to James' death, the City's internal investigations into James' death and any resulting reports or discipline," the family's statement says.
They are currently pulling the documents together and will make them available soon.

Public Apologies

The final announcement of the Chasse settlement triggered a flurry of public statements.
"I want to thank the City Attorney for her commitment to finding an outcome that is amenable to all parties," Mayor Adams said. "And I want to thank the Chasse family for their strength and fortitude. I look forward to Council's approval of this settlement, and to opening a new chapter in the relationship between the Portland community and its public safety professionals."
"Nearly four years ago, James Chasse died in the custody of Portland Police officers. I and members of my organization felt horrible about his death. The Portland Police Bureau has spent the last three years identifying what went wrong and fixing those issues through improvements in policy, training and practice," said Chief Sizer.
"As Chief of Police, I have been frustrated by my inability to address this matter publicly due to the ongoing litigation. I believe that the Portland Police Bureau and the individual officers have been unfairly demonized," Sizer continued. "James Chasse's death was a horrible accident and not a 'beating death.' That's what the Bureau's investigation showed, and nothing in the litigation proved otherwise. The independent witnesses do not describe a rain of blows by Portland Police officers. The medical experts did not agree that the cause of death was the result of a beating. James Chasse's death was an accident, a terrible, tragic accident."