06-21-2018  5:28 am      •     
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 ...

Ex-basketball coach sentenced to 60 days for sex abuse

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A former Beaverton basketball coach has been sentenced to 60 days in jail and five years of probation for sexually abusing a teenage girl he met through work.KOIN-TV reported Wednesday 34-year-old Laurence Metz was convicted of two counts of sex abuse.Metz was a coach...

Legal pot will roll out differently in Canada than in US

Mail-order weed? You betcha!With marijuana legalization across Canada on the horizon, the industry is shaping up to look different from the way it does in nine U.S. states that have legalized adult recreational use of the drug. Age limits, government involvement in distribution and sales, and...

APNewsBreak: Schools mum on ties to doc in sex abuse inquiry

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A now-dead doctor accused of sexual misconduct by former student athletes at Ohio State University said he acted as a team physician at other universities, most of which won't say if they are reviewing those connections or whether any concerns were raised about him.Ohio...

Trudeau: Canada to legalize marijuana on Oct. 17

TORONTO (AP) — Marijuana will be legal nationwide in Canada starting Oct. 17 in a move that should take market share away from organized crime and protect the country's youth, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday.The Senate gave final passage to the bill to legalize cannabis on...

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

Young immigrants detained in Virginia center allege abuse

WASHINGTON (AP) — Immigrant children as young as 14 housed at a juvenile detention center in Virginia say they were beaten while handcuffed and locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering in concrete cells.The abuse claims against the Shenandoah Valley...

AP Explains: US has split up families throughout its history

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Some critics of the forced separation of Latino children from their migrant parents say the practice is unprecedented. But it's not the first time the U.S. government has split up families, detained children or allowed others to do so .Throughout American history,...

The Latest: Messi gets a chance to save face against Croatia

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Wednesday at the World Cup (all times local):12:16 a.m.Lionel Messi is going to have a hard time keeping up with Cristiano Ronaldo at this year's World Cup.Ronaldo has all of Portugal's goals, a tournament-leading four so far, and has been getting in digs at Messi...

ENTERTAINMENT

Dig it: Archaeologists scour Woodstock '69 concert field

BETHEL, N.Y. (AP) — Archaeologists scouring the grassy hillside famously trampled during the 1969 Woodstock music festival carefully sifted through the dirt from a time of peace, love, protest and good vibes.Perhaps they would find an old peace symbol? Or a strand of hippie beads? Or Jimi...

Behind the making of Jack-Jack, the summer's breakout star

NEW YORK (AP) — The breakout star of the summer moviegoing season isn't a dinosaur, an Avenger or anyone aboard the Millennium Falcon. It's a giggling pipsqueak in diapers."The Incredibles 2," which last weekend set a new box-office record for animated films with 2.7 million in ticket...

Ariana Grande, Pete Davidson are engaged

LOS ANGELES (AP) — It's true, Pete Davidson says: He and Ariana Grande are engaged.The "Saturday Night Live" cast member confirmed their rumored engagement to Jimmy Fallon on NBC's "Tonight Show."Fallon put Davidson on the spot Wednesday, telling him he didn't have to get engaged to the pop...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

New Zealand leader welcomes newborn girl 'to our village'

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gave birth to a daughter Thursday...

Science Says: What makes something truly addictive

CHICAGO (AP) — Now that the world's leading public health group says too much Minecraft can be an...

APNewsBreak: Schools mum on ties to doc in sex abuse inquiry

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A now-dead doctor accused of sexual misconduct by former student athletes at Ohio...

Voting machines raise worries in Congo ahead of elections

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Congo's government is moving forward with plans to use electronic voting machines in...

Japan to scrap evacuation drills for NKorean missile threat

TOKYO (AP) — Japan plans to suspend the civilian evacuation drills it started last year while North Korea...

Official: Polish leader's ill health not sparking infighting

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A government official is denying rumors that the illness of Jaroslaw Kaczynski,...

Hales with police
Donovan M. Smith Of The Skanner News

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales (right) stands with police following a shooting. AP photo. 

Portland’s rocky relationship with the federal counter-terrorism program the Joint Terrorism Task Force could be coming to a close on Thursday— or it could be expanding.

Two resolutions are to be considered by City Council Feb. 5 at 6 p.m.

If the Council votes to back out from the Joint Terrorism Task Force -- which pairs local law enforcement with the FBI and other federal agencies to share intelligence and data -- it would mark a historic two times they would have done so.

Dan Handelman of the police accountability group Portland Copwatch says that if there’s a “real” threat to public safety he has no problem with the bureau working with the FBI to prevent harm—his issue is with the lack of accountability presented by the Mayor not having security clearance to the program.

“The problem is our Mayor is the Police Commissioner, and it's his responsibility to be sure our officers are conducting themselves in a way that is consistent with the U.S. Constitution, Oregon law, and local policies,” Handelman told The Skanner News. “If he does not have the security clearance to oversee the daily work of these officers, we can't hold them accountable. So having more insight is not the same as having oversight. And no, it does not make us ‘safer.’”

Pre-dating the infamous attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the nearly three decade old JTTF -- meant to combat domestic and international terrorism such as bombings and mass killings -- has undergone major national expansion in recent years. To date, 74 Joint Terrorism Task Forces have been created since the Twin Towers fell, quadrupling its members to almost 4,000.

While Portland joined the JTTF in 1997, allegations of underreported and mishandled data have come from both bureaucrats and concerned citizens – including former Mayor Vera Katz, who was frustrated  by being denied security clearance, even as Hales is now. 

By 2005, City Council made its historic decision to become the first-ever city to withdraw from the Joint Terrorism Task Force, citing the need for better oversight of the city’s own police, according to an ACLU blog post from that year.

The decision comes at an interesting time, as Chief Larry O’Dea who was sworn into the position at the top of the year made promises for a more transparent and tolerant bureau. Fritz who has been on Council when they withdrew from the program and rejoined just announced she’ll be running for a third term as Commissioner, and some of the largest protests in recent history have filled all areas of the metro-area calling for an end to structural bias the lends itself to  state-sanctioned violence.

A vote against continuing the relationship would still give the Chief of Police security clearance privileges with the FBI when there is "specific knowledge of an immediate threat of harm from criminal activity here in Portland, or at another local jurisdiction which may need support from our emergency responders."

The second resolution calls for expansion of the program giving two of the 944 sworn Portland Police officers to be assigned full time to the Joint Terrorism Task Force. Right now the force only works with the program on a part-time basis – whereas most cities assign fulltime officers to the JTTF.

Reports to Mayor Hales on the specifics of the program would remain largely limited under both resolutions should the Council decide to continue involvement.

The ACLU this year wrote a public letter decrying the City’s participation in the program, which is in over 100 cities nationally saying, “The only way for the Portland Police Bureau to ensure that it is complying with Oregon laws and the Constitution is to stay out of the FBI's JTTF.”

The note goes on to say, “History has taught us again and again that the federal government, including the FBI, uses invasive and unconstitutional surveillance tactics in the name of ‘counter-terrorism’ and ‘national security.’”

The Center for Intercultural Organizing, an immigrant and refugee advocacy group, is also currently encouraging Portland residents to call City Council members to vote against continuing in the program.

“The program allows the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) to work with the FBI, and largely targets Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian communities,” the organization said in an emailed action alert to its members.

“[The Joint Terrorism Task Force] has led to profiling and spying on our community members. There has been no transparency for the community to even know what activities PPB engages in. JTTF threatens the civil liberties and civil rights of many Portland residents.”

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