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Michael Leighton

Stories by Michael

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Equity on Employment in Courthouse Build

Aggressive goals set for a diverse workforce

Multnomah County has set a high bar for hiring a diverse group of workers to build a downtown courthouse to replace the existing county courthouse which is more than 100 years old.

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Natural Foods Plans Approved

Project will be low scale development

The Natural Grocers project coming to Northeast Alberta Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard will be a single-story retail strip mall project.

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New Approach on Drugs

Civil rights groups applaud call for reforms

Two major civil rights groups are applauding a call by law enforcement officers in the state to decriminalize drug possession crimes.

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August Wilson’s solo show on race, power and more

'How I Learned What I Learned'

August Wilson’s provocative autobiographical solo show about race, culture, oppression, hierarchy and power.

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Racial Healing on Stage

'Blue-Eyed Black Boy' launches series on race

A new series of plays to elicit greater understanding of historical events related to today's racial environment.

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Peeling through stereotypes and misconceptions

Bonnie Ratner's 'Hazardous Beauty' tackles election

Democracy is Hazardous Beauty

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Beloved Pastor Mary Overstreet Smith Dies

Was known for decades of selfless work

Plans set for public memorial services

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Roadblocks at the Courthouse

Report on DAs is push for criminal justice reform

As Oregon votes in next week’s Primary Election most of the candidates overseeing criminal justice in the state won’t face any opposition and that’s a roadblock to reforming laws that disproportionately impact minorities, according to a new report by the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon.

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ACLU Blasts Sheriff’s Probe

Says AG investigation falls short on protecting civil rights

An investigation that cleared Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton of criminal wrongdoing failed to account for actions that may have violated civil protections, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon.

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Activist Acquitted

Jury rules in favor of protester

Teressa Raiford was unanimously acquitted Thursday on a charge related to protesting the death of Micheal Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

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Healing the Health Care Blues

Annual concert puts issue and need in focus

A Portland blues festival historically rooted in civil rights and social justice causes is once again putting its focus on supporting a campaign to bring universal health coverage to everyone.

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Prosecutor’s Post Called Racist

Oregon Commission on Black Affairs files a complaint

The Oregon Commission on Black Affairs has submitted a complaint to the Oregon State Bar against Washington County Deputy District Attorney Zoe Smith for her alleged racist statements on social media.

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Nourishing the Community

New Seasons expands to University Park

New Seasons Market, the locally-grown chain of grocery outlets that puts a premium on fresh, healthy foods while giving back to the community, has expanded its reach by opening its third location in north Portland.

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Vigil for Man Killed Crossing Cully

Family and neighbors call for safety improvements

Hugs, tears and fond memories were shared for a long time member of the black community

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Gang Team Investigates

Shooting disrupts peace near PCC campus

18-year-old male shoots another young man near sidewalk

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Ducks, Beavers are NCAA Bound

Oregon seeded No. 1 in West; OSU No. 7

A first for both teams playing in the same championship series

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Oregon Removes Confederate Emblem

Flag represented Mississippi in Walk of Flags

Oregon Legislative leaders first wanted to give the state of Mississippi a chance to change the flag on its own

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Gun Safety Bill Dies in Senate

Lawmakers fail to close 'Charleston' loophole

Senate leaders block law to end Legislative session

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Attorney General Addresses Police Issues

Says Portland sets example of work ahead

President Obama's chief law enforcement official visits city

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City takes legal action against homeowner

Time runs out on nuisance complaint

Long time African American resident says complaints are harassment

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Hybrid Human Artist Welcome

Wangechi Mutu to visit Northwest College of Art

Works by New York-based artist and Kenyan native Wangechi Mutu have achieved global acclaim for creating some of the most important contemporary African art of recent years.

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Attorney General Visits Portland

Loretta Lynch is on community policing tour

Loretta E. Lynch has set a full schedule with stops at George Middle School the Blazers Boys and Girls Club.

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Honoring Gladys McCoy

New building will retain leader’s name

A resolution to retain the name of the Multnomah County Health Department headquarters in honor of Gladys McCoy.

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Inside Ferguson

Portland author shares story in personal account

A front row seat into the turmoil and outrage that followed the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

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Tests Offered for Airborne Metals Exposure

A call is issued for those concerned about the risks from exposure to elevated levels of airborne metals found near two glass company sites.

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Sweet Baby James Benton Dies at 85

Beloved musician was link to Portland's past

A beloved personality in Portland's music community

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Duckworth Dock May Move

City department wants out of dock upkeep

The downtown core may be losing its public dock on the Willamette River with a proposal to move it to Swan Island.

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Chip Shields Won’t Run Again

Lawmaker to stop down; Frederick to run

A Portland lawmaker who rose from a local non-profit helping former inmates transition back into productive lives to later becoming a State Representative and then State Senator announced Friday he will be giving up his legislative duties at the end of his term next year.

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Obama to Visit Roseburg

Campus tragedy tears at hearts and minds

President Obama announced Monday that he will travel to Roseburg on Friday to visit with the families of victims killed in a campus shooting that left 10 people dead, including the 26-year-old gunman, and injured nine people.

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Forging Trade with China

Business leader embarks on strategic initiative

Portland business entrepreneur Roy Joy has embarked on a strategic initiative to build economic ties with China.

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Activist Teacher Remembered

A longtime Portland educator who helped countless Portland students embark on careers in journalism and other pursuits, including the editor of the Portland Observer as a student at John Adams High School, is being remembered after his death at the age of 92.

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Sticker Shock

Bible College land turns to market rate housing

While it may not be unusual to have sticker shock for the price of new housing in the heart of Portland’s historic African American community where gentrification is rampant, a property sold by the North Portland Bible College and turned into apartments by private developers, is making eyes roll.

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Reversing the History of Illness

Sobering picture for residents of color

People of color in Multnomah County face “extremely sobering’’ disparities that lead to more illness, fewer opportunities and shorter lives.

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Shooting Near Rosemary Anderson High School

Three people injured; schools on lockdown

A shooting near Rosemary Anderson High School

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Not Your Everyday Family

Portland director brings comedy on West African experience

A play with lots of laughs and drama that follows an African family over three distinct stages of their development, through changing times and circumstances

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Police reviews of police St. Johns disturbance ordered

Police used taser to arrest teenager

The use of a Taser gun by Portland police to subdue a black teenager and the actions of police to make the arrest will be investigated by Portland’s Independent Police Review Division as well as an internal police review

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When Justice Fails

Advocating for children tried as adults

Partnership for Safety and Justice leads a rally to raise awareness of the social and personal harm caused by policies that allow young people to be punished as adults.

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Forum on Racial Disparities Law

Mechanics of law goes before the public

A forum was held in Salem Tuesday aimed at educating lawmakers and members of the public about a new law that can delay and possibly prevent future legislation that causes racial disparities in our criminal justice and child welfare systems.

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Dream Makers

Child Development Center opens at PCC Cascade

New classrooms for Albina Head Start and Albina Early Head Start at Portland Community College’s Cascade Campus will bring needed child care for people going to the north Portland school and enhance the abilities of children and their families to succeed in life.

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Look Out for Kids!

Crosswalk enforcement for back-to-school safety

The Portland Bureau of Transportation and Portland Police Bureau are raising awareness of pedestrian safety and Oregon traffic laws as kids go back to school from summer break.

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Beyond an Ugly Past

Portland woman’s memoir of a hard life and hope

A long time Portland woman has written an inspirational and dramatic story about how she escaped poverty and life-and-death challenges as a child to build a better life. “I Thought I Wouldn’t Tell It,” by Deloris Dallas is a memoir of a hard life and hope.

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Remembering Charles Jordan

First black city commissioner inspired leadership

People from all over the city are remembering Jordan for his leadership, especially in his role as a former director of Portland Parks and Recreation.

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Change Agent

Issues of race and disability move into the spotlight

Issues of race and disability have moved into the spotlight at City Hall thanks to Portland’s first ever Office of Equity and Human Rights. Dante J. James, the office’s first bureau director, presented an annual report on the work accomplished by the department to the full City Council last month and recently met with the Portland Observer to help build public support for the mission.

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Through the Eyes of Africans

Cascade Festival of African Films to entertain and inform

Portland Community College's 24th Cascade Festival of African Films brings 19 films and two African directors

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Portland Leader Improving Lives

Honored by Concordia University

Kay Toran, president and chief executive officer of Volunteers of America, will receive Concordia University’s 3rd Annual Gov. Victor Atiyeh Leadership in Education Award.

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King Neighborhood Firehouse Demolished

Historic resource not protected

1924 building was of Colonial style with a portico and Tuscan columns.

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Decorated Veteran

Michelle Watson excels as career military leader

It’s been a long and rewarding journey from Harriet Tubman School in Portland to a distinguished career in the U.S. Coast Guard for Michelle Watson. The former Portland and Vancouver area resident has just finished a year in which she met President Obama and the First Lady; was promoted as the first African-American woman commander of a Coast Guard security unit in Virginia; and served as a deputy commander in security for the president’s second inauguration in Washington, D.C., last January.

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Remembrances Pour in for Lee Perlman

Neighborhood stalwart was a community champion

Accolades and remembrances are pouring in for Lee Perlman, a longtime Portland community journalist and activist who died this month at the age of 64.

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‘Moda Health’ Wins Arena Naming Rights

Rose Garden name goes away for sponsorship deal

The Portland Trail Blazers and Moda Health have unveiled a community partnership that changes the name of the Rose Garden to “the Moda Center at the Rose Quarter,” effective immediately.

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Summer African American Film Series Begins

First annual Summer African American Film Festival series begins