04-21-2024  5:54 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Don’t Shoot Portland, University of Oregon Team Up for Black Narratives, Memory

The yearly Memory Work for Black Lives Plenary shows the power of preservation.

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.

NEWS BRIEFS

Governor Kotek Announces Chief of Staff, New Office Leadership

Governor expands executive team and names new Housing and Homelessness Initiative Director ...

Governor Kotek Announces Investment in New CHIPS Child Care Fund

5 Million dollars from Oregon CHIPS Act to be allocated to new Child Care Fund ...

Bank Announces 14th Annual “I Got Bank” Contest for Youth in Celebration of National Financial Literacy Month

The nation’s largest Black-owned bank will choose ten winners and award each a $1,000 savings account ...

Literary Arts Transforms Historic Central Eastside Building Into New Headquarters

The new 14,000-square-foot literary center will serve as a community and cultural hub with a bookstore, café, classroom, and event...

Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Announces New Partnership with the University of Oxford

Tony Bishop initiated the CBCF Alumni Scholarship to empower young Black scholars and dismantle financial barriers ...

Oregon lodge famously featured in 'The Shining' will reopen to guests after fire forced evacuations

GOVERNMENT CAMP, Ore. (AP) — Oregon's historic Timberline Lodge, which featured in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film “The Shining,” will reopen to guests Sunday after a fire that prompted evacuations but caused only minimal damage. The lodge said Saturday in a Facebook post that it...

Record numbers in the US are homeless. Can cities fine them for sleeping in parks and on sidewalks?

WASHINGTON (AP) — The most significant case in decades on homelessness has reached the Supreme Court as record numbers of people in America are without a permanent place to live. The justices on Monday will consider a challenge to rulings from a California-based appeals court that...

Two-time world champ J’den Cox retires at US Olympic wrestling trials; 44-year-old reaches finals

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — J’den Cox walked off the mat after dropping a 2-2 decision to Kollin Moore at the U.S. Olympic wrestling trials on Friday night, leaving his shoes behind to a standing ovation. The bronze medal winner at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 was beaten by...

University of Missouri plans 0 million renovation of Memorial Stadium

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The University of Missouri is planning a 0 million renovation of Memorial Stadium. The Memorial Stadium Improvements Project, expected to be completed by the 2026 season, will further enclose the north end of the stadium and add a variety of new premium...

OPINION

Op-Ed: Why MAGA Policies Are Detrimental to Black Communities

NNPA NEWSWIRE – MAGA proponents peddle baseless claims of widespread voter fraud to justify voter suppression tactics that disproportionately target Black voters. From restrictive voter ID laws to purging voter rolls to limiting early voting hours, these...

Loving and Embracing the Differences in Our Youngest Learners

Yet our responsibility to all parents and society at large means we must do more to share insights, especially with underserved and under-resourced communities. ...

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. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Councilwoman chosen as new Fort Wayne mayor, its 1st Black leader, in caucus to replace late mayor

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — A Fort Wayne city councilwoman was chosen Saturday as the new mayor of Indiana’s second most populous city, and its first Black leader, during a caucus to replace its late mayor, who died in March. Councilwoman Sharon Tucker, a Democrat, will also become...

The drug war devastated Black and other minority communities. Is marijuana legalization helping?

ARLINGTON, Wash. (AP) — When Washington state opened some of the nation's first legal marijuana stores in 2014, Sam Ward Jr. was on electronic home detention in Spokane, where he had been indicted on federal drug charges. He would soon be off to prison to serve the lion's share of a four-year...

Lawsuits under New York's new voting rights law reveal racial disenfranchisement even in blue states

FREEPORT, N.Y. (AP) — Weihua Yan had seen dramatic demographic changes since moving to Long Island's Nassau County. Its Asian American population alone had grown by 60% since the 2010 census. Why then, he wondered, did he not see anyone who looked like him on the county's local...

ENTERTAINMENT

Celebrity birthdays for the week of April 21-27

Celebrity birthdays for the week of April 21-27: April 21: Actor Elaine May is 92. Singer Iggy Pop is 77. Actor Patti LuPone is 75. Actor Tony Danza is 73. Actor James Morrison (“24”) is 70. Actor Andie MacDowell is 66. Singer Robert Smith of The Cure is 65. Guitarist Michael...

What to stream this weekend: Conan O’Brien travels, 'Migration' soars and Taylor Swift reigns

Zack Snyder’s “Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver” landing on Netflix and Taylor Swift’s “The Tortured Poets Department” album are some of the new television, movies, music and games headed to a device near you. Also among the streaming offerings worth your time as...

Music Review: Jazz pianist Fred Hersch creates subdued, lovely colors on 'Silent, Listening'

Jazz pianist Fred Hersch fully embraces the freedom that comes with improvisation on his solo album “Silent, Listening,” spontaneously composing and performing tunes that are often without melody, meter or form. Listening to them can be challenging and rewarding. The many-time...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

2 killed and 6 injured in shooting at Memphis park party, police say

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Eight people were shot including two men who were killed at an unsanctioned public party...

