By Emily Scarvie
(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Monday, Oct. 18 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.
Today is the deadline for both Oregon and Washington’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates for some state workers, healthcare professionals and teachers. Those who are not fully vaccinated risk losing their jobs. All workers were given an opportunity to apply for religious or medical exemptions. In Oregon, some workers' unions have negotiated an extension of the deadline. For example, executive branch workers now have until Nov. 30 to be fully vaccinated.
According to the Oregon Employment Department, three out of five working Oregonians, or more than 1.1 million people, will need to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to comply with vaccine mandates.
According to new data released by the Oregon Health Authority, the strain put on healthcare facilities by the delta variant is already starting to alleviate and will continue to do so over the next two months. The new forecast shows that the decline in hospitalizations will continue across the state and the effects of herd immunity could take hold in late December, when it’s estimated that 85% of the population will have immunity from vaccination or recent infection. However, OHSU says “about 22% of Oregonians are still vulnerable to infection” from the highly transmissible variant and it’s anticipated that there will be another 177,000 infections before Oregon reaches herd immunity.
COVID-19 cases have been declining in Oregon since September, but a large number of intensive care unit beds remain occupied by coronavirus patients. Of those hospitalized, fewer than 5% are vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Portland Police Bureau announced over the weekend that there have been over 1,000 shootings in the city so far this year. PPB Chief Chuck Lovell posted a series of tweets, saying, in part, “This week we passed a grim milestone. Portland police have now documented over 1,000 shootings this year. Too many have prematurely ended lives and caused injury. But all shootings cause trauma to our community.”
In September alone, officers responded to 110 shootings, or around four shootings per day. PPB said 85% of the shootings reported this year occurred in North and East Portland.
Lovell went on to say that the Enhanced Community Safety Team is investigating all of these cases and that the bureau is “working hard at building the Focused Intervention Team, which has a goal to deescalate and lower the tensions in the communities that are feeding the contagious gun violence crisis.”
On Sunday, around 400 runners took to the streets of Portland for the 10th annual MLK Dream Run, put on by the Soul District Business Association. The event honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s belief that all people should have the same social and economic rights, and all proceeds from the run are used to support communities of color and minority-owned businesses.
The race on Sunday followed a weekend of fundraising, with live music and arts events on Saturday.
After a van with two dogs inside was stolen on Sunday afternoon, Portland police are asking for the public’s help in locating the vehicle. The Ford transit van was taken near the intersection of Northeast Gertz Road and Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. A female Pitbull mix and a male brown/tan mini German Shepard were in the vehicle when it was stolen. According to police, the van has a temporary Washington tag on the back and stickers.
Anyone with information on the incident or who thinks they’ve seen the van is asked to contact Portland police and reference case 21-290262.