Stories for January 2017

Tuesday, January 31

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No Retreat on Civil Rights

Thousands join black ministers in call for action

An energized civil rights community in Portland is showing it will not stand down as it pushes for police reforms and faces a new federal government under President Donald Trump that threatens civil liberties of many communities

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Rent Hikes Bring Displacement

Two recent cases are vivid example

Recent massive rent increases and no cause evictions at two separate apartment complexes in north and northeast Portland are putting a vivid picture on displacement and the potential to move low income people out of their neighborhoods and local schools

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“I Am Not Your Negro’

Documentary opens in theaters Friday

The incendiary new documentary “I Am Not Your Negro,” a journey into black history that connects the past to the present, opens in theaters nationwide on Friday, Feb. 3

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African Dance Troupe Benefit

The Kukatonon Children's African Dance Troupe presents its annual benefit on Saturday, Feb. 4 at the Madeleine Parish Hall, 3123 N.E. 24th Ave.

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PCC Names New Board Chair

Thorne-Ladd is first black woman to lead panel

The Portland Community College Board of Directors Thursday named Kali Thorne-Ladd as chair of the board from her previous position as vice chair. She is the first African-American woman to serve as PCC’s board chair, and at 39 years old, she is also the youngest. Thorne-Ladd represents north Portland and portions of Columbia County on the seven-member governing panel.

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Cascade Films Promote Cultural Understanding

African film fest opens with 23 vibrant films

The 27th annual Cascade Festival of African Films takes off this week in north and northeast Portland offering an exciting month of screening 23 vibrant films from across the African continent to inspire a bridge of cultural understanding with the community.

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Black Mozart Tribute Concert

In honor of Black History Month, Portland’s Baroque Orchestra will perform Black Mozart: Chevalier Saint-Georges, on Thursday, Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in Kaul Auditorium at Reed College in southeast Portland.

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Winter Light Festival Returns

Returning for four straight days, beginning Wednesday, Feb. 1, the Portland Winter Light Festival will illuminate even more of Portland’s cityscape, brilliantly awakening the city in the dark of winter into a glowing tapestry of light, color, artistry, performance and imagination.

Wednesday, January 25

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Constructing Identity

African American masterpieces on loan

A rare opportunity to view African-American masterpieces opens this weekend at the Portland Art Museum.

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Everybody Reads on Homelessness

Copies of ‘Evicted’ now available

Multnomah County Library’s Everybody Reads, the 15th annual community reading project, is underway with the library distributing thousands of copies of “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” by Matthew Desmond.

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Circus Show for a Cause

The area’s top variety and circus performers will put on an amazing, hilarious, family-friendly show to support Clowns Without Borders on Friday, Jan. 27 at the Alberta Rose Theater in northeast Portland.

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AMA March to Focus on Justice

Equality and love to frame Saturday events

Civil rights activists working through an organization representing black churches in Portland are inviting the public to join them on Saturday for a rally and march for justice.

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Discontent with a Trump Administration

A myriad of community organizations and tens of thousands of individuals took to the streets in downtown Portland for a weekend of protests after President Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday in Washington, D.C.

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Film Depicts Mysticism of Ordinary Life

A review of the film 'Paterson'

There is something so necessary about Jim Jarmusch's new film, "Paterson." In giving us this gentle examination of the life of a poet-laborer and his wife, Jarmusch has demonstrated something that we are always in danger of missing: the mysticism of ordinary life.

Tuesday, January 24

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In Loving Memory

Gladys Mae Waters

Funeral services for Gladys Mae Waters will be held Friday, Jan. 27 at 11 a.m. at True Vine Missionary Baptist Church.

Wednesday, January 18

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Building a Stronger Community

Artist to serve at Emerson House

There’s a new neighbor in northeast Portland’s King Neighborhood and he’s looking to shake things up with his appointment as the inaugural director of the DIY Artist-and-Residency Program at Emerson Street House.

Tuesday, January 17

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Big Melt Begins

Ice and snow to give way to rain and more rain

One of the largest snowfalls in Portland history started to give way to a big melt on Tuesday that brought freezing rain. Heavy rain was in the forecast overnight and into Wednesday to keep travel extremely hazardous before the big accumulation of ice and snow could be expected to slowly melt away.

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Citizen Police Review Panel Vacancy

Volunteers are needed to serve a three-year term on the Citizen Review Committee – an advisory body to Independent Police Review division under the City Auditor.

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Reclaiming the Dream

Show of diversity’s strength amid fears of setbacks

On Sunday, January 15, 2017 nearly 100 people braved freezing temperatures, a foot of piled snow and solid inches of ice for a rally at Peninsula Park in north Portland and a march to the MLK statute on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard at the Oregon Convention Center.

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Knocked Out by Gentrification

‘Left Hook’ tells 1970s story of displacement

‘Left Hook’ a new theater work about gentrification in 1970’s Portland will premiere this month as part of the Fertile Ground celebration of new theater works.

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Let’s Get Healthy Together

Wellness Village rescheduled after snow event

The African American Health Coalition will celebrate its annual Health Disparities Luncheon on Friday, Jan. 20 and Wellness Village on Saturday, Jan. 21, after the previous December dates for the events were postponed when Portland was hit by snow and ice.

Thursday, January 12

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In the Neighborhood

The Portland Observer asked community members in North East and North Portland to share their thoughts about Dr. King's work and legacy.

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Making Noise in the Northwest

All-girls music festival makes return

Girl Fest, Portland's own, all-girls and all-ages mini-music festival returns to Lola’s Room at the Crystal Ballroom, downtown, on Saturday, Jan. 14.

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Martin Luther King Visited Here

Church steeped in Civil Rights history

A Portland sanctuary with great social, educational, and historical significance to Portland’s black community was honored this past year with national recognition. Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church is known as one of the historical centers of Portland’s black community, and has hosted civil rights icons such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Wilkins throughout its rich history. Raymond Burell, the church’s historian, was responsible for having the church listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

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Eastside Industrial Honors King

First MLK cleanup to bolster community

On Monday, Jan. 16, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., more than 200 peoples from Central Eastside businesses, community volunteers, and SOLVE will join in a neighborhood cleanup to bolster the health and nurture the community of this neighborhood.

Tuesday, January 10

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In Loving Memory of Denita Young

In loving memory of Denita Young.

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A Hunger for Films about ‘Hidden Figures’

The opinionated judge Darlene Ortega reviews "Hidden Figures."

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In Loving Memory of Carl Edward Gibson

In Loving Memory of Carl Edward Gibson

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Fire Victims Given Shelter

Temporary housing is found for the 98 residents displaced by last weeks 3 alarm fire at the Hotel Alder.

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A Clown for a Cause

Latino theater group brings story to life

Southeast Portland’s Milagro Theater presents a world premier of El Payaso.

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A Refuge for Immigrants in Uncertain Times

Pastor leads movement for social justice

Pastor Mark Knutson is a national leader in a movement for social justice for immigrants struggling to obtain legal status in the United States. Northeast Portland’s Augustana Lutheran Church, a multicultural congregation where he serves as a spiritual leader, is one of the few churches to provide sanctuary for immigrants in fear of being deported.

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Dynamic Leader for Justice Emerges

Braving arrest and threats to advance cause

Gregory McKelvey is the leader of Portland’s Resistance, a group dedicated to fighting policies in the incoming Trump administration that are detrimental to minorities, immigrants and other disadvantaged populations.

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‘Let’s Talk’ for Racial Progress

Activist gathers voices to promote understanding

Portland author and photographer Margaret Jacobsen is the founder of a discussion and education group that connects people and focuses on community building to address racial justice issues. The group is called Let’s Talk.

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Live-Streaming for Political Change

Activist documents Trump protests worldwide

Activist and non-profit director Cameron Whitten looks at his citizen journalism as giving a bird’s eye view on the resistance to the Trump presidency.

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Awash in Racially-Motivated Confrontations

Standing out among the others

The recent hateful tirade of failed New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino stands out.

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Alarmed by Trump

Professor sees parallels to era of Martin Luther King Jr.

As the nation transitions from its first black president to an incoming president-elect who ran his campaign on divisive and racially-charged language, an expert in race relations at Portland State University sees parallels between our current time and the era of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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Drum Major Ecumenical Service

Panel discussion to highlight MLK celebration

One of the oldest African American congregations in the state, the Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church, will host people of faith from across the state this weekend to honor of the late civil rights leader Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. A special focus will be a panel discussion, “Where do we go from here,” led by moderator Bill Deiz.

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St. Andrew Hosts MLK Service

St. Andrew Parish in northeast Portland invites the public to join them for their annual Martin Luther King Jr. Mass and service awards which will be celebrated on Sunday, Jan. 15 from 9:30 a.m. to 11.am.

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Mayor to Speak at King Observance

Mayor to Speak at King Observance

Mayor Ted Wheeler will be the featured speaker at the annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. observance on Sunday, Jan. 15 at 4 p.m. at Maranatha Church, 4222 N.E. 12th Ave.

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Traditions of Giving Back

Concordia exhibit explores black philanthropy

A groundbreaking touring exhibit that explores the giving traditions of African Americans through history and the contributions of black Americans in transforming society will open this weekend for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday at Concordia University.

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World Arts Tribute to MLK

32nd annual celebration at Highland Center

The 32nd Annual World Arts Foundation tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will take place Monday, Jan. 16 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Highland Center, 7600 N.E. Glisan St.

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Lunch Program Honors King

Paper is folded into cranes to represent peace and healing, one of the activities that will take place during a special community service event to pack lunches for kids and a Martin Luther King Jr. remembrance coming to Maranatha Church on the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

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Role Models of Color

County achieves first majority minority board

Multnomah County ushered in the New Year by welcoming three new commissioners to its board and setting a new bar for diversity in representative government with every elected member of the commission representing a minority group, the first time that has ever happened.

Wednesday, January 4

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The Prison in Twelve Landscapes

Jail-time merges with daily life in new documentary

The Northwest Film Center at the Portland Art Museum, downtown, presents “The Prison in Twelve Landscapes, with 7 p.m. screenings on Friday, Jan.6 through Sunday, Jan. 8.

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Holistic Approach

Police Bureau’s new efforts to recruit minority officers

The Portland Police Bureau has launched a new police officer recruitment initiative to increase the force’s diversity and boost officer retention. The goal is to remove barriers from its hiring process in order to widen the pool of potential applicants. A newly-produced video accompanies the effort, which features a diverse group of active-duty Portland Police officers describing why they find their jobs rewarding.

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Mental Health Center to Open

Unity Center for help, hospitality and hope

The first and only dedicated psychiatric emergency room in Oregon will open this month in northeast Portland, a community-focused collaboration between Adventist Health, Kaiser Permanente, Legacy Health and OHSU to create a comprehensive psychiatric emergency care facility for people facing a mental health crisis.

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Equity and Policy Manager Hired

The Portland Development Commission has named Mayra Arreola, a former executive with the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs, as the new PDC director of social equity, policy and communications.

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In Memory of

Lavada Arion Jones

Lavada Arion Jones has passed away.

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In Loving Memory

Naomi Jackson Houston

Naomi Jackson Houston went home to be with the Lord on Dec. 11, 2016.