08-12-2020  2:44 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

PHOTOS: Snapshots From Downtown Portland

View a slideshow of recent photos taken by The Skanner downtown Portland.

Prosecutor Won't Act on Low-level Portland Protest Arrests

At least several hundred people who have been arrested in the past few months will not face criminal prosecution.

Lawmakers Adjourn Special Session, Restrict Choke Holds

Sen. James Manning, D-Eugene, says choke holds are "a tool to take a life."

Seattle Police Chief to Resign Following Department Cuts

Carmen Best, the city’s first Black police chief, said in a letter to the department that her retirement will be effective Sept. 2.

NEWS BRIEFS

MISSING: Michael Bryson Was Last Seen August 5

The Eugene man was last seen at campground SE of Cottage Grove ...

Oregon Housing and Community Services Awards $60,822,101 to Build and Preserve 802 Affordable Homes

Investments address the statewide shortage of affordable housing through the development and preservation of affordable rental homes. ...

Phase Two Re:Imagine Grant Deadline August 11

The fund focuses on supporting ten artists with grants of $5,000 as they reimagine their practices and pivot toward the...

U.S. Bank Announces $1 Million in Grants to Black-Led CDFIs; Additional Support for African American Alliance

A total of 15 CDFIs will receive grants ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 while the African American Alliance will receive...

Vote.org Holds #GoodTroublePledge Voter Registration Drive to Commemorate the 55th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act

2020 VRA anniversary observance to honor the memory of voting rights activist and late-Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) ...

Dozens of cats, dogs seized from Portland rescue facility

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Nearly 120 cats and dogs were seized from a Portland animal rescue and boarding facility Tuesday, officials say.Authorities served a search warrant at Woofin Palooza’s 82nd Avenue facility after receiving complaints alleging possible animal abuse or neglect, The...

Tear gas at Portland protests raises concern about pollution

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The presence of U.S. agents has diminished in Portland, Oregon, but city officials are still cleaning up tear gas residue from the streets, dirt and possibly the storm drains after the chemical was used frequently by both police and federal officers during more than two...

LSU adds Missouri, Vanderbilt in revamped SEC schedule

Defending Southeastern Conference and national champion LSU will host Missouri and visit Vanderbilt in its expanded Southeastern Conference schedule, while Alabama will visit Mizzou and host Kentucky in league play revised by the coronavirus pandemic. The league on Friday released two additional...

Missouri's Drinkwitz takes side in mask-or-no-mask debate

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Eli Drinkwitz has been the head coach at Missouri for just over seven months. He has yet to lead the Tigers onto the football field, much less win a game, yet his role in the community already has forced him to take some important stands.First, it was supporting his new...

OPINION

Historians Offer Context, Caution on Lessons 1918 Flu Pandemic Holds for COVID

Scholars find parallels of inequitable suffering between pandemic of 1918 and pandemic of 2020 ...

US Reps Adams and DeFazio Call on Postmaster General to Resign

The legislators say Trump appointee Louis DeJoy is sabotaging the US Postal Service and could harm the election ...

Da 5 Bloods and America Abroad

Even before I returned to the United States from my combat tour in Vietnam, I had decided that we were fighting an unjust war. ...

Falling Behind: COVID, Climate Change, and Chaos

Multiple Crises, Multiple Obstacles ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

NC candidate defends posts; says he despises racism

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A young Republican congressional candidate in North Carolina says suggestions from his rival and others that he has an affinity for white supremacist causes are ridiculous and based on a lack of historical knowledge. “I don’t run in those circles, so I...

Judge faces ethics charges over racist, demeaning comments

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pittsburgh judge who allegedly referred to a Black juror as “Aunt Jemima” was accused of misconduct in office Wednesday by the state's entity that investigates and prosecutes judicial wrongdoing.The Judicial Conduct Board complaint alleges that...

Black victims of U-Michigan doc seek equity in settlements

NOVI, Mich. (AP) — Dwight Hicks left New Jersey as a teenager, seeking to take a step toward his NFL dreams by playing football at the University of Michigan.Hicks was willing to do whatever it took to compete in the 1970s and says the price paid included being sexually assaulted by the late...

ENTERTAINMENT

American hopes to charm Brits in soccer series 'Ted Lasso'

NEW YORK (AP) — Jason Sudeikis was a huge sports fan growing up in Kansas, especially basketball. Not so much that game where you kick a ball into a goal. “The beautiful game? I didn’t get it a couple of years ago. I thought, ‘Well, good for them for getting that...

Film Review: A teenage political experiment in ‘Boys State’

Teenage political junkies at a leadership conference doesn’t seem like the most riveting subject matter for a documentary. As a product of teenage leadership conferences, I assumed that at best, maybe, it could be fodder for a black comedy. But the new documentary “ Boys State...

