05-21-2018  9:40 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

Family Fun Night series continues at Matt Dishman Community Center ...

Settlement reached in LGBT school harassment

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An openly gay couple was walking in their Oregon high school parking lot when the principal's son drove up, veered away at the last second and shouted an anti-gay slur at the two girls. In class, a teacher equated same-sex marriage with bestiality.The girls complained to...

The Latest: Settlement reached in LGBT school harassment

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Latest on the case of LGBTQ discrimination at an Oregon high school.6:30 p.m.:The principal of an Oregon high school will resign and its school district will commit to improving the climate for LGBTQ students as part of a settlement reached between the American Civil...

Paul Allen donates jumiM to Washington gun initiative

SEATTLE (AP) — Microsoft co-founder and Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen has donated jumi million to a campaign seeking to raise the age to purchase semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21 in Washington state.Allen made the announcement on Twitter Monday.The Alliance for Gun Responsibility says...

Man accused of trying to kill woman with opioid spray

MUKILTEO, Wash. (AP) — An Everett man is accused of holding down his ex-girlfriend at a Mukilteo hotel, shoving Xanax down her throat and forcing a fentanyl spray up her nose in what police say was attempted murder.The Daily Herald reports the woman survived and was able to escape and alert...

OPINION

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

China sentences Tibetan activist to 5 years for separatism

BEIJING (AP) — China has sentenced a Tibetan language activist to five years in prison for inciting separatism after he appeared in a documentary video produced by The New York Times.Tashi Wangchuk's lawyer Liang Xiaojun told The Associated Press that a judge in Qinghai province passed down...

Settlement reached in LGBT school harassment

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An openly gay couple was walking in their Oregon high school parking lot when the principal's son drove up, veered away at the last second and shouted an anti-gay slur at the two girls. In class, a teacher equated same-sex marriage with bestiality.The girls complained to...

Correction: 2018 Midterms-Endorsements story

ATLANTA (AP) — In a story May 20 about potential Democratic presidential candidates and their campaign activity in 2018, The Associated Press reported erroneously that former Vice President Joe Biden was planning to campaign in North Carolina on behalf of a congressional candidate Dan...

ENTERTAINMENT

Actress who accused Weinstein needs money to finish film

NEW YORK (AP) — Actress Paz de la Huerta has started a crowdfunding campaign to finish a movie she began making years before she publicly accused Harvey Weinstein of rape.The movie "Valley of Tears" is her take on the Hans Christian Andersen story "The Red Shoes," about a little girl with a...

Sony invests in image sensors, acquires more of EMI Music

TOKYO (AP) — Electronics and entertainment company Sony Corp. said Tuesday it plans to invest 1 trillion yen ( billion) mostly in image sensors over the next three years, under a revamped strategy to strengthen both hardware and creative content.Sony also plans to buy for [scripts/homepage/home.php].3 billion a 60...

At Cannes, a #MeToo upheaval up and down the Croisette

CANNES, France (AP) — Fifty years after filmmakers shut down the Cannes Film Festival, the prestigious Cote d'Azur extravaganza was again shook by upheaval.From the start to the finish, the 71st Cannes was dominated by protest and petition for gender equality, culminating in the...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Artist Robert Indiana, known for 'LOVE' series, dies at 89

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Pop artist Robert Indiana, best known for his 1960s "LOVE" series, has died at his...

All tied up: LeBron's 44 helps Cavs even series with Celtics

CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James knows the path to the NBA Finals better than anyone in today's game.And...

Miss Nebraska wins Miss USA competition

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — Sarah Rose Summers from Nebraska beat out 50 other women Monday to win this year's...

Congo Ebola vaccination campaign begins with health workers

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — Congo began an Ebola vaccination campaign Monday in a northwest provincial capital...

Social media under microscope in emotive Irish abortion vote

DUBLIN (AP) — In homes and pubs, on leaflets and lampposts, debate is raging in Ireland over whether to...

Aide: Palestinian leader making swift recovery in hospital

JERUSALEM (AP) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is alert and making a swift recovery after being...

By Helen Silvis of The Skanner News


 High school students in Portland have secured free transportation through the TriMet YouthPass until the end of this school year.

That's thanks to a deal inked this week between Portland Public Schools, TriMet and the City of Portland, that will cover the program's $675,000 shortfall.

Still, the future of the program remains unclear, despite hopes that it will be extended to students in East County and across the metro region.

Multnomah Youth Commission organized support for the YouthPass, sending a letter out to school principals Nov. 27.

"We had an overwhelming response," says Todd Diskin, the mayor's youth engagement co-coordinator, who works with the youth commission.

"I received 250 emails to my office, from people in the community. They were from students, parents, and teachers. That spoke to the immediacy of the need. People really responded to this and told us it is very important."



The youth commission wants the program extended to every middle and high-school in the Portland-metro region. A 2009 survey showed that 80 percent of the 13,000 students who have a YouthPass use it almost daily. Students use the pass to get to school, to take part in sports and activities, to meet friends and to travel to jobs.

"I really need a bus pass," says Nick Cruz, a student at Open Meadow High School. "It's how I get to and from school every day, and it's how I get to the places I need to get to, and back home. If you take away my bus pass you're essentially making me stay at home the entire time."

Schools with higher numbers of students of color and low-income students use the pass more, suggesting it contributes to leveling the playing field for disadvantaged teens.

"It's very important, particularly when students are moving, not just with gentrification but also because of school closures," says Jon Oster of the environmental justice group OPAL. "With Marshall High School closing, those students are now traveling further to get to Madison or Franklin. It's critical for youth."

Marci Jackson, a working parent, said transportation expenses put financial stress on many parents.

"I have three to buy, so that's $75 a month just to help me get kids to and from school, and to and from activities," she said. "That's pretty expensive for parents."

When it was created, the YouthPass was funded through Oregon's Business Energy Tax Credit program.  But last June, the Oregon Legislature decided to sunset that funding at the end of 2011.

Under the new deal, the gap will be closed this year using:

$375,000 in discounts from TriMet, amounting to a 10 percent YouthPass discount for the entire year;

$75,000 from Portland Public Schools budget, and;

$225,000 from the City of Portland budget.

The total cost of the YouthPass program is $1,645,000.

Diskin says he understands why the tax credit program is not the best way to fund it, but he says the program is far cheaper than using a yellow bus system to transport high schoolers, and it offers many more benefits to youth, families and the community.

The state would have to reimburse 70 percent of the costs of those buses, which total about $6 million, Diskin said.

"I do think it is the responsibility of our state to think about meeting the needs of young people, and that includes transportation."

Advocates say the YouthPass not only supports families, it helps reduce traffic congestion around neighborhood schools, lowers carbon emissions – which helps Portland's Climate Action Plan – and introduces the next generation to public transit.

Shani Josefina Plunkett-de la Cruz, a junior at Roosevelt High School, and a Multnomah Youth Commissioner, is one of the teens who advocated for continuing the YouthPass.

"Many students in my school alone have no other option. They depend on the bus pass and for some, without it, they would not be able to get to school at all," she said. "My mom works two jobs, so she doesn't have time to drive me everywhere I need to be. With the YouthPass, I can travel to and from extracurricular activities such as sports, or the Multnomah Youth Commission."

Diskin says the Youth Commission has told city staff it is committed to continuing the fight to secure sustainable funding for the program.

"What we're looking at is what's next," he said. "Everyone is still really invested."

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