Portland, OR

Portland Daily Round Up: Newberg superintendent makes first public comments since firing, heavy rain causes flooding

Emily Scarvie

(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

By Emily Scarvie

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Friday, Nov. 12 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Newberg superintendent makes first public comments since firing at community rally

At a rally outside the Newberg School District headquarters on Thursday, Superintendent Dr. Joe Morelock made his first public comments since the board voted to fire him without cause earlier this week, saying, “I’m overwhelmed by this show of support. I hope that you continue to support the schools every single day and don’t let the messages get you down.”

The demonstration, organized by veteran Ian McDonough, was in protest of Morelock’s firing and new district policies.

“Our district was suffering in terms of financial collapse and collapse of morale of our teachers, staff and administrators,” McDonough said, per KGW. “He was able to rebuild our school district and now he’s been terminated for a political agenda on the part of four directors.”

The Newberg School Board voted 4-3 to fire the superintendent on Tuesday. The four board members who voted to fire Morelock are the same four that voted to ban Black Lives Matter and Pride symbols in Newberg schools.

2. Heavy rains cause combined sewer overflow of Portland's Big Pipe system

Portland’s Big Pipe system reached 100% capacity on Friday morning due to heavy rains, causing an overflow of storm water and sewage into the Willamette River. The Portland Bureau of Environmental Services said residents should avoid contact with water until the advisory is lifted due to possible bacteria.

When an overflow occurs, the public is recommended to avoid contact with the river for 48 hours afterward due to increased bacteria. A combined sewer overflow, made up of around 80% storm water and 20% sewage, is rare and typically occurs during heavy rainfall or snow.

The river’s water quality is safe for recreation during all other times. Big Pipe levels can be tracked here.

3. Heavy rain causes messy morning commute on Friday

The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch through Friday night as heavy rains continue to impact Portland, causing crashes on roadways, power outages and rockslides in some areas. Friday’s morning commute saw a number of crashes reported, including on I-5 northbound near Terwilliger and I-84 eastbound near I-5. A downed tree caused closures on Highway 219 near Scholls Ferry.

PGE has reported 29 power outages, impacting 2,351 customers. Pacific Power reported outages impacting 1,652 customers.

The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office reported rockslides at several spots along East Columbia River Highway between Larch Mountain Road and Multnomah Falls on Thursday, and drivers are asked to avoid the area.

4. Intel sets COVID-19 vaccine deadline for all U.S. employees

Intel, Oregon’s largest employer, told workers Thursday that they must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4 or submit to weekly tests, a step that many large employers are now taking in anticipation of a federal vaccine mandate for companies with more than 100 workers. Intel has 21,000 people working at its Washington County campuses.

Intel said it’s working with government agencies to delay the mandate due to “the complexity and size of our workforce.” The company has not said what percentage of its workforce are already vaccinated against COVID-19.

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