Autoworkers union celebrates breakthrough win in Tennessee and takes aim at more plants in the South

DALLAS (AP) — The United Auto Workers' overwhelming election victory at a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee is...

Marijuana grow busted in Maine as feds investigate trend in 20 states

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The high electricity consumption of a home, its cardboard-covered windows and odor of...

At least 20 dead after a ferry sinks in Central African Republic, witnesses say

BANGUI, Central African Republic (AP) — At least 20 people have drowned in Central African Republic after a...

Pakistani province issues a flood alert and warns of a heavy loss of life from glacial melting

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — A Pakistani province has issued a flood alert because of glacial melting and warned of...

The US military will begin plans to withdraw troops from Niger

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — The United States will begin plans to withdraw troops from Niger, U.S. officials said...

Aurora Saldivarnew America Media / Coachella Unincorporated

COACHELLA, Calif. — Inspired by the mass quantities of food Americans throw away, Christy Porter decided to tackle the hunger problem in the Coachella Valley over ten years ago.

"(With) 27 percent field waste and 30 percent plate waste," says Porter, "there is no reason for anyone to be hungry in our country."

Taking matters into her own hands, Porter founded Hidden Harvest in 2001, a non-profit that "rescues" produce from eastern Coachella Valley fields and distributes them to over 60 agencies serving low-income residents throughout the region.

The Coachella Valley, a strip of inland desert in southern California that extends 45 miles from the San Bernardino Mountains of Riverside County to the Salton Sea, is the fifth largest agriculture-producing region in the United States. It is primarily known as a date-producing region – roughly 95 percent of all the nation's dates originate in the Coachella Valley – but residents here are quick to point out that the fertile valley produces nearly every type of vegetable and fruit imaginable.

Despite the bounty of food grown in the Coachella Valley, however, not even three-quarters of the produce ultimately winds up on people's dinner plates. Produce is regularly left to wither away and die, when a grower determines that the price of harvesting their product outweighs their ability to sell it for a profit.

The image of food literally rotting on the vine is especially ironic in a place like the east Coachella Valley, where poverty and malnutrition are highest in those communities that are home to the very farm workers who harvest the crops.

Porter's fight against hunger took root in one such community, Mecca, where she began by building edible gardens at Saul Martinez Elementary School. She was struck by a question posed to her by a father at the school: Why is so much of the food left to rot in the fields where I work?

"When I came here, we didn't need policy as much as we needed food," she says. "Kids can't eat red tape while you're waiting for policy to take effect. People are still hungry."

Local farmers notify Hidden Harvest when there is product left in the fields that would not make it into grocery stores due to cosmetic blemishes or cost to harvest. The non-profit quickly hires crews to harvest the remaining produce.

"Our biggest problem is not that the produce, it's out there. It's getting the farmers to remember to call us before they plow it up," explains Porter, who believes tax incentives for participating farmers would be helpful. "It is big business for them to hold a crop in the field, even for one day."

"Produce is getting harder and harder to come by," says Porter. "Since 2008, the demand for food in food banks has gone up 60 percent. We were probably serving 20 to 25 thousand people back then, but farmers started selling more and more and more of their products so our access to products went down about 50 percent."

It is a constant struggle for Hidden Harvest to access produce when supply is down, but the need within the community is still prevalent.

"I find it hard to get enough produce to feed the beast," says Porter.

"We haven't had any help from federal or state dollars. It's not that we are opposed to it, it's just we haven't had any. We are kind of small, so we are trying to get money by grants or by public contribution, but that's a lot of work. That's what I do all the time. I'm raising money day and night."

This fall, Porter plans to light a fire and challenge California farmers with a program called Just One Row.

"We are going to try to persuade our farmers to give us just one row of each of their crops," said Porter. "We know that one row, one row, of carrots is ten thousand pounds of carrots. That is a lot of carrots. We could do a lot with that."

In the quest to end domestic hunger, Hidden Harvest employs about six hundred local farm workers during the course of the year, to go onto farms and harvest the crops that would otherwise be bulldozed or left to rot. The organization feeds, educates, employs, and inspires hope within the community year round, often using Porter's own photography -- she was an accomplished photojournalist in her previous career -- as a catalyst.

"How can you photograph hunger?" asks Porter. "Part of our job is to convince people that it is out there."

The author, Aurora Saldivar, is an eastern Coachella Valley native and a reporter for Coachella Unincorporated, a hyper local and youth-led news organization founded by New America Media to shed light on health and community related issues in Coachella and the surrounding unincorporated communities of the east valley.  The project is supported by a grant from The California Endowment.

The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast