News Articles

A City-Backed Program is Helping Prep Young Adults for Construction Jobs

In the midst of a development boom in Portland, Oregon’s construction workers are aging out of the business—and they aren’t being replaced. Following a decades-long national trend, Oregon’s high-school graduates are increasingly moving on to college rather than going into trade work. Charles Manigo is trying to change that. “Being a construction worker isn’t sexy,” Manigo says. “But this is a job where, at the end of the day, you can see what you did. It’s a very respectable trade.”

Portland Considers a New Disaster Preparedness Model

A futuristic structure may soon be coming to the Portland State University (PSU) campus—complete with loudspeakers, solar panels, bike pedals, and electrical outlets. But this alien-looking creation isn’t a toy for millennials—it’s designed to help save lives after a disaster. And its introduction at PSU may inspire more of them to pop up across the city. The “PrepHub” looks like several park benches outfitted with bike pedals and arranged underneath a tall, glowing pillar with speakers and screens on its sides.

TriMet’s LIFT Accused of Inhumane Treatment of Passengers and Drivers

January was a bad month for Mary Maxwell. As a bus driver for TriMet’s LIFT program, which serves disabled patrons who can’t access regular transit, Maxwell had suffered through days of sexual harassment from the same passenger. Even after she filed several complaints, Maxwell says her bosses wouldn’t do anything about it. This stress was compounded by the fact Maxwell wasn’t allowed regularly scheduled breaks from her job—her grueling schedule kept her in the driver’s seat for hours without a chance to use the bathroom or seek respite from abusive clientele. The pressure built until, one afternoon, she soiled herself on the driver’s seat. It happened the next day too, and on the third day, she couldn’t take it anymore.

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.”

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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
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