06-14-2021  6:32 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Oregon GOP Legislator Ousted Over State Capitol Breach

Republican lawmakers voted with majority Democrats in the Oregon House of Representatives to expel an unapologetic Rep. Mike Nearman with a 59-1 vote.

Senator Lew Frederick: Juneteenth Senate Floor Speech

Sen. Frederick carried HB 2168 in the Oregon Senate, and gave a moving floor speech, illustrated with treasured family photos, prior to the Senate vote on June 1.

'People Are Scared' as Gang Activity Fuels Portland Violence

With more bullets comes more bloodshed. There have been 37 homicides in Oregon’s largest city so far this year, more than six times the number recorded in the same period last year.

Portland Reaches $600K Settlement in Police Killing of Man

Lawyers for the family of a 24-year-old man announced this week that they’ve reached a settlement with the city of Portland for a police shooting in 2017 that left Terrell Johnson dead.

NEWS BRIEFS

Student-led Nonprofit is Seeking High Schoolers to Join its 'Summer Action Team'

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Oregon DOJ’s 2021 “Community Conversations” Series Underway

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Christopher R. Upperman Joins Advocacy Organization Law Champs

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Man Sentenced to 5 Years for Setting Fire During Protests

Gavaugh Street-Hillerich, 23, was recorded intentionally setting fire to a large dumpster near the exterior of Portland's North...

Judge Pauses Loan Forgiveness Program for Farmers of Color

A federal judge has halted a loan forgiveness program for farmers of color in response to a lawsuit alleging the program discriminates...

Teacher accused of sexually abusing another teacher

DALLAS, Ore. (AP) — A Dallas High School teacher has been accused of sexually abusing another teacher at the school and has been placed on administrative leave. Dallas police and Polk County court records show Matthew Lenoue, 56, of Dallas faces charges for inappropriately...

4 killed in Portland, Oregon shooting last week identified

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The names of the four people killed last week in a Southeast Portland shooting have been released. Portland Police said Monday that 31-year-old Mitchell Nacoste, 27-year-old Kendall Gragg, 24-year-old Donovan Lenford and, 23-year-old Eyion Willis were...

OPINION

COMMENTARY: 100 Days of Biden-Harris

I see the trillion price tag on the Biden legislation as more of an investment than simple spending. ...

Power and Pride to the People!

Happy Pride month to Black LGBTQ readers and to all of us who love LGBTQ people! ...

You Are Not an Imposter

felt I didn’t belong and secretly, I was waiting for the program to tell me that they made a mistake in my admission. ...

Teacher Disciplined for BLM Flag Sues Duval County Public Schools for Retaliation

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AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Jane Austen family link to abolition movement comes to light

LOS ANGELES (AP) — While Jane Austen admirers savor the wit and romance of “Pride and Prejudice” and her other enduring novels, scholars ferret out details of Austen’s life and times, including a family link to slavery that surfaced 50 years ago. The effort to place the...

Nonprofit pushes Chicago to build anti-racist arts community

CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago nonprofit formed to highlight the lack of leaders of color within the city's arts and cultural systems is asking artists of color to imagine what the nation's third-largest city could look like without stubborn inequities in art, theater and other institutions. ...

As US COVID-19 death toll nears 600,000, racial gaps persist

Jerry Ramos spent his final days in a California hospital, hooked to an oxygen machine with blood clots in his lungs from COVID-19, his 3-year-old daughter in his thoughts. “I have to be here to watch my princess grow up,” the Mexican American restaurant worker wrote on...

ENTERTAINMENT

Review: A love story and a medical mystery all in one book

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Paris Jackson says paparazzi caused her long-term trauma

NEW YORK (AP) — Paris Jackson, stopping by “Red Table Talk” for a frank discussion about living under the media glare, reveals she suffers long-term anxiety and trauma from enduring countless camera clicks by paparazzi since she was a child. “I experience auditory...

Jimmy Smits figured he could carry a tune 'In the Heights'

NEW YORK (AP) — He hadn't been in a musical since his high school years, but when Jimmy Smits saw the opportunity to play Kevin Rosario in the film adaptation of “In the Heights,” he was happy to check that off his artistic bucket list. “Of course it’s something that...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Workers push back against hospitals requiring COVID vaccines

HOUSTON (AP) — Jennifer Bridges, a registered nurse in Houston, is steadfast in her belief that it's wrong for...

Gains for some tech giants nudge S&P to another record high

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Israel OKs contentious Jerusalem march, weeks after war

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's new government on Monday approved a contentious parade by Israeli nationalists through...

NY Holocaust survivors celebrated at concert after isolation

NEW YORK (AP) — Dozens of Holocaust survivors clapped, sang and danced Monday at a concert held in their honor...

Ukraine leader fears US-Russia summit won't produce results

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s president says he's concerned that this week’s US-Russia summit will not...

