GLASS PLANT FACES MILLION-DOLLAR FINE: This spring, Oregon’s only glass recycling plant dodged a crushing blow when Portland city officials scrapped two proposed fees on carbon emissions that would have raised the plant’s annual tax bill by $1 million (”Glass Houses, WW, Jan. 27, 2021). But now the Owens-Brockway plant faces a new problem: a $1 million fine from the state for breaking air pollution laws. The Department of Environmental Quality levied the fine last week. A DEQ spokesperson alleges that Owens-Brockway was spewing too much soot. Environmental advocates say a crackdown on Owens-Brockway, which sits on 78 acres in the Cully neighborhood of Northeast Portland, is long overdue. “This disregard is a clear issue of environmental racism, given the proximity of the plant to Cully, one of Oregon’s most diverse neighborhoods,” wrote Neighbors for Clean Air. Every glass bottle recycled by Oregon’s Bottle Bill goes through Owens-Brockway. A spokesperson for the plant’s owner, Ohio-based Owens-Illinois, says: “O-I is aware of the announcement and is currently reviewing the scope but cannot provide comment on pending regulatory or legal matters.”
NAOMI WOLF SLATED FOR OREGON ANTI-VAXX RALLY: Oregonians for Medical Freedom, a group opposed to vaccine requirements even before the COVID-19 pandemic, is advertising a June 9 rally at the state Capitol, headlined by Dr. Naomi Wolf, the noted feminist suspended from Twitter this week for spreading vaccine misinformation. “LETS STAND AGAINST THE INJUSTICES OF THE COVID LOCKDOWNS,” the online flier for the event reads. Wolf, a leading figure of third-wave feminism and author of The Beauty Myth, recently descended into conspiracy theories around vaccines. Twitter suspended her account after she suggested separating the human waste of vaccinated people from other sewage. She’ll be joined at a rally opposing vaccine passports by Kevin Jenkins, whom the London-based Center for Countering Digital Hate identified as one of a dozen anti-vaccine activists responsible for most vaccine misinformation online. Also speaking: Dr. Paul Thomas, the Beaverton anti-vaxx pediatrician, who still faces disciplinary proceedings that could permanently revoke his license. Oregonians for Medical Freedom did not respond to email inquiries.
LEGISLATURE CLEARS PATH FOR POLICE OVERSIGHT:The Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 621 on June 7, effectively paving the way for Portland to implement a police oversight board that voters passed by a 4-to-1 margin in November. The bill amends state law pertaining to labor negotiations with public employee unions so voter-approved police oversight boards can operate in “full force and effect” without being subject to mandatory collective bargaining. “We were honest that there were additional steps needed to ensure the new independent police oversight board would be the best it can be,” said City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty. “I’ve remained committed to that process, and I’m thrilled to see this next step is complete.”
PORTLAND WOMAN CLAIMS MISCARRIAGE AFTER EVICTION: A Portland woman says she had a miscarriage in the car where she was living, two weeks after her being evicted this winter. On June 7, Sara Kuust and Jake Blackburn filed a $1.9 million lawsuit in Multnomah County Circuit Court, accusing their landlords of unlawful eviction, negligence and retaliation for allegedly ousting them from their rented room at the Evergreen Inn and Suites motel in January. The couple says the landlords “instructed police to remove them from the premises” on Jan. 16, and that after five days in other motels, the couple began living in their car. Two weeks later, according to their attorney, Kuust had a miscarriage. The lawsuit names Manmohan and Jalpaben Patel and OM JSNRN Hospitality Group as defendants. An attorney representing them declined to comment. “As a result of defendants’ wrongful eviction, plaintiffs became homeless,” the lawsuit says. “After being wrongfully evicted, Ms. Kuust experienced a miscarriage while living in her car.”