Portland, OR

Thursday in Portland: