04-14-2024  8:33 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Grants Pass Anti-Camping Laws Head to Supreme Court

Grants Pass in southern Oregon has become the unlikely face of the nation’s homelessness crisis as its case over anti-camping laws goes to the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled for April 22. The case has broad implications for cities, including whether they can fine or jail people for camping in public. Since 2020, court orders have barred Grants Pass from enforcing its anti-camping laws. Now, the city is asking the justices to review lower court rulings it says has prevented it from addressing the city's homelessness crisis. Rights groups say people shouldn’t be punished for lacking housing.

Four Ballot Measures for Portland Voters to Consider

Proposals from the city, PPS, Metro and Urban Flood Safety & Water Quality District.

Washington Gun Store Sold Hundreds of High-Capacity Ammunition Magazines in 90 Minutes Without Ban

KGW-TV reports Wally Wentz, owner of Gator’s Custom Guns in Kelso, described Monday as “magazine day” at his store. Wentz is behind the court challenge to Washington’s high-capacity magazine ban, with the help of the Silent Majority Foundation in eastern Washington.

Five Running to Represent Northeast Portland at County Level Include Former Mayor, Social Worker, Hotelier (Part 2)

Five candidates are vying for the spot previously held by Susheela Jayapal, who resigned from office in November to focus on running for Oregon's 3rd Congressional District. Jesse Beason is currently serving as interim commissioner in Jayapal’s place. (Part 2)

NEWS BRIEFS

Americans Willing to Pay More to Eliminate the Racial Wealth Gap, Creating a New Opportunity for Black Business Owners

National research released today provides encouraging news that most Americans are willing to pay a premium price for products and...

Vibrant Communities Commissioner Dan Ryan Directs Development Funding to Complete Next Phase of Gateway Green Project

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) is beginning a new phase of accessibility and park improvements to Gateway Green, the...

Application Opens for Preschool for All 2024-25 School Year

Multnomah County children who will be 3 or 4 years old on or before September 1, 2024 are eligible to apply now for free preschool...

PCC and LAIKA Partner to Foster Diversity in Animation

LAIKA is contributing ,000 to support student scholarships and a new animation and graphics degree. ...

Mt. Hood Community College Hosts Spring Career Fair Featuring Top Portland Employers

The event will be held April 24 at Mt. Hood Community College. ...

Can homeless people be fined for sleeping outside? A rural Oregon city asks the US Supreme Court

GRANTS PASS, Oregon (AP) — A pickleball game in this leafy Oregon community was suddenly interrupted one rainy weekend morning by the arrival of an ambulance. Paramedics rushed through the park toward a tent, one of dozens illegally erected by the town's hundreds of homeless people, then play...

Authorities say 4 people are dead after a train collided with a pickup in rural Idaho

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Four people are dead after the vehicle they were traveling in was struck by a train in rural Idaho Saturday, authorities said. Idaho State Police said the pickup was carrying a 38-year-old man, 36-year-old woman and two children, who were all from Nampa. The...

Caleb Williams among 13 confirmed prospects for opening night of the NFL draft

NEW YORK (AP) — Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams, the popular pick to be the No. 1 selection overall, will be among 13 prospects attending the first round of the NFL draft in Detroit on April 25. The NFL announced the 13 prospects confirmed as of Thursday night, and...

Georgia ends game on 12-0 run to beat Missouri 64-59 in first round of SEC tourney

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Blue Cain had 19 points, Justin Hill scored 17 off the bench and 11th-seeded Georgia finished the game on a 12-0 run to beat No. 14 seed Missouri 64-59 on Wednesday night in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament. Cain hit 6 of 12 shots,...

OPINION

Gallup Finds Black Generational Divide on Affirmative Action

Each spring, many aspiring students and their families begin receiving college acceptance letters and offers of financial aid packages. This year’s college decisions will add yet another consideration: the effects of a 2023 Supreme Court, 6-3 ruling that...

OP-ED: Embracing Black Men’s Voices: Rebuilding Trust and Unity in the Democratic Party

The decision of many Black men to disengage from the Democratic Party is rooted in a complex interplay of historical disenchantment, unmet promises, and a sense of disillusionment with the political establishment. ...

COMMENTARY: Is a Cultural Shift on the Horizon?

As with all traditions in all cultures, it is up to the elders to pass down the rituals, food, language, and customs that identify a group. So, if your auntie, uncle, mom, and so on didn’t teach you how to play Spades, well, that’s a recipe lost. But...

