Private Schools Allowed to Open: Tuesday, Sept. 8, was the first day of school for Portland Montessori, a small private school that serves children aged 15 months to 12 years. It and at least a half-dozen other private schools received permission to open under emergency child care guidelines even as public schools opened online only. L'Etoile French Immersion School also opened. "L'Etoile…will be open for the fall under emergency care guidelines for children aged 2-12," its website states, though other schools appear to be offering in-person care for preschool-age children only. Portland Public Schools, which surveyed parents on their child care needs in August, has not announced what child care may be open as classes remain online. Other private schools, including Portland Christian Schools, are reopening under the exception to serve special education students and students learning English. The state Department of Education does not have a comprehensive list of which schools are open even as it required them to submit reopening plans. At Portland Montessori, operating under emergency child care guidelines means reducing class sizes, setting up separate entrances for different classes, and instituting a system of morning health checks. "We do have a small handful of families who are opting for remote instruction," says Braden Pemberton, admissions and marketing director. "A majority of our families are needing in-person care."
Discrimination Suit Filed Against OHSU: A Black woman hired as interim chief nursing officer at Oregon Health & Science University in 2018 says she was unlawfully discriminated against and then fired after raising concerns about medical practices she thought endangered patients' safety. In the lawsuit, filed Sept. 8 in Multnomah County Circuit Court, plaintiff Rhonda Foster accused OHSU, her former manager and the headhunter agency through which she was hired of unlawful discrimination, retaliation, breach of contract and wage penalties. Foster, who was hired on a 12-week contract, says when she raised questions about medical practices—including transplanting an incorrect body part to a child's body—her concerns were dismissed and she was perceived as an "angry Black woman." Shortly thereafter, Foster was terminated. OHSU did not provide a reason for the dismissal, the lawsuit says. Foster alleges other instances of racial discrimination, including being told to straighten her hair when interviewing for a permanent position. Foster is seeking over $110,000 in damages—$9,100 for wage penalties and $101,730 for breach of contract. OHSU did not respond to a request for comment before press deadline.
Wind and Fire Knock Out Power and Close Schools: More than 60,000 Portland-area homes were without power Sept. 8 after wind and the threat of forest fires, says Portland General Electric. The power outages presented new problems for schools relying on Zoom and other virtual meetings, with the Oregon City School District canceling its first day of virtual classes. "OCSD schools are closed today due to internet and power outages," the school district announced on its Facebook page, with the message "Try again." (School was scheduled to resume Sept. 9.) Meanwhile, as winds exacerbated wildfires statewide, the Washington County Sheriff's Office issued a level 3 "go now" order Tuesday morning near Hagg Lake. The Marion County Sheriff's Office issued a level 2 evacuation order near Elkhorn as the Beachie Creek Fire continued to burn Tuesday.
Another Pro-Trump Rally Turns Violent: A pro-Trump rally that started in Oregon City turned violent on Labor Day after hundreds of protesters gathered at Clackamas Community College and traveled via caravan toward Woodburn. A group of Proud Boys—an extremist conservative men's group based in the Pacific Northwest—continued on to Salem, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported. The Proud Boys joined a conservative rally and bull rushed a small group of counterprotesters, OPB reported, chasing one man with a baseball bat and pepper-spraying him after he fell to the ground. Salem police, with the assistance from Oregon State Police, arrested two protesters for misdemeanor assault and first-degree intimidation, The Oregonian reported. Police released both men shortly thereafter. The Labor Day event comes after a similar caravan rally Aug. 29 where one far-right activist, Aaron "Jay" Danielson, was fatally shot after the rally cruised through downtown Portland. The suspected shooter in that case, Michael Forest Reinoehl, was later killed by police as they attempted to arrest him Sept. 3 near Lacey, Wash.