06-22-2018  11:40 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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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 ...

Lawsuit seeks lawyer access to immigrants in prison

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A rights group filed an emergency lawsuit in federal court Friday against top officials of U.S. immigration and homeland security departments, alleging they have unconstitutionally denied lawyers' access to immigrants in a prison in Oregon.Immigration and Customs...

Police: Oregon toddler dies after being left in hot car

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A toddler in Oregon died after being left alone in a hot car while her mother went to work as a family nurse practitioner, authorities said Friday.Nicole Engler, 38, of Roseburg told investigators she thought she had taken her 21-month-old daughter Remington to daycare...

Lawsuits challenge efforts to push abstinence-only on teens

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Several affiliates of Planned Parenthood sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Friday over its efforts to impose an abstinence-only focus on its Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program that has served more than 1 million young people.The lawsuits were filed...

Man, 5-year-old boy hurt in electrical accident in Everett

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say a man and his 5-year-old son were hospitalized after a mechanical lift they were using in Everett touched power lines.The Daily Herald reports the accident happened Friday afternoon in an alley downtown.It wasn't known why the pair was using a mechanical...

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

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, a form of makeup that...

AP Source: J. Cole to perform at BET Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — J. Cole is set to perform at Sunday's BET Awards.A person familiar with the awards show, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to discuss the plans publicly, tells The Associated Press on Friday that the rapper will perform at the...

The Latest: Germany, Mexico, Belgium headline Saturday games

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Friday at the World Cup (all times local):1:13 a.m.Will Germany follow Brazil's lead in righting the ship after a rocky World Cup start, or will the defending champ find itself keeping company with Argentina, needing help if it hopes to advance?The World Cup could...

ENTERTAINMENT

So much TV, so little summer: Amy Adams, Kevin Hart, Dr. Pol

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The fall television season is months away but that's no reason to stare moodily at a blank screen. In this era of peak TV, there are so many outlets and shows clamoring for your summertime attention that it can be as daunting as choosing between a mojito and a frozen...

Honduran girl in symbolic photo not separated from mother

NEW YORK (AP) — A crying Honduran girl depicted in a widely-seen photograph that became a symbol for many of President Donald Trump's immigration policies was not actually separated from her mother, U.S. government officials said on Friday.Time magazine used an image of the girl, by Getty...

AP Source: J. Cole to perform at BET Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — J. Cole is set to perform at Sunday's BET Awards.A person familiar with the awards show, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to discuss the plans publicly, tells The Associated Press on Friday that the rapper will perform at the...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Beyond World Cup: Advocates call attention to Russian abuses

MOSCOW (AP) — Wrapped in national flags, jubilant fans dance at midnight in the streets of Moscow, smiling,...

Trump advises GOP: Quit wasting time on immigration.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Just when House Republicans needed Donald Trump's backing the most — on their big...

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...

OPEC agrees to pump more oil but crude prices jump anyway

VIENNA (AP) — The countries of the OPEC cartel agreed on Friday to pump 1 million barrels more crude oil...

US officials say girl on Time cover isn't separated from mom

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Border Patrol officials said Friday that a girl who is pictured on the cover of this...

Many Brazilians look to military amid anger at politicians

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Furious at corrupt politicians and fearful of deteriorating security, many Brazilians...

By Arashi Young | The Skanner News

Amid this week’s freezing weather, a debate heated up about using Wapato Jail as a homeless shelter.

On Thanksgiving day of last year, homeless advocate Jeff Woodward submitted a Change.org petition petition to open the never-used Wapato facility. Nearly six weeks later, the petition has been signed by more than 1,700 people, and has sparked discussion among county officials, business leaders and non-profit organizations.

Woodward’s vision for the Wapato facility is to address both the temporary need to shelter the homeless, and to foster treatment of roots causes of homelessness -- such as mental illness, substance addiction and community disconnection.

“The idea behind Wapato is that people aren't going to leave until they are set up for success,” he said.

In 1996, voters approved a bond measure to finance the construction of the jail and simultaneously passed a tax-limiting measure that cut off the funds needed to operate the facility. Multnomah County owns the 189,670-square-foot, 525-bed jail that has never housed a single inmate.

The facility cost over $58 million dollars to build and requires $300,000 a year to maintain since it was completed in 2004. Since then it has found some use as a filming location for TV shows like “Grimm,” “Leverage” and “Portlandia,” as well as commercials and documentaries.

Multnomah County has also been trying to sell the property. In June of 2014, the county collected seven proposals to repurpose the facility. The proposals included a community garden with a rehabilitation facility, a film production house and a commercial prison for high-profile criminals.

Woodward would like to see Wapato emulate other prisons that have turned into shelters like Grace Marketplace in Gainesville Florida and Fort Lyons in Colorado.

Critics say the plan will isolate and warehouse vulnerable people away from the city center and necessary services. Other critics say Wapato is being touted as a silver bullet solution that pushes the homeless out of public view and keeps camps out of neighborhoods.

In November, Multnomah County released its official assessment of the use of Wapato as a homeless shelter. The letter from County Chair Deborah Kafoury, addressed to the Home for Everyone Executive Committee, said Wapato was not a viable option.

The reasons include a bond condition that Wapato can’t be sold to a non-governmental agency while the bonds are being paid off. The county stated operational costs to get the facility ready for use could cost $ 5 million, and more money would be needed to run Wapato as a shelter.

Wapato would also need to be zoned for a shelter and changes made to the city’s transportation plan. Accessibility is an issue as well. The closest bus line to Wapato stops three-fourths of a mile away and doesn’t run on weekends.

“Certainly there are issues, but I don't believe there are any that cannot be overcome,” Woodward said. “They only see things for what they are. They don't see them for what they could be.”

Instead of having the homeless navigate multiple support agencies, Woodward thinks Wapato should provide full services such as meals, job training, clothing, and addiction support meetings.

There has been growing support for Wapato as a homeless shelter. On Dec. 8, the Portland Business Alliance President and CEO Sandra McDonough sent a letter to Deborah Kafoury, urging the county to start a pilot project to use a portion of Wapato as a shelter.

On Jan. 1, the Oregonian Editorial Board endorsed the use of Wapato as a temporary shelter. The board stated that the city of Portland’s homeless state of emergency necessitated creative solutions from decision makers.

Woodward said opening Wapato would require systemic changes to how money is being spent on the homeless in Portland. He said local governments spend up to $40,000 per year for each homeless person, but those efforts go towards short-term stop-gap efforts like the Sears Armory shelter which will operate for 6 months and then close.

He hopes the petition, endorsements and discussion will encourage Multnomah County to hold a public forum on using Wapato.

Woodward sees a deep irony that the facility is vacant while tent camps are popping up throughout the city, and the Oregon Department of Transportation runs sweeps to upend the homeless.

He sees it as a matter of life and death. The Multnomah County Coroner recorded 56 deaths of the homeless in 2014, more than one death every week.

“How much is a life worth?” Woodward asked. “Since Wapato was available to be used as a poor shelter, over 500 homeless people have died in Multnomah County. That’s almost the same number of beds available at Wapato.”

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