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Portland Mercury

Why Did Portland Public Schools Put an Activist Teacher on Indefinite Leave?

The Decision Shines a Light on 'Systemic Failings' Within PPS On February 9, Ockley Green Middle School teacher Chris Riser joined a student-led walkout to commemorate the death of Quanice Hayes, a 17-year-old shot and killed by Portland police last year. Held during the middle of a school day, the event brought more than a hundred students to the streets of North Portland as they chanted, “Our voices, our choices.”
Eugene Weekly

Bailing on the Justice System

The public defender system in Eugene and Springfield discourages quality representation by free attorneys, according to local lawyers. Attorney groups that contract with the cities pay public defenders a flat rate for each case, so attorneys make less than minimum wage on cases that go to trial. And the bail system in Springfield keeps impoverished defendants in jail before they get to trial, putting defendants in a strained situation and prompting a misleading number of guilty pleas.
Eugene Weekly

Egan Desperate for Volunteers

Ten consecutive freezing nights in Eugene earlier this month have stretched homelessness resources to a breaking point, with exhausted volunteers staying at Egan Warming Center locations night after night. Shelley Corteville, director of Egan Warming Center, says this has been a challenging December. “I believe that’s more consecutive nights than we’ve ever opened before,” Corteville says. “It’s really hard to sustain that many nights with volunteers.”
Eugene Weekly

Campaigning in Creswell

More than 80 people stood at the intersection of Oregon Avenue and the I-5 exit in Creswell on Monday, Oct. 2, calling on drivers to “Say no to One Gro.” The protesters were referencing an upcoming ballot initiative in the small town — one that has “the friendly city” divided about its future. If passed, Ballot Initiative 20-280 would allow recreational marijuana dispensaries into Creswell, but those on both sides make arguments unrelated to pot when they argue for or against the measure.
Eugene Weekly

Choke on Smoke

Walking through downtown last week was like trying to breathe underwater. The heavy smoke stung the eyes and turned even a casual stroll into intense exercise for the lungs. The streets were quiet — most citizens were hiding indoors to stay away from the polluted air. Some, however, had no refuge. “Most people are able to have some reprieve from the smoke and with our homeless population — they just don’t,” says Wendy Choi, medical director at White Bird Medical Clinic.
Eugene Weekly

Say Adieu to fees for ADUs

The city of Springfield has temporarily waived certain fees it typically charges for the construction of accessory dwelling units (ADUs), which are also known as secondary dwelling units and in-law flats. These small dwellings are considered by many to be a key solution to the local housing shortage, as they can provide missing middle housing — small, affordable housing ideal for young families and retirees alike — in desirable neighborhoods.
Eugene Weekly

Pot Petition

In a small café just off I-5 that proprietors hope to convert into a weed dispensary, a marijuana company’s leaders met with a few citizens of Creswell last week in an attempt to change hearts and minds — and a city ordinance — about the pot industry. One Gro is a marijuana company started by Mike Arnold, the Eugene-based lawyer who briefly defended the Bundys after their Malheur occupation last year and who recently left his law practice to become a “gentleman hobbyist farmer” growing and sell
Eugene Weekly

Difficulties with Disabilities

Robert Wilson has been homeless off and on for 25 years, with none but a small dog to keep him company and keep away the demons of PTSD and anxiety that haunt him. A veteran who served in the Army in the ’80s, Wilson, 54, is a short man with bright, worried eyes and a friendly, if nervous, demeanor. “I couldn’t be outside or talk to strangers without her,” he says of his Chihuahua, Chica. The dog is dressed as a cowboy, shivering slightly inside his coat.
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