Portland, OR

Thursday in Portland: Reports says 207 people experiencing homelessness died in first 6 months of 2022

Emily Scarvie

(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

By Emily Scarvie

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Thursday, Aug. 25 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Report says 207 people experiencing homelessness died in Oregon in first 6 months of 2022

A new law that took effect at the beginning of 2022 requires the state to track whether someone is homeless when they die. Hundreds of people experiencing homelessness in Oregon are dying each year. This month, the state released data for the first six months of this year.

Between January and June, 207 people experiencing homelessness died. Of those deaths, 35% occurred in Multnomah County. January had the most recorded deaths with a total of 48. According to the data, nearly 80% of those who died were men.

The data also evaluates how these people died. While the overwhelming majority were labeled as “natural causes,” 32 people died from unintended injuries, eight died by suicide and seven died by homicide. The report doesn’t include specifics like illness, weather or other health factors.

2. Portland man helps recover 200 stolen vehicles

What began as helping a veteran recover his stolen Harley-Davidson has turned into Portlander Nick Haas’s passion project. In February, Haas had helped recover 50 stolen vehicles within a three-month period. As of now, he’s helped get back 200 stolen vehicles, and has inspired other Portlanders to help.

“People can’t put up with [this] anymore. People are tired of this. The drug use, the theft. It’s blatant disregard for the law,” Haas told KOIN. “It’s costing hardworking citizens of Portland money and personal belongings that have substantial sentimental value. And that just can’t go on any longer. We need to do something.”

Drat Diestler, a local road racer who’s helped Haas recover some of the vehicles, got involved after his motorcycle was stolen and remains missing.

“So we went out looking and we couldn’t find my bike, but we found a couple other, and that feeling of being able to help meant a lot to me,” Diestler said. “When a motorcycle is stolen, it’s like taking a piece of your heart.”

3. Mackenzie Scott donates $44M to Portland-based nonprofit Friends of the Children

Billionaire philanthropist Mackenzie Scott has donated $44 million to the Portland-based mentoring organization, Friends of the Children. The donation, announced Thursday, will provide $15 million to the organization’s national headquarters and splits $29 million in direct donations to 12 of the organization's chapters across the country. Portland’s local chapter will receive $7.7 million.

Friends of the Children works to support children at risk of entering the welfare system by pairing them with a longtime mentor. The organization pays a professional mentor to befriend and support children and their families for 12 years.

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