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Oregon

Raising Awareness For Missing And Murdered Indigenous People

Portland, Oregon - It’s been five years since the city of Portland organized its first week of events aimed at increasing awareness of the high rates at which Indigenous people are murdered or go missing in Oregon and nationwide. Despite some changes to address the problem at the local, state and federal levels since then, the problem persists, said Laura John, the city’s tribal relations director. Now the city is hosting its fifth year of events to continue raising awareness while shifting the conversation toward intervention and prevention. The events, which run May 2-6, fall in line with a nationwide missing and murdered Indigenous people (MMIP) week of awareness. Indigenous people — particularly women and girls — go missing, are murdered or are victims of violence at disproportionately high rates.

Drug Decriminalization Is Working In Oregon

As COVID-19 continues to rage, another health crisis persists — one that is decades long. In the first year of the pandemic, the United States hit the devastating milestone of 100,000 overdose deaths, a nearly 28.5 percent surge from the record numbers we saw the previous year. Now, fentanyl is the leading cause of death in Americans ages 18-45. The reaction from many of our leaders has been to call for more arrests and criminalization, but this response is rooted in fear, not science. We have spent the last 50 years trying to treat a public health issue with a criminalization response, yet people are dying of overdose at record rates. This response is clearly not working. The evidence is clear: Criminalization worsens public health outcomes.

Building Communities For A Fascist-Free Future

On August 17, 2019, a coalition of antifascist and progressive groups in Portland, Oregon organized a rally to protest a Proud Boy event planned in the city. The rally had a carnivalesque atmosphere created by PopMob — an antifascist group of concerned Portlanders which seeks to “resist the alt-right with whimsy and creativity” — and brought on a diverse range of organizations, from labor and religious groups and civil rights groups like the NAACP to more militant organizations like Rose City Antifa. During the protest, the latter, along with autonomous black bloc organizers, acted as a buffer between the crowds at the carnival and the hundreds of Proud Boys amassing at the other side of the waterfront park both groups were occupying.

Fred Meyer, QFC employees In Oregon Go On Strike

A weeklong strike is underway affecting a number of Oregon grocery stores, barely a week before Christmas Day. The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555, representing many employees at Fred Meyer and QFC stores, confirmed early Friday morning that it is moving ahead with a walkout at stores in Portland, Bend, Newberg and Klamath Falls. The details and specifics of a walkout are complicated. While the UFCW represents roughly 10,000 Fred Meyer employees, not all stores, departments or worker categories are participating in the strike. The union has been in labor negotiations for months with the Kroger-owned supermarket chains. Last weekend, UFCW announced its members had authorized a strike.

How Oregon Is Turning The Page On America’s Disastrous Drug War

In a groundbreaking move, in 2020, Oregon voters approved the decriminalization of personal use amounts of all illicit drugs, with Measure 110 passing with a healthy 59 percent of the vote. That made Oregon the first state in the U.S. to make this dramatic break after decades of the war on drugs. Now, as other states are pondering a similar move and are looking for evidence to bolster their case for drug decriminalization, some of the initial results in Oregon are looking pretty impressive and promising.

Battle Over Jordan Cove Energy Project Is Over After Developers Pull Plug

The bitter and protracted battle over the Jordan Cove Energy Project has finally come to a close. The Calgary-based Pembina company formally asked federal energy regulators Wednesday to withdraw authorizations for the proposed pipeline and liquified natural gas export terminal in southwest Oregon. Pembina’s plan called for a 229-mile-long natural gas pipeline that would have run from Malin, Oregon, on the California border, over the Coast Range to Coos Bay. The gas would then have been super-cooled into a liquified form (LNG), loaded onto ships and exported to Asia. The proposal raised concerns about environmental impacts to waterways and wildlife habitat. It was also expected to become the largest single emitter of greenhouse gasses in Oregon.

The Only Legally Recognized Fast Food Union Reaches Tentative Agreement

Portland, OR — The Burgerville Workers Union – Industrial Workers of the World (BVWU) has reached a tentative agreement with Burgerville on a historic contract to be ratified by a vote of workers in represented shops. Upon ratification, workers at Burgerville will become the only fast food workforce in the U.S. covered by a Collective Agreement. A milestone in one of the longest standing labor disputes in the Portland, OR area, this Agreement will set out a range of improvements in wages and working conditions for approximately 100 workers across five Burgerville locations. Burgerville and the BVWU have been in contract negotiations since June of 2018. “A union and a contract give workers more power at work” said Mark Medina, a member of the BVWU bargaining team.

Bridging Cultural And Political Gaps Through Indigenous First Foods

A city isn’t the most likely place for an Indigenous crop revival. But across the greater Portland area in Oregon, municipalities like Metro and the City of Portland have been partnering with organizations and tribes to promote Native American land access and cultivation of first foods, the term used for traditional local foods that have nourished Indigenous people for centuries. In a city park, a drained lakebed, an old grazing lot, and along an urban creek, first foods are returning to areas where they once flourished before the land was covered by farms and urban sprawl. The partnerships are historically significant, considering Portland didn’t even allow Native Americans to live within city limits until 1920.

