02-05-2023  6:30 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Portland Cop Fired for Leaking False Allegations Against City Commissioner Reinstated

Mayor Ted Wheeler fired Brian Hunzeker after he leaked a false complaint saying city Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty had been involved in a hit-and-run crash.

Hundreds of Portland City Workers on Strike for Better Pay

Workers represented by the union Laborers’ Local 483 have been without a contract since June. Negotiations over a new four-year deal broke down in December

Washington State Gov. Inslee Tests Positive for COVID-19

He plans to continue working. Trudi Inslee, the first spouse, has tested negative.

Oregon BIPOC Caucus Calls for Action to Support Victims of Gun Violence

The Legislative Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Caucus has released the following statement in response to the tragedy at Half Moon Bay, CA that left seven dead and one person wounded, all of whom were people of color

NEWS BRIEFS

Market Features Work of Local Black-Owned Businesses for Black History Month

MESO Makers Market in Portland to feature the work of 40 local, Black-owned small businesses to celebrate Black History Month in...

The Seattle Public Library's Homework Help Program Expands to Eight Locations and Increases Hours

Homework Help, The Seattle Public Library’s free after school tutoring service, will add two locations and increase hours in...

County Seeks Community Needs Survey Responses From Residents

Clark County Community Services is asking residents who are low-income to complete a survey to help determine what resources and...

"Meet Me at Higo" Opens in the Level 8 Gallery of The Seattle Public Library's Central Library

The traveling exhibit from the Wing Luke Museum tells a fascinating community and family history about Seattle’s Japantown ...

NAACP Portland Calls for Justice With Community Prayer Vigil

Community leaders will hold a prayer vigil Tuesday, Jan. 31 at noon, to reflect on the tragic brutality that led to the death of Tyre...

US states take control of abortion debate with funding focus

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Though the Insight Women’s Center sits at the epicenter of a reinvigorated battle in the nation’s culture wars, the only hint of its faith-based mission to dissuade people from getting abortions is the jazzy, piano rendition of “Jesus Loves Me” playing in a waiting...

Arrest made in stolen yacht rescue, 'Goonies' fish incident

SEATTLE (AP) — A stolen yacht. A dramatic Coast Guard rescue. A dead fish. And the famed home featured in the classic 1985 film “The Goonies.” Combined, Oregon police called it a series of “really odd” events along the Pacific Northwest coast spanning 48 hours that concluded...

Jones scores 18, Southern Illinois tops Missouri State 73-53

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Lance Jones' 18 points helped Southern Illinois defeat Missouri State 73-53 on Sunday. Jones also added four steals for the Salukis (18-7, 10-4 Missouri Valley Conference). Troy D'Amico shot 5 of 6 from the field and 4 for 4 from the line to add 15 points....

DeVries and Drake earn 85-82 2OT win over Valparaiso

VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) — Tucker DeVries scored a career-high 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Drake beat Valparaiso 85-82 in double overtime on Saturday night. Roman Penn scored 16 points and added 12 rebounds and six assists for the Bulldogs (19-6, 10-4 Missouri Valley...

OPINION

Updates That May Affect Your Tax Season

The IRS released a statement that taxpayers should brace themselves for small tax refunds due to no economic impact payments ...

Unaffordable Rental Costs Now Plague 44 Million People in Every State Economic Inequality Places Most Risk of Eviction on Blacks and the Poor

For the first time in more than two decades of research, every state now has renters who are nearing a financial breaking point in housing affordability. ...

The Beating and Murder of Mr. Tyre Nichols, A Black Man

Time to Abolish the Criminal Injustice System ...

It's Time to Irrigate the Fallow Ground of Minority Media Ownership

In 2023, one aspect of civil rights and racial justice that barely remains addressed is racial inclusion in media ownership. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

DeSantis eyes 2024 from afar as GOP rivals move toward runs

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis may be months away from publicly declaring his presidential intentions, but his potential rivals aren't holding back. No fewer than a half dozen Republicans eyeing the White House have begun actively courting top political operatives...

At Nichols' funeral, Black America's grief on public display

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The sound of the djembe drums started as a low tremble and grew more distinct as the musicians drew closer to the hundreds gathered inside the Memphis church. “We love you, Tyre,” the drummers chanted, referring to Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man...

Arkansas Gov. Sanders to give GOP response to Biden address

WASHINGTON (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders will deliver the Republican address to the nation in response to President Joe Biden's State of the Union speech next week as the GOP seeks to show it's creating a new generation of leaders. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and...

ENTERTAINMENT

Boyhood collides with masculinity in Oscar-nominated 'Close'

NEW YORK (AP) — When Lukas Dhont was 12, a camera was thrust into his hands. For Dhont, who would come out as gay as a young adult, the camera was an escape from the strains and stereotypes he was beginning to feel pushed on him. “I needed this other reality in which I could...

Why is R&B music more explicit than ever? It’s complicated.

NEW YORK (AP) — Tank was nervous after sending his manager a preview of “When We” — he’d never released a song that explicit. “He’s like, ‘You’re crazy, but it’s jammin'!’” the R&B singer recalled. “It ended up being my biggest record ever.” Released in...

Gordy, Robinson honored at reunion of Motown stars

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Temptations, the Isley Brothers and the Four Tops turned back time, singing and dancing as if in their prime at a reunion of Motown stars. The occasion was to honor Motown Records founder Berry Gordy and singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson for their musical...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Beyoncé ties Grammys record; Bad Bunny gets crowd dancing

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Beyoncé has tied the late Georg Solti for the most wins in Grammys history after she took...

US officials offer Congress briefing on Trump, Biden papers

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. officials have offered to brief congressional leaders on their investigation into the...

Cubans respond with zeal to new US migration policy

HAVANA (AP) — In barely a week, 25-year-old engineer Marcos Marzo went from riding his small electric motorcycle...

Former Israeli PM: Putin promised not to kill Zelenskyy

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — A former Israeli prime minister who served briefly as a mediator at the start of...

Chile wildfires spread amid heat wave as death toll rises

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Chile extended an emergency declaration to yet another region on Saturday as firefighters...

Pope makes final bid for peace, forgiveness in South Sudan

JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — Pope Francis made a final appeal for peace in South Sudan on Sunday as he celebrated...

Adrian Sainz and Matt Sedensky the Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- The Mississippi River rose Monday to levels not seen in Memphis since the 1930s, swamping homes in low-lying neighborhoods and driving hundreds of people from their homes. But officials were confident the levees would protect the city's world-famous musical landmarks, including Graceland and Beale Street, and that no new areas would see any serious flooding.

As residents in the Home of the Blues waited for the river to crest as early as Monday night at a projected mark just inches short of the record set in 1937, officials downstream in Louisiana began evacuating prisoners from the state's toughest penitentiary and opened floodgates to relieve pressure on levees outside of New Orleans.

In Memphis, authorities have gone door-to-door to 1,300 homes over the past few days to warn people to clear out, but they were starting to talk about a labor-intensive clean up Monday afternoon, signaling the worst was likely over.

"Where the water is today, is where the water is going to be," Cory Williams, chief of geotechnical engineering for the Army Corps of Engineers in Memphis, told The Associated Press.

Exactly how many people heeded the warnings was not immediately clear, but more than 300 people were staying in shelters, and police stepped up patrols in evacuated areas to prevent looting.

Aurelio Flores, 36, his pregnant wife and their three children were among 175 people staying in a gymnasium at the Hope Presbyterian Church in Shelby County. His mobile home had about 4 feet of water when he last visited the trailer park on Wednesday.

"I imagine that my trailer, if it's not covered, it's close," said Flores, an unemployed construction worker. "If I think about it too much, and get angry about it, it will mean the end of me."

Sun Studio, where Elvis Presley made some of the recordings that helped him become king of rock `n' roll, was not in harm's way. Nor was Stax Records, which launched the careers of Otis Redding and the Staple Singers. Sun Studio still does some recording, while Stax is now a museum.

Graceland, Presley's former estate several miles south of downtown, was in no danger either.

"I want to say this: Graceland is safe. And we would charge hell with a water pistol to keep it that way and I'd be willing to lead the charge," said Bob Nations Jr., director of the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency.

The main Memphis airport was not threatened, nor was FedEx, which has a sorting hub at the airport that handles up to 2 million packages per day.

An NBA playoff game Monday night featuring the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedEx Forum downtown was not affected, and a barbecue contest this weekend was moved to higher ground.

"The country thinks were in lifeboats and we are underwater. For visitors, its business as usual," said Kevin Kane, president and chief executive of the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Sandbags were put up in front of the 32-story tall Pyramid Arena, which was once used for college and pro basketball but is now being turned into a fishing and sporting goods store.

Forecasters said it appeared that the river was starting to level out and could crest as soon as Monday night at or near 48 feet, just shy of the all-time high of 48.7 feet. Forecasters had previously predicted the crest would come as late as Wednesday.

The Army Corps of Engineers said homes in most danger of flooding are in places not protected by levees or floodwalls, including areas near Nonconnah Creek and the Wolf and Loosahatchie rivers. About 150 Corps workers were walking along levees and monitoring the performance of pumping stations.

Levees in the Memphis area are 58 feet high on average, and the floodwalls downtown are 54 feet.

"We still have significant room before we even consider overtopping," Elizabeth Burks, deputy levee commander for the Memphis sector of the Corps.

At Beale Street, the thoroughfare known for blues music, people gawked and snapped photos as water pooled at the end of the street. Beale Street's world-famous nightspots are on higher ground.

At Sun Studio, where Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and a multitude of others also recorded, tourists from around the world continued to stream off buses and pose beneath the giant guitar hanging outside.

"We didn't really know what to expect," said Andy Reilly, a 32-year-old musician from Dublin, Ireland, who was in town to perform. "We're delighted it's not as bad as we thought it was going to be."

Because of heavy rain over the past few weeks and snowmelt along the upper reaches of the Mississippi, the river has broken high-water records upstream and inundated low-lying towns and farmland. The water on the Mississippi is so high that the rivers and creeks that feed into it are backed up, and that has accounted for some of the worst of the flooding so far.

Because of the levees and other defenses built since the cataclysmic Great Flood of 1927 that killed hundreds of people, engineers say it is unlikely any major metropolitan areas will be inundated as the high water pushes downstream over the next week or so. Nonetheless, they are cautious because of the risk of levee failures, as shown during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

In Louisiana, the Corps partially opened a spillway that diverts the Mississippi into a lake to ease pressure on the levees in greater New Orleans. As workers used cranes to remove some of the Bonnet Carre Spillway's wooden barriers, hundreds of people watched from the riverbank.

The spillway, which the Corps built about 30 miles upriver from New Orleans in response to the flood of 1927, was last opened in 2008. Monday marked the 10th time it has been opened since the structure was completed in 1931.

Rufus Harris Jr., 87, said his family moved to New Orleans in 1927 only months after the disaster. He was too young to remember those days, but the stories he heard gave him respect for the river.

"People have a right to be concerned in this area because there's always a possibility of a levee having a defective spot," Harris said as he watched water rush out.

The Corps has also asked for permission to open a spillway north of Baton Rouge for the first time since 1973. Officials warned residents that even if it is opened, they can expect water 5 to 25 feet deep over parts of seven parishes. Some of Louisiana's most valuable farmland is expected to be inundated.

At the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, home of the state's death row, officials started moving prisoners with medical problems to another prison as backwaters began to rise. The prisoners were moved in buses and vans under police escort.

The prison holds more 5,000 inmates and is bordered on three sides by the Mississippi. The prison has not flooded since 1927, though prisoners have been evacuated from time to time when high water threatened, most recently in 1997.

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Associated Press writers Michael Kunzelman in Norco, La.; Mary Foster in Angola, La.; Jim Salter in St. Louis and Chuck Bartels in Little Rock contributed to this report.

MLK Breakfast 2023

Photos from The Skanner Foundation's 37th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast.