Washington Hate Crime Assault
Eight suspected white supremacists, including three from Oregon, have been arrested for a violent attack on a black DJ in Washington, which took place in the early hours on Saturday.
The seven men and one woman – including Daniel Dorson of Corvallis and Cory Colwell and Randy A. Smith of Eugene – are said to have beaten and stomped on the 37-year-old DJ, while shouting racial slurs and trying to take over his equipment. The victim was taken to hospital with a swollen eye, and other non-life-threatening injuries. Another Asian man, who intervened in defense of the DJ, was also injured.
Court papers identified the suspects as being affiliated with the Aryan Brotherhood, a white supremacist prison gang founded in 1964.
Among the other suspects is Travis David Condor from Pittsburgh, who was previously served jail time for beating a homeless man with a baseball bat, and was photographed attending last year’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The attackers are being charged with a variety of offenses – including assault and malicious harassment.
Hate Crime Sentence
An Oregon State University student found guilty of three hate crimes was sentenced to 40 days in jail and three years of probation.
Andrew Oswalt, who placed racist bumper stickers on the cars of racial justice advocates, was sentenced to 30 days for intimidation in the first degree, which is classified as a hate crime, and 10 days for criminal mischief.
Judge David Connell said “What you did was really horrible and I’m not sure you get this.”
Oswalt plans to appeal the sentence, according to his attorney Nicolas Ortiz.
A Bridge Returns
Though not quite the ghost of Christmas past, the Columbia River Crossing project—to replace the 102 years old Interstate Bridge—returned in a meeting yesterday.
Seven Washington lawmakers and five Oregon Legislators sat in a North Portland conference room for more than two hours.
After nearly 3 billion dollars had been spent in planning, the project came to a halt 5 years ago after a small group of Washington lawmakers prevented that state from funding its 450 million dollar share.
Because of that rebuff, Oregon lawmaker were cautious, wanting to gauge their Washington counterparts commitment.
The only agreement reached at the meeting was to meet again.
Oregon and Washington face a looming September 2019 deadline to either convince federal officials they are dedicated to reviving bridge talks, or reimburse the feds $139 million.
Oregon legislators will introduce a bill next year which requires safe storage of guns.
The bill would require gun owners to store their weapons using locks, and could carry a fine of up to $2000 if a child gets unauthorized access to a firearm.
Shooting victims would be able to sue for damages more easily if guns were improperly stored, if the owner failed to report the loss or theft or a gun or if a child using a weapon was not fully supervised.
The bill will be named after Cindy Yullie and Steve Forsyth – the two victims of the Clackamas Town Center mass shooting – which happened six years ago on Tuesday.
Meadows Chairlift Evacuated
A strong storm brought ten inches of snow, ice and power outages to Mount Hood Meadow, causing the shutdown of its blue chairlift while it was still occupied. The operators switched to auxiliary power, but it wasn’t enough to drive the lift.
So the only choice was to stop the lift and evacuate the passengers, with ropes and harnesses.
The express lift was already shut down because of ice. No injuries were reported.
Michelle Obama Portland Event
Michelle obama is coming to Portland! On February 9, Obama will speak at the moda center as part of her upcoming national tour “Becoming: An Intimate Conversation with Michelle Obama,” to promote her new book.
In a statement, Obama said "I've been so humbled by the response to the tour thus far, and the overwhelming interest we've received from so many communities. I can't wait to continue the discussions that have been so meaningful for me and, I hope, for so many others."
She will discuss memories from her childhood spent in Chicago’s south side, the challenges she has faced as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood, and her experiences as first lady.
Oregon Health and Science University is considering dropping their objections to graduate student’s unionization efforts, according to labor organizers.
A hearing to determine whether students could unionize was due to start today, but OHSU has moved the date back to January 9th.
Jesse Koklas, an AFSCME (aff-smee) organizer, told the Portland Mercury that “the administration is realizing that fighting the graduate researchers is creating ill will, and would start out a working relationship with this group on the wrong foot."
Police in Schools
Portland’s school district is facing criticism for failing to listen to students and teachers, after the school board voted to pay for police in schools.
The proposal to spend $1.2m a year on nine police officers was approved by Portland School Board, despite students, teachers and parents, including the board’s student representative Nick Paesler, urging a delay to allow more discussion.
Opponents of the resolution raised concerns about the presence of armed police in schools, the potential for racial profiling and the financial burden of the move. The board’s only member of color, Julie Esparza Brown, who voted no on the agreement, talked about her experiences being unfairly targeted, and her concerns about how the decision would affect children of color in schools.
The resolution will now be voted on by Portland City Council.