06-25-2018  2:40 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 ...

Teen uses sign language to help blind and deaf man on flight

BOSTON (AP) — A teenager is being credited with coming to the aid of a blind and deaf man during a flight from Boston to Portland, Oregon.Clara Daly, of Calabasas, California, says she and her mother were traveling last week when the flight attendants asked if anyone knew American Sign...

18-year-old driver dies after colliding with log truck

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon State Police say an 18-year-old girl has died after colliding with a log truck on Highway 101 near Beaver.Law enforcement officials say Mikayla Michelle Howard was driving a 2003 Saab when it crossed into the other lane for an unknown reason on Friday morning....

New Mexico residents to testify on atomic bomb fallout

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Residents of a New Mexico Hispanic village near the site of the world's first atomic bomb test say they were long ignored about the lingering health effects and were expected to share their stories with Congress.The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium plans to...

Small plane hits car after missing runway near Snohomish

SNOHOMISH, Wash. (AP) — A small plane hit a car after overshooting the runway at an airfield near Snohomish.The Seattle Times reports that three people, including a child, were in a single-engine plane when it was approaching the Harvey Air Field on Saturday.Lt. Rick Hawkins of the Snohomish...

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

The Latest: Meek Mill debuts 'Stay Woke' song at BET Awards

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on the 2018 BET Awards, which are being presented Sunday at the Microsoft Theater (all times local):7:45 p.m.Rapper Meek Mill has performed a new song, "Stay Woke," on the BET Awards with a striking performance that touched on police violence against black youth...

Anita Baker, H.E.R., Meek Mill shine at BET Awards

The 2018 BET Awards barely handed out any trophies with big stars like Cardi B, Drake and Kendrick Lamar absent, but the show included superior performances by rising singer H.E.R, rapper Meek Mill and gospel artist Yolanda Adams, who paid tribute to Anita Baker and nearly brought her to...

Complete list of winners at Sunday night's 2018 BET Awards

The complete list of winners of the 2018 BET Awards, presented Sunday at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles:— Video of the year: Drake— Best male R&B/pop artist: Bruno Mars— Best female R&B/pop Artist: Beyonce— Best male hip hop artist: Kendrick Lamar—...

ENTERTAINMENT

The Latest: Prosecutors cancel Stormy Daniels meeting

The Latest on the investigation into the business interests of Trump's longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen (all times local):8:30 p.m.Stormy Daniels' lawyer says the porn actress' meeting with federal prosecutors in New York who are investigating President Donald Trump's longtime lawyer has...

Complete list of winners at Sunday night's 2018 BET Awards

The complete list of winners of the 2018 BET Awards, presented Sunday at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles:— Video of the year: Drake— Best male R&B/pop artist: Bruno Mars— Best female R&B/pop Artist: Beyonce— Best male hip hop artist: Kendrick Lamar—...

US prosecutors cancel Stormy Daniels meeting in Cohen probe

Porn actress Stormy Daniels was scheduled to meet with federal prosecutors in New York on Monday as part of their investigation into President Donald Trump's longtime personal attorney, but the meeting was abruptly cancelled late Sunday after it was reported by news organizations, her attorney...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Anita Baker, H.E.R., Meek Mill shine at BET Awards

The 2018 BET Awards barely handed out any trophies with big stars like Cardi B, Drake and Kendrick Lamar absent,...

US prosecutors cancel Stormy Daniels meeting in Cohen probe

Porn actress Stormy Daniels was scheduled to meet with federal prosecutors in New York on Monday as part of their...

College sports doctors under new scrutiny amid scandals

Allegations of sexual abuse carried out over decades by team physicians at Michigan State and Ohio State are...

Indonesia identifies likely location of sunken ferry

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia has identified the suspected location of an overcrowded ferry that sank...

86 killed in central Nigeria as farmers, herders clash

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Scores are dead after vicious weekend clashes in central Nigeria between mostly...

Thai officials believe 12 boys missing in cave are alive

MAE SAI, Thailand (AP) — Multiple attempts to locate 12 boys and their soccer coach missing in a flooded...

Children from East Portland
Gosia Wozniacka, Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland may be known for fashionable hipsters, devotion to public transit, locally sourced chickens and artisanal food carts. But a part of this city by the river counters the narrative of livable, weird, predominantly white 'Portlandia.'

If East Portland was a separate city, it would be the second-largest in the state. Now some residents have filed a ballot measure that would change the city’s council so that city commissioners would be elected by district and would have to live in the districts they represent.

Long-overlooked by visitors and many locals, East Portland stretches far from downtown, on the city's eastern edge. It's ethnically and racially diverse, houses a large percentage of the city's children, low-income families and immigrants, and lacks many of the amenities of 'cool' Portland.

Here, shabby apartment complexes, fading strip malls, wide avenues and fast-food chains are the norm. But with a quarter of Portlanders now calling it home and rising costs pushing residents out of the inner core, East Portland has become hard to ignore.

In recent years, city officials have recognized East Portland's neglect, promising change and implementing improvements. But a group of residents says it's too little, too late. And in neighborhoods where sidewalks and parks are scant and crime is high, they're organizing to get greater representation.

A ballot measure filed earlier this month would overhaul Portland's at large elections and commission form of government in favor of a strong mayor and nine council members elected by district. Most council members would have to live in the neighborhoods they represent, which proponents say would mean better representation for East Portland and areas with less political clout.

"There's a magical line around the city, and the core gets all the money and all the special stuff," said Collene Swenson, an East Portland resident and the ballot measure's chief petitioner. "If we don't fix it, we're all in deep trouble."

Portland is the rare large American city that still elects leaders via citywide elections; most cities with 500,000-plus residents elect candidates by district. In recent years, lawsuits across the nation have targeted at-large elections, saying they prevent minority residents from electing candidates of their choice.

But Portland officials say a change isn't needed.

Once a stretch of berry fields and orchards, East Portland was unincorporated for years, with modest homes on large half to one acre lots, garages and vacant tree-filled land dotting the landscape.

Its reliance on septic tanks and cesspools led city, county and federal officials to push for annexation. Though East Portland residents opposed it — they even tried to form a city of their own — the area was annexed during the 1980's and 1990's.

Afterward, large swaths were rezoned as multi-family and commercial use. Haphazard, cheaply designed development followed, residents say. Apartment complexes and mobile home parks multiplied. Scores of newcomers moved in, attracted by lower housing costs.

But city-promised upgrades such as roads, sidewalks and parks never materialized. Over the years, housing stock deteriorated, schools ballooned with children (40 percent of the city's students live in East Portland), and mounting crime rates prompted the exodus of long-time residents.

"There's a lingering indignity," said activist Arlene Kimura. "You promised us all those things, and now you're surprised we're angry that it didn't happen."

In 2009, the City Council adopted the East Portland Action Plan, a blueprint developed by the community with more than 260 actions, from upgrading housing to promoting businesses.

Activists formed a group, which Kimura co-chairs, to advocate for the plan. At its request, the city began tracking its budget by district — which showed that East Portland's per-user expenditures were below the city average for transportation, parks and housing.

The plan faced hurdles due to a lack of buy-in and limited funding, Kimura said.

"There's a reluctance to accept that the cost is going to be high," Kimura said.

But the work has led to changes, residents say, such as new parks, crosswalks and rehabilitation of some housing units. Data shows city expenditures in East Portland are up, though in some cases still not at equitable levels.

Others say changes are too slow. Many streets lack sidewalks, Swenson said, crime is rampant, drug addiction and mental health issues are at epidemic levels, and officials aren't doing enough to encourage new businesses.

"They're not investing in East Portland. They don't do anything for the taxes we pay," she said. "How about some real jobs that aren't vice, not strip clubs, pot shops, vape lounges and pawn shops?"

Earlier this year, Swenson and her neighbors filed a proposal to secede from Portland, but city staff determined the measure was flawed. The group now wants to change Portland's election format from citywide to district.

"If your council person isn't advocating for you, you can vote them out, because they're getting elected out of your neighborhood," Swenson said.

But Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz said she's allocated more money to East Portland than a previous commissioner who lived there. She and others say the budget includes nearly $8 million for street improvements in East Portland. Rapid transit bus and new bus lines are planned.

"Nothing prevents council members from prioritizing East Portland," said Commissioner Nick Fish, who helped launch a biking trail project in the area.

Commissioner Steve Novick said he would support a switch. City-wide elections limit candidates to those who can raise lots of money, he said.

Regardless of their views on elections, city officials hope East Portland can become a mixed-income, walkable community. But Kimura fears improvements could push out the working poor and immigrants.

"Maybe city officials think it's going to happen in five years," Kimura said. "Well, I've got news for them, it's already happening."

Oregon Lottery
Portland Community Policing
Calendar

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events

Lents International Farmers Market
The Skanner Report

The Skanner Foundation Scholarships