Murmurs: The Thin Blue Line Thickens

In other news: Kristof to go back to the Times.

THE THIN BLUE LINE THICKENS: Six days after a fatal police shooting of a man in Southeast Portland, the Portland Police Bureau has yet to name the officer responsible. On July 29, the bureau announced that due to a “credible security threat,” it was withholding the name. It was the third police shooting in four days, an unusual streak, and the bureau said it was investigating “possible doxxing” of the officers involved. A bureau spokesperson declined to provide further details on the threat, or to give a timeline for when the officer’s name would be released. The refusal comes after someone in North Portland exchanged gunfire with cops last week—and as Portland law enforcement describes itself as besieged. “The level of violence we are seeing in Portland and the direct disregard for law enforcement is unacceptable,” wrote FBI Special Agent in Charge Kieran L. Ramsay on July 27. In a related event, 16 police officers were called to the scene of a car wreck July 30 after the car’s occupants allegedly resisted arrest and neighbors became “hostile.” The allegedly drunken driver was charged with a bias crime after she threatened two female officers who responded to the scene, according to a bureau press release.

KRISTOF TO GO BACK TO THE TIMES: Nicholas Kristof, the former New York Times columnist who resigned from the paper after 37 years to seek the Democratic nomination for Oregon governor, announced this week he will return to the Times. The move comes after the Oregon Supreme Court in February upheld Secretary of State Shemia Fagan’s determination that Kristof didn’t meet Oregon’s three-year residency requirement because he voted in New York in 2020. Kristof, a Yamhill native, will finish his latest book before rejoining the Times this fall. In a related move, Kristof, who proved to be a prodigious fundraiser during his brief gubernatorial bid, donated the $990,000 remaining in his campaign account to Oregon Strong, a new PAC run by his wife, former journalist-turned-investment adviser Sheryl WuDunn. She says the PAC will not give to candidates but instead support “evidence-based job training.” As for Kristof’s political future, he tells WW, “I’ve no plans to ever run for office again.”

LABOR PAINS AT OPB: Service Employees International Union Local 503 picketed Oregon Public Broadcasting’s South Macadam Avenue headquarters Aug. 2. The union represents 26 OPB employees, including video editors, camera operators, and some administrative employees (news reporters and on-air employees are not represented). OPB has proven itself a fundraising colossus, with revenues of $48.5 million in 2020, about 50% more than five years ago. The nonprofit’s contract with SEIU expired June 30, and a union representative says contract talks are “pretty tense.” SEIU was particularly unhappy that OPB gave all unrepresented employees a $1,000 stipend this year but did not give that stipend to union members. OPB CEO Steve Bass declined to discuss contract specifics but says he’s optimistic: “We will continue to bargain in good faith to reach an agreement as soon as possible.”

NONPROFIT WILL PROVIDE GUARANTEED INCOME: Black Resilience Fund, a program of Brown Hope, a nonprofit started by social justice activist Cameron Whitten in the wake of George Floyd’s murder in 2020, began accepting applications Aug. 1 for an initiative to provide up to 50 Black families with a guaranteed basic income of up to $2,000 a month for three years. Whitten secured a matching grant of $100,000 from the Oregon Community Foundation and is seeking to raise a total of $500,000 this summer. He says other large foundations are receptive to the concept of granting low-income families a monthly payment, an idea some economists have long supported and one that presidential candidate Andrew Yang highlighted in 2020. The awards are income-based and vary by family size: from $1,000 for a single adult up to $2,000 for a family with three or more children. More than 7,500 people applied in the first 24 hours after the program went live Aug. 1. “It’s a sign of the overwhelming need out there,” Whitten says.