12-05-2022  5:34 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Tough Oregon Gun Law Faces Legal Challenge, Could Be Delayed

Midterm voters narrowly passed one of the toughest gun control laws in the nation, but the new permit-to-purchase mandate and ban on high-capacity magazines faces a lawsuit that could put it on ice just days before it's set to take effect.

Portland Approves $27M for New Homeless Camps

Public opposition to the measure and the money that will fund it has been heated, with critics saying it will criminalize homelessness and fail to address its root causes.

Portland Settles Lawsuit Over Police Use of Tear Gas

The lawsuit was originally filed by Don't Shoot Portland in June 2020. “Our freedom of expression is the foundation of how we make social change possible,” Teressa Raiford said in a news release. “Black Lives Still Matter.”

Oregon Lawmakers Lift Security Measure Imposed on Senator

Since July 2019, Sen. Brian Boquist had been required to give 12 hours notice before coming to the Oregon State Capitol, to give the state police time to bolster their security and to ensure the safety of people in the Capitol.

NEWS BRIEFS

Volunteers of America Oregon Receives Agility Grant From the National Council on Problem Gambling

The funds will support the development of a Peer Driven Problem Gambling Prevention Campaign targeting high school and college-age...

Commissioner Jayapal Invites Community Members for Coffee

Multnomah County Commissioner will be available for a conversation on priorities and the county's work ...

GFO African-American Special Interest Group Meeting to Feature Southern Claims Commission

The Dec. 17 meeting of the Genealogical Forum of Oregon will feature Shelley Viola Murphy, PhD via ZOOM. Murphy will discuss the...

Charter Commission Concludes Study, Issues Report

The Portland Charter Commission have concluded their two-year term referring nine proposals to the November 2024 election and...

PBS Genealogy Show Seeks Viewers’ Brick Walls

The popular PBS show “Finding Your Roots” is putting out a nationwide casting call for a non-celebrity to be featured on season...

Driver gets 3 ticket for driving with snow on windshield

BREMERTON, Wash. (AP) — A Washington State Patrol trooper issued a 3 ticket to a driver Sunday after the person drove more than 5 miles (8 kilometers) with their vehicle and windshield almost completely covered in snow. Trooper Heather Weatherwax said the State Patrol received a...

Inslee touts new housing program for Spokane's homeless

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee was in Spokane Monday to preview the opening of a new housing project for homeless people, calling the Catalyst Project a step toward ending the state's homelessness crisis. The new housing, in a converted hotel, aims to provide...

Wake Forest, Missouri meet for first time in Gasparilla Bowl

Wake Forest (7-5, ACC) vs. Missouri (6-6, SEC), Dec. 23, 6:30 p.m. EST LOCATION: Tampa, Florida TOP PLAYERS Wake Forest: QB Sam Hartman ranked second among ACC passers with 3,421 yards and tied for first with 35 touchdowns despite missing a game because of...

Missouri holds off Arkansas 29-27 to reach bowl eligibility

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri and Arkansas will be headed to similar bowl games after the Tigers held off the Razorbacks 29-27 on Saturday night, leaving each of the bitter border rivals 6-6 on the season. Only one walked out of Faurot Field with victory cigars. Brady...

OPINION

‘I Unreservedly Apologize’

The Oregonian commissioned a study of its history of racism, and published the report on Oct. 24, 2022. The Skanner is pleased to republish the apology written by the editor, Therese Bottomly. We hope other institutions will follow this example of looking...

City Officials Should Take Listening Lessons

Sisters of the Road share personal reflections of their staff after a town hall meeting at which people with lived experience of homelessness spoke ...

When Student Loan Repayments Resume, Will Problems Return Too?

HBCU borrowers question little loan forgiveness, delays to financial security ...

Tell the Supreme Court: We Still Need Affirmative Action

Opponents of affirmative action have been trying to destroy it for years. And now it looks like they just might get their chance. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Nike says Kyrie Irving is no longer one of its athletes

Kyrie Irving’s relationship with Nike is officially over, the shoe and athletic apparel maker said Monday, a move that came a month after the company suspended the Brooklyn guard as part of the fallout over his tweeting a link to a film containing antisemitic material. It was not a...

