City-Owned Housing Complex Is Leaking: Headwaters Apartments, a city-owned complex erected in 2007 in Southwest Portland, has told every resident of the top floor to get out by Nov. 27 after the roof showed signs of failing. The 100-unit building in Multnomah Village cost $14.7 million to provide high-quality, environmentally sustainable housing for tenants making no more than median income. Renters in top-floor units were offered help by building managers to find an Airbnb or hotel, in a letter from the complex. "Costs associated with moving will be covered by the owner of the property," the letter states. The Portland Housing Bureau recently learned that severe winter weather could further damage the roof. "Structural engineers advised swift precautionary action," says bureau spokeswoman Martha Calhoon.
Amazon Warehouse in Troutdale Under Scrutiny: As shoppers gear up for the holidays, reporting by The Atlantic and Reveal from the Center of Investigative Reporting offers a sobering look at the human cost of Amazon's deliver-it-now business model. Reporters gathered safety data for 23 of Amazon's 110 warehouses and found rates of serious worker injuries were more than twice the industry average. The most dangerous facility, according to the piece, is Amazon's warehouse in Troutdale, Ore., which had a serious injury rate of 26 per 1,000 workers, more than six times the industry average. An Amazon spokeswoman disputed the premise of the investigation. "While many companies underrecord safety incidents in order to keep their rates low, Amazon does the opposite," company spokeswoman Shevaun Brown tells WW. "We take an aggressive stance on recording injuries no matter how big or small."
Racial Disparities Rise in Multnomah County Incarceration: A new report published by the W. Haywood Burns Institute shows rising racial and ethnic disparities in Multnomah County incarceration rates. The report finds that black adults are almost five times as likely as whites to have a case reviewed by the court and be prosecuted and convicted. The report compares the racial disparity of jail bookings based on similar offenses: Black adults in Multnomah County are 4.6 times more likely than white adults to get jail time for a misdemeanor and 4.7 times for a felony offense. Bobbin Singh, executive director of the Oregon Justice Resource Center, says he's "disturbed by the lack of will and urgency around the issue of race discrimination and structural racism." He adds, "Unless we actually talk about the root causes and how our system treats people and why it was created, we'll always see these disparities."
Artists Feel Chill at Milepost 5: Residents of Milepost 5, an affordable housing complex for artists, have been suffering from heat outages. It's the latest in a string of problems at the complex. Community Development Partners, an affordable housing developer that owns the complex, has already offered tenants in 27 of the apartments repayments for failing to notify them before entering units as required under state housing law. They're also offering tenants compensation for janitorial, security and maintenance issues, after tenants demanded it. But in the case of heat, the complex's management company has blamed "someone in the building" for "tampering with the flow valves that control the boiler," according to a Nov. 22 letter to tenants.
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