Pair teaches art of making a record
“Regardless of skin color, classical musical training, gender identification, or physical ability or disability, everyone can do this work.”
Village Gardens a new resource for fresh and healthy
A local non-profit is taking a unique approach to connecting low income communities to fresh, healthy food by facilitating both a community garden and a grocery store that sells its produce.
Clarke to lead community engagement team
Shanice Clarke, one of the two African American community leaders who ran for the Portland School Board last May, has been hired as the district’s new director of community engagement.
Antoinette Edwards retires from office helping youth
“There are few people I would call a hero. You’re a hero,” remarked Mayor Ted Wheeler before declaring July 31 as “Antoinette Edwards Fierce Advocate Day” in Portland.
Do concealed identities embolden the violence?
Police Chief Danielle Outlaw has raised the issue of the concealed identities during protests in downtown Portland as emboldening some of the violence that has been occurring, but would banning masks violate constitutional protections?
Governor signs law sponsored by late Sen. Winters
New sentencing requirements for young offenders meant to mitigate long held systemic racial, ethnic, and economic disparities in Oregon’s corrections system was signed into law by Gov. Kate Brown Monday in what advocates are calling the most significant juvenile justice reform bill in the past quarter century.
Alberta Commons business owners celebrate
The importance of cultivating African American culture and prosperity and replanting roots in the historic heart of Portland’s black community was the theme of Saturday’s public grand opening celebration for the Alberta Commons project, “Dream Street” located at 5015 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Activists want seat in new police union contract
Portland activists are calling on the city to reverse course from the past and allow meaningfully public participation and civilian oversight during its upcoming contract negotiations with rank and file police officers negotiating a new contract over the next year
Q Center support serves diverse community
The Q Center, a nonprofit providing services and a safe space for Portland and southwest Washington’s LGBTQ+ community, has just completed an intense fundraising effort to complete much needed maintenance to their building on North Mississippi Avenue, but advocates say continued community support in funding and volunteering are essential to keeping the Pacific Northwest’s largest LGBTQ+ community center up and running.
Homegrown school leader takes helm
Lavert Robertson, a seasoned African American education administrator at Portland Public Schools who was raised in northeast Portland, has taken the helm as chief executive officer for All Hands Raised, a non-profit organization working to improve learning outcomes county-wide for kids of color.
New pool at Peninsula Park expands capacity
To celebrate the reconstruction of north Portland’s popular Peninsula Pool -- which reopened Monday -- Portland Parks and Recreation is inviting the community to a grand reopening celebration and pool party featuring free swimming, cake, a synchronized swimming performance, and other activities, coming Thursday July 18, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at 700 N. Rosa Parks Way.
Gregory Reese is embarking on a five week bicycle ride across the country to raise awareness of retina disease, traveling from Portland to New York City.
Group offered help on new location
Some of the food carts of the iconic Alder Street Food Cart Pod, downtown, have found a temporary home in the old downtown Post Office parking lot, thanks to an anonymous donation that covered towing costs and support from the city, with the hopes of securing a new permanent home along the North Park Blocks.
Rare EF-0 twister leaves path of destruction
Power was restored and debris began to be cleared for northeast Portland residents Tuesday morning after an extremely rare tornado uprooted several trees, damaged vehicles and houses, and cut off power for over 2,000 people early Monday evening.
SEI and Water Bureau assist low income
Representatives from Portland Water Bureau and Self Enhancement, Inc. are on a mission to let economically struggling families know about the financial assistance options the city utility offers, which have been increased this past year.
Miracles Club director had life of advocacy
Michael Booker Sr., beloved for his community advocacy work, died Friday at the age of 64.
Mic Crenshaw expands reach with new support
“To me, it’s a life changing blessing. It’s one of the biggest opportunities I’ve ever encountered,” veteran Portland emcee Mic Crenshaw said of a new $100,000 Oregon Humanities grant when we caught up with him at Portland Underground Recording Studio in southwest Portland, fresh off of recording segments for two collaborative songs with his longtime producer Prince Strickland.
New black filmmakers celebrate
Black and women filmmakers, who are sorely underrepresented nationwide in the television and movie industries, were the focus of a yearlong fellowship for filmmakers of color at Open Signal Labs, the nonprofit community media organization in northeast Portland. Now the culmination of their work will be shared with film screenings and an after party celebration this Friday starting at 7 p.m. at Hollywood Theatre in northeast Portland.
Civil rights champion had deep community roots
The Oregon State Capitol in Salem will honor Winters with a memorial service in the Senate Chambers followed by a reception open to the public.
When power pole for development placed at her house
The unintended consequence of the construction of new luxury housing in inner northeast Portland left one African American homeowner and longtime resident with a transformer-mounted pole directly in front of her house, without any prior notice.
Business owner and civil rights champion was only black Republican in chamber
Jackie Winters, the trail blazing Oregon state senator and only African-American Republican to be elected to the Legislature, died Wednesday at the age of 82.
Gunned down and still unsolved 25 years later
25 years ago Eddie Morgan was shot to death on the corner of Northeast 42nd and Alberta in what remains an unsolved murder.
Alberta Street art will tell the stories
Recognizing Northeast Alberta Street as central to a shared African American history is the intention of a series of art markers that will soon be unveiled at key intersections.
Racist emblem traced to store worker's auto
In a response to the Portland Observer on Tuesday, Natural Grocers spokesperson Amber Dutra would not confirm the employee was the manager, but expected to have more information in the next 48 hours pending an investigation by the company.
DePass elected for Portland Public and Penson for PCC
Two longtime African American community members won election in local school board races Tuesday
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.