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Danny Peterson

Stories by Danny

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Winning School Board Candidates

DePass elected for Portland Public and Penson for PCC

Two longtime African American community members won election in local school board races Tuesday

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Parkrose Coach a True Hero

Brave response averts school shooting

When asked what his reaction to the fact that Parkrose Football Coach Keanon Lowe disarmed the gunman, junior Clayton Espenel said: “I’m just really thankful, I’m sure everyone here at the school is.”

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Sale Worries Neighbors

Woodlawn wants community use; fears more gentrification

Albina Head Start Executive Director Ronnie Herndon and a representative for the Deliverance Center told the Portland Observer that an outreach to the commercial market raises alarm bells for them, since both nonprofits were still waiting to get answers to their inquires to purchase the property.

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Opportunity to Serve

May vote a choice for school board direction

For the first time in a more than a decade, a black member of the community is poised to be represented on the seven-member Portland School Board.

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School Board Candidate Shanice Clarke On The Issues

Clarke calls for holistic, new approach

Clarke has traversed a personal and winding path that led her to becoming an advocate for education, a goal she calls her life dream.

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School Board Candidate Michelle DePass On The Issues

DePass has deep roots to community

DePass said she knows from personal experience the plight of surviving in a low-income upbringing and the disruptions that situation causes for learning.

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Making the Case

Hopes High for Measure 11 Reform

“I think that there’s a real understanding of the impact, that it’s not just been an impact on minority communities, but it’s been an impact on low income communities across the state," Sen. Lew Frederick, a sponsor of legislation to reform juvenile justice laws in Oregon, told the Portland Observer.

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Running for PCC Board

Tiffani Penson connects to community

Tiffani Penson, a longtime Portland city worker, education advocate, and community volunteer, is vying for the Portland Community College Board of Directors for Zone 2, the district that encompasses the parts of north and northeast Portland that she grew up in, for the May 21 election.

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Getting Ahead with a Degree

Instructor applies life experiences

Usha Ramanujam gets inspired when she talks about her perspective students.

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Shootings Draw Response

Vancouver leaders look for answers

Two southwest Washington civil rights groups are looking for answers after a string of officer-involved shootings in Clark County.

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Toran Offers a Plan for Wapato

New proposal for never used jail

A new vision for the never-used Wapato jail been drafted by Volunteers of America. This time the proposal is to create a 100-bed residential treatment program for addiction and mental health services for men and women.

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Emotions Run High

Chief joins screening of ‘The Hate You Give’

“We still have to recognize and acknowledge that there’s bias in the world and we’re not always aware of it…we know as Portland Police officers that anything that happens anywhere else in this country impacts us here, in the winds of how we do our jobs here.”

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Rib Pit Finds Way to Survive

Wayne Cannon downsizes to keep barbeque history alive

“We're in the process of trying to maintain a reasonable price of our product and keep the costs down to survive,” proprietor and chef Wayne Cannon said.

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De La Salle’s New Home

Diverse high school plans move to St. Charles Parish

The culturally diverse De La Salle North Catholic High School has signed an historic agreement paving the way for its move from the Kenton Neighborhood of north Portland to the St. Charles Parish, a diverse congregation in the Cully Neighborhood of northeast Portland.

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A Legacy of Action

Vancouver Avenue First Baptist celebrates 75 years

The Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church is an important epicenter for African-American life in Portland, where its members find a welcoming space to make an impact on social justice issues of the day.

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‘It looked like a river’

Burst water main sees swift repair

“It looked like the Deschutes River right here,” said Kevin Hendrickson, whose home was about 100 feet from the break. “I am amazed they succeeded at replacing that pipe that fast.”

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Emotionally Raw

PSU Board faced with pleas to disarm

Portland State University’s Board of Trustees has a lot to digest after an emotionally raw meeting with the campus community to discuss a new report and investigation of the PSU security office and its controversial policy to arm campus police officers.

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A Reversal of Fortunes

Making sure new business side of pot is diverse

It’s a move City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly called “just one step toward tangible restorative justice.”

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Not on Board

Groups align against I-5 expansion

A coalition of dozens of organizations, small businesses, and Portland community members are worried Oregon Department of Transportation’s proposed Rose Quarter freeway project will further worsen the air quality of nearby Harriet Tubman Middle school, among other concerns, despite a recent environmental assessment from the state agency claiming the opposite would occur.