Guyana plans to rescind old law against cross-dressing

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) — Guyana’s main transgender group on Monday welcomed plans by the parliament to...

Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- In an instant, the disappearance of retired FBI agent Robert Levinson in Iran went from a cold case to something very hot.

After nearly four years without word about what happened to Levinson, his family received proof late last year that the father of seven was alive. It was a dramatic development that sharply intensified diplomatic efforts to bring him home. The Skanner News Video: Hillary Clinton

Until then, there had never been any evidence of whether Levinson was alive or dead since he disappeared in March 2007 from the Iranian island of Kish. It remains unclear who is holding Levinson or where he is, but the proof that he is alive was a hopeful sign that whoever has him was willing to negotiate for his release.

"It has been almost four years since I have seen my beloved husband Robert Levinson," his wife, Christine, said in a statement on the family's website. "Our family is tremendously encouraged by the news Bob is alive but remains concerned for his safety and well-being."

The AP has known about the proof that Levinson is alive since shortly after it arrived but delayed reporting it because officials said any publicity would jeopardize getting Levinson home safely. The AP is not disclosing the nature of the proof because officials believe that would hurt efforts to free him.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton renewed her appeal to Iran for help on Friday.

"His family misses him dearly," Clinton said. "He does have medical issues and we continue to welcome any help that the Iranian government can provide in determining Mr. Levinson's welfare and whereabouts so that he can be reunited with his family as soon as possible."

Authorities don't know why the evidence that Levinson was alive surfaced after years of silence. But it has touched off the most hopeful round of diplomacy since he disappeared.

Iran has repeatedly said it has no information about Levinson, but U.S. diplomats and investigators have long said they believed he was taken by Iranian government agents. The U.S. announcement Thursday was an abrupt change in tone from what had been stalemated discussions. The U.S. has previously expressed deep frustration over what it said was Iran's lack of cooperation.

As years passed, many in the U.S. government believed the 62-year-old with diabetes and high blood pressure might have died. With proof that he is alive, the case becomes one of the longer international hostage situations involving U.S. citizens. Levinson is unusual, however, since nobody has publicly acknowledged holding him.

"It's encouraging that we may have good news," Florida Sen. Bill Nelson said. "I'm praying that he can be reunited with his family."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been circumspect about what his country knows about Levinson. In the course of a single interview, he said he had no information, offered to help and accused the FBI of withholding information about why Levinson was in Iran.

Levinson retired from the FBI in 1998 and became a private investigator. He was investigating cigarette smuggling in early 2007, and his family has said that effort took him to Iran. Kish is a popular resort area and a hotbed of smuggling and organized crime. It is also a free trade zone, meaning U.S. citizens do not need visas to travel there.

Iran shares borders with the southwest Asian countries of Pakistan and Afghanistan, raising the possibility that Levinson was shuttled into one of those countries. Both border crossings are known smuggling routes. The route into Pakistan leads into a lawless tribal region that's home to insurgents, terrorist groups and criminal organizations.

Levinson disappeared after a meeting with Dawud Salahuddin, an American fugitive wanted for the assassination of a former Iranian diplomat in Maryland in 1980. Salahuddin has said he last saw Levinson being questioned by Iranian officials. Levinson's distinctive signature was used to check out of his hotel, but he never made it to the airport.

Over the years, stories have trickled in from witnesses claiming to have evidence about Levinson's whereabouts. But like so much about Iran, the U.S. was never able to verify those accounts.

An Iranian defector now living in the United States, Reza Kahlili, told the AP that Levinson was picked up by the Quds Force, a unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guard. Kahlili said he was told by sources inside Iran that Levinson was investigating money laundering and discovered a link between the Russian mob and the Revolutionary Guard.

Kahlili said Levinson was taken to a safe house in Tehran but he does not know what happened to him. A former FBI official said the U.S. was aware of that account, and though he described Kahlili as credible, the U.S. could never confirm his story.

In 2009, an Iranian defector told U.S. authorities that while imprisoned by Iran's Revolutionary Guard, he saw the name "B. Levinson" scrawled on the door frame of his cell. That account was included in a diplomatic memo obtained by the WikiLeaks website and published last month. Former officials have raised doubts about the defector, however, and when the AP located him in Europe in early January, he said he never saw Levinson's name.

The State Department has repeatedly called on Iran to provide more information about Levinson. U.S. diplomats have also asked foreign leaders to intervene. Even the Vatican was enlisted, but in 2008 the Iranian government chastised the pope's ambassador to Tehran, saying the Vatican had no business asking about the case, according to State Department documents.

In 2009, Clinton ordered a fresh diplomatic push. At a United Nations conference at The Hague that year, she personally passed a note to Iranian officials, urging them to help find Levinson.

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Associated Press writer Lisa Orkin contributed to this story from Coral Springs, Fla.

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