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Michael Leighton

Stories by Michael

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Discrimination Cases Explode

Shopping while Black’ lawsuits sound alarm

A Portland lawyer specializing in discrimination cases is sounding the alarm over a rash of recent racial discrimination claims.

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MLK Dream Run Goes Virtual

Change in format due to COVID-19

Because of the social distancing parameters set by the CDC, this year’s events have shifted from a weekend schedule to a virtual format.

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Make a Plan to Vote!

Election countdown begins; voter registration deadline is Tuesday, Oct. 13

Multnomah County Auditor Jennifer McGuirk is encouraging voters to make a plan to vote.

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Sheriff: ‘Will Never Support Trump’

Mike Reece calls out Trump on false endorsement

The sheriff made his voice clear when tweeted out after Trump made the false endorsement, “As the Multnomah County Sheriff I have never supported Donald Trump and will never support him.”

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Iannarone Grows Support for Mayor

Provides list of endorsements from Black community

Sarah Iannarone is showing off some impressive support from the local Black community in her runoff election for Portland mayor on Nov. 3.

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Unhealthy Smoke to Last Days

Best prescription for bad air: Stay inside

Very unhealthy air quality conditions are expected to last at least until the end of the week and possibility until next week because of dense smoke coming from massive wildfires in Oregon and across the West.

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Feedback Starts Over on I-5 Project

New board with black ties to consider past harms

ODOT says the priorities of Portland’s African American community will be elevated in its consideration of the controversial I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project.

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Mayor Calls for More Housing Relief

Unpaid rents grow during COVID-19

Unpaid rents are growing in Portland during the COVID-19 pandemic and Tuesday Mayor Ted Wheeler announced he will bring forward new local housing relief measures to help stabilize households facing eviction and foreclosure.

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Reimaging a Better School Year

Principal says COVID-19, racial equity push an opportunity

Principal says adjustments being made for teaching under COVID-19 restrictions are an opportunity to provide a better education to all students now and in the future.

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Violence Turns Deadly with Dueling Protests

Chief decries downtown shooting

A supporter of a right wing group was killed in a confrontation downtown Saturday, the first deadly consequence amid three months of protests over racial injustice in Portland and across the nation.

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Jazz on a Summer’s Day

Restored 1959 concert film screens virtually

A new, dazzling 4K restoration of “Jazz on a Summer’s Day,” considered the greatest jazz documentary every made, makes its debut Friday at the Hollywood Theatre’s virtual cinema and two other Portland virtual theater venues.

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Racial Violence Victim Won’t Back Down

Demetria Hester pushes ahead after protest charges dropped

Black woman assaulted by Jeremy Christian during his deadly and racist attacks on TriMet pledges to keep up protests against racism in law enforcement and the criminal justice system after being arrested during a protest.

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New Police Oversight Gains Traction

Council sends measure to voters

Portland’s City Council has voted to add a measure to the ballot this November that would create a new independent Community Police Oversight Board.

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Wall of Moms Enter Fray

Grassroots actions defy Trump; escalate protests

A wall of moms forming a human shield to protect protesters is gaining strength in Portland in response to the show of force from President Trump and his dispatch of a stealthy team of federal police to protect the U.S. Courthouse and other federal property.

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I-5 Project Moves Ahead Amid Outcry

ODOT hires contractor, sets goals for diversity

The Oregon Department of Transportation has hired a construction manager and general contractor with the task to help make the proposed I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project one of the most fruitful in terms of benefiting minority workers and disadvantaged business owners.

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Book to Focus on Historical Jefferson Team

Author reaches out for archival material

The historical re-telling of Jeff's 1971-72 season and its culmination with the title triumph over Baker High is set against the backdrop of Oregon's racial past and present.

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Another Riot Declared at Police Protest

Disturbance again shuts down Lombard in front of police union office

For the second time in two weeks, a protest Monday night outside a police union office on North Lombard Street escalated out of control with a riot declared by Portland police

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On the Front Lines for Change

Bereaved father organizes March on Washington

A local father who lost his son to a police shooting is leading a group of families like his to Washington, D.C. for the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington.

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Protest Damages Assailed as Setback

Voices raised against violence, vandalism

Advocates for Portland’s African American community joined black leaders in law enforcement to speak out against the violence, vandalism and arson fires that have marred many of the protests over unjust police shootings and racial bias in the criminal justice system

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Killer Taunts Victim

Heated exchange delays Christian sentencing

Sentencing for Jeremy Christian, the Max killer of two passengers during a racist tirade in 2017, was delayed on Tuesday after Christian was thrown out of court for going on a new tirade against the first victim who spoke.

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Black leader: Change will be won in streets

Long time activist adds his voice to protest demands

A historic leader of Portland’s African American community joined thousands of marches in northeast Portland Monday night to demand police accountability and an end to racism and police brutality against African Americans.

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New Police Chief Named to Build Trust

Chuck Lovell rises to the top of command

A black Portland police lieutenant and former resource officer at Jefferson High School who earned praise for building bridges in the black community during his tenure at the school, was suddenly named Portland’s new police chief on Monday.

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Portland NAACP to Lead Police Protest

Leader calls for taking a stand after Minneopolis death

The Portland NAACP announced Thursday it would lead a protest in downtown Portland Friday to take a stand against police brutality in solidarity with protests that have erupted across the country after a black man in Minneapolis died after a police officer held him in custody by pinning his neck to the ground

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Election Boosts Portland’s Minority Voices

First Latino elected to City Council; two black candidates advance

A prominent member of the Latino community won a historic victory for a seat on the Portland City Council Tuesday and two black candidates advance in runoff elections for city commissioner this August and November, giving city government another chance to grow even more diverse in its representation of the city.