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Armed Police Get Nod

PSU recommendation at odds with campus survey

A special board meeting at Portland State University has been scheduled for next Thursday, March 7 after consultants hired by the university released a report Friday recommending keeping armed officers at PSU even as it presented a new survey showing a slim majority on campus were opposed.

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50 Years of Black Studies

PSU department was first in Northwest

50 years ago, Portland State became the first college in the Pacific Northwest to offer a program in black studies following the greatest decade of change for African Americans since the Civil War

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Mitigating Displacement

Nonprofit breaks ground for second major build

A new 70 rental-unit affordable housing development in the heart Portland’s historic African American community began construction Friday, marking continued progress on a longtime housing provider’s effort to mitigate and reverse displacement of primarily the black community, indigenous populations, and other long-term and low-income residents, in partnership with the city of Portland.

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Friendly Texts Review

City to look for police bias in dialogue with far-right

A revelation that hundreds of text messages were exchanged between a Portland police lieutenant in charge of overseeing protests and the leader of a far-right group has spurred outrage from the mayor and other community members. Now, the mayor will allow an independent investigation of the Portland Police Bureau to look for any wrongdoing and call for added police training to help them identify white supremacist groups.

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A Long History of Health Disparities

Black Americans still recovering from wrongful past

The United States is still recovering from a lack of healthcare access for African Americans and lack of opportunities for black medical professionals.

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Keeping the Focus on Health

Community steps up to continue programs

The Miracles Club, a Portland non-profit dedicated to substance abuse recovery services and permanent housing of recovering addicts, most from the African American community, is now managing health initiatives for the black community at large that were previously run by the African American Health Coalition, which dissolved last year.

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Transit Riders Organize

Ad hoc ‘rider advocates’ push TriMet to act

A grassroots effort to bring back civilian volunteers on public transit to help de-escalate conflicts and provide information and support to riders is currently in an unofficial prototype phase, thanks to OPAL—a civil rights and environmental justice organization which stands for “Organizing People, Activating Leaders”—and a bus riders union called Bus Riders Unite.

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A Heroine for Transit Rights

Rosa Parks’ civil rights activism started early

An often overlooked aspect of the story of Rosa Parks, the civil rights icon whose refusal to move from her seat for a white passenger during the segregated south in the mid-1950s and subsequent arrest helped spark the modern civil rights movement, is that Parks’ choice that day was part of a planned, intentional act of demonstration against the racist Jim Crow laws of Montgomery, Ala., her hometown at the time.

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NAACP Generations

Custodians of civil rights protections celebrate

The oft-overlooked histories of black communities in Vancouver and the Pacific Northwest, as well as the re-telling of racial justice victories made possible because of the advocacy of the Vancouver Branch of the NAACP, are celebrated during February as Black History Month is observed with special speakers, historical documents, artwork and exhibitions.

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New Effort at Gun Control

Faith leaders draft legislation for current session

Local faith leaders and advocates from around the state in support of stronger gun control measures are planning on introducing two bills to the legislature this year.

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Shutdown Impacts Grow

Food pantries are lifeline to furloughed workers

Furloughed and unpaid federal workers from around the state were bracing for more financial uncertainty while also receiving emergency help from food pantries to feed their families as the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history entered its second month and 32nd day on Tuesday.

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Advocacy Work Transforms Young Leader

Now 27, Whitten’s efforts addressing inequities grows

Cameron Whitten’s advocacy work for marginalized communities in Portland has taken many forms over the years, from being an organizer of the Occupy Portland movement, to co-founding Portland’s Resistance in response to the election of President Donald Trump, to starting a non-profit to leverage community grounded initiatives to make justice and economic prosperity a lived experience for black, brown, and indigenous people in Oregon.

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Arrested in the Fight for Civil Rights

Like King, immigration advocates use civil disobedience

When 124 asylum seekers were detained in a federal prison in Sheridan last summer after being caught up in President Donald Trump’s zero tolerance immigration policy, civil rights groups, lawyers, activists, and faith leaders took steps to help get all of them out of lockup and bring light to the issue.

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Breaking Bread, Breaking Barriers

Creator of ‘No Hate Zone’ faced discrimination in youth

By promoting equity and diversity through his work as a former Army veteran, football player, law enforcement officer, and later as Human Rights Commissioner for the City of Portland, he’s made a name for himself. He’s spearheaded an effort for local and state governments in Oregon to adopt variations of an equitable hiring standard, for example, known as The Rooney Rule, in which at least one ethnic minority must be interviewed for leadership roles.

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New Lifeline for Foster Youth of Color

Agency focuses on culturally-specific care, services

In response to African American children being overrepresented in Oregon’s child welfare system, a new foster care agency led by a black executive is working to close that gap by providing culturally specific foster care services and recruiting new foster parents of color.

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Creating Social-Justice Themed Artwork

Young activist motivated to make a difference

Ameya Okamoto is only 18-years-old but she has already has made a name for herself by creating dramatic social-justice themed artwork.

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The Accidental Organizer

Activist reflects on his role in protest

Most of us have mistakenly clicked on an unwanted option while online shopping or doing other activities on the web, usually a minor inconvenience and easily corrected. But for Jordan LeDoux, a misplaced click sent him down the path to reluctantly organizing the local chapter of a national protest in support of maintaining the integrity of a special counsel investigation into ties between Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia.

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KairosPDX Gets 5 year Lease

KairosPDX, the public charter school that focuses on closing the achievement gap for its majority-black students, has signed a new, longer lease from Portland Public Schools that leaders of the school say will give them more stability.

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A New Seat of Power

Tables turned as activist Hardesty takes office

Jo Ann Hardesty has taken office as Portland’s newest City Commissioner, a historic benchmark for the city

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Opposition Grows on Warnings

NAACP, music venues say new rules will bring displacement

The Portland NAACP has new allies in opposition to a recent city policy requiring owners of unreinforced masonry buildings to post warnings signs on structures deemed to be at risk of collapse during an earthquake.

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Crash Damages Highland Church

Pastor's office littered with broken glass and concrete

A northeast Portland church that is scheduled to host this year’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. tribute was struck by a vehicle over the weekend, but the damage was not expected to impact the Monday, Jan. 21 celebration.

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Power to the Workers

Fast food employees grow movement for rights, wages

Burgerville employee James Curry is on the front lines of a successful fight for workers rights and livable wages and he expects more victories in the New Year. Portland made history when workers at three area Burgerville restaurants voted last year for collective bargaining rights, the first fast food restaurant chain in the nation to have unionized employees.

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Kicked-Out Hotel Guest Considers Next Steps

Man who had cops called on him hires lawyer

A white security officer and another employee at the Portland Hilton/Doubletree who calls police on a black man who was basically minding his own business while using a phone in the hotel lobby

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Shaken by Break-ins

Coffee House responds; video shows suspect

A northeast Portland coffee shop is on guard after the fourth break-in in less than a month and surveillance video may lead to the person responsible.

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Expanding the Impact

Volunteer makes hot meals for kitchen-less shelter

Giving back and recruiting others to do the same

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Achieving Success

KairosPDX school organization earns high praise

The organization behind a majority black charter school honored by civil rights panel

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Community Healing

A jobs and housing mission grows

A northeast Portland non-profit is breaking down employment and housing barriers

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Sugar Shack Comes Down

Blight to give way to affordable housing

The destruction of a much-maligned former strip club, the Sugar Shack, in the Cully Neighborhood of northeast Portland, kicked off Monday

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Shared Stewardship

Social justice advocates introduce new space for organizing

A new public gathering space for multiple organizations to share and one geared toward social justice issues and support for communities of color is giving various non-profit groups a better way to consolidate their limited resources and make a bigger impact.

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Menacing Behavior Arrest

Man accused of poking strangers with metal rod

A man was arrested Monday after he allegedly used a metal rod to poke strangers in southeast Portland

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Reo’s Ribs is Back

‘We’ve been packed every day,’ owner says on re-opening

Portland once again is enjoying the soul food offerings of Reo’s Ribs. The popular black-owned restaurant in the Hollywood District reopened this month after a fire totaled the interior of its historic building a year-and-a-half-ago.