Stories for May 2015

Wednesday, May 27

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Joyce Washington All-Star Classic Game

High school girls score college funds in this years games

This year's competition brought four girls basketball teams together for a championship game in memory of Joyce Washington.

Tuesday, May 26

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Kids Go Camping to Learn Conservation

Oregon Zoo program opens nature to urban kids.

As a small child, Troy Frison always liked the zoo, so when his mentor at the Boys & Girls Club recommended him for the Oregon Zoo’s Urban Nature Overnights, he was excited.

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Washington Park Shuttle Begins

Washington Park has a new, free park-wide shuttle for summer allowing visitors to park once or to take TriMet or Max and then explore the entire park by hopping on and off at any of the nine stops.

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Healthy Housing Challenge

Volunteers give back to help disabled woman

A group of volunteers worked hard transforming the northeast Portland home of a low-income, disabled woman, making it easier and healthier for her to live there.

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Anti-gay Leaders Reach for Extreme Rhetoric

The war on love

A lot of conservative religious leaders say people of faith are being “silenced” or “persecuted” here in the United States. They’ve sung that refrain for decades.

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In Loving Memory

Lillie Walker

Lillie Walker was born Feb. 14, 1933 in Beaumont, Texas to Johnnie Mae and Rueben Wysingle. She died May 10, 2015 after an extended illness.

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Heisman Trophy in Portland

Historical Society to display esteemed award

The 2014 Heisman Trophy, presented to the University of Oregon in recognition of the accomplishments of quarterback Marcus Mariota, will be on display at the Oregon Historical Society.

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Arming Police at PSU and the Coming Conflict

Don’t bring a gun to an unarmed fight

On the campus where I teach, Portland State University, there has never been a mass shooting. Indeed, as long as I’ve been here—almost the entire millennium! —no one here has been shot.

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‘Dream Walks’ to Train for MLK Run

If you’ve ever wanted to learn and grow as a runner, now you have a chance to get some training while celebrating Martin Luther King’s legacy.

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In Loving Memory

Gloria S. Edwards Hall

Gloria Steen Edwards Hall was born to Viola Abraham and Ike Edwards April 1, 1937 in Ida, Louisiana.

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A.J. Java Hosts Concerts

A.J. Java, a community cafe across the street from Peninsula Park in north Portland, welcomes the public to a series of free weekly concerts this summer.

Thursday, May 21

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Prisoners Find Peace in Art

Looking at the world from inside and outside custody

A group of Portland prisoners preparing to reintegrate into the community have been offered an artistic means of doing so.

Tuesday, May 19

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‘Good in the Hood’ Call Out

One of the largest multicultural community events in the Pacific Northwest needs your help. The Good in the Hood festival is putting out a call for volunteers for this year’s celebration.

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Kick Off to Rose Festival

Portland’s waterfront is about to come alive with fun and festivities for the annual Rose Festival which opens CityFair on Friday.

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PSU Hosts Queer Indigenous Gathering

The Native American Student and Community Center of Portland State University welcome the community to a free gathering and workshop focusing on the history, art and state of LGBTQ issues in native communities.

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Midwives and Women of Color

Advocates work to improve birth outcomes

The International Center for Traditional Childbearing, a group founded by Shafia M. Monroe of Portland, is celebrating the contributions of the African American midwife while highlighting the under-representation of midwives of color in health care institutions and schools.

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Supporting Better Mental Health

Discussion on wellness for African-Americans

African-Americans suffer from mental health issues like every other group, but they are among the least likely to seek help.

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Soap Pods Pose Safety Risk

Accidental poisonings from squishy laundry detergent packets sometimes mistaken for toys or candy landed more than 700 U.S. children in the hospital in just two years, researchers report.

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Presidential Candidates Lose Touch with Reality

Clowning around issues of inequality

Hardly a day goes by that another candidate doesn’t announce his or her intention to run for the presidency. One day it’s Carly Fiorina, the next it’s Mike Huckabee, Bernie Sanders, or Hillary Clinton, even.

