Portland, OR

Tuesday in Portland: Mother of teen who died of accidental fentanyl overdose suing alleged drug dealer

Emily Scarvie

(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

By Emily Scarvie

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Tuesday, Sept. 27 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Mother of Portland teen who died of accidental fentanyl overdose suing alleged drug dealer

Kerry Cohen, the mother of a Portland teen who accidentally overdosed on fentanyl-laced pills in March, is now suing the alleged drug trafficker. Griffin Hoffmann, Cohen’s son, was just 16 years old when his dad went to wake him up for school and found him unresponsive. Investigators determined that pills found in his room, that at first appeared to be prescription pills, were actually laced with fentanyl.

Weeks later, authorities were able to trace the pills back to 24-year-old Manuel Antonio Souza Espinoza. He now faces a number of federal charges, as well as a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of Hoffmann. Cohen said the lawsuit won’t take away the pain of their loss, but that it’s better knowing where the drugs came from. She urged parents to talk with their kids about what they could potentially get their hands on.

“It’s normal for kids to experiment, but right now there is poison out there that makes experimenting not anywhere as safe as it once was,” Cohen said. “These are bait-and-switch. That’s why they, the Attorney General’s Office, are treating this case not as a drug deal, but as a homicide. Because that’s what is happening. These people are distributing poison that will kill people.”

2. Multnomah County launches new program promoting farming for BIPOC communities

Multnomah County launched a new Community Reaps Our Produce and Shares program in Troutdale earlier this week. Mudbone Grown, a local Black-owned farming business, will manage the farm. The CROPS farming initiative was created by Multnomah County and led by Jerry Hunter in 2009.

According to the USDA, only three farmers in Multnomah County are Black. The Feed ‘Em Freedom Foundation reported that 18% of Black families experience high food insecurity. The CROPS project aims to change these statistics, giving BIPOC communities more farming opportunities and access to nutritious foods.

“Farming is a practice that is often handed down generation to generation,” county chair Deborah Kafoury said. “So if you weren’t allowed to own your own business or you weren’t allowed to own the land, then you weren’t able to get into the farming world and so that’s one of the reasons why we have so few Black farmers in Multnomah County. We’re trying to turn that around.”

3. Portland named #1 city in U.S. for vegetarians, vegans

Portland was just named the best city in the U.S. for vegans and vegetarians. Wallethub, a personal finance website, released its report on Monday that compared the 100 largest cities in the country across three different categories: affordability; diversity, accessibility and quality; and vegetarian lifestyle. Portland’s score placed it first on the list.

Portland specifically stood out for its farmers markets, CSA programs per capita and vegetable nurseries per capita. However, the city didn’t make the top 5 when it came to the cost of groceries for vegetarians.

The report was released just in time for World Vegetarian Day on Saturday and World Vegan Day on Nov. 1.

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