Stories for March 2017

Tuesday, March 28

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Community Activism and the Blues

Keeping the focus on ‘Healthcare for All’

Health care which is too expensive or leaves too many people without coverage is no solution for a large group of local musicians who have announced that the goal of universal health care will once again be the community issue behind their Inner City Blues Festival, returning next month to the Eagles Lodge in north Portland.

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Endurance Champ Helps Veterans

Uses strength to raise donations for suicide prevention

Michael McCastle, a former Navy Petty Officer, four-time world record endurance holder and a Portland Community College student, has set a date for his sixth physical challenge to raise money for veterans groups working to prevent suicide.

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No Satisfaction

Grieving mom and reform advocates push back

Advocates for police reforms have added their voices to the mother of a teenage son killed in an officer-involved shooting to criticize and reject a grand jury decision finding no criminal wrongdoing.

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A Film to Seep into your Consciousness

‘Get Out’ awakens the soul

"Get Out," the first contender so far for my list of the best films of 2017, is essential viewing.

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In Loving Memory

Loretta Scott-Randolph

In loving memory of Loretta Scott-Randolph.

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Ducks in Final Four

Oregon faces North Carolina in the NCAA tournament Saturday, the first trip to the Final Four for the U of O since 1939 when Oregon won college’s first national basketball championship.

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On Hoop Dreams and Gang Culture

Portland author and retired teacher’s latest novel

Basketball culture and gangs are once again intertwined in the latest fictional work by Portland author and retired teacher Lono Waiwaiole.

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Why We Can’t Support Supreme Court Nominee

Gorsuch falls short on civil rights

More than most other communities, the future of African Americans’ rights and opportunities hang on the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice.

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Exploring Black Cinema

Featuring films by visionaries, rebels and pioneers willing to tell it like it is, the NW Film Center at the Portland Art Museum hosts a black cinema series over the next three months in conjunction with the museum’s African American exhibit “Constructing Identity.”

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No Cash Reserves to Get Through Hard Times

You’re not alone in trying to stay afloat

While the media reports low unemployment and a rising stock market, the reality is that almost 20 percent of the country lives in “Underwater Nation,” with zero or even negative net worth.

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Inspired by African and Cuban Dance

Portland’s White Bird dance series presents the return of renowned choreographer Ronald K. Brown and his company ‘Evidence,” for an uplifting and powerful program inspired by African and Cuban Dance set to music of Stevie Wonder and Zap Mama.

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Locked up in Land of the Free

Justice advocates will join the non-profit advocacy group Unite Oregon to sponsor a free showing of the film “13th,” a new documentary exploring the aftermath of the 13 Amendment abolishing slavery and the racial inequality of today’s prison system that disproportionately locks up African Americans.

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Ken Burns to Make Ali Film

The late Muhammad Ali is getting the Ken Burns treatment.

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The Rising Scourge of Voter Suppression

A call to action by the NAACP

Editor’s note: The following statement regarding the issue of voter suppression was issued last week by the NAACP.

Tuesday, March 21

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Growing the Brand

Champions founder opens vocational school

A long time barber and the founder of Portland’s upscale Champions Barbershop, Lane is growing his brand by opening Champion’s Barbering Institute, Inc. (CBI), the only Portland school dedicated solely to teaching the craft of being a barber, located at 424 N.E. Killingsworth St.

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Hire Diverse and Local

Advocates plead for river cleanup jobs

As federal, state, and local governmental entities begin an estimated $1 billion clean up of Portland’s polluted harbor, local community members are pushing to have the Superfund revitalization work completed by a local and diverse workforce.

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Cooking Up Culinary Careers

Teach Me to Fish eyes Alberta Street expansion

E.D. Mondainé and his Teach Me to Fish nonprofit organization are cooking up a new venture following the success of his Po’Shines Café De La Soul restaurants in Portland, a catering clinic and culinary school which will offer on-the-job training with investments back into the community.

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Chuck Berry Dead at 90

Guitar hero originated rock n’ roll

Chuck Berry, rock ‘n’ roll’s founding guitar hero and storyteller who defined the music’s joy and rebellion in such classics as “Johnny B. Goode,” ”Sweet Little Sixteen” and “Roll Over Beethoven,” died Saturday at his home west of St. Louis. He was 90.

