07-24-2024  3:08 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather

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NORTHWEST NEWS

Wildfires Threaten Communities in the West as Oregon Fire Closes Interstate, Creates Its Own Weather

Firefighters in the West are scrambling as wildfires threaten communities in Oregon, California and Washington. A stretch of Interstate 84 connecting Oregon and Idaho in the area of one of the fires was closed indefinitely Tuesday. New lightning-sparked wildfires in the Sierra near the California-Nevada border forced the evacuation of a recreation area, closed a state highway and were threatening structures Tuesday.

In Washington State, Inslee's Final Months Aimed at Staving off Repeal of Landmark Climate Law

Voters in Washington state will decide this fall whether to keep one of the country's more aggressive laws aimed at stemming carbon pollution. The repeal vote imperils the most significant climate policy passed during outgoing Gov. Jay Inslee's three terms, and Inslee — who made climate action a centerpiece of his short-lived presidential campaign in the 2020 cycle — is fighting hard against it. 

SneakerWeek 2024 Launches in Pioneer Courthouse Square July 26

The event brings together industry experts, BIPOC designers and sneaker enthusiasts.

Money From Washington's Landmark Climate Law Will Help Tribes Face Rising Seas, Climate Change

Tens of millions of dollars raised by a landmark climate law in Washington state will go to Native American tribes that are at risk from climate change and rising sea levels to help them move to higher ground, install solar panels, buy electric vehicles and restore wetlands. The Quinault Indian Tribe on the Olympic Peninsula is getting million to help relocate its two main villages to higher ground, away from the tsunami zone and persistent flooding.

NEWS BRIEFS

Dr. Vinson Eugene Allen and Dusk to Dawn Urgent Care Make a Historical Mark as the First African American Owned Chain of Urgent Care Facilities in the United States

Dusk to Dawn Urgent Care validated as the First African American Owned Urgent Care in the nation with chain locations ...

Washington State Black Legislators Endorse Kamala Harris for President

Members of the Washington State Legislative Black Caucus (LBC) are proud to announce their enthusiastic endorsement of Vice President...

Oregon Housing and Community Services Awarded More Than $11 Million to Increase Energy Efficiency in Affordable Housing

Part of a nearly 0 million Climate Pollution Reduction Grant awarded to Oregon ...

Merkley, Senators Urge VA to Expand Access to Medical Cannabis for America’s Veterans

Senators’ letter follows DEA’s recommended rescheduling of cannabis from earlier this year ...

Federal Appeals Court Declines to Restore Voting Rights in Mississippi

Thousands of Mississippians Face “Especially Cruel” Disenfranchisement Scheme ...

Oregon fire is the largest burning in the US. Officials warn an impending storm could exacerbate it

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A wildfire burning in Oregon that's kicking smoke into neighboring states is now the largest active blaze in the U.S., authorities said, and fire crews are bracing for a storm late Wednesday that's expected to bring lightning, strong winds and the risk of flash floods. ...

Wildfires threaten communities in the West as Oregon fire closes interstate, creates its own weather

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — Firefighters in the West are scrambling as wildfires threaten communities in Oregon, California and Washington, with at least one Oregon fire so large that it is creating its own weather. Interstate 84 in eastern Oregon was closed in both directions Tuesday...

Chiefs set deadline of 6 months to decide whether to renovate Arrowhead or build new — and where

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — The Chiefs have set a deadline of six months from now to decide on a plan for the future of Arrowhead Stadium, whether that means renovating their iconic home or building an entirely new stadium in Kansas or Missouri. After a joint ballot initiative with the...

Missouri governor says new public aid plan in the works for Chiefs, Royals stadiums

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said Thursday that he expects the state to put together an aid plan by the end of the year to try to keep the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals from being lured across state lines to new stadiums in Kansas. Missouri's renewed efforts...

OPINION

The 900-Page Guide to Snuffing Out American Democracy

What if there was a blueprint for a future presidential administration to unilaterally lay waste to our constitutional order and turn America from a democracy into an autocracy in one fell swoop? That is what one far-right think tank and its contributors...

SCOTUS Decision Seizes Power to Decide Federal Regulations: Hard-Fought Consumer Victories Now at Risk

For Black and Latino Americans, this power-grab by the court throws into doubt and potentially weakens current agency rules that sought to bring us closer to the nation’s promises of freedom and justice for all. In two particular areas – fair housing and...

Minding the Debate: What’s Happening to Our Brains During Election Season

The June 27 presidential debate is the real start of the election season, when more Americans start to pay attention. It’s when partisan rhetoric runs hot and emotions run high. It’s also a chance for us, as members of a democratic republic. How? By...

State of the Nation’s Housing 2024: The Cost of the American Dream Jumped 47 Percent Since 2020

Only 1 in 7 renters can afford homeownership, homelessness at an all-time high ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Puerto Rico bans discrimination against those who wear Afros and other hairstyles on diverse island

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico’s governor on Wednesday signed a law that prohibits discrimination against people wearing Afros, curls, locs, twists, braids and other hairstyles in the racially diverse U.S. territory. The move was celebrated by those who had long demanded...

Body camera video focused national attention on an Illinois deputy's fatal shooting of Sonya Massey

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A riveted nation watched video released this week of a sheriff's deputy fatally shooting Sonya Massey, a 36-year-old Black woman who called 911 for assistance, in her Illinois home. Sean Grayson, 14 months into his career as a deputy sheriff for Sangamon...

Harris asks for 2024 support from women of color during an address at a historically Black sorority

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris told members of the historically Black sorority Zeta Phi Beta on Wednesday that “we are not playing around” and asked for their help in electing her president in November. “In this moment, I believe we face a choice between two...

ENTERTAINMENT

Book Review: East Texas P.I. turns vigilante in funny and savage 'Sugar on the Bones'

Minnie Polson was in some sort of trouble, so a friend recommended the private eye firm of Hap Collins, his wife Brett, and their pal Leonard Pine. But when they meet, Minnie doesn’t like their attitude, and they don’t like hers. Hours after they agree to part company, Minnie’s...

Book Review: The Knights of Camelot search for a new king in Lev Grossman’s 'The Bright Sword'

A rudderless nation, lost in uncertainty, searches for its next commander in chief. There’s an uneasy sense that the country’s glory days have passed, and that a monumental turn in history is coming — for good or for ill. How do you find a leader to unite such a fractured, polarized land? ...

Music Review: Glass Animals weave heartstring-tugging vignettes on new album

Love songs have existed for millennia but leave it to Glass Animals to give them a refreshing spin, where love isn't always a honeymoon phase or heartbreak — it's much, much more. The British indie-pop band, known for hits like 2014's “Gooey” or 2020's viral “Heat Waves," has...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Can you guess Olympians' warmup songs? World's top athletes share their favorite tunes

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Curious about which songs are fueling the Olympians competing in Paris starting this month?...

Republican leaders urge colleagues to steer clear of racist and sexist attacks on Harris

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican leaders are warning party members against using overtly racist and sexist attacks...

Surprise Yellowstone geyser eruption highlights little known hazard at popular park

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A surprise eruption of steam in a Yellowstone National Park geyser basin that sent people...

Puerto Rico bans discrimination against those who wear Afros and other hairstyles on diverse island

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico’s governor on Wednesday signed a law that prohibits discrimination...

Farmers in Africa say their soil is dying and chemical fertilizers are in part to blame

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — When Benson Wanjala started farming in his western Kenya village two and a half decades...

Trash dropped by a North Korean balloon falls on South Korea’s presidential compound

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Trash carried by at least one North Korean balloon fell on the South Korean...

Charlene Crowell NNPA Columnist

Mike Calhoun, president of CRL



Fix or Evict, the Center for Responsible Lending's latest in a series of research reports on mortgage lending and foreclosures, reaches eye-opening conclusions in its ongoing scrutiny of America's still-unfolding foreclosure crisis.  It's no secret that banks and other loan servicers are harming struggling homeowners by pushing unnecessary foreclosure.  Now, this research shows that banks are also acting directly against the best interests of loan investors – the companies that own the loans including pension funds and life insurance companies. 

Most importantly, the report found that the lending industry's poor track record on loan modifications cannot be blamed on homeowners who re-default.

"It's well documented how mortgage servicers' unfair, shoddy practices have hurt homeowners," said Mike Calhoun, president of CRL.  "This research shows that servicers also routinely give the investment community a raw deal." 

At present, families facing eviction outnumber those with a modification by a 12-1 margin. Updated statistics show that residential mortgage foreclosures are on track to reach 13 million by the end of 2014 at a cost of nearly $1 trillion in direct losses to families, local governments, and financial institutions. When CRL factored in the lost value to homes in close proximity of foreclosures, $1.9 trillion in losses will be stripped away by 2012. 

From CRL's perspective, it is time for the banks to accept the consequences for the hundreds of billions of dollars in damages that have been inflicted on the nation.  It was the lack of accountability by banks that is so disturbing when the public bailed them out. Before any foreclosure is allowed to proceed, there needs to be full disclosure for homeowners and investors to ensure that every loan got a good look from the servicer. Further, the current loan servicing investigation by the nation's attorneys general must result in remedies to reform an industry that perpetuated the crisis. Let's not forget that this crisis began with foreclosures and spread to the rest of the economy.

Findings from Fix or Evict? also corroborate recent data from the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), which showed how four out of five households that received HAMP modifications are still current on their mortgages.  Unlike many short-term loan repairs that occur outside the HAMP program, HAMP loan modifications are most likely to involve reducing the homeowner's monthly payment – and this is the type of modification that is likely to be the most successful.

It is amid this growing body of objective analyses that some from the investment side are questioning the low number of modifications as well.

"The misalignment of economic interests between the owners of mortgages and those who service them is the single reason why the mortgage problem has become a crisis and a massive economic drain on this country", said Bill Frey, president of Greenwich Financial Services and a longtime investor advocate. 

"Servicers have been allowed to follow their own voluntary loan modification program", said CRL's Calhoun, "and the result has gone against the best interests of everyone but the servicers themselves.  We need mandatory reforms that ensure servicers follow the law and act in the best interests of their clients – that would end up benefiting everyone."  

Perhaps if investors with deep pockets could align themselves with the people whose pockets have been picked, we could have a real and sustainable recovery.  Sure, it would be an odd couple alignment. But, maybe after so many losses, it's the one that could make the true difference.

 

Charlene Crowell is the Center for Responsible Lending's communications manager for state policy and outreach.