Amnesty International Canada says it was hacked by Beijing

TORONTO (AP) — The Canadian branch of Amnesty International said Monday it was the target of a cyber attack sponsored by China. The human rights organization said it first detected the breach on Oct. 5, and hired forensic investigators and cybersecurity experts to investigate. ...

Justices spar in latest clash of religion and gay rights

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court 's conservative majority sounded sympathetic Monday to a Christian graphic artist who objects to designing wedding websites for gay couples, the latest collision of religion and gay rights to land at the high court. The designer and her supporters...

ENTERTAINMENT

'Road Trippin' — Red Hot Chili Peppers unveil 2023 tour

NEW YORK (AP) — There's no rest for the spicy: Fresh off a world tour and two albums this year, Red Hot Chili Peppers are preparing for a set of stadium shows and festival stops across North America and Europe in 2023. Live Nation said Monday the band's 23-date global trek kicks...

Review: Thief forced to steal a vital U.S. defense secret

“Three-Edged Sword,” by Jeff Lindsay (Dutton) After the Cold War, former Soviet spy Ivo Balodis built himself a fortress in an abandoned missile site on an island in the Baltic Sea. There, he has continued to deal in secrets — but for profit instead of for country. ...

Review: A Sugarplum Fairy waves a sweet 'Nutcracker' goodbye

NEW YORK (AP) — George Balanchine’s “Nutcracker” ends with a big, collective farewell wave. Every single dancer onstage is waving — from the Sugarplum Fairy and her fellow inhabitants of the Land of Sweets down below, to Marie and her Prince up above, soaring in their wooden sleigh. ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

China eases controls, gives no sign when 'zero COVID' ends

BEIJING (AP) — China is easing some of the world’s most stringent anti-virus controls and authorities say new...

AP source: Trea Turner, Phillies reach 0M, 11-year deal

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Philadelphia Phillies landed Trea Turner on Monday, agreeing to a 0 million, 11-year...

USS Arizona survivor: Honor those killed at Pearl Harbor

HONOLULU (AP) — USS Arizona sailor Lou Conter lived through the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor even though his...

Trial of 10 accused over Brussels suicide attacks underway

BRUSSELS (AP) — More than six years after the deadliest peacetime attack on Belgian soil, the trial of 10 men...

Indonesia's Mt. Semeru eruption buries homes, damages bridge

SUMBERWULUH, Indonesia (AP) — Improved weather conditions Monday allowed rescuers to resume evacuation efforts...

Report: Ukraine war ups arms sales but challenges lie ahead

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Global arms sales increased by nearly 2% in 2021, the seventh consecutive year of increases, an...

Alan Zibel and Curt Anderson, the Associated Press

WASHINGTON – A joint investigation by every state and the District of Columbia could force mortgage companies to settle allegations that they used flawed documents to foreclose on hundreds of thousands of homeowners.
It could take months, at least, for any settlement to be reached. But legal experts say lenders could be forced to accept an independent monitor to ensure they follow state foreclosure laws. The banks could also be subject to financial penalties and be forced to pay some people whose foreclosures were improperly handled.
The Skanner News Video here
For banks, "the most efficient way for them to get out from under this is to settle across the board," said Kathleen Engel, a law professor at Suffolk University in Boston.
Employees of several major lenders have acknowledged in depositions that they signed thousands of foreclosure documents without reading them as required by state laws.
"This is not simply about a glitch in paperwork," Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, who's leading the probe announced Wednesday, said in a statement. "It's also about some companies violating the law and many people losing their homes."
At a news conference, Miller said the states might be open to alternatives to financial penalties for the banks. They might, for example, agree instead to have lenders step up their efforts to help people reduce their loan payments so they can avoid foreclosure.
The document problems could prolong the housing downturn if many home buyers become unwilling to purchase foreclosed homes. But for a few months anyway, the problems could help prop up prices, because fewer low-priced foreclosed homes will be for sale.
Analysts don't expect many people who lost homes to foreclosure to recover them.
The industry has begun to respond to pressure from state and federal officials. JPMorgan Chase & Co. said Wednesday it would extend its review of its foreclosure cases to 41 states — doubling the number of its cases under review to 115,000. JPMorgan had previously said it was halting foreclosures in the 23 states where foreclosures must be approved by a judge.
This week, GMAC Mortgage, a unit of Ally Financial Inc., said it had hired legal and accounting firms to review its foreclosure procedures in all 50 states. GMAC has halted some foreclosures in 23 states. Bank of America has done so in all 50.
And Wells Fargo & Co. has said it would review pending foreclosures for potential defects. Wells says it's discovered no problems.
In their announcement Wednesday, the state officials said they would review evidence that documents were signed by mortgage company employees who didn't verify the information in them. They also said many documents appeared to have been signed without a notary public witnessing that signature — a violation of state law.
Attorneys general have taken the lead in responding to the revelations. State officials, not the federal government, enforce foreclosure laws, which vary by state.
Not all attorneys general have identical powers to investigate. Without clear evidence of a crime, they usually file lawsuits to force businesses to stop actions or to pay damages to wronged consumers.
The filing of false documents in court can be prosecuted as perjury. Any lawyers involved in improper foreclosures could suffer sanctions or lose their law licenses for unethical activity.
As part of their probe, state officials will be able to issue subpoenas to extract potentially incriminating documents from the industry. Such evidence could be used in lawsuits or to force settlements with lenders.
A key question is whether state investigators can persuade bank employees to divulge some of the industry's secrets, said Ray Brescia, an Albany Law School professor who has tracked the mortgage crisis. Some mortgage company workers could have a powerful incentive to do so rather than face criminal charges, he noted.
"It's quite possible that there will be insiders who come forward to reveal the inner workings of these "boiler room" foreclosure mills, which likely won't be good for the banks," Brescia said.
A lawsuit that Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray filed this month against GMAC Mortgage and Ally Financial could preview things to come around the country.
Cordray's lawsuit seeks to halt potentially illegal foreclosure practices. It also asks that a judge stop sales of any foreclosed homes involving paperwork filed by a GMAC employee who signed hundreds of faulty documents. And it aims to toss out foreclosure judgments on homes that haven't yet sold.
The Ohio lawsuit also seeks damages for consumers and civil penalties of $25,000 for each separate violation. If similar cases were brought in all 50 states, it could total billions of dollars in damages and fines for lenders and others involved in foreclosures.
The allegations raise the possibility that foreclosure proceedings nationwide could be subject to legal challenge. More than 2.5 million homes have been lost to foreclosure since the recession started in December 2007, according to RealtyTrac Inc.
Kendall Coffey, a former U.S. attorney in Miami, said that fixing faulty or fraudulent mortgage paperwork can be relatively easy if a case is ongoing. But it's far more complex if a foreclosure has been completed and the home already sold.
There also are limits to what officials in some states can do.
For example, in Florida, an epicenter for foreclosure cases, Attorney General Bill McCollum suffered a setback last week in a probe into practices by four law firms that handled foreclosures. A judge ruled that McCollum had no authority to subpoena records from one firm. It said the state's bar association was the proper forum to decide whether to sanction the firm.
A different Florida firm involved in that investigation, the Law Offices of David J. Stern, is seeking a similar ruling. Government-controlled mortgage buyers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have stopped referring foreclosures to Stern's firm while they review the firm's filings.
Also Wednesday, federal regulators said all mortgage companies that work with Fannie and Freddie will have to review foreclosure documents and refile them if they spot problems. That will affect most of the industry, because Fannie and Freddie own or guarantee about half the nation's home loans.
In cases where no problems turn up, foreclosures "should proceed without delay," the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the agency that regulates Fannie and Freddie, said.
___
Anderson reported from Miami.

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