Portland, OR

Portland Daily Round Up: Longtime NBA assistant slams Blazers' GM Neil Olshey, Newberg SB fires superintendent

Emily Scarvie

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By Emily Scarvie

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Wednesday, Nov. 10 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Longtime NBA assistant says he warned Blazers franchise of GM Neil Olshey years ago

The Portland Trail Blazers announced over the weekend that the franchise was reviewing “concerns around workplace environment by non-player personnel at the practice facility,” regarding general manager Neil Olshey. On Tuesday, Barry Hecker, who’s worked in the NBA for decades as an assistant coach and player personnel director, as well as worked alongside Olshey in the past, spoke about the general manager and how he warned the Blazers about him years ago.

“One, I don’t think he was qualified for the job. Two, he has no idea how to treat people,” Hecker told The Oregonian’s John Canzano. “He’s an arrogant SOB. His ego gets in the way of everything and he’s just a bad human being… I called [Miller] up and said, ‘You guys are barking up the wrong tree hiring this guy. This guy is not qualified but sells himself as he is and it will be a problem before it’s over.’”

Hecker’s comments regarding Olshey came just a day after former Blazers’ guard Dan Dickau went public about his experience with the general manager, saying he berated him over the phone for emailing another executive about a job on the business side of the franchise. Hecker, who listened to the Dickau interview, said he could no longer stay silent.

To listen to the full interview with Hecker, click here.

2. Report says situation in Multnomah County jail system is 'catastrophic'

A grand jury report on the correctional facilities in Multnomah County described the current situation as “catastrophic,” with widespread staffing shortages and a lack of mental health resources. According to the report, staff morale has taken a hit with the shortage and many workers feel burnt out or have retired early.

Additionally, the report found that a number of adults in custody are suffering from mental health conditions or substance abuse and the correctional facilities are beginning to act as mental health hospitals, despite not having the resources to do so.

The grand jury gave suggestions to improve staffing, including hazard pay, assignment-based bonuses and hiring back retirees. They also suggested providing workers with additional training and hiring non-security mental health specialists.

The full report can be read here.

3. Newberg School Board votes to fire district's superintendent

On Tuesday, the Newberg School Board voted 4-3 to fire the district’s superintendent without cause. Dr. Joe Morelock, who has been superintendent for just over two years, was under contract through June 30, 2024. Of the vote, board member Rebecca Piros said it “pained” her to see this happen and she was “disappointed in the decision.”

“The Superintendent Cabinet of district administrators is shocked and dismayed that the Board would take this disruptive action in the middle of the school year,” a statement by the district’s superintendent cabinet said, per KOIN. “We will continue supporting our staff in that mission day in and day out, as we wait to see what the Board’s plan for leadership of the district will be.”

The firing of Morelock is just one of the controversial actions the Newberg School Board has taken this year. The Newberg Education Association is currently suing the district and four board members after they voted to ban all political symbols, including Black Lives Matter and Pride signs, in classrooms. The lawsuit states that there have been violations of free speech, state constitutional rights against arbitrary and unequal treatment and violations of federal constitutional due process and equal protection.

4. Atmospheric river bringing heavy rain, some flooding this week

An atmospheric river is forecasted to hit western Oregon this evening, potentially causing flooding along streams and rivers. Major cities in the valley are expected to see 1 to 3 inches of rain and the coast range is expected to get 4 to 6 inches of rain.

Moderate to heavy rainfall is expected through Friday. Some waterways that are prone to flooding include the Wilson, Nehalem, Dee and Johnson Creek.

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