Portland, OR

Portland Daily Round Up: PPS talks student COVID-19 vaccine mandate, Gov. Brown thanks workers for getting vaccinated

Emily Scarvie

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By Emily Scarvie

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Wednesday, Oct. 20 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. PPS holds discussions with parents about possible student vaccine mandate

Portland Public Schools is continuing discussions regarding a possible COVID-19 vaccine mandate for students 12 and older. After speaking with health experts last month, the district is turning to parents for their perspectives this week. Tuesday was one of the first listening sessions with parents and many supported the proposal. Others opposed the mandate, saying it was a personal choice to vaccinate their children and the district shouldn’t make that decision for them.

School board member Gary Hollands reiterated that the district has not yet made a decision, saying, “We want to make sure we’re getting the right information out. The decision has not been made and that’s why we want to listen to what you guys are saying.”

PPS Chief of Staff Jonathan Garcia sent KGW a statement regarding the possible mandate, saying that the district will continue to have listening sessions with parents this week and will discuss further at the board meeting on Oct. 26. If the board decides to move forward with the mandate, there would be a vote at the Nov. 2 board meeting.

2. Gov. Brown thanks workers under mandate for getting vaccinated against COVID-19

Gov. Kate Brown thanked workers who got their COVID-19 vaccine a day after the mandate deadline for state workers, healthcare professionals and teachers to get vaccinated or risk losing their jobs. Brown issued executive orders earlier this year to mandate those workers to get vaccinated by Oct. 18.

“By taking this step, you are protecting yourself, your co-workers, your families and your communities,” Brown said in the video. “You have helped to protect some of our most critical workplaces from the disruption caused by COVID-19.”

Brown went on to thank members of the National Guard for helping at hospitals and long-term care facilities amid the surge in COVID-19 cases. Despite some workers refusing to get vaccinated and losing their jobs, Oregon has largely avoided any major staff shortages.

“My goal continues to be to save lives, keep our students learning safely in classrooms and to keep our schools, businesses and communities open,” Brown said.

3. Portland Trail Blazers to kick off their 52nd season at home

The Portland Trail Blazers will kick off their 52nd season tonight against the Sacramento Kings at 7 p.m. at the Moda Center. Fans can expect new food and drink offerings from local restaurants and craft brewers, as well as new Blazers gear in the shops.

The Moda Center has a number of health and safety measures in place for games. All attendees 12 and older will be required to be fully vaccinated or provide proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours or a negative lab-based rapid test taken within 48 hours. At-home tests are not being accepted. Fans are also required to wear a mask at all times while on the Rose Quarter campus. For more information about health and safety measures during games, click here.

For the Blazers' full schedule and ticket information, click here.

4. Pacific Power denies negligence, liability in deadly 2020 wildfires

After the families of those lost in the Labor Day 2020 wildfires that swept through the Santiam Canyon filed lawsuits against a utility company, alleging that Pacific Power failed to de-energize its powerlines despite the extreme fire hazard they presented, the company is denying negligence on its part.

Pacific Power released a 20-page response on Oct. 7, saying that the company agrees that the Santiam Fire started as a result of the Beachie Creek Fire, which had been ignited by a lightning strike. However, the company said that “damages, if any, were caused by an unavoidable accident or Act of God.” Pacific Power also denied all liability.

Two lawsuits were filed against the company. The first was by the parents of 13-year-old Wyatt Tofte, who died along with his 71-year-old grandmother, Peggy Mosso, and his dog on Sept. 9, 2020. Angie Mosso, Wyatt’s mother, was found crawling along the road, burned beyond recognition, by her husband. The second lawsuit was filed by a man who lost his 41-year-old brother and 71-year-old mother in the Beachie Creek Fire.

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