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Michael Leighton

Stories by Michael

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Ex Cop found Guilty

Verdict sets off jubilation around city

In Portland, city leaders, including police and other law enforcement officials, issued statements in support of the jury’s decision.

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Police Add Up Damages from Riot

Violence directed at police after latest shooting

Portland police are adding up the damages from new protests against police that turned violent Monday night.

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Journeys to Justice

Taking on the experiences of being Black

The experiences of being Black comes to life as part of a presentation by Portland Opera called Journeys to Justice, an evening of art, song, opera and short pieces about love, justice and the experiences of being African American.

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Family and Love of Cooking

Da’Das Soulful Eatz serving at Miracles Club

Jamie Turner works the kitchen as the owner and operator of Ja’Das Soulful Eatz, expanding her catering and food cart business into a new family soul food restaurant next door to the Miracles Cub at 4200 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

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Relieved the Truth Prevailed

Portland leader asks for an apology

Lifelong champion for police accountability in Portland, and the city’s first Black female member of the City Council, was relieved to see the truth prevail, but was frustrated by the unnecessary burden put on her office to disprove a completely false accusation.

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Hardesty Calls Allegations a Smear

Alleges partisan campaign against her

“I’m telling you today, these allegations are false, and to be frank, these allegations are very suspicious," Hardesty said.

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Cold Gives Way to Big Melt

Storm left large blanket of snow and ice

The Portland Metro area was digging out after a record winter storm left a large blanket of snow and ice.

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Komen Closing Portland Operations

Breast cancer prevention group had deep bonds in Black community

“This change is incredibly difficult,” Alice Fern, the chapter’s marketing and communications manager told the Portland Observer.

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Wells Picked for Wilson High Renaming

District to name school for civil rights icon

Portland’s Wilson High School will be renamed Ida B. Wells-Barnett High School in honor of one of America’s most famous early civil rights leaders, a Black woman who fought for the right to vote, a person born into slavery in 1862 and who was freed by the Emancipation Proclamation during the Civil War.

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Driver Rampage Kills Woman

Witnesses suspect destruction was intentional

Some residents on Southeast Stark who watched a driver plow into people on the sides of streets and sidewalks Monday afternoon, injuring at least nine people and killing an elderly woman, have indicated that they are convinced the damage and destruction was intentional.

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Vandalism Won’t Deter Democrats

Party says Inauguration Day attack won’t stop its resolve

Party officials said they were thankful that staff members were not in the building at the time.

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Advancing Justice, Equality

Meyer Memorial Trust leader on MLK, new headquarters

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” The words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. have been an lifelong inspiration to Michelle J. DePass, an esteemed Black executive overseeing the Meyer Memorial Trust.

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Talks Ease Tensions at Red House

Eviction protest continues, but barricades begin to come down

A perimeter of street and sidewalk barricades erected by protesters to oppose the eviction of a long time Black and Indigenous family in the Humboldt neighborhood of north Portland have started to come down as talks to resolve issues between the family, police and local officials continue.

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Black Innovators Celebrated

New mural pays tribute to diverse business community

Portland’s Black community and support for artists of color are celebrated with the creation of a new public mural to replace another mural that celebrated diversity

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‘Safe Moms, Safe Babies’ Help Arrives

Baby supplies go to families impacted by COVID-19

Four northeast Portland organizations have received donations of over 2,000 diapers and other baby supplies for distribution to families impacted by COVID-19, the recent wildfires and other economic hardships.

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Mapps Beats Eudaly; Wheeler Re-elected

In Gresham, first Black mayor wins

Mingus Mapps captured a seat on the Portland City Council in Tuesday’s General Election, which will make him the third person of color, a new majority on the five-member panel, when he takes office in January.

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Voters Say ‘Yes’ to Jefferson Rebuild

Measure also includes a new Center for Black Student Excellence

Jefferson High School, home for generations of families from Portland’s African American community, will get a complete renovation, and schools surrounding Jefferson will start a process to open a new Center for Black Student Excellence, as part of a construction bond that was passed by voters in Tuesday’s General Election.

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Lost by Fraud and Deceit

Family fights to win back their historic home

An African American family with indigenous roots is locked in a dramatic struggle for the right to return to their historic home in one of Portland’s most gentrified neighborhoods.

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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.