Report Finds Black Portlanders Exiled In Poverty: A damning Multnomah County report shows rising racial disparities in poverty rates. The report found that 35 percent of black households in the county meet the federal definition of poverty, whereas only 14 percent of white households do. A critical part of the report's analysis centers on geography—and finds ZIP codes are a major indicator of a household's financial status. Rising housing prices in the city continue to push lower-income residents to the city's fringes. The report says 22 percent of households living east of Interstate 205 live in poverty, compared to the overall county rate of 16 percent. "These patterns," the report states, "reflect decades of gentrification and displacement stemming from rising housing prices in the region's urban core."
Brown Flight to Sunriver Draws Scrutiny: As Gov. Kate Brown prepares for a February legislative session in which she has vowed to push for a cap on carbon emissions, she's spending time with a key player. Brown flew to an Oregon Forest & Industries Council annual meeting in Sunriver, Ore., last month aboard a private plane paid for by OFIC. Brown's office says she'll report the flight as a gift, as required by law. So much for making friends: Republican lawmakers jumped on the governor's choice to travel by plane, given her efforts to address climate change. "Carbon hypocrisy from the governor will make cap and trade an even harder sell in the upcoming session," says state Rep. Jack Zika (R-Redmond). The governor's office says the decision to travel by plane was made to accommodate a busy schedule. "She does not frequently use private plane travel," says spokesman Charles Boyle, adding the trip balanced "the need to get as much done as possible with the needs of doing so as efficiently as possible."
Industrial Landowners Can Still Chop Down Trees: When the Portland City Council considers extending protections in the city's tree code for five years Dec. 5, it will disappoint advocates who hoped the council would remove an exemption enjoyed by owners of commercial and industrial property ("Timber Jordan," WW, Oct. 23, 2019). Parks Commissioner Nick Fish says the change is likely to get sent back to the Planning and Sustainability Commission, which recommended removing the exemption without giving legal notice to interested parties. Bob Sallinger, conservation director of the Audubon Society of Portland, says he and others will be watching the exemption, under discussion since 2011. "Industrial interests have gotten a free ride on trees for nearly a decade," Sallinger says, "and the impacts are real."
Timber Unity Faces Test of Strength: A key deadline looms for Timber Unity, the populist uprising against House Bill 2020, the cap-and-trade climate legislation that failed earlier this year. Timber Unity led an effort to recall rookie state Rep. Tiffiny Mitchell (D-Astoria), whose district includes prime logging on the North Coast. Recall proponents needed 4,883 signatures in the 90 days ending Dec. 4, and sources in both parties expressed skepticism the effort would be any more successful than two failed efforts to recall Gov. Kate Brown earlier this year. Darren Mead, chief petitioner for the recall, declined to say how many signatures his group had gathered or whether it had enough. "I've been kind of busy with work and the holiday," Mead tells WW. "I don't want to say yea or nay at this point." Either way, Mitchell must run again in 2020.
Attention PDX Foodies: Give $10 or more to any nonprofit in WW's Give!Guide on Thursday, Dec. 5, for your chance to win two weekend passes to Feast Portland, a $500 gift card from New Seasons Market, $150 at Tasty n Daughters, and a year's supply of goodies from ¿Por Qué No?, Nossa Familia Coffee, Jasmine Pearl Tea Company, Gluten Free Gem, and Ground Up PDX. So far, G!G has raised almost $1.2 million from 4,778 donors. Visit giveguide.org for more info.