‘Dozens’ Of Oregon Cops Have Paid Dues To The Oath Keepers Militia Group

More than two dozen members of the police and military in Oregon have at one point been members of the Oath Keepers, a far-right anti-government militia group, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported Friday. According to the leaked data obtained by Distributed Denial of Secrets, a non-profit whistleblower organization that shares leaked information with journalists and researchers, Oregon police signed up to join the group as early as 2009. The data includes members’ names, the date they joined Oath Keepers and contact information for anyone who paid dues to the group, which is comprised of nearly 40,000 individuals across the country. But, according to OPB, it is difficult to discern from the available data whether people on the list were current members of Oath Keepers, unless they had paid the group’s $1,000 lifetime membership fee.

Oregon Workers Feared For Their Lives During Heat Wave

As a record-breaking heat wave gripped Oregon in late June, a diner at a Red Robin burger joint sent an urgent message to the state’s OSHA office: Every worker in the restaurant appeared to be in danger. “Hot air is pumping out of the vents like the heater is on,” the customer wrote the day after their visit. “I asked my server to move me but she explained that the AC units are not working properly and the owners will not fix them.” The customer said it was 100 degrees inside the dining area and apparently even hotter in the kitchen. “My server told me they were still forced to go to work and the only [extra] compensation they got was Gatorades,” the customer wrote to state Occupational Safety and Health regulators. “This is extremely hazardous.”

Oregon Landlords’ Interests Upheld Vs. Tenants As Evictions Loom

The State of Oregon’s eviction moratorium officially ends on June 30. Millions of working class tenants across the state are bracing for an onslaught of evictions after more than a year of pandemic-era difficulties. Two contrasting interests intersect now that the moratorium is ending: more than 89,000 Oregon renters who owe back rent, and thousands of landlords who lost income in the last year while renters struggled to make ends meet after unprecedented job losses. An estimated $375 million in unpaid rent has accrued since April 2020. Last week, the Oregon state legislature approved a 60-day hold on evictions in cases where the tenant can prove that their application for state rental assistance is pending.

Fascist Free 503: Notes On Holding The Streets In Salem

Far-Right groups announced their March 29th car rally event from Sandy to Salem a month ahead of the event. People in Salem began planning a counter-demonstration early on. In January, Proud boys assaulted residents in Salem and also damaged a local business near the capital. Residents knew from prior experience that Salem Police and Oregon State Police wouldn’t do anything to protect them from the potential violence from right-wing fascists. People began to network and organize the basic essentials of a protest: medics, interpreters, legal observers, evacuation routes, maps, volunteers to monitor right-wing accounts and streams. People prepared medical equipment in case protesters were injured by riot munitions or exposed to tear gas.

Medical Technicians’ Strike In Oregon Could Be The First Of Many

As a registered respiratory therapist, Rachel Maida spent the past year caring for COVID-19 patients at St Charles Medical Center in Bend, Oregon in the United States – challenging work that has taken both a physical and mental toll on the 48-year-old. The powered air purifying respirator (PAPR) she wears for 12 hours a day causes headaches, she said, and her mask leaves bruises on her face. She loves her job, but “it’s exhausting, day in and day out,” Maida told Al Jazeera, explaining that earning between $25 and $35 per hour, she is not compensated enough. That is why nearly a year into the coronavirus pandemic, Maida and more than 150 other medical technicians – a group of highly skilled healthcare professionals who typically don’t have the labour protections afforded to nurses and doctors – have been negotiating their first union contract as part of the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals (OFNHP).

West Coast Gas Terminal Plans Hit Snag

Portland, OR - Plans for a major West Coast liquified natural gas pipeline and export terminal hit a snag Tuesday with federal regulators after a years-long legal battle that has united tribes, environmentalists and a coalition of residents on Oregon's rural southern coast against the proposal. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled that energy company Pembina could not move forward with the proposal without a key clean water permit from the state of Oregon. The U.S. regulatory agency gave its tentative approval to the pipeline last March as long as it secured the necessary state permits, but the Canadian pipeline company has been unable to do so.

Federal Judge Finds Portland In Contempt For Use Of Tear Gas

Late Monday, a federal judge in Portland found the city in contempt of a court order that limited police officers’ use of tear gas and other crowd control devices during racial justice protests. In his ruling, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Marco Hernandez said that, on June 30, the city violated his order several times. The order, issued on June 26, mandated police limit their use of tear gas and other crowd control devices to instances in which the lives and safety of police or members of the public were at risk. It also said that such devices “shall not be used” against people engaged in passive resistance.
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