By Emily Scarvie
(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Thursday, Nov. 4 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.
After the western states workgroup endorsed Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for 5 to 11-year-olds on Wednesday, Oregon health officials said they’re expecting 180,000 initial pediatric vaccine doses, enough to vaccinate roughly 53% of the state’s population of children in that age range. However, the Oregon Health Authority said it may take a while to find an open appointment.
“As with the introduction of any new eligible group for vaccination, we expect our health care system will not be able to accommodate all children who’d like to get vaccinated in the first few days that they become eligible,” Kristen Dillon, the senior advisor for Oregon’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Unit, told FOX 12.
Roughly two-thirds of the pediatric vaccines are being sent directly to pediatrician’s offices and the remaining will go to pharmacies across the state. Health officials have also said there will be drive thru vaccination sites and community events in the coming weeks.
During a student walkout on Tuesday at Roseway Heights Middle School, reportedly in response to concerns over sexual harassment incidents involving students, several fights broke out and parents were left wondering if their kids are safe at school.
“There were kids being chased by mobs of other students and hit,” parent Sally Stauffer told KGW. “My daughter witnessed that firsthand. There’s a lot of racism going on. There were fights inside of the school. There were fights outside of the school.”
According to school officials, one student experienced a “medical emergency” during the walkout but ultimately returned to class. There was a visible staff presence outside of the school when students returned on Wednesday.
The Portland Police Bureau said it was made aware of the incident, but only staged officers near the scene in case of emergency. PPB said officers are “no longer welcome on campus,” but a district administrator said PPS would have asked for police support if they thought it was necessary.
On Wednesday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler held a press conference to announce his proposal to invest in public safety. The announcement comes after months of discussions surrounding the rise in gun violence in Portland. In 2021, there have been over 1,000 shootings and 72 people have been killed.
“This is the deadliest era in modern times for the City of Portland,” Wheeler said.
According to Wheeler, the city has a $62 million surplus within the fall budget process and he hopes to redirect some of those funds towards re-staffing the Portland Police Bureau and investing in other public safety measures. In his proposal, Wheeler said he’s looking to add 40 Public Safety Support Specialists, which are law enforcement agents that provide an unarmed response to lower-priority calls.
He also proposed that the city hire a consultant to draft a plan regarding gaps and duplications within city-funded programs, as well as change the training for PPB officers and offer new recruits a signing bonus.
More than 1,495 PGE customers have been affected by power outages as of Thursday morning as gusty winds move into the Willamette Valley. Pacific Power also reported outages affecting 2,572 customers. Peak wind is predicted to set in from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday and the National Weather Service for Portland has also issued a High Wind Warning for the coast.
“Strong winds will blow down weak trees. Scattered power outages are expected,” the National Weather Service said. “Winds will shift more southwesterly mid-morning, with damaging gusts possible even for the coastal communities later Thursday morning and early Thursday afternoon."
PGE encouraged customers to use its outage map and be prepared with flashlights and batteries.