By Emily Scarvie
(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Wednesday, Jan. 19 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.
Following Newberg’s recall election on Tuesday, initial results from Yamhill County show that Newberg School Board Chair Dave Brown and Vice Chair Brian Shannon appear to have beat recall efforts, with 52% voting not to recall Brown and just over 52% voting not to recall Shannon. These are still unofficial results, as votes will continue to come in for another week or so.
According to Yamhill County Clerk Brian Van Bergen, it will take “7 days for the post office to get their stuff to us and then 14 days to cure any signature issues after that. And then we have to wait for those results to come from the other two counties to add up. So short story long, at least 22 days from today [until] we really know.”
Both board members became the center of a district-wide controversy and recall efforts over the ban of political symbols in schools and the firing of Superintendent Joe Morelock without cause in November.
The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to impact schools in Oregon, and the Centennial School District is the latest to experience school closures, announcing on Wednesday that Powell Butte Elementary will move to distance learning through the end of the week. Greenway Elementary, in the Beaverton School District, also canceled classes Wednesday to prepare for remote learning through at least Friday.
Several school districts are expected to return to in-person learning on Monday, including the Parkrose and Tigard-Tualatin school districts. Portland Public Schools said Jefferson High School will return to classrooms on Monday as well. Brookwood Elementary School, in Hillsboro, expects students to return to in-person instruction on Friday.
Following a disruption by anti-mask protestors at its Jan. 13 meeting, the Clackamas County Commissioners meetings will be held virtually for the time being. According to Chair Tootie Smith, in-person meetings were a priority, but after last week’s disruption, she plans to keep them virtual for now.
At the meeting, Smith warned attendees that they were enforcing the state’s mask mandate and those who didn’t comply would be escorted out or she would move the meeting online. She decided to move the meeting online after more than one interruption, saying she was scared of what would happen.
“They hurled insults, they were raising their fists, they were moving their masks and repeatedly, repeatedly I said please stop that,” Smith told FOX 12. “These people knew that I believe that your personal healthcare should be a choice. I’ve never advocated for mandates. The fine would have been $30,000 for the first offense for the people in the room. The second offense we could have lost some funding for the state programs that my citizens demand we provide.”
The Portland Expo Center, one of Portland’s most prominent COVID-19 testing sites, has temporarily closed as state health officials work to expand capacity at the facility to meet omicron-driven testing demand. The site closed on Jan. 14 and is expected to reopen on Monday, amid a transfer in operations between Oregon Health & Sciences University and the Oregon Health Authority.
Officials said that while the closure will make fewer tests available this week, capacity will grow next week once the Expo Center and a new OHSU site are up and running. OHSU was previously testing around 1,600 people a week at the Expo Center, but will now open an appointment-only, drive-through testing site at its Marquam Hill campus starting next Wednesday. OHA will take over Expo Center testing operations.