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NORTHWEST NEWS

All Oregonians Eligible for the COVID-19 Vaccine by July 1

People who are 45 to 64 with underlying health conditions will be eligible starting March 29

City Permanently Cuts Funds to Portland Neighborhood Group

Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who oversees the city’s civic life bureau, opted to remove funding from Southwest Neighborhoods Inc. after an audit found that money had been mismanaged.

Black Restaurant Week Comes to Portland

National event highlights Black-owned restaurants, cafes, and food trucks, creates countrywide database to support Black businesses

Portland Police Launch Team to Investigate Shootings

 The Enhanced Community Safety Team will be comprised of three sergeants, 12 officers and six detectives, and will staff a seven-member on-call unit to respond to shooting scenes, examine evidence, interview witnesses and do immediate follow-up investigations

NEWS BRIEFS

Senators Markey, Smith, and Booker and Rep. Jackson Lee Re-introduce Legislation to Make Juneteenth a National Holiday

“Juneteenth,” observed on June 19, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States ...

HB 1465, To Increase the Death Tax Rate in Washington State To 40%

The Washington Policy Center's Vice President for Research, Paul Guppy today released a study on the bill ...

Seattle Black Artist To Be Featured in Amazon Prime Series

The Northwest African American Museum (NAAM), in Seattle, Washington, is launching a call for artist...

NIKE, Inc. and Goalsetter Partner to Increase Financial Literacy Among America’s Youth

Goalsetter uses digital platforms to engage youth and help them better understand financial well-being, while saving for their future ...

Six Trailblazing Black Judges to Discuss Overcoming Challenges Feb. 26

The online program panel judges include Justice Adrienne Nelson, the first Black justice of the Oregon Supreme Court and the first...

All Oregonians eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by July 1

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — All Oregonians who are 16 and older will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations no later than July 1, Gov. Kate Brown announced Friday. The governor presented her new vaccine eligibility timeline for the state during a news conference Friday — outlining...

City permanently cuts funds to Portland neighborhood group

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Portland commissioner has decided to permanently cut funding from a neighborhood group after an audit found that money had been mismanaged.Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who oversees the city’s civic life bureau, opted to...

Ex-Cardinals coach Wilks new defensive coordinator at Mizzou

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Steve Wilks is returning to coaching as the defensive coordinator at Missouri.Wilks, who was hired by Tigers coach Eli Drinkwitz on Thursday, took last year off after spending the previous 14 seasons in the NFL. The stint was highlighted by a year as the head coach of...

OPINION

Democracy and White Privilege

“White Nationalists” who believe that America only belongs to its “White” citizens, who live and have lived according to “White Privilege” are ignoring the words of the Declaration of Independence ...

The Leadership Conference Submits Letter in Support of H.R. 40

H.R. 40 finally forces the U.S. government to recognize and make amends for the decades of economic enrichment that have benefited this nation as a result of the free labor that African slaves were forced to provide ...

Letter to the Editor Re: Zenith Energy

The time is now for Portland City Council to stop Zenith Energy’s transporting fossil fuels into and out of our city. ...

The Heroes Within Us

Black History Month, as it exists today, continues the practice of “othering” Black people in America. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Missouri AG : No charges in 2017 death of Black jail inmate

O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced Friday that no charges will be filed in the 2017 death of Tory Sanders, a Black inmate at a rural jail who died under similar circumstances to George Floyd — after a white law enforcement officer's knee was pressed...

NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn't happen this week

A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week. None of these are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked them out. Here are the facts:___Biden didn’t reinstate funding for a Wuhan virus labCLAIM:...

WNBA approves sale of Dream following pressure on Loeffler

ATLANTA (AP) — Real estate investor Larry Gottesdiener was approved Friday as the lead owner of the Atlanta Dream following pressure on former Sen. Kelly Loeffler to sell her share of the WNBA team.The three-member investor group also includes former Dream guard Renee Montgomery and Suzanne...

ENTERTAINMENT

Maren Morris, Chris Stapleton lead ACM Awards nominations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Maren Morris and Chris Stapleton are the leading nominees for the Academy of Country Music Awards, but only Stapleton joined the all-male ballot for the top prize of entertainer of the year. The academy announced on Friday that Morris and Stapleton both had six...

Tonywatch: Playwright Katori Hall 'reaching for humanity'

NEW YORK (AP) — Most playwrights who dip their toes into musical theater for the first time go small. Not Katori Hall: Her first assignment was to capture the life of a musical giant — Tina Turner.“I’m not really scared of much, which is probably why I felt like...

Laying out data, Netflix touts its record on inclusivity

NEW YORK (AP) — Netflix on Friday released a study it commissioned from top academic researchers that shows the streaming giant is outpacing much of the film industry in the inclusivity of its original films and television series.For years, academic studies have sought to capture...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn't happen this week

A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week. None of these are...

Vaccination 'passports' may open society, but inequity looms

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Violet light bathed the club stage as 300 people, masked and socially distanced,...

Some local GOP leaders fire up base with conspiracies, lies

A faction of local, county and state Republican officials is pushing lies, misinformation and conspiracy theories...

Pandemic leaves many Romanian patients without critical care

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Andrei, a 32-year-old Romanian man who has been HIV positive since he was a baby,...

Police: Infamous gang leader killed after prison breakout

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — One of Haiti's most powerful gang leaders, Arnel Joseph, was killed on Friday,...

Vaccination 'passports' may open society, but inequity looms

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Violet light bathed the club stage as 300 people, masked and socially distanced,...

Samantha Gross the Associated Press


A view of ground zero in 2002
 

NEW YORK (AP) -- The plot of land known for a decade as "the pile," "the pit" and "ground zero" opened to the public Monday for the first time since that terrible morning in 2001, transformed into a memorial consisting of two serene reflecting pools ringed by the chiseled-in-bronze names of the nearly 3,000 souls lost.

The 9/11 memorial plaza opened its gates at 10 a.m. under tight, airport-style security. Visitors were allowed to walk among hundreds of white oak trees on the eight-acre site and gaze at the water on the exact spots where the World Trade Center's twin towers stood.

They will also be able to run their fingers over the names of the 2,977 people killed in the terrorist attacks in New York, at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania, as well as the six who died in the bombing of the trade center in 1993. Electronic directories with a "Find a Name" button will help people locate their loved ones.

One of the first members of the public to visit was Eileen Cristina, 64, of Lititz, Pa., who volunteered her services as a massage therapist to the landfill workers who handled the trade center debris. She was moved to tears by the moment Monday.

"For me, the water element is very important, because water is so cleansing. Water can cleanse the energy of the area," she said.

Julio Portalatin, of Jersey City, N.J., had a ticket for 10:30 a.m.

"I'm very, very drawn to this place," said Portalatin, who survived the attack on the north tower, where he worked for an insurance company. He added: "It's such a classy way to honor those who perished."

He and his wife got their tickets online three weeks ago "to pay tribute, to pay honor, to the eternal-ness of it all."

The memorial plaza opened to the families of the victims for the first time on Sunday.

Among the visitors on both Sunday and Monday was Jelena Watkins. Watkins' brother died at the trade center, and she came from London for Sunday's 10th anniversary of the attacks.

At the memorial, she and her husband held up their two children so that they could see their uncle's name. Luka, 5, ran his hands through the water that pools under the names.

"I love it. It was a huge relief to see that it's actually beautiful," Watkins said. "It's the right feel. It's just so right. It's so spacious."

Although thousands of construction workers have come and gone from the site over the years, Monday marked the first time that ordinary Americans without a badge, a press pass or a hard hat were able to walk the grounds where the victims were once entombed in a mountain of smoking rubble.

"For the vast majority of the world, the images that they remember from this site are very difficult. It's the recovery period, it's seeing those images of the towers falling. So when they come on now and see this place that's been transformed into a place of beauty, it's exciting," memorial president Joe Daniels said Monday before the memorial opened.

Admission is free, but access is tightly controlled. Visitors need to obtain passes in advance, allowing them to enter at a specified time. No more than about 1,500 at a time will be allowed in.

Visitors must empty their pockets, walk through a metal detector and send their handbags and backpacks through an X-ray machine.

About 7,000 people were issued tickets for opening day. Some 400,000 have reserved tickets for the coming months, Daniels said.

The museum portion of the memorial complex is still under construction. The museum pavilion, a tilting structure that evokes the sections of the trade center facade that remained standing after the towers fell, is scheduled to open on the 11th anniversary of the attacks.

Eventually visitors to the underground portion will be able to gaze at such sights as the giant slurry wall, built to keep the Hudson River from flooding the trade center's foundations, and the survivor's staircase that allowed so many people to flee to safety.

But seeing the names was enough for many of the 9/11 families.

"It breaks me up," said David Martinez, who watched the attacks from his office in Manhattan and later learned that he had lost a cousin and a brother, one in each tower.

Debra Burlingame, whose brother, Charles, was the pilot of American Airlines Flight 77, cried when she found his name, grouped with other crew members and passengers aboard the flight.

"These are all his crew," she said. "I know all their families. These passengers, I knew their families. These people are real people to me. It's very touching to see all these people here together."

The letters in the names have been entirely cut out of the bronze, with only emptiness beneath them.

The cost of the memorial and museum has been put at about $700 million, with an annual operating budget of $50 million to $60 million. The nonprofit organization that runs the project has raised about $400 million in private donations and is seeking federal funds so that the memorial and museum can be free of charge.

The centerpiece of the memorial is the two giant, square pits and reflecting pools that sit in the footprints of the two towers. The waterfalls cascading down the four walls of each fountain are the largest such fountains in North America.

Skyscrapers are now pushing upward all around the plaza, and the roar of construction will be a constant at the site for some time.

One World Trade Center, the spire once called the Freedom Tower, is now 1,000 feet high and well on its way to becoming the tallest building in the U.S. at 1,776 feet - higher even than the twin towers. The steel skeleton of the new 4 World Trade Center is 47 stories high and counting.

The memorial foundation has arranged for a separate entrance for relatives of the victims and plans to set aside certain days or hours where the plaza will be open only to firefighters, police officers and other emergency workers.

"People will have that very special feeling of stepping on ground that the public has not in the last 10 years," Daniels said last week.

As for the tight security, he said: "It's an inconvenience, but if you think about any site in the world, I think this is a place that people will expect to go through some security."

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Samantha Gross can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/samanthagross

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Associated Press writer Verena Dobnik contributed to this report.

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