Portland, OR

Wednesday in Portland: Program that pays people experiencing homelessness to pick up trash sees success

Emily Scarvie

(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

By Emily Scarvie

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Wednesday, Sept. 28 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Program that pays people experiencing homelessness to pick up trash sees success

In February 2021, the city of Portland partnered with local nonprofit Trash for Peace to launch a pilot program to assist people experiencing homelessness. The program, called Ground Score Association, pays people to pick up trash around Portland for $20 an hour and has proven to be successful over the last year.

“I didn’t want to have to go beg people for help or ask people for help,” Angela McGuire told KGW. “So it was really hard for me at that point I was hitting rock bottom.”

McGuire said she meets with her crew about twice a week, usually cleaning up around homeless camps. She’s been at Ground Score Association for about a year and has been able to move up the ranks and become a coordinator.

Since its launch, Portland has spent roughly $445,000 on the program. It’s run by the city’s Homeless and Urban Camping Impact Reduction Program. Staff have requested that the city council approve funds to keep the program running.

2. Judge rules Newberg School Board's ban on 'political symbols' in classrooms is unconstitutional

The ACLU of Oregon reported Tuesday that a Yamhill County Circuit Court judge ruled that the Newberg School Board’s ban on “political symbols,” including Black Lives Matter and Pride flags, is unconstitutional. The announcement of the final ruling is expected sometime this week.

In response, the Newberg School Board met with their attorney during Tuesday’s meeting to discuss next steps. The meeting ran long, and parents on both sides of the issue either testified in person or wrote a public comment about the court’s ruling.

Kristen Stoller, whose kids have been in Newberg Public Schools for the last decade, told KOIN, “My same message has been to keep your political agendas out of the school board. We’re hemorrhaging families, hemorrhaging students and hemorrhaging staff because of these ignorant political moves they’re making that just drain our budget and push people away from our community.”

The board didn’t lay out their next steps, but some expressed their disappointment with the court’s ruling at Tuesday's meeting.

3. Statewide average gas price increases by 35 cents per gallon over last week

After weeks of decreasing gas prices across the state, costs are going up again in Oregon. According to AAA, the statewide average has increased by 35 cents per gallon over the last week. The average cost of gas is now $5.01 per gallon. It’s the first time the state has surpassed $5 since August.

Marie Dodds, with AAA Oregon, said gas prices on the west coast are generally higher than the rest of the country due to supply. When there’s a glitch in supply or distribution, gas prices can increase. Dodds added that several factors suggest prices will come back down by late fall or winter, but it’s unclear by how much.

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