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Powerful Truths in Top Film ‘Moonlight’

A story to open hearts and minds

Everyone should watch the film “Moonlight,” the film that won for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

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Best Intentions and Solemn Commitments

Portland’s safety pin campaign

Wearing a safety pin, if you haven’t heard, lets anxious families who fled cruel states, failed economies, or rising oceans, know they’re safe near the pin’s wearer, a symbol of solidarity.

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Ducks in Sweet 16

Oregon advanced with a hard-fought NCAA Tournament win in Sacramento, Calif. Sunday as Tyler Dorsey delivered two clutch 3-pointers against Rhode Island to send the Ducks back to the Sweet Sixteen for a second straight year and third in five years.

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Urban League Job Fair on Tap

The Urban League of Portland is hosting a free job fair for the community, connecting job seekers with over 80 of the metro area’s best employers.

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Spring Break for Kids and Teens

Beaverton City Library will host more than a week of free events for kids and teens at the main library and Murray Scholls branch during spring break, March 25 to April 2.

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Life Changing Job Training Offered

A free introduction to the trades

Constructing Hope empowers people by encouraging self-sufficiency through the learning of life skills and basic education in the construction industry.

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Active Fun for Spring Break

The Oregon Zoo’s spring break day camps return March 27-31.

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Race and Close Post-Katrina

The NW Film Center presents "Beasts of the Southern Wild."

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Rapper’s Show Sold Out

Indie music mogul and rap road warrior Tech N9ne has an upcoming show at the Roseland Theater that has already sold out.

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Celebrating a Great Season

Congratulations to the Portland Observer ‘Ballers’ youth basketball team for a great season!

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Player of the Week

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard has been named NBA Western Conference Player of the Week.

Wednesday, March 15

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Best in State!

Jefferson celebrates 9th hoops championship

Jefferson High School proved it has what it takes to win no matter the level of competition by completing a nearly perfect season in basketball and winning the Oregon Schools Activities Association’s Boys Class 6A State Championship.

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12 Angry Jurors

Justice theater group shines light on bias

Bias and fairness in the criminal justice system is front and center when “Voice for Voiceless Theater,” a diverse justice theater group, presents “12 Angry Jurors” a play that exposes the truth about the effects of racism and classism on criminal justice, on Friday, March 17 through Sunday March 19 at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 1126 S.W. Park Ave. Each performance will begin at 7:30 p.m.

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Bottle Bill Deposits Double to 10 Cents

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission reminds customers, retailers, and manufacturers that the redemption value for eligible containers covered under Oregon’s Bottle Bill will soon increase from 5 cents to 10 cents.

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Bus Service to Expand

TriMet released a new operating budget last week that calls for continued investment in expanding bus service and improving the reliability of MAX light rail trains.

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Battle of the Books

St. Andrew Nativity School students’ hard work paid off at the regional Battle of the Books competition this past week. The team placed third out of 48 competitors and qualified to compete at the state level on April 8.

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Child Dies after Dental Surgery

Mother at a loss for answers

A GoFundMe campaign has been created for a Vancouver family who just lost their young son due to complications from dental surgery.

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Emotionally-Charged Drama

An emotionally-charged play of family secrets and magical realism opens this week at Milagro Theater, Portland’s premier Latino arts and culture center, located at 525 S.E. Stark St.

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On Self Expression and Vulnerability

Join slam poetry champion and hip-hop performer Jason Graham to explore the relationship between self-expression and vulnerability when he gives the talk “What We Risk,” on Saturday, March 18 at 1 p.m. in Roger Rook, Room 220, on the Clackamas Community College campus, 19600 Molalla Ave.

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Recovering from Medical Emergency

Former Portland Trail Blazer and fan favorite Cliff Robinson is recovering from a minor brain hemorrhage, the retired NBA player said Tuesday in a statement.

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New Generation of Reggae

Chronixx heads to Portland on Sunday to headline an 8 p.m. show at the Wonder Ballroom, 123 N.E. Russell St.

