Portland, OR

Friday in Portland: Masks required in 2 Oregon school districts, new bridge unveiled in SW Portland

Emily Scarvie

(John Moore/Getty Images)

By Emily Scarvie

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Friday, July 8 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Masks once again required in 2 Portland-area school districts

Masks are once again required in all Gresham-Barlow School District and David Douglas School District facilities, following the CDC’s decision last month to increase Multnomah County’s COVID risk level to “high.” A high risk level is defined by the CDC as a county that has had 200 or more new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people within the last seven days.

By the end of last month, 24 of Oregon’s 36 counties were considered high risk. According to the CDC, Washington and Clackamas counties are also classified as high risk. Portland Public Schools has not mandated masks in schools, but they’re highly recommended.

2. Portland Parks & Recreation unveils new bridge in southwest Portland

Residents walking and biking in southwest Portland will now have a new way of getting around the area due to a recently completed bridge. The Red Electric Bridge, located between Southwest Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway and Southwest Capitol Highway, is now completed and ready for use. The bridge was created by the Portland Bureau of Transportation on behalf of Portland Parks & Recreation and is a “critical” segment of the Red Electric Trail.

“We are grateful to our partners at PBOT for their teamwork on this project, and to SW Trails for their advocacy for a better trail system,” Parks Commissioner Carmen Rubio said. “This bridge is an important step in providing safer biking and walking recreational opportunities for families in southwest Portland. When we come together as a city, great things happen for our community.”

In addition to the new bridge, the project also includes new lighting, updated guardrails along Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway and ADA sidewalk curb ramps. There’s also pedestrian and bicycle crosswalk striping and improved grading and drainage. The improvements are part of Portland’s 220 miles of regional trails.

3. Authorities looking for psychiatric patient missing from Gresham facility

Authorities are searching for a man who was committed to the care of Oregon’s Psychiatric Security Review Board following a 2019 incident in which he kidnapped a woman at knifepoint. Christopher Hall, 41, left his residential treatment home in Gresham earlier this week. The home realized around 2:30 p.m. on Thursday that he was gone. According to PSRB, the last sighting of Hall was near a KFC location on Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard around 1 p.m. on Thursday.

“Mr. Hall is affected by a mental health disorder that can cause him to become dangerous to others when it is active,” PSRB said in a statement. “The most recent reports indicate that he may be under the influence of intoxicants. He is in need of immediate medical care.”

Hall was first committed to the Oregon State Hospital in April 2020, when a judge placed him under the jurisdiction of the PSRB for a maximum sentence of 20 years.

His charges stem from a 2019 incident in which he tried to break into a northwest Portland church and was swinging a heavy chain at people. A witness said Hall forced his way through a back gate of the church and entered the building. When police arrived at the scene, Hall swung the chain at officers and ran away. Once at the McDonald’s located on West Burnside Street and Northwest 18th Avenue, Hall pushed a woman to the ground, held her at knifepoint and dragged her a short distance before officers encountered him with their guns drawn.

He’s described as a Black man with black hair and brown eyes. He’s 5-feet 11-inches tall and weighs roughly 170 pounds. He was last seen wearing a green shirt and shorts. Anyone who sees him is asked to contact law enforcement immediately.

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