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Racism at Every Step

Victim in Max attacks blames ‘white supremacy’

As Jeremy Christian awaits sentencing for his deadly and racist attacks on TriMet, a brave survivor from the violence wants the community, judge and jury to understand how the legacy of white supremacy and Christian’s continual taunts against his victims, people of color and other minorities, makes him a danger to society.

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Geneva’s Closed for Good

Legacy business a victim of COVID-19

Geneva’s Shear Perfection, the legacy barbershop and salon grounded in African American life in the heart of northeast Portland for the past 30 years, will not survive the loss of business brought on the Coronovaivus Pandemic.

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Important Election Looms

Ballots out; countdown begins

Election will decide who wins many local offices outright or sends their campaigns into a runoff in November. In addition, two ballot measures face ratification and adoption with a simple majority.

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Grassroots Micro Lender Responds to Crisis

Nonprofit has experience helping very small businesses

A small business micro lender born out of the Black United Fund is building up its resources to help firms survive financially during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Portland Awards Small Business Relief

An equity lens priority criteria helps 200 firms

More than 200 Portland small businesses were awarded grants Tuesday from a $1 million fund authorized by the Portland City Council to provide relief to small businesses impacted by the coronavirus public health crisis with priority given to minority and women-owned firms and other disadvantaged businesses struggling to survive economically.

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Oregon to Vote as Scheduled

State prepares mail ballots; this time postage will be free

Thanks to Oregon’s well-established vote-by-mail system, the upcoming May 19 primary won’t be moved because of the coronavirus pandemic, Tim Scott, Multnomah County Elections Director declared Friday.

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City Leaders Ask for Rent Forgiveness

Plea is made amidst economic impacts from COVID-19

The local elected officials say unless rent and mortgage payments are waived for people “substantially impacted by COVID-19,” many residents will face severe insurmountable debt while deferring rent or mortgage payments

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Help for Minority Businesses in Crisis

Prosper Portland to manage $1 million relief fund

The first phase of a Small Business Relief Fund to help minority and women-owned firms and other disadvantaged businesses struggling to survive economically because of the coronavirus public health crisis will be launched Monday by Prosper Portland.

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Good in the Hood Canceled

Festival and parade sidelined by public health crisis

“It is with heavy hearts that the Good in the Hood Board has decided to cancel this year's festival scheduled on June 26-28."

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Take Transit Only If Necessary, TriMet says

Police hope to gain voluntary compliance during crisis

As residents are ordered to stay home and minimize travel in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, TriMet Monday asked people to take transit only if necessary, while Portland police said they hope to gain voluntary compliance with Gov. Kate Brown’s latest order for residents to stay at home.

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Sunshine Food Pantries Step Up for Crisis

Emergency food boxes distributed to meet demand

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, emergency food boxes are being distributed to individuals and families in need at the two food panties operated by the Portland Police Sunshine Division.

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Emmanuel Temple Mourns Loss of Founder

Portland Bishop A.A. Wells Dies at age 81

Bishop A.A. Wells was an esteemed leader in Portland’s African American community.

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New Online Resource for Unemployment Benefits

State updates procedures because of Coronavirus epidemic

The Oregon Employment Department has issued a new online resource for employers, workers and job seekers impacted by the coronavirus epidemic.

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De La Salle North Updates Plans

Model shows future school at St. Charles

Catholic high school raising capital for move

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New Case Against ‘TriMet’ Abuser

Follows attack on Emanuel hospital employee

Banned from TriMet after dozens of sex crimes, man now faces four new charges stemming from attack at Emanuel Hospital.

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Actor Stars in Films on Gun Violence

Finishes one picture; plans next role as Aaron Campbell

Portland actor and producer is celebrates completion of "Saving District,” a short film about school shootings in America, and he will soon take on the role of Aaron Campbell in a new movie about Portland man killed by a police sniper 10 years ago

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A Dedicated Public Servant

Condolences for Nick Fish after his death at age 61

Longest tenured city commissioner died just two days after announcing his resignation

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Chief Outlaw Leaving; Deputy Promoted

Year begins with police bureau shakeup

Outlaw to head Philadelphia police department.

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Art Works Celebrate Portland's African Diaspora

October exhibit comes from 10 local artists

Mixed media exhibit celebrating Portland’s African Diaspora will be on view during October at the Multnomah Arts Center

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House Demolished for Hotel

Economic forces transforming historic black neighborhood

A clear sign of the economic forces and gentrification changing the characteristics of historic black neighborhoods in inner north and northeast Portland.

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Volunteers help residents stay housed

Community outreach tackles housing crisis

Fighting displacement by helping low income and struggling homeowners stay housed

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Inferno Erupts from Dry Grass

Smoke, flames damage nearby homes, businesses

A thick column of smoke bellowed throughout the area and could be seen for miles

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McGee, Dickson Not Guilty

Black leaders cleared after trial

The founder and former chief executive officer of Portland’s Black Parent Initiative expressed his gratitude Friday after a judge found him and his co-defendant not guilty of sexual assault after a two week trial

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Unlikely Brotherhood

Retired cop addresses racial divide in new book

A retired black cop and a white criminal defense attorney, both from Portland, recount how their combustible relationship was transformed into a lasting friendship in ‘Unlikely Brotherhood,’ a new book that address the cultural divide between white and black America.

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Kate Brown, JoAnn Hardesty Victorious

Progressive candidates and causes do well at the ballot box

Results from Tuesday’s November General Election in Oregon brought big wins for progressive causes and candidates

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Lessons Learned

Words matter for player, parent and coach

When a racist word was inserted into a children’s counting game by the adult coach mentoring his son, the Sunset High School parent wanted the school principal to do something about it. Now almost a year and a half after bringing the incident to the attention of school staff, the parent is getting an apology and a commitment that it won’t happen again.