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NORTHWEST NEWS

Jazz Festival Turns 39

Cathedral Park Jazz Festival kicks off this Friday afternoon in St. Johns

Billy Webb Elks Lodge Seeks Historic Designation Status

A decade after [scripts/homepage/home.php] million in renovations breathed new life into the Billy Webb Elks Lodge, members are working to designate the headquarters of Portland’s only remaining African American Fraternal Organization as a historic landmark

Portland Grocery Launches an Innovative Solution for Dog-Owning Customers

Customers can use the app-connected houses as a safer and smarter solution when shopping with their dogs, rather than leaving them in the car or tied up on the street.

Oregon State Workers Could Get up to 15% Raises

Public employee unions representing Oregon state workers have negotiated new contracts that would provide pay increases of up to 15% over the next two-year budget period.

NEWS BRIEFS

Penson Sworn in as PCC Board Member

Newly elected officer represents Zone 2 of the college’s district ...

Human Rights Campaign Appoints Its First African American President

Alphonso David, an accomplished and nationally-recognized LGBTQ civil rights lawyer and advocate, will lead the organization beginning...

Alberta Commons Hosts Public Grand Opening Celebration July 20

Dream Street Community Market event will feature food, drinks, art and music ...

Living Room Realty Announces Scholarship Opportunity

The scholarship will help facilitate a path toward a real estate career for underrepresented communities ...

U.S. Bank Invests $1 Million with the National Museum of African American History and Culture

“Through this support of the National Museum, we hope these historical stories and rich cultural experiences will continue to...

Ethics commission investigating ex-PSU president

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Government Ethics Commission has voted unanimously to open a formal investigation into the matter of former Portland State University President Rahmat Shoureshi.The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Shoureshi resigned under pressure in May after a turbulent...

Officers shoot armed, suicidal man in southern Oregon

MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — Police say law enforcement officers shot and killed a man who was armed and suicidal in southern Oregon.The Medford Police Department says three Oregon State Police troopers and two Jackson County Sheriff's deputies responded to the call Thursday night.Police say the...

Missouri DE Williams pleads to misdemeanor, put on probation

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri defensive end Tre Williams pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to two years of unsupervised probation after prosecutors dropped a felony domestic assault charge.The Columbia Daily Tribune reports Williams pleaded guilty to peace disturbance and was...

Florida's Mullen hoping for sizable leap in 2nd season

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — Dan Mullen made a big leap in his second season at Mississippi State, but his Florida team doesn't have quite so much room to grow.Unless, of course, the Gators can jump to national contender status. That's what another four-win improvement would mean.The Bulldogs won...

OPINION

Breast Cancer Is the Most Imperative Health Issue Facing African American Women

An estimated 6,540 deaths from breast cancer are expected to occur among Black women in 2019. ...

Trump Levels Racist Attack on Congresswomen of Color in Latest Social Media Screed

As is his general habit, Trump lies in his communications and brands places where people of color reside as dangerous. President Trump has a long history of racism as does his late father, Fred Trump. Fred Trump was arrested at a Ku Klux Klan rally in Queens,...

Hearing on H.R. 40 Puts Reparations Debate in National Spotlight

“These are the vestiges of enslavement that people don't want to deal with,” said Dr. Julianne Malveaux, the former President of Bennett College. ...

Perfecting the Cat Nap: Lessons on Sleep From a Cat

Watching Soleil's languorous lifestyle has inspired me to establish better sleeping habits which have led to increased happiness and productivity. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Judge to give Motel 6 settlement preliminary nod in suit

PHOENIX (AP) — A federal judge told Motel 6 and civil rights attorneys Friday he plans to give his preliminary nod to a settlement in the case involving thousands of guests said to have had their privacy violated when the national chain gave their information to immigration authorities.Judge...

South Africa's president accused of misleading Parliament

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A South African corruption watchdog on Friday said President Cyril Ramaphosa "deliberately misled" Parliament about a campaign contribution, a setback for a leader who has vowed to address sprawling graft allegations that forced his predecessor from office and sparked...

3 sentenced for violence at Virginia white nationalist rally

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Three members of a white supremacist group were sentenced Friday to between two and three years in prison for punching, kicking and choking anti-racism protesters at a white nationalist rally in Virginia and political rallies in California.Members of the...

ENTERTAINMENT

Star trio from 'Knots Landing' keep each other in stitches

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nearly 40 years after first forging their friendship while working together on the nighttime soap "Knots Landing," actresses Joan Van Ark, Michele Lee and Donna Mills are now more than just friends — they're a sister act.At one point in their interview Thursday...

The moon landing was a giant leap for movies, too

NEW YORK (AP) — In 1964, Stanley Kubrick, on the recommendation of the science-fiction author Arthur C. Clarke, bought a telescope."He got this Questar and he attached one of his cameras to it," remembers Katharina Kubrick, the filmmaker's stepdaughter. "On a night where there was a lunar...

Gina Torres steps into the spotlight with 'Suits' spinoff

NEW YORK (AP) — Gina Torres used to wonder about the back story of her "Suits " character, Jessica Pearson.The character was the co-founder and boss of the law firm at the center of the show, but that was about all that was known.Torres wondered: "'She doesn't have family, she doesn't have...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Apollo 11 astronauts reunite on 50th anniversary of moonshot

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins reunited Friday on the eve...

Giant Hawaii telescope to focus on big unknowns of universe

HONOLULU (AP) — Is there life on planets outside our solar system? How did stars and galaxies form in the...

Besieged Puerto Rico governor goes quiet amid protests

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — In the Spanish colonial fortress that serves as his official residence, Puerto...

Suspect in Japan anime studio arson reportedly had grudge

TOKYO (AP) — The man suspected of setting ablaze a beloved Japanese animation studio, killing 34 people,...

Ukraine's president says he backs prisoner swap with Russia

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's president on Friday outlined the details of an impending prisoner swap with...

Hong Kong protesters use signals, Post-its to hone skills

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McMenamins
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.
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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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