Portland, OR

Portland Daily Round Up: OHA considers permanent mask mandate, Newberg School Board chair open to flag ban discussion

Emily Scarvie

(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By Emily Scarvie

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Thursday, Jan. 20 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. OHA proposes permanent indoor mask mandate

The Oregon Health Authority is proposing a permanent mask mandate for indoor public spaces and will hear from the public on Thursday at 10 a.m. If implemented, health officials would be able to cancel the mandate when no longer necessary, but there would be no set expiration date. The temporary masking rules currently in place in Oregon end Feb. 8.

OHA will hold two more public hearings on Monday, one on masking requirements in schools and COVID-19 vaccination requirements for teachers and staff, and the other on masking and vaccination requirements in health care settings.

2. Newberg School Board chair says he's open to discussing changes to flag ban amid recall election

On Wednesday, Newberg School Board Chair Dave Brown and Vice Chair Brian Shannon maintained a narrow lead in their favor in the recall election. There were just over 6,900 votes to recall Shannon and over 7,545 to keep him as of Wednesday afternoon. For Brown, there were nearly 6,900 votes to recall him and around 7,500 to keep him.

Despite this, Brown told KATU he’s disappointed in the division he’s seen within the community and would consider making changes to the flag ban that helped spark the recall efforts.

“I just want to see us move past recalls and get back to education,” Brown told KATU. “No matter what, we’ve got to stop that. It has to stop. Once we get past the recall, we have to stop the fighting because we’re leaving the kids in the dust.”

Zachary Goff, the lead petitioner for the recall effort against Brown and Shannon, said he’s disappointed but not surprised by the way the election results were heading. He said he’s not planning any additional recall efforts, but instead looking toward the lawsuits by both the local teacher’s union and the ACLU.

According to the Yamhill County Clerk, mail-in ballots are still being counted and it may be until February before the final election results are known.

3. New ODE report shows Oregon's graduation rate dropped 2% compared to last year

According to a new report from the Oregon Department of Education, Oregon’s high school graduation rate is 80.6%, down 2% from last year. However, ODE said it’s the state’s second-highest graduation rate recorded.

Portland Public Schools, the state’s largest school district, saw a slight increase in graduation rate. Beaverton, Salem-Kaiser and Hillsboro school districts all saw drops. To read ODE’s full report, click here.

4. The world's smallest park finally returns to Naito Parkway

On Wednesday, Mills End Park, the world’s smallest park, returned to Naito Parkway in downtown Portland after the completion of the Better Naito Forever project. The city had removed the entire park during construction and it now sits a full six inches west from its original location. Mills End Park, home to a colony of leprechauns, is once again located in the median strip of SW Naito Parkway.

The park is the smallest in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records, which first granted the recognition in 1971.

“In Portland, we’ve long embraced the quirky, creative spirit that drives our city,” Portland Parks Commissioner Carmen Rubio said. “Mills End Park embodies that spirit. Bike and pedestrian safety improvements in the Better Naito Forever project will now allow more Portlanders to safely visit this iconic park and the leprechauns living there.”

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