Beaverton Doctor Crusades Against Vaccine Requirement: Dr. Paul Thomas, a Beaverton pediatrician who caters to vaccine-skeptical parents, is embracing his role as a "vaccine choice" crusader ("Alt-Vaxx," WW, March 20, 2019). He's lobbying against Oregon House Bill 3063, which would remove the nonmedical exemption to vaccines. Thomas spoke on the steps of the Capitol on April 23, arguing the effects of a measles outbreak this winter were overblown. "The epidemic is completely done, and no one died," he said. He again linked vaccines, including the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, to autism—a claim with no scientific backing. He engaged in a call-and-response with a crowd protesting the bill. "Will you ignore what you know and go get all the vaccines?" he asked. "No!" the crowd replied.
Portland Police Kept Compliance Problems Quiet: The Portland Police Bureau discovered in November 2017 that its Reserve Unit had, for nearly five years, lacked training required by a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice. WW reported this month that the lack of training led to the dissolution of the reserves. Now, two former reserve officers, Bob Ball and Tim Bailey, tell WW that Cmdr. Steve Jones, who was head of the professional standards division at the time, told them he had not been "entirely forthright" with the DOJ about the Reserve Unit's training status in early December 2017. Jones is currently on paid administrative leave after crashing a city vehicle into a utility pole while driving intoxicated. The Police Bureau did not return multiple requests for comment on Jones' alleged remarks about intentionally withholding information from the DOJ. Last week, The Oregonian reported the bureau hadn't informed the DOJ or the U.S. attorney for the District of Oregon about the lack of compliance. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney says the city is not required to voluntarily report noncompliance. A spokeswoman for Mayor Ted Wheeler says the feds understood compliance "would occur over an extended period."
Metro President Backs Highway Widening: Metro Council President Lynn Peterson dumped cold water on advocacy groups who oppose a widening of Interstate 5 at the Rose Quarter. After an April 19 speech, Peterson said burying I-5 under highway lids wouldn't be tackled without also adding lanes to the road. "We've mentioned the lid that will allow for connective tissue of urbanness so that you never actually feel like you are walking across a freeway," Peterson said. "That's not going to happen if we're not also doing the other part of the project." She also said Metro is looking at dedicating half of the money from a proposed 2020 transportation bond to road and highway projects.
Earth Day Protesters Arrested: Portland police arrested 11 protesters April 22 who were sitting on railroad tracks in Northwest Portland to protest Zenith Energy's import of Alberta tar sands oil. The protesters had dumped topsoil on the tracks and planted a garden. "We need to move on to tactics that actually demand something of power," said Leah Francis, an activist with Extinction Rebellion PDX. Among those arrested: Ken Ward, a climate-change activist from Corbett, Ore., who received national attention in 2016 for shutting off an oil valve in Washington state ("Ken Ward Is More Radical Than You," WW, Jan. 18, 2017).