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.

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.

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.

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.

4J Students Face Race-Based Discrimination

Brenda and Rosa are both social workers, both have kids in the 4J school district, and both are Latina. They say that 4J has serious problems with discrimination against Latino students, and not just at a peer-to-peer level. Principals, vice principals and teachers have all harmed their kids in various contexts, they say. And under a Trump administration that has targeted immigrants, the tension has increased for their families and those they work with.