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Donovan M. Smith

Writer, Photographer, Web Editor

About me: I am writer, photographer, and web-editor for The Portland Observer. I am a northeast Portland native, graduate of the prestigious Oregon Episcopal School, and committed to bringing the most important and impactful stories to the community.

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Recent Stories

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Kidz On Da Track

Coaches look to push appeal of BMX further

Longtime BMX coach is looking to push appeal of sport to more inner-city youth and kids of color in general with a new team he's composing called "Kidz on Da Track".

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Fighting Displacement

Skeptics say housing investment will not cure gentrification

A plan to increase public monies for the construction of more affordable housing units in the gentrified neighborhoods of north and northeast Portland is drawing a mixed review.

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Born For This

Rhymesayer spits purpose through the microphone

Talilo's debut album "Born for This" is highlighted by a style of rap he refers to as "chopping" and frequent moments of introspection.

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Portland Youth Conference Rescheduled

Activist asks for help to make event successful

A winter snowstorm that postponed a youth summit during Black History Month will take place over two days, April 11 and April 12 at Portland State University with a concluding concert at the Blazers Boys and Girls Club. Portland activist Imani Muhammad is looking for help to make the annual event a success.

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Jazz from the Past

Historic neighborhood flickers between the bricks

Blended into the façade of Innovative Housing’s newest housing complex are literal lenses to Portland’s African American history. Between the bricks at The Magnolia, 3250 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., are four iPod Touch units that run continuous loops of historical photos mixed with recent footage.

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Building Community

Business owner and community stalwart Sharon Maxwell launches a campaign for City Council

Sharon Maxwell makes it clear that as a long-time advocate for her community, she has been on the front lines of making Portland a better place both in terms of an improved economy and improving social conditions.

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Hip Hop and the Police

Director of Independent Police Review Board updates investigation

The turmoil that has erupted between the Portland Police Bureau and a community of entertainers catering to the Hip-Hop scene has gained new eyes and ears.

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Jefferson Wins Back-to-Back Titles!

The Jefferson Democrats are once again sitting on the throne, as state champions. The 5A boys team was able to claim victory against Churchill, outscoring them 69-64. The Democrats win came at the heels of the suspension of six players that same-day for what’s being reported as “conduct detrimental to the team” by Jefferson coach Pat Strickland.

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Rose City Women Tell Their Own Stories

Women of Color Zines group fosters self-made publications

Women of color in the city are telling their own stories using a popular self-publishing artform called zines.

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Recasting Trader Joes

Mayor meets with community to revive controversial project

The public outcry that led to specialty grocer Trader Joe’s pullout of a city-negotiated economic development project in the heart of Portland’s historic African American community may get reversed if the mayor and other city leaders are successful in new efforts to recast the project. Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Dan Saltzman met with leaders of the African-American community, neighborhood, and business representatives at City Hall in an effort to bring the popular retail chain back, perhaps with more compromises for all parties at the table.



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