A Full Court Press to Get the Lead Out

With a “goal of identifying and remediating lead hazards in at least 2,800 Lancaster County homes,” LG Health is setting an example for the private sector. And the Biden-Harris administration’s focus on environmental justice and access to clean and safe...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

AI-generated models could bring more diversity to the fashion industry — or leave it with less

CHICAGO (AP) — London-based model Alexsandrah has a twin, but not in the way you’d expect: Her counterpart is made of pixels instead of flesh and blood. The virtual twin was generated by artificial intelligence and has already appeared as a stand-in for the real-life Alexsandrah...

Gene Herrick, AP photographer who covered the Korean War and civil rights, dies at 97

RICH CREEK, Va. (AP) — Gene Herrick, a retired Associated Press photographer who covered the Korean War and is known for his iconic images of Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and the trial of the killers of Emmett Till in the early years of the Civil Rights Movement, died Friday. He was 97. ...

A Pittsburgh congressional race could test Democrats who have criticized Israel's handling of war

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — An election this month in Pittsburgh and some of its suburbs is emerging as an early test of whether Israel’s war with Hamas poses political threats to progressive Democrats in Congress who have criticized how the conflict has been handled. U.S. Rep. Summer...

ENTERTAINMENT

Book Review: Jen Silverman’s gripping second novel explores the long afterlife of political violence

Earlier this year a former member of the far-left Baader-Meinhof gang who spent decades in hiding was arrested by German police in connection with a string of crimes. It was just another example of the long afterlife of the anti-war movement of the late 1960s, which Jen Silverman explores in a...

What to stream this week: Billy Joel sings, Dora explores and 'Food, Inc. 2' chows down

A Billy Joel concert special celebrating his residency at Madison Square Garden and Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal playing cowboys and former lovers in Pedro Almodóvar’s “Strange Way of Life” are some of the new television, movies, music and games headed to a device near you. ...

Movie Review: ‘Food, Inc. 2’ revisits food system, sees reason for frustration and (a little) hope

The makers of the influential 2008 documentary “Food, Inc.” never planned to make a sequel. They figured they’d said it all in their harrowing look at a broken, unsustainable food system — a system led, they argued, by a few multinational corporations whose monopoly squeezes out local...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

The shadow war between Iran and Israel has been exposed. What happens next?

BEIRUT (AP) — Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel early Sunday marked a change in approach for Tehran, which...

World paid little attention to Sudan's war for a year. Now aid groups warn of mass death from hunger

CAIRO (AP) — On a clear night a year ago, a dozen heavily armed fighters broke into Omaima Farouq’s house in...

AI-generated models could bring more diversity to the fashion industry — or leave it with less

CHICAGO (AP) — London-based model Alexsandrah has a twin, but not in the way you’d expect: Her counterpart is...

The Latest | Israel says 99% of drones and missiles launched by Iran were intercepted

Israel on Sunday praised the success of its defenses in the face of an attack by Iran involving hundreds of...

US judge tosses out lawsuits against Libyan commander accused of war crimes

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A U.S. judge has tossed out a series of civil lawsuits against a Libyan military...

Iran and Israel have a history of enmity. What key recent events led to Iran's assault on Israel?

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Iran's dramatic aerial attack on Israel follows years of enmity between the countries...

Christopher Torchia the Associated Press

FORWARD OPERATING BASE JACKSON, Afghanistan (AP) -- The jarring blast near the American base sent up a cloud of smoke that drifted silently in the breeze. "Not good," a U.S. Marine said. Minutes later, vehicles raced through the gates with the wounded, three Marines and half a dozen Afghans.

Some lay bloodied on stretchers as medics worked on them. Soon, a pair of helicopters swept in and scooped up the injured, including a bomb sniffer dog, for delivery to a military hospital.

Word spread. A suicide bomber in a car packed with explosives had attacked security forces in the Sangin district center, next to the Marine battalion headquarters in an area of southern Afghanistan that has seen some of the war's hardest fighting. Three Afghan police and four civilians were killed.

Marines at Forward Operating Base Jackson called Thursday's attack part of a battle of perceptions with Taliban insurgents in a war triggered by the 9/11 attacks.

The Taliban, driven from power after sheltering Osama bin Laden, need to remind residents they are capable of inflicting damage on any opponent. The Marines must convince the Afghans that they have weakened the Taliban so much that they could never pose a threat - even as the U.S. and its allies transfer security responsibility to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.

The Taliban aim to push the Marines onto the defensive with high-profile bombings, forcing them to conduct fewer patrols and hole up in their bases in a sign that their own security is more important than that of the Afghans. U.S. forces, in turn, are trying to expand operations outward from population centers to keep insurgents away from civilians who will ultimately decide the fate of their nation.