Tuesday, March 7

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Finalist for School Superintendent

Urban educator known for delivering results

An urban educator with an extensive record of success in turning around underperforming schools and helping students achieve high academic standards is the sole finalist for superintendent of Portland Public Schools.

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Voting Rights Pioneers Honored

Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith will lead a ceremony Wednesday to rename the county Election’s Building at Southeast 10th and Morrison in honor of two women pioneers who fought for the right for women to vote in Oregon.

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Our Contaminated Harbor

Superfund cleanup gets ready for implementation

Nearly 11 miles of the Willamette River’s most contaminated waters and shoreline is due to be cleaned thanks to a recently released Record of Decision from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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His Life Mattered

Mother appeals for answers in son’s death

Venus Hayes, the mother of 17 year old Quanice “Moose” Hayes who was fatally wounded by a Portland Police officer last month, gave an emotional and heartfelt statement to Portland City Council and Mayor Ted Wheeler last week asking one central question.

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Trump’s Obsession with Muslims and Immigrants

Giving cover to his far right followers

Make no mistake, Trump’s lies are carefully told to generate hostility toward Muslims and immigrants. Worse still, they conceal a growing threat the man obsessed with calling out “Radical Islamic Terror” won’t even name.

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Connecting African Dance and Ballet

Nine premier dancers from the Portland Ballet will star and Portland’s Kukatonon Children’s African Dance Troupe will perform as special guests during a series of matinee and evening performances, March 10-12 at The Portland Ballet’s studio, 6250 S.W. Capitol Hwy.

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Black Voices Candidate's Forum

A Portland educator has organized a Black Voices Candidate’s Forum to bring people from the black community and other groups together to hear from and ask questions of the two candidates running for the Portland School Board in Zone 4, representing north and northeast Portland.

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Shattered by Gun Violence

Powerful story an appeal for solutions

A powerful and poetic story about two black mothers and their sons whose lives are shattered by the heartbreak of gun violence opens this week at the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, 5340 N. Interstate Ave.

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Pay-to-Play and Privately Run Prisons

A signal for large scale incarcerations

Twenty-four hours after the election of Donald Trump as this nation’s 45th president, the stock prices of privately run prisons in this country soared. And this reversal of fortune came as no surprise to private prison operators—or criminal justice reform advocates. With Trump in the White House, privately owned prison companies rightly presumed that they had a staunch ally of their business model and motives in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

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Benefit for Ceasefire Oregon

A Portland-based opera company has joined forces with a newly arrived dance ensemble to schedule a series of benefit concerts for Ceasefire Oregon, a local organization that works to reduce the number of gun injuries and deaths in Oregon by educating the public and providing opportunities to dispose of unwanted firearms.

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Love, Seduction and Betrayal

Opera’s most revered tale of love, seduction, secrecy, betrayal, and murder comes to life like never before when the NW Dance Project presents “Carmen,” for three performances, March 16-18 at 7:30 p.m. at the Newmark Theatre, downtown.

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Done with the Apprentice

Arnold Schwarzenegger is through with "The New Celebrity Apprentice," and he's blaming President Donald Trump for the television reality show's recent poor performance.

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A Party Waiting to Happen

Musical taps on immigrant hopes and dreams

A talented and diverse cast of Portland Community College students, faculty, staff and community members present the Tony, Grammy and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical “In the Heights.”

Thursday, March 2

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Build Better Futures

‘Believe to Achieve’ founder marquees scholarship drive

Local community leaders working to lift black and minority students to future careers and promising lives by helping them achieve a college education will get some star power at their annual United Negro College Fund gala Friday.

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Black Parents Initiative Builds Support

Children supported by stable, engaged adults

Mission draws hundreds of supporters and raises $146,000 for programs to help parents make healthy choices in a child’s first 1,000 days of life.

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Women in Film

POWfest puts spotlight on gender disparities

Showcasing the work of women directors from around the globe while strengthening the community of women making films here at home.

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Grant Team Wins Tournament

Youth basketball championship celebrated

Boys 6th grade team wins respective youth league bracket

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'Moonlight' Best Picture

Coming of age drama wings big at Oscars

Barry Jenkins and the Moonlight cast accepted the award for Best Picture at the Oscars