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Fitness with ‘JJ’

Make a Workout Date

Working out with a friend has its benefits. You are not lonely, you have someone to hold you accountable, and you both can cheer each other on as you hit your fitness milestones together.

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USDA Tackles GMO Labeling

The Agriculture Department has developed a new government certification and labeling for foods that are free of genetically modified ingredients.

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Eat Healthy with Local Produce

‘Double Up Food Bucks’ serve low-income

The Farmers Market Fund, an independent non-profit and companion organization to the Portland Farmers Market, has always been dedicated to providing increased access to healthy local grown food for low-income, elderly and underserved populations.

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Never-Ending Cycle of Debt, Poverty and Jail

A predatory system of policing

‘Held captive” was how one 13-year-old described the feeling of growing up poor in our wealthy nation. For more and more Americans living in poverty, this feeling isn’t just a metaphor.

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Diggs Takes Over Title Role

Taye Diggs prepares for new role.

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Fire Stations Promote Health and Safety

As part of High Blood Pressure Education Month, Portland Fire and Rescue reminds Portlanders they can visit their neighborhood station to get free blood pressure checks

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Brown, Minaj Top BET Nominations

Chris Brown and Nicki Minaj are the top contenders at the upcoming BET Award with six nominations each.

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King of the Blues

‘Thrill is Gone’ legend B.B. King remembered

B.B. King, whose scorching guitar licks and heartfelt vocals made him the idol of generations of musicians and fans while earning him the nickname King of the Blues, is being remembered after his death at the age of 89.

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People of Faith Must Do More Than Pray

Our moral urgency to reform criminal justice

The moral urgency of criminal justice reform is crystal clear. We are called to not only “pray” for those directly affected, but we are also called to “act.”

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Picking up the Baton

Activists keep dead father’s pursuit for justice alive

Augustana Lutheran Church sits at the corner of Northeast 14th Avenue and Knott Street, a sturdy brick building with a sign proclaiming it as a “thriving multicultural congregation.” But the church played host to a different kind of gathering recently as community members from all over the city came to honor the memory of a young African American man killed by police five years after his death.

Thursday, May 14

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Fall in Love with the Phantom

A spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ opens at Keller Auditorium.

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Youth Wrestling Champions

Damarzhe Nelson and Rahsan Greenwood, holding their championship trophies after a recent tournament in Reno, Nev., are joined by their coach Hiag Brown of the Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center, a program that reconnects alienated at-risk youth affected by poverty, family instability and homelessness.

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Jazz Students and Mentor Impress

Thara Memory and kids win New York competition

The American Music Program of Portland has won Jazz at Lincoln Center's Essentially Ellington high school jazz band competition in New York after an emotional performance honoring its ailing director, Thara Memory.

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Black Male Achievement Hire

C.J. Robbins has joined Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights as Program Coordinator for Black Male Achievement Portland.

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Celebrating with Portland Ballet

Young dancers graduating from The Portland Ballet school cap a year of artistic achievement with a Spring Concert.

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Salgado’s ‘Soul Shot’ Tour

Salgado effortlessly mixes R&B, funk and blues with a delivery that is raw and heartfelt.

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Healthy Competition Heats Up

Annual Portland Observer Basketball Match Returns

Dedicated to our mother, whose purposeful life is our family inspiration.

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Celebration of Life

Odel Butler Sr.

Odel Butler Sr. was born Jan. 25, 1920 and died May 3, 2015.

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Nostalgic Visit to Portland

President Barack Obama was greeted with a few protests and lots of smiles during his visit to Portland and Beaverton on Thursday and Friday.

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Baltimore Rising: Women at the Frontline for Justice

I applaud these female leaders in the fight

I applaud these women, and all women—and men—who are fighting for justice for Freddie and, by extension, for us

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In Loving Memory

Lavelle Bates

Lavelle Bates was born in Portland on June 9, 1957 to Joann and Richard Lewis. She died May 5, 2015 after losing a battle with cancer.

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Wrapped Up in Humanity

Oregon Shakespeare Festival works stir heart and soul

Love. Loss. Longing. Hope. Treachery. Resilience. All are the stuff of human existence -- and also the stuff of theater.

Wednesday, May 13

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Neo Soul Night at the Analog

A homegrown soul singer is getting ready for her next big show right here in Portland

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In Loving Memory

Paul Darden

Paul Darden died peacefully at home in Portland on April 7, 2015 at the age of 79.

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Being Accountable for Our Military Interventions

Americans must accept responsibility

The United States must accept responsibility for the damage its military actions have caused and recognize there are alternatives for the future.

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Honoring Student Scholars

A church scholarship fund that supports African-Americans students has named two local students as award winners for 2015.

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On Alberta Street

Now Showing at Guardino

Walnut ink paintings, salvaged wood crafted into art, and still life paintings exploring contemporary icons and formal elements are some of the featured works this month at Guardino Gallery.

Tuesday, May 12

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Curator to Explore Race and Art

Women in Art series goes outside mainstream

Portland Community College is bringing in an internationally recognized art expert and educator to Portland who is known for bringing many historical and contemporary African-American artists into the cannon of American Art.

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You Need Context to Understand Baltimore Unrest

If violence isn’t the answer, somebody should tell the police

“Violence isn’t the answer,” the moralists chide when protesters throw rocks and clash with police. They’re right. But they’re telling the wrong people.

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Telling a Forgotten History

New book out on the Buffalo Soldiers

The Buffalo Soldiers served a crucial role in American history, but much of the exciting and dramatic service of the first all African-American regiments in the U.S. Army is glossed over or forgotten.

Tuesday, May 5

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Family Looks for Answers

Woodlawn Park vigil planned for shooting victim

The family of a young Seattle man who was shot in northeast Portland is coming to Portland to hold a vigil at the same park where he died.

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On Alberta Street

Provocative Happy Hour

Educator, writer, organizer, and spoken word artist Walidah Imarisha will headline a happy hour series.

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Filling the Gap

Displaced Heald students look for options

Heald College and its parent company Corinthian College shuttered April 27 citing government regulatory pressure on for-profit universities.

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Urban League Roadmap for Progress

Report looks at dismantling racial inequities

Dismantling the state's legacy of racial inequity is key to the future growth and prosperity of all Oregon.

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Wonder SEI Benefit Postponed

Stevie Wonder has postponed plans to celebrate his 65th birthday in Portland at a benefit for Self Enhancement, Inc., a local nonprofit organization that supports at-risk urban youth.

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Journey into Humanity

‘Salt of the Earth’ brings lens to farthest reaches of the globe

For most of the last 40 years, acclaimed photographer Sebastião Salgado has been traveling the globe and focusing his practiced photographer's eye primarily on the experiences of people at the margins -- the poor, the dispossessed, refugees, the starving, the homeless.

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Spring Dance Concert

The community is invited to Reed College’s Spring Dance Concert, featuring the work of guest choreographers and members of Reed’s Contemporary Performance Ensemble.

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Home Going Celebration

Gertrude Mae Smith

Gertrude Mae Smith was born Sept. 17, 1956 and died May 1, 2015.

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A State of Emergency for Police Reform

Shaping a more just system of justice

A tragic déjà vu is playing out in communities all across America, particularly in the growingly skeptical streets of black and brown neighborhoods.

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Mother’s Day and the Fight for Immigration

Giving moms and their children hope

This Mother’s Day, I can hug my mother tightly and celebrate with her. I’d like to thank our 40th president for that.

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Colleges Must Lead on the Issue of Sexual Violence

Addressing the challenges and solutions

Campus sexual violence has been the subject of an intense national conversation recently, but that dialogue often lacks critical input from schools that are already taking steps to improve their campus climates.

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Madcap Odyssey at Milagro

Portland’s only Latin-American theater presents “American Night: The Ballad of Juan José,” a sharp-eyed and sharp-witted comedy about a Mexican immigrant who dreams of moving to the Land of the Free.

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Powerful Legacy Remembered

A loving farewell to R&B soul singer Ben E. King.

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Rap Show at the Roseland

Bay area rapper E-40 joins fellow hip-hop artists Stevie Stone and Cool Nutz at the Roseland Theater on Wednesday, May 13 at 8 p.m.