City of Portland Audit
An audit has found problems with how the City of Portland is directing environmental restoration projects and "green streets" designed to control storm water.
OPB reported that the Bureau of Environmental Services is spending millions on projects aimed at improving water quality, restoring wildlife habitat, and preventing flooding. But auditors with the City of Portland found the bureau can't prove those projects are meeting their goals.
This year, the bureau invested 13 million dollars, according to OPB, in restoration projects and green streets. Auditors say the agency needs a better system for measuring the benefits of those investments.
According to the audit, "The Bureau cannot report on overall progress because there is no inventory of restoration projects on which to base reporting, none of the projects we reviewed had quantifiable goals, and there are no protocols for consistent monitoring or data collection.”
However, there is plenty of evidence that the restoration projects have been successful. The Bureau of Environmental Services plans to collect more data at the beginning of the project to help measure benefits over time.
The city's "green streets" use plants alongside roads to absorb storm water, and prevent sewer backups and overflows. But auditors found the bureau doesn't have a way of determining where they're most needed, or how well they're working. In addition, the bureau is failing to inspect and maintain them.
Coffee Creek Inmate Death
Tina Ferri died this past January at fifty-three of flu-related health complications. Her death occurred while she was an inmate at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, a women’s prison located just fifteen miles southwest of downtown portland.
The prison did not give Ferri a flu shot, which her daughter, Mistini Ferri, believes would have prevented her death. Today, Mistini filed a seven million dollar lawsuit against Oregon’s Department of Corrections, citing the prison’s failure to provide her mother adequate, and perhaps lifesaving, healthcare.
According to the Oregon Department of Corrections, only thirty percent of inmates in Oregon’s prison system received flu shots during the 2017 and 2018 flu season.
The flu shot rate at coffee creek was even lower. The women’s prison vaccinated only eighteen percent of the over 1600 women held at the facility during the same season.
The Oregon Department of Corrections issued a statement defending the prison’s failure to vaccinate inmates, arguing that though shots are offered, there is no written policy mandating anyone to take them. During the same flu season, Coffee Creek failed to alert women in writing that flu shots were offered, a violation of its own policy.
Discussing her mother’s death, Mistini said “They should have done something, way before the time my mother was taken to the hospital."
In the suit, Mistini also claims Coffee Creek prison employees failed to bring her mother into hospital care for three days, even as they documented her flu symptoms. Tina Ferri died just two weeks later, of organ failure.
Plastic Ordinance Passes Unanimously
On Wednesday, the Portland City Council passed a new plastic ordinance, limiting the use of single-use plastics in the city. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said "Besides overwhelming our landfills, plastic straws and other single-use disposables affect the health of humans and animal communities.
Over 660 species, including sea turtles, whales, dolphins, and seabirds, are impacted, and in many cases, die from ingesting or becoming entangled in the plastic debris.
Under the new ordinance, customers will now be asked if they need single-use plastics, such as straws or utensils, before they’re provided.