By Emily Scarvie
(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Friday, July 1 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.
Police are investigating a shooting that took place early Friday at a Gresham MAX station and TriMet says riders in the area should expect delays, as both the Blue Line and Green Line are being impacted. The station near East Burnside and Southeast 162nd Avenue is currently closed for the investigation. Shuttle buses are running between Gateway Transit Center and Clackamas Town Center.
Gresham police responded to the MAX station around 5 a.m. on reports of a shooting. One person was injured and taken to an area hospital. Police are reportedly searching the surrounding area for the suspect.
After Betsy Johnson, an unaffiliated candidate for Oregon governor, called Portland “the city of roaches” during an interview with the New York Times and referred to Democratic opponent Tina Kotek as “Tent City Tina” on Twitter, the candidate is drawing mixed reactions from the community. In her interview with the Times, Johnson was referring to Portland’s issues with homelessness and crime.
“Unfortunately her comments are very reminiscent and in some cases identical to comments we’ve heard that dehumanize whole sets of people,” Marisa Zapata, director of Portland State University’s Homelessness Research and Action Collaborative, said. “It goes beyond an oversimplification, but it completely erases their humanity. It’s deeply upsetting to have somebody using that language to describe people who are living their lives the best they can. It’s especially upsetting to have someone who’s been in a position of leadership in our state talk about future constituents this way.”
A spokesperson for Johnson defended the “roach” comment, and Johnson later said she was referring to the trash, not homeless residents. “I just told the New York Times that our beautiful City of Roses was turning into the ‘city of roaches’ due to all the garbage that’s piling up,” Johnson said in a video posted to Twitter. “Now, unbelievably, the forces of ‘Tent City Tina’ and some woke professor from Portland State are attempting to manufacture false outrage.”
John Horvick, political director of the DMH Research firm, said he believes it’s true that most Portlanders and Oregonians currently have a poor opinion of Portland. A poll from September 2021 showed just 8% of voters feel Portland is moving in the right direction. Despite this, Horvick says he’s confused by Johnson’s “extreme rhetoric.”
“She is running as a moderate, reasonable candidate who can bring people together but using very insulting language,” he said. “I’m not sure how she thinks that makes her look middle of the road.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that the majority of Oregon counties begin masking up again after the COVID-19 community level data tracker showed 36 counties at “high” risk for COVID-19. Counties are determined “high” risk level if there have been 200 or more new COVID cases per 100,000 people within the last seven days.
The CDC recommends that community members in these counties wear masks in indoor public settings, stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations and get tested if they’re experiencing symptoms.
The CDC’s data tracker also shows 12 Oregon counties at “medium” to “low” risk for COVID-19.
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