Hank Williams Jr., Marty Stuart to join Country Hall of Fame

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Hank Williams Jr., Marty Stuart and songwriter Dean Dillon are the newest inductees to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Announced by the Country Music Association on Wednesday, Williams, who often is referred to as Hank Jr. or the nickname Bocephus, will join his...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Rites of fall: Losing college football stings across America

Michigan's Big House will be sitting empty when the leaves start to change this fall.Southern Cal's famed white...

Tear gas at Portland protests raises concern about pollution

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The presence of U.S. agents has diminished in Portland, Oregon, but city officials are...

Prosecutors charge 3 with threatening women in R. Kelly case

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal prosecutors announced charges Wednesday against three men accused of threatening...

China blasts US for Taiwan visit while virus spreads at home

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese official lashed out at U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on...

State Department rejects further probe of diplomat's remarks

WASHINGTON (AP) — A report Wednesday by the State Department’s internal watchdog confirms news...

3 dead, 6 in hospital after train derails in Scotland

LONDON (AP) — Three people were killed and six others injured Wednesday when a passenger train derailed in...

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Zanne Gamboa the Associated Press

Congress ordered the high-tech fence in 2006 amid a clamor over the porous border, but the project yielded only 53 miles of protection.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the lesson of the multimillion-dollar program is there is no "one-size-fits-all" solution for border security.

Napolitano said the department's new technology strategy for securing the border is to use existing, proven technology tailored to the distinct terrain and population density of each region of the nearly 2,000-mile U.S-Mexico border. That would provide faster technology deployment, better coverage and more bang for the buck, she said.

Although it has been well known that the virtual fence project would be dumped, Napolitano officially informed key members of Congress Friday that an "independent, quantitative, science-based review made clear" the fence, known as SBInet, "cannot meet its original objective of providing a single, integrated border security technology solution."

The fence, initiated in 2005, was to be a network of cameras, ground sensors and radars that would be used to spot incursions or problems and decide where to deploy Border Patrol agents. It was supposed to be keeping watch over most of the southern border with Mexico by this year.

Instead, taxpayers ended up with about 53 miles of operational "virtual fence" in Arizona for a cost of at least $15 million a mile, according to testimony in previous congressional hearings.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said the SBInet concept was unrealistic from the start. Napolitano's decision "ends a long-troubled program that spent far too much of the taxpayers' money for the results it delivered," said Lieberman, I-Conn.

The high-tech fence was developed as part of a Bush administration response to a demand for tighter border security that arose amid a heated immigration debate in Congress.

The Bush administration awarded Boeing a three-year, $67 million contract. Then-Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said at the time the department was "looking to build a 21st century virtual fence."

But the fence had a long list of glitches and delays. Its radar system had trouble distinguishing between vegetation and people in windy weather, cameras moved too slowly and satellite communications also were slow. Although some of the concept is in use in two sections of Arizona, the security came at too high a cost.

DHS and Boeing officials have said that the project called for putting together the first of its kind "virtual fence" too quickly by combining off-the-shelf components that weren't designed to be linked

Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, top Democrat of the House Homeland Security Committee, said the committee held 11 congressional hearings on the fence project and commissioned five reports by the Government Accountability Office, which blasted the project. Thompson, who chaired the committee until Republicans took over the House this month, called the project a grave and expensive disappointment.

Last January, Napolitano suspended spending on the project beyond work on two phases of the fence in Arizona. She ordered a study to determine whether SBInet could be fixed so it worked effectively and fulfilled its original goal. She also asked for a study to come up with lower cost, equally effective alternatives. She used $50 million meant for the fence to buy other technology and Border Patrol vehicles.

Boeing was the contractor for SBInet. Despite the problems, the Homeland Security Department granted Boeing a second one-year option on a three-year contract to work with the department for maintenance and upkeep of the two Arizona sections that are operational. That agreement continues through September 2011.

Some technologies from the project, such as stationary radar and infrared and optical sensor towers, will be used in future border security that will largely rely on mobile surveillance systems, unmanned aerial vehicles, thermal imaging devices and tower-based remote video surveillance systems. Money that was provided in an interim spending bill for the high-tech fence will go to the proven technologies.

The agency said in a report that it does not intend to use the existing Boeing contract to buy other technology systems for future southwest border security. It also said it will conduct "full and open competition" for elements in the new border security plan.

The Homeland Security Department has been studying other areas of the southern border to decide what technology and other resources would best beef up security in those areas. An initial proposal of technology needed to monitor three sectors - El Paso, which includes New Mexico; San Diego and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas - was to be done by this month. Proposals for border security technology for other sectors should be available by March, according to the report.

Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, criticized the administration for taking too long to make its final decision to cancel SBInet and too long to decide what to do next. He wants a comprehensive border security plan that provides staffing, fencing and technology.

In a statement, Boeing said it is proud of the accomplishments of its team and the "unprecedented capabilities" delivered in the last year to assist Border Patrol. The company said it appreciates that Homeland Security Department recognizes the value of the fixed towers Boeing built as part of SBInet.

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