Lawmakers remove state legislator over Oregon Capitol breach
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Lawmakers in Oregon have expelled a Republican legislator who let violent, far-right protesters into the Statehouse. The expulsion Thursday night of Rep. Mike Nearman was the first member of the House to be expelled in its 160-year history. The House voted 59-1 to remove him from the Legislature for disorderly behavior. Nearman was seen on security video opening a door to protesters on Dec. 21 as lawmakers met in emergency session to deal with economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. A representative says the protesters planned to occupy the Capitol and some were armed.
Statue of Black hero of Lewis & Clark trip defaced in Oregon
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A statue commemorating York, an enslaved Black member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, was defaced this week in Portland, Oregon. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that while the bust itself was unmarked, symbols and words, including “love not hate,” were spray-painted in purple lettering onto the gray pedestal underneath. A plaque describing York had also been spray-painted over and then removed, leaving behind a blank square framed in purple. The bust mysteriously appeared in February on a pedestal in a park in Southeast Portland where a statue of Harvey Scott, a well-known conservative and longtime editor of The Oregonian who opposed women’s suffrage, stood until it was torn down. It still isn’t clear who created or placed the bust of York.
DISABILITY SERVICES GROUP LEAVING STATE
State scrambles as disabilities company plans Oregon exit
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — State officials say an Oregon company is closing its group homes and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities after years of state and federal scrutiny for abuse and neglect. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports advocates and a top state official said Mentor Oregon’s departure will be the largest of its kind in memory, and will likely challenge Oregon’s already-strained disability services system. The closure means 1,300 people will need of new service providers by Aug. 31. It’s unclear if other case management companies in Oregon have the capacity to take on Mentor’s workload. Spokeswoman Teresa Prego said Mentor Oregon will work tirelessly to help people in their care transition and have access to support.
WA panel approves sports betting; sends to governor
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The Washington State Gambling Commission has approved amendments to gambling compacts for 15 Native American tribes that are a major step to allowing those tribes to offer sports betting at their casinos. Commissioners on Thursday voted 7-0, with two excused, on the requests from all 15 tribes to approve the amendments and send them to Gov. Jay Inslee for his approval. This was the next step in the complicated process of allowing sports betting, following approval last year by the state Legislature. If the governor approves, the issue will be sent to the federal government for approval.
Portland reaches $600K settlement in police killing of man
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Lawyers for the family of a 24-year-old man announced this week that they’ve reached a settlement with the city of Portland for a police shooting in 2017 that left Terrell Johnson dead. Oregon Public Broadcasting reports the $600,000 settlement must still be approved by the Portland City Council. On May 10, 2017, Portland Police Officer Samson Ajir shot and killed Johnson at a MAX light-rail station in Southeast Portland. At the time, Johnson was experiencing a mental health crisis, according to the family’s attorney Juan Chavez. The city’s attorney has disputed that.
COLD CASE HOMICIDE ARREST
Suspect arrested in 1980 cold case homicide of teen woman
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Gresham police identified a Troutdale man this week as the suspect in an 80s cold case homicide. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports police used DNA technology to identify 58-year-old Robert Plympton as a suspect in the killing of 19-year-old Barbara Mae Tucker. Gresham police on Tuesday arrested Plympton. Tucker was expected at a night class at Mt. Hood Community College on Jan. 15, 1980. A student found Tucker’s body the next day. The medical examiner determined Tucker had been sexually assaulted and beaten to death. It wasn’t immediately known if Plympton has a lawyer. He’s charged with murder, rape and sex abuse.
‘People are scared’ as gang activity fuels Portland violence
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A sharp increase in gang activity is helping to fuel a surge in gun violence in Oregon’s most populous city. Portland has been grappling with the role of police during the racial justice movement and grabbed national headlines during nightly racial justice protests last summer. But the city is attempting to tackle the increasing gun violence as the pandemic eases and protests shrink. In the first six months of the year, Portland is on track to surpass its record annual homicide count as gang violence and retaliatory shootings wrack the metropolitan area. While all agree that Portland has a chaotic gun violence problem, how to solve it is where people splinter.
Oregon Legislature OKs measure to protect homeless campers
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Legislature has given final passage to a bill to protect homeless campers in public spaces. The measure, which goes to Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, mandates that any city or county law must be reasonable if it regulates sitting, lying, sleeping or keeping warm and dry outdoors on public property. Under the measure, a homeless person charged with violating a ban on camping or loitering would have an affirmative defense against a law that is not objectively reasonable. A person experiencing homelessness may also sue to challenge the objective reasonableness of a city or county law.