By targeting the seat of local government Thursday, insurgents in Sangin apparently sought to show they can dictate the tempo of the conflict, despite heavy pressure since last year by successive Marine battalions. The U.S. military describes such acts as a sign of desperation by an enemy that has lost sway over communities it once controlled.

The challenge of breaking the Taliban grip is especially formidable in Sangin, which lies in the traditional Taliban stronghold of Helmand province. The district acts as a regional transit hub and is a conduit to a major dam that provides electricity.

Here, insurgents oversee opium-bearing harvests of poppy with the profits filling fill their war chests.

Sangin also has one of the highest concentrations of concealed bombs in Afghanistan. More than 100 British troops died there during several years of operations.

The Marines pushed aggressively into Sangin in larger numbers than the British had, forcing the Taliban onto the defensive, often at heavy cost. They tried to lend legitimacy to newly appointed Afghan officials by bankrolling bridge construction and other public works projects in their name.

Fighting ebbed during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which ended more than a week ago, and American troops are poised for any upswing.

"We're kind of waiting for what the next step is," said Lt. Col. Thomas Savage, commander of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, which occupies Jackson, a former British camp. "We've got enough of a lid on it that they're not going to be able to come back hard."

Savage spoke days before Thursday's bombing in a key town that has become relatively secure. There was a time when the Taliban's white flags ringed the Jackson base, the commander said, and insurgent snipers fired on Marines on the perimeter walls. Many Afghan civilians have since returned, and Marines patrolling in armored vehicles drive past merchants manning their kiosks.

After the explosion, Afghan soldiers at Jackson leaped into pickup trucks to collect the wounded. Back at a base clinic, they used a blanket to haul one injured Afghan whose eyes darted wildly. Other men lay inert. A U.S. medic turned one over to check his back for unseen wounds.

The shrapnel wounds of two Marines were described as minor. A third Marine lay on a stretcher with his eyes closed, his face pale, his trouser legs cut away to aid treatment. His life was not in danger.

One of the wounded was a dog used by U.S. Marines to detect crudely made but lethal bombs. His hindquarters were soaked in blood.

"This is Drak. Drak got hit as well," a servicemen said to three dog handlers who put a muzzle on the animal and hoisted him onto a stretcher. "He's got a puncture wound on his hip. I don't know if he's got anything under his tail, but he's dripping pretty bad."

The battle for Sangin, which has a population of about 100,000, plays out most days in a slower, more subtle fashion. The Marine battalion aims to unify a patchwork of tribes, some with long-standing rivalries, and empower Afghans who can represent fractured communities and may be targets for assassination.

"There are no cookie-cutter solutions here," said Marine Capt. Casey Brock of Charlie Company. As an example, Brock, of Bend, Oregon, cited his operational area. It encompasses a fertile belt along the Helmand river with a relatively stable tradition of landownership and, on the other side of a paved highway, an arid zone known as the "Fish Tank" where a fluctuating population leases land and has little to unite it.

Savage, a veteran of three tours in Iraq, said there were a "million little problems" in Sangin and that an overarching solution, such as the U.S.-backed marshaling of Sunni militias that turned against al-Qaida in Iraq, could not work in the territory under his command.

"You can't do what we did in Iraq," he said. "You don't get an entire bloc to flip."

He said Sangin's population was tilting toward the Marines, but acknowledged there are "fence-sitters" whose long-term loyalties are unclear. This summer, when President Barack Obama announced plans for a troop drawdown in Afghanistan, Savage cast U.S. policy in stark terms in his conversations with tribal leaders: Support coalition forces and allow stability to take root, or endure more combat, with all its devastating fallout, before the Americans leave.

Even the Taliban cells in Sangin appear to operate independently, often without signs of coordination. Marines say their leadership in neighboring Pakistan provides broad direction.

On patrol one day, Lance Cpl. Patrick Hawco of Tivoli, New York, described the conflict as a "small unit leader fight" where troops of lower rank make spur-of-the-moment decisions that, drawn together, have a wider impact on the course of the war. In the Marines' case, a decision to walk down one alleyway instead of another, or to stop for tea with a tribal elder, is a matter of instinct and experience.

At this time of year, the corn harvest is approaching. The stalks rise green and strong up to 12 feet, towering over the Marines as they zigzag on paths through the dense fields, their body armor soaked in sweat. Marines can't use their high-tech optics in the corn, but sometimes they move into it to set ambushes.

"We have to make sure the enemy fears the corn, and not the other way around," Brock said. In this battle of perceptions, he said, the goal is to sow doubt in the opponent.

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The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast