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Michael Leighton

Stories by Michael

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The Pen is Funnier than the Sword

His political cartoons tackle issues like Islamophobia, immigration and racial justice in America with insight and humor and have been carried by newspapers around the world, including regularly in the Portland Observer.

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Justice Reform Effort Grows

Grant allows county to target jail misuse and overuse

Multnomah County has added momentum to efforts to reform the local criminal justice system and reduce the county jail population

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Business Leader Settles with State

Mediation ends investigation of Roy Jay and nonprofits

No admission of wrongdoing or fault was made in settlement reached

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Dream Run on Starting Blocks

Still time to sign up and honor Martin Luther King

There’s still time to sign up for the MLK Dream Run coming to northeast Portland on Sunday, Sept. 24.

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Smith to Battle for City Council Seat

Field widens after Saltzman decides not to seek re-election

Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith has thrown her name into a May election for Portland City Council seeking a position that will become vacant when Dan Saltzman steps down at the end of his term next year.

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Dreamers Abandoned

Trump ends program to furious opposition

Critics assail Trump Administration for ending program that has deferred deportations for more than 780,000 people who came to the U.S. illegally as children.

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Memorial Tells Story of Dr. Unthank

Building community pride

A memorial plaque telling the story of the late Dr. DeNorval Unthank, the first black doctor in Portland and a dedicated humanitarian who tirelessly advocated for civil rights while building his medical practice, was dedicated at Unthank Park in north Portland during an Aug. 19 community celebration sponsored by Self Enhancement, Inc.

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Mayor Names New Police Chief

Oakland cop will be first black woman to lead bureau

Citing the national push for police reforms and the opportunity to hire someone with qualities he wants, Mayor Ted Wheeler Monday picked Danielle Outlaw, an experienced assistant police chief from Oakland, Calif., to become Portland’s new police chief and the first black woman to lead the bureau.

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Hash Oil Butane Caused Massive Blast

Cause found of deadly home explosion

A massive house explosion and fire that killed two men in north Portland Monday sending glass shards and debris across the street into Peninsula Park and damaging surrounding homes was caused by using butane to make hash oil, investigators have determined.

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Deadly Blast Levels House

Explosion kills two; other homes damaged

Investigators were on the scene of a deadly house explosion Tuesday trying to determine what caused a Monday afternoon inferno that killed two people at a home on North Kerby Street across from Peninsula Park, causing extensive damage to surrounding homes and sending glass shards and other debris across the street into the park and surrounding area.

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Unwavering Support for Smith

Leaders say county chair led biased investigation

An esteemed group of African American leaders issued a rebuke to Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury Tuesday saying the findings of wrongdoing in a county-led human resources investigation against County Commissioner Loretta Smith were unsubstantiated and instead were a political and racist attack against Smith, the only black member of the county commission.

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Clean Up Alberta Street

Earth Day event planned rain or shine

Friends and neighbors and other volunteers will focus on cleaning up litter, clearing storm drains, weeding and mulching at bus stops and removing graffiti along Northeast Alberta Street between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Northeast 33rd Avenue.

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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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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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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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Big Melt Begins

Ice and snow to give way to rain and more rain

One of the largest snowfalls in Portland history started to give way to a big melt on Tuesday that brought freezing rain. Heavy rain was in the forecast overnight and into Wednesday to keep travel extremely hazardous before the big accumulation of ice and snow could be expected to slowly melt away.

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Let’s Get Healthy Together

Wellness Village rescheduled after snow event

The African American Health Coalition will celebrate its annual Health Disparities Luncheon on Friday, Jan. 20 and Wellness Village on Saturday, Jan. 21, after the previous December dates for the events were postponed when Portland was hit by snow and ice.

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Making Noise in the Northwest

All-girls music festival makes return

Girl Fest, Portland's own, all-girls and all-ages mini-music festival returns to Lola’s Room at the Crystal Ballroom, downtown, on Saturday, Jan. 14.

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Mayor to Speak at King Observance

Mayor to Speak at King Observance

Mayor Ted Wheeler will be the featured speaker at the annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. observance on Sunday, Jan. 15 at 4 p.m. at Maranatha Church, 4222 N.E. 12th Ave.

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Traditions of Giving Back

Concordia exhibit explores black philanthropy

A groundbreaking touring exhibit that explores the giving traditions of African Americans through history and the contributions of black Americans in transforming society will open this weekend for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday at Concordia University.

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Flu Hits Oregon Strong and Early

Still time for flu shot protection

Influenza cases are rising in Oregon, and although the increase is expected this time of year, Oregon Health Authority officials say it shows flu season is off to a strong and early start. Most of the cases have been influenza A, this season's predominant flu type.

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Historic Choice for PSU Athletic Director

Viking program gets a new leader

Valerie Cleary to become one of the rare female college executives at the NCAA Division I level

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Portland Fitness Model Crowned

Andrea Green wins a first place trophy for natural bodybuilding at the recent Pro Elite World Championship

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Scrapbook Selections

Sharing Portland’s history in family exhibit

Clifford Walker is enjoying his retirement by remaining engaged in his community and making a difference in the direction of the city.

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Construction begins on PDC-backed project

Alberta Commons to bring economic benefits

Construction has begun on Alberta Commons, a Portland Development Commission backed project to bring economic benefits to the heart of the historic black community at Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Alberta Street.

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Jumping into the Fire

Sharing the story of black paratroopers in Oregon

Unique story of patriotism, race and service will be shared during a free and open “history pub” series event at McMenamins Kenendy School in northeast Portland

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Supporting School Sanctuaries

Helping kids regardless of immigration status

Portland School Board Member Julie Esparza Brown has rallied and won support for a new school district policy to affirm the protection of civil liberties and the rights of undocumented students.

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Rattled by Trump

Turmoil erupts on Portland’s streets after election

Thousands of people stunned by Donald Trump’s win in the presidential election set off on a week of daily protests.

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Life in Vanport

New documentary features stores from survivors

A new OPB one-hour documentary tells the story of Vanport, a city with roots for Portland's African American population.

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McCollum Dream Center Introduced

Blazer makes space for kids to learn, explore

Blazer CJ McCollum project brings innovative learning room outfitted with new computers, books, art and learning tools to the Blazers Boys & Girls Club.

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War Stories to Heal and Reflect

Alberta American Legion post reaches out

Portland-area veterans, family members of veterans, and civilians are invited to join War Stories, a free, six-month reading, writing, and discussion group at American Legion Post 134, located at 2104 N.E. Alberta St.

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PCC Cascade Campus Transformed

Library completes second major expansion

Friends and neighbors are invited to celebrate the campus transformation

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Arson Fire Displaces Families

Man tells police he started the blaze

Red Cross helps with temporary housing and food

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Neighbors Against Violence

Ex-gang member forms group to help kids

Nicole Taylor has formed a mentoring group for youth to find jobs and give them a safe place in the community.

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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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