ROSE QUARTER HIGHWAY PLAN COLLAPSES: Albina Vision Trust, a nonprofit that seeks to redevelop Portland's largest historically Black neighborhood, revoked its support June 30 for the proposed expansion of Interstate 5 in the Rose Quarter, according to an email obtained by WW. "Our intensive outreach and discussion on the part of our team was not resulting in any changes in the project," Winta Yohannes, managing director of the trust, tells WW. "We cannot accept their position that they'll change without changing." That withdrawal could be a devastating blow to the project at a political moment when Oregon officials are confronted by decades of racial injustice. Within two hours of the trust's announcement, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler also yanked his support for the highway expansion. "At every step, I have asked the Oregon Department of Transportation for specific goals to be met around climate, community and economic development," he said. "Those goals have not been met. Therefore, I am withdrawing my support."
PORTLAND TO RESUME HOMELESS CAMP SWEEPS: The city of Portland will begin sweeping homeless camps larger than eight tents this month. Sweeps were halted in March to follow guidance by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the COVID-19 pandemic. But city officials now contend the sweeps are necessary for public health. "Since March 12, the number of large-congregate campsites—defined as campsites with more than 10 structures present—has grown from three to 40," says a June 26 memo from Lucas Hillier, manager of the city's Homelessness and Urban Camping Impact Reduction Program. "These areas have created significant public health and public safety challenges, including an inability for the unsheltered individuals and other people using these public spaces to comply with public health physical distancing guidelines." As WW previously reported, camps in Old Town and North Portland have expanded amid the crisis ("Camp Corona," June 10, 2020). City officials say they will offer shelter to campers caught up in the sweeps.
CHILD CARE CENTER REPORTS OUTBREAK: A child care center in Lake Oswego is the first in Oregon to report an outbreak of COVID-19. In a June 25 email obtained by WW, a KinderCare in the Lake Grove neighborhood told parents that eight children have tested positive. The Clackamas County Public Health confirmed the cases affected people at the facility and their families. Clackamas County public health assistant director Julie Aalbers said it was up to the center to report further details. "That would be up to KinderCare to share or not share," she said. KinderCare elected not to share. The Portland-based company operates more than 1,200 child care centers in 41 states. Such centers are widely viewed as a bellwether for whether schools reopen.
OSHA TO ENFORCE MASK RULES: As Oregon Gov. Kate Brown's statewide mask requirement goes into effect July 1, it includes something she's been reluctant to discuss: enforcement. Brown's office says she's assigned Oregon Occupational Safety and Health, better known as OSHA Oregon, to ensure businesses require anyone who steps inside to don a face covering. "If businesses do not implement these requirements, OSHA and other relevant agencies, such as Oregon Liquor Control Commission or the Health Licensing Office, can and will take enforcement action," Brown spokesman Charles Boyle tells WW. Brown announced June 27 she would penalize businesses that didn't enforce the rules—a change from her previous stance, educating people about masks' benefits rather than forcing them to comply. By assigning state agencies to enforce her order, though, the governor avoids the politically dicey prospect of police detaining or citing people not wearing masks.