By Emily Scarvie
(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Tuesday, Nov. 16 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.
Amid a stark rise in gun violence in Portland this year, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office is adding additional prosecutors to handle gun violence cases, especially involving homicide. The county is spending $1 million to add four prosecutors and two investigators and says this will help with the urgent need to resolve the number of gun violence cases.
“This investment means more hours spent interviewing witnesses, analyzing evidence and facts, supporting victims and prosecuting cases,” DA Mike Schmidt said in September, per FOX 12.
This year there have been more than a thousand shootings and 70 homicides in Portland. According to the DA’s office, caseloads are nearly double what they’ve been in the past and many courts are still bouncing back from pandemic delays.
The four prosecutors will start early next month and the DA’s office is still looking for two new investigators.
The Oregon Department of Transportation is warning that driving this winter could be difficult amid labor shortages, especially with less snow plow drivers. ODOT was already understaffed in 2020 and the problem has only been exasperated by many employees retiring this year.
“Portland is one of the areas where we have lost a few people,” Ted Miller, with ODOT, told KGW. “We are down 30 TMS2s, which are people that go out and plow the roads.”
ODOT is looking to fill these roles. The agency employs roughly 1,100 snow plow drivers statewide and as of last week, 146 of those positions were vacant. There are full and part time positions available and they pay anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000 a month.
A program put on by the Portland Business Alliance and Downtown Portland Clean & Safe is giving seven emerging local creators "brick and mortar" storefronts to showcase their creations, and give Portlanders an opportunity to shop local this holiday season. The program has been going on for the last 12 years and many of the pop-up shops this year are minority, woman and LGBTQ+ owned.
“I started with a table with barely enough product, then over the years, filled up a booth. With a booth you have to set up every day, take it down. The labor that goes into that is really intense, so this opportunity – with the weather and COVID – this is really exciting,” Lluvia Merello, the owner of Indigenous Come-Up, told FOX 12.
The pop-up shops will be open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and run through Dec. 31. They will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
For a full list of PDX Pop-Up Shops, click here.
Portland International Airport will once again have a nonstop flight to Amsterdam starting next year. The direct flight between the two cities is the first nonstop service from PDX to a European city since the COVID-19 pandemic began. It signifies that travel is slowly returning to pre-pandemic levels in Portland.
In September 2020, there was a 71% decrease in passengers from September 2019, and although this year’s numbers still fall below 2019 levels, the number of flights and travelers have dramatically increased since 2020. September 2021 saw a 130.1% increase in passengers from the year prior.