07-13-2020  11:14 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Oregon Reports 332 New Coronavirus Cases, 2 Deaths

Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury, confirmed that Multnomah County is not ready to apply for Phase 2 of reopening

Study Finds Clothing-based Racist Stereotypes Persist Against Black Men

Researchers find some results of the study troubling

Federal Officers Use Tear Gas on Portland Protesters

Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty calls officers' behavior "reckless and aggressive" after 26-year-old man struck on head and injured by an impact munition

Oregon Appeals Court Affirms Portland Renter Relocation Law

The Court affirmed a Portland ordinance requiring landlords to pay tenants’ relocation fees if their rent is increased by at least 10% or if they’re evicted without cause.

NEWS BRIEFS

NNPA Livestreams With Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Val Demings

The audience has an opportunity to be an interactive part of the interview ...

Black Women Often Ignored By Social Justice Movements

‘Intersectional invisibility’ may lead to Black women’s exclusion, study finds ...

Deadline is July 15 to Pay Portland's $35 Arts Tax

The tax, approved by voters in 2012, supports arts education and grants ...

Oregon National Guard Completes Wildland Firefighter Training

The training was conducted using funds that were allocated to the Department of Defense by Congress to enable the National Guard to...

OSU Science Pub Focuses on Influence of Black Lives Matter

The influence of the Black Lives Matter movement will be the focus of a virtual Oregon State University Science Pub on July 13 ...

Mayor: US Marshals probing protester's shooting at protest

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The U.S. Marshals Service is investigating after a protester was hospitalized in critical condition over the weekend after being hit in the head by a weapon fired by a federal law enforcement officer, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said.In a statement late Sunday, Wheeler...

Oregon reports 332 new coronavirus cases, 2 deaths

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The number of new coronavirus cases in Oregon rose on Sunday to 332, the Oregon Health Authority said.Meanwhile, two more people with COVID-19 died, bringing the state's death toll to 234, the agency said. The latest deaths were an 86-year-old woman in Malheur County...

Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner hurt in jet ski accident

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner sustained serious injuries when he and a passenger on a jet ski collided with a boat on the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.According to a police report, Koerner and Cole Coffin were hurt at about 6:30 p.m. Friday when their watercraft...

Missouri football program pushes again for racial justice

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Ryan Walters had just arrived at the University of Missouri to coach safeties for the football program when a series of protests related to racial injustice led to the resignations of the system president and the chancellor of its flagship campus.The student-led movement...

OPINION

Commissioner Hardesty Responds To Federal Troop Actions Towards Protesters

This protester is still fighting for their life and I want to be clear: this should never have happened. ...

Recent Protests Show Need For More Government Collective Bargaining Transparency

Since taxpayers are ultimately responsible for funding government union contract agreements, they should be allowed to monitor the negotiation process ...

The Language of Vote Suppression

A specific kind of narrative framing is used to justify voter suppression methods and to cover up the racism that motivates their use. ...

Letter to the Community From Eckhart Tolle Foundation

The Eckhart Tolle Foundation is donating more than 250,000 dollars to organizations that are fighting racism ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Polish president wins 2nd term after bitter campaign

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Polish President Andrzej Duda declared victory Monday in a runoff election in which he narrowly won a second five-year term, acknowledging the campaign he ran was often too harsh as he appealed for unity and forgiveness.The close race followed a bitter campaign between...

Legal experts review Black Minnesota teen's life sentence

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — An independent panel of national legal experts will review the conviction of an African American man sentenced as a teenager to life in prison for the murder of a little girl struck by a stray bullet, Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions and the...

Texas keeps 'The Eyes of Texas' despite athlete demands

The University of Texas announced a series of steps Monday intended to make itself more welcoming to its Black students but stopped short of shelving “The Eyes of Texas” song that a number of athletes have said needs to go because it has racist undertones.Jay Hartzell, the interim...

ENTERTAINMENT

With new name and album, The Chicks' voices ring loud again

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Dixie Chicks are no more. Breaking their ties to the South, The Chicks are stepping into a new chapter in their storied career with their first new music in 14 years. The Texas trio of Emily Strayer, Martie Maguire and Natalie Maines have been teasing new music...

Jada and Will Smith reveal marriage trouble on Facebook show

LOS ANGELES (AP) — With their marriage under social-media scrutiny, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith reaffirmed their commitment to each other as Pinkett Smith admitted to having a relationship with musician August Alsina when she and Smith were separated.In a one-on-one conversation Friday...

Celebrity birthdays for the week of July 19-25

Celebrity birthdays for the week of July 19-25.July 19: Actress Helen Gallagher (“Ryan’s Hope”) is 94. Country singer Sue Thompson is 94. Singer Vikki Carr is 80. Musician Commander Cody is 76. Actor George Dzundza (“Hack,” “Law and Order”) is 75....

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Look out, Mars: Here we come with a fleet of spacecraft

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Mars is about to be invaded by planet Earth — big time.Three countries...

Prosecutors: Epstein victim to speak at associate's hearing

NEW YORK (AP) — One or more victims of Jeffrey Epstein plan to tell a judge Tuesday that his ex-girlfriend...

Body found in search of lake for ‘Glee’ star Naya Rivera

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A body was found Monday at a Southern California lake during the search for...

North Macedonia: Ballot boxes carried to quarantined homes

SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) — Election officials in North Macedonia carried ballot boxes to the homes of...

Thousands in Russia's Far East protest governor's jailing

MOSCOW (AP) — Thousands of protesters gathered Monday for a third straight day of massive rallies in...

Polish president wins 2nd term after bitter campaign

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Polish President Andrzej Duda declared victory Monday in a runoff election in which...

McMenamins
Bob Christie the Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) -- Francisco and Pam Cruz maneuvered around boxes of new flooring and open cans of paint as they surveyed the foreclosed Phoenix house they would soon call their own.

This house wasn't typical of the thousands in foreclosure-battered Arizona that banks have auctioned for cheap -- often to investors who make just enough repairs to satisfy a

potential renter.

The Cruzes will become first-time homeowners, helped by one of many nonprofit groups that can snag foreclosures at a discount -- and sometimes for free -- before banks make them available to speculators.

It's a glimmer of hope for struggling neighborhoods that are watching banks foreclose on a record number of homes this year.

In the Cruzes' case, Rebuilding Together obtained the home for free from JPMorgan Chase & Co., the bank that foreclosed on its previous owner. Honeywell International Inc. provided the labor to renovate it and $25,000 cash for the materials.

In a market hot with speculators snapping up cheap foreclosures, Rebuilding Together's program is one of many that give a leg up to nonprofits and redevelopment agencies trying to stabilize neighborhoods dotted with vacant houses.

Yet Jim O'Donnell, JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s community revitalization program manager, acknowledges that each home being offered to a community group also has a story about someone who lost it to the bank.

``It's an unfortunate situation, and that's why we really take a conscious effort to work with our partners to ensure that we can have some good stories at the end of this unfortunate equation,'' O'Donnell said. ``Through these programs, we put what I call this protective umbrella over these affordable homes so that first-come first-served nonprofits can get access to them to ensure they get turned back into the hands of the community.''

Cruz and his wife watched earlier this month as more than 70 red-shirted Honeywell Aerospace employees swarmed throughout the three-bedroom house, putting the final touches on new kitchen cabinets, painting baseboards and walls, and cleaning up the landscaping.

``All the neighbors, they're just so grateful, because the house was looking so bad,'' Pam Cruz said. ``This is a good example of the banks working with the mortgage companies and so forth, helping the community revitalize the neighborhood.''

The disabled Vietnam veteran and his wife bought the house after the renovation was complete and got a completely updated home for below market value. The mortgage payment will be much less than the $900 a month they were paying in rent.

Under an expanded agreement announced in September between the federal government and banks that provide about 75 percent of all U.S. mortgages, as many as 100,000 more repossessed homes will join those already being pumped into the nonprofit and redevelopment agency pipeline.

That deal started in 2008 as a pilot program to provide foreclosed homes to cities and nonprofits that could renovate them for low- and moderate-income families. About $7 billion in federal funds has been allocated to the program.

But the discount program will only handle a small percentage of the foreclosures expected in the coming years. Banks seized more than 980,000 homes nationwide through the first 11 months of 2010 and will likely take back a million more next year, according to foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc.

The home the Cruzes now own is one of 1,200 Chase has donated or sold at steep discounts to nonprofits or community development agencies in the past two years. There are similar programs at other major lenders, including Wells Fargo & Co., which will donate close to 200 homes this year and sell hundreds more at a discount.

The Cruzes said they had been contemplating buying a house for months before a friend who is a real estate agent recommended the couple to Rebuilding Together's Phoenix chapter. As first-time homebuyers, the retired couple were the type of people the group is looking to help.

The nonprofits generally have experience rehabbing homes, and their efforts help pull up home values. Groups like Habitat for Humanity, Rebuilding Together and community development organizations like Detroit Shoreway in Cleveland and Jacob's Ladder in Memphis participate.

The availability of foreclosure homes has helped community-based housing groups like Community HousingWorks in San Diego expand from developing affordable apartment housing to helping buyers get into their first homes.

The 30-year-old group started a nonprofit brokerage in 2008 and soon discovered that buyers were not able to buy homes because of competition from investors.

``The first 15 days on the job back in '08, I made 50 offers and had none of them accepted'' because investors snapped them up, said Jorge Luis Vega, who runs the group's nonprofit brokerage.

Another group that specialized in rehabilitating homes told Community HousingWorks of banks' ``first-look'' programs, and Vega's group signed on quickly.

``Buyers in this market that we serve aren't objecting to price, they're just not being given access to inventory,'' Vega said. ``And I think that these first-look programs are really allowing a lot of folks that want to be in these more diverse communities.''

This year, Community HousingWorks acquired 18 homes, rehabbed them and handed the keys to buyers. Next year, they hope to do close to 100.

In Cleveland, the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood organization has acquired 72 one- or two-family properties in the past two years and is actively leaning on banks to help it obtain more distressed properties.

``The thing we try to get banks to realize is if you sell a property, just fire-sale it to a slum investor, you may hold the mortgage on the property next door,'' said Matt Lasko, the group's housing director. When that owner gets sick of the property next to them, Lasko said, ``then guess what, now you have another mortgage in default.''

Dennis Flynn, executive director of Rebuilding Together in the Phoenix area, said his group has historically focused on fixing up homes for the elderly, disabled and poor. Only recently has Flynn started thinking about actually acquiring properties and putting deserving homeowners in them.

``We'd like to make this a veteran's program,'' he said as he scrolled through a list of more available first-look houses on his smart phone.

For Francisco Cruz, who suffers from diabetes and other ailments he traces to his service as a Green Beret on multiple tours of Vietnam in the 1960s, watching the final touches being put on his home was emotional.

``We were overwhelmed with all these people coming to help us,'' said Cruz, who is known as ``Chico.'' ``Because you know well that labor is the highest thing whenever it comes to remodeling a home. The labor really gets you.''

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