06-23-2018  6:23 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

NEWS BRIEFS

AG Rosenblum Seeks Info from Oregonians

Oregon Attorney General seeks information on children separated from families at border ...

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

Lawsuits allege racial profiling in Portland-area businesses

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Several African Americans are suing big-box stores and restaurants in Oregon, claiming employees at those places wrongly accused them of stealing because they were "shopping while black."A Portland law firm has filed five lawsuits alleging racial profiling at businesses in...

Wildfire near Maupin more than doubles in size

MAUPIN, Ore. (AP) — A wildfire burning brush and grass near Maupin in north-central Oregon has more than doubled in size to 36 square miles (93 square kilometers).Fire officials say Saturday's efforts will include the use of helicopters to protect Maupin.The wind-driven wildfire is mostly...

Alaska city honors Guardsmen killed in crash after '64 quake

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A month after the second most powerful earthquake ever was recorded, the Alaska port community of Valdez remained in ruins.A hulking Alaska National Guard cargo plane's mission April 25, 1964, was to deliver Gov. William Egan to oversee efforts to rebuild the town on...

The Latest: Alaska city unveils memorial to fallen Guardsmen

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on an Alaska city honoring Guardsmen killed in crash after 1964 earthquake (all times local):1:40 p.m.Four men who died on a humanitarian mission to help rebuild an Alaska town following the second most powerful earthquake ever recorded have been honored...

OPINION

How Washington’s 'School Achievement Index' Became School Spending Index

New assessment categorizes schools not by quality of education, but level of funding officials believe they should receive ...

Black Mamas Are Dying. We Can Stop It.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly plans to improve access to culturally-competent care with the MOMMA Act ...

Hey, Elected Officials: No More Chicken Dinners...We Need Policy

Jeffrey Boney says many elected officials who visit the Black community only during the election season get a pass for doing nothing ...

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Lawsuits allege racial profiling in Portland-area businesses

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Several African Americans are suing big-box stores and restaurants in Oregon, claiming employees at those places wrongly accused them of stealing because they were "shopping while black."A Portland law firm has filed five lawsuits alleging racial profiling at businesses in...

Racist tropes in Ramadan TV satires anger black Arabs

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In an attempt to capitalize on what's become a ratings bonanza for Arabic satellite channels during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, two comedies struck the wrong chord with audiences when their lead actors appeared in blackface.Criticism was swift on...

Chaos on the border inflames GOP's split with Latinos

When more than 1,000 Latino officials __ a crop of up-and-coming representatives from a fast-growing demographic __ gathered in Phoenix last week, no one from the Trump administration was there to greet them.It marked the first time a presidential administration skipped the annual conference of the...

ENTERTAINMENT

Give up after scandals? Television history shows otherwise

NEW YORK (AP) — Say this about TV creators in 2018 — they don't give up easily.Three current shows — "Roseanne," ''Transparent" and "House of Cards" — have been crippled by scandal, but each plans to continue without their disgraced stars."The bottom line is...

Ornate NYC theater, used for years as a gym, to be restored

NEW YORK (AP) — For years, Long Island University's basketball team played in a French Baroque movie palace in downtown Brooklyn.The gilded wall fountains, plastered statuettes and towering, one-of-a-kind Wurlitzer organ pipes of the historic Paramount Theater were preserved by the...

Vinnie Paul, co-founder, drummer of Pantera, dies at 54

Vinnie Paul, co-founder and drummer of metal band Pantera, has died at 54.Pantera's official Facebook page posted a statement early Saturday announcing his death. The label of Hellyeah, his most recent group, confirmed the death but neither statement mentioned Paul's cause of death.His real name...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

AP PHOTOS: Germany salvages campaign on Day 10 of World Cup

MOSCOW (AP) — Germany midfielder Toni Kroos scored a dramatic late winner to come from behind and beat...

1 dead after attack at huge rally for Ethiopia's new PM

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — A thwarted attempt to hurl a grenade at Ethiopia's reformist new prime...

Sanders says she was told to leave Virginia restaurant

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was booted from a Virginia restaurant...

Stars flock to the Dior debut of Kim Jones at Paris menswear

PARIS (AP) — In a week marked by big debuts, it was designer Kim Jones' turn at Dior Men on Saturday.The...

US moves 100 coffins to inter-Korean border for war remains

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The U.S. military said it moved 100 wooden coffins to the inter-Korean border to...

1 dead after attack at huge rally for Ethiopia's new PM

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — A thwarted attempt to hurl a grenade at Ethiopia's reformist new prime...

Helen Silvis of The Skanner News

First Nicholas Johnson lost his sight to glaucoma. Then he almost lost his family home. But thanks to a Multnomah County policy that donates some tax-foreclosed property to the nonprofit Community Vision Inc., Johnson and his mother have been able to stay in their home.  

"I'd done a lot of work on it, and it has sentimental value," Johnson says. "It's not that the building itself is sacred. But it's a gathering place for our family. We'd always been in this home, and there have been a lot of good moments here – as well as sad moments."

On March 27, Multnomah County will auction about 25 properties in foreclosure because of their tax bill. The county doesn't foreclose lightly. It waits six years. But in cases such as Johnson's— when the home is occupied by a resident with a disability -- the county has taken a new approach. It donates the property to disability nonprofit Community Visions, which then works with residents to find new housing or keep them in their homes.

"They move in pretty quickly to restore the property," says Multnomah County assessor Randy Walruff. "They also take care of the occupants. So in the end it's a win-win for everyone – for the county, for the neighborhood and for the person who is foreclosed on."

Walruff hit upon the idea after looking at the finances involved and realizing that the benefits of donating the properties probably outweighed the costs.  Multnomah County Commissioners reviewed the data and agreed.

 "If properties are occupied there is a cost related to evicting a person," Walruff says. "That's a dollar cost as well as social costs. Typically the properties are in very, very bad shape. They have many years of deferred maintenance, and city liens for a variety of reasons. The value of the properties is sometimes greatly depleted."

For example, he says, "One property that's not in our inventory but has potential to come into our inventory, has city liens for well over $100,000 and to date owes $12,000 in taxes."

The city drops its liens when the properties are donated. Disability nonprofit Community Vision takes possession, rehabilitates the property and makes sure the residents are housed. Most move to alternative housing. But under the agreement, the property must be kept as affordable housing for at least 30 years.

"Once the home is sold it goes back on the tax roll and they return at a much higher tax rate," Walruff says. "So when all that is totaled, there's a much greater benefit to donate the property."

Walruff stresses that the donations are not a program, but just a better choice in the small number of cases where people with disabilities are still living in the foreclosed property.

So how did Johnson's home on Northeast Jessup Street end up in foreclosure? Built in 1960 with insurance money that came from a road accident that killed Johnson's grandfather, Arthur Cox, and injured his grandmother Etolia Cox, Johnson's mother inherited the home. But by 2006, she had lost her sight and become mentally disabled.

A payee appointed to manage her finances stole her disability checks, drained her bank account, and sold off a second family home, putting the proceeds – $145,000 – into her own pocket. The thief was prosecuted and convicted of embezzlement, but the family couldn't recover the money. 

Johnson was left to deal with a huge tax bill and a mountain of repairs. 

"I was in Salem at the time at the blind school," Johnson said. "I was learning Braille and how to cope with being blind."

Unable to continue his work as an accountant, Johnson sank $13,000 -- his entire savings -- into paying off part of the unpaid tax bill. He also tried to make repairs. But the bills kept mounting. In August 2010, Multnomah County finally foreclosed.  

"I was so upset I didn't even go down there, so I just prayed and asked God for help," he says. "I'd done all I could do."

Help came in the form of Portland Disability Commissioner Amy Anderson, who knew Johnson's story.  She spoke to county commissioners, and they decided the home should become one of the handful of properties donated to Community Vision. The nonprofit helps people with disabilities live independently, work and find affordable housing.

It also works to help people with disabilities build financial stability and buy homes – long out of reach for most people facing these challenges.

Using donated materials and volunteer labor, the nonprofit restores or rebuilds the donated properties.



Today thanks to the program, Nicholas Johnson and his ailing mother – he takes care of her — are still able to live in their family home. And the nonprofit is working with Johnson to build financial security.

"The goal is to buy the home back," Johnson says. "That's the goal."

For more info on Community Vision, go to www.cvision.org.

 

 

 

Carpentry Professionals
Portland Community Policing
Calendar

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events

Lents International Farmers Market
The Skanner Report

The Skanner Foundation Scholarships