Real Oregonians Disappearing: As the year draws to a close, demographic figures compiled by Portland State University show the gap between the number of deaths and births is the narrowest since the 1930s. "Population growth is slowing," says Josh Lehner, a state economist. "Based on birth data through October, it looks like 2018 will be even lower for the total fertility rate, the number of first births, and the number of births statewide for women between the ages of 15 and 44 years old." That means nearly all of the state's growth—almost 90 percent of it—is coming from people moving here from other countries and states (thanks, California) as procreation becomes a thing of the past.
Wyden Wants Jail Time for Tech Privacy Violators: In the wake of a New York Times investigation showing Facebook shared users' private information—including their direct messages—with other tech companies, U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is calling for online privacy protections. "A CEO, under my bill, not only would they face significant economic penalties, but they could serve jail time," Wyden told Vice on Dec. 20. Wyden introduced legislation in November that would forbid tech companies from sharing personal information about their users, and enforce that protection with criminal penalties—up to 20 years in prison for executives who break the law.
Mural Painting Plan in Timeout: The plan to paint over 30 years of student murals at Glencoe Elementary in the Mount Tabor neighborhood ("The Cover-Up," WW, Dec. 12, 2018) has been halted, at least temporarily. School staff decided to cover the murals because some teachers and community members found panels offensive. In a Dec. 14 newsletter, Principal Lori Clark updated the community. "Portland Public Schools is rescheduling the project to paint over the murals," Clark wrote. "One of the artists has granted us permission to paint over the murals with which he assisted. The other artist has retained an attorney regarding the mural projects he facilitated." Kohel Haver, a lawyer for that artist, Michael Florin Dente, says PPS has not done what's neeeded to comply with the Visual Artists Rights Act, a federal law that protects murals painted by living artists. "Mr. Dente is an important living artist who signed the work," Haver says. "This is exactly what the law was meant to protect."
Renters Sue Landlord For Elder Abuse: Three elderly residents at the Holgate Manor apartment complex in Southeast Portland are suing their landlord for $9 million in Multnomah County Circuit Court. The lawsuit argues the property owner and manager subjected the residents to elder abuse in an attempt to disband a tenants' union, retaliate for a rent strike and force the renters out. The abuse allegations stem from conditions inside the apartments, where large appliances like water heaters were allegedly improperly installed, wiring was exposed, and mold grew.
Time Is Running Out to Give: Portland's easiest path to year-end giving, Give!Guide is poised to raise over $4 million for the community. Make a difference to 150 of Portland's most effective nonprofits by donating before midnight on Dec. 31. More info at giveguide.org.