Portland, OR

Thursday in Portland: 4 Portland Starbucks vote to unionize, PPB warns of dangers of fentanyl & more

Emily Scarvie

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By Emily Scarvie

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Thursday, May 19 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Several Portland Starbucks locations vote to unionize

Four of Portland’s Starbucks locations have voted to unionize, joining the three Eugene locations that voted for unionization last month. According to Starbucks Workers United, about 300 stores across the country are currently voting to unionize.

Following the unionization vote by the Portland locations, Starbucks released a statement, saying, “We are listening and learning from the partners in these stores as we always do across the country. From the beginning, we’ve been clear in our belief that we are better together as partners, without a union between us, and that conviction has not changed. We respect our partners right to organize and are committed to following the NLRB process.”

2. PPB releases new data on the dangers, widespread use of fentanyl

The Portland Police Bureau recently shared new data about the widespread use of fentanyl and how dangerous the drug is. Already this year, nearly half of the 58 overdose deaths in Portland are suspected to be from fentanyl. The drug is extremely potent and often made to look like common pharmaceutical drugs like Oxycodone or Xanax in pill form.

According to police, drug cartels want to get people addicted to it because it’s cheap for them to make, but many people are mistakenly buying it thinking they’re getting another drug. Just a little bit of fentanyl can be deadly. One kilogram has the potential to kill half a million people.

The PPB Narcotics and Organized Crime Unit has seized around 570,000 fentanyl pills and over 4,000 grams of powder since last summer. The major concern is that so many young people are accidentally overdosing on the drug.

“It’s a problem that’s been around for a few years, but it appears to only be getting worse judging by our call load,” Lt. Chris Lindsey told FOX 12 last month. “We’re seeing it across all demographics, all socioeconomic statuses, all geographies throughout the city of Portland. We’re encountering it everywhere.”

3. Three women will compete for Oregon governor in November elections

Three women will compete in Oregon’s gubernatorial election in November and it’s setting up to be a competitive and contentious race. Former Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek won the Democratic nomination, former state House Minority Leader Christine Drazan won the GOP nomination and Betsy Johnson is running as a nonaffiliated candidate.

“This will be a three-way race for the highest office in our state. And this will be an election unlike any of us have ever seen,” Kotek said in her victory speech.

Oregon hasn’t had a GOP governor in 35 years, but political experts say Republicans may have a chance amid widespread discontent among voters and a possible split in votes between Kotek and Johnson. Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, is unable to run again in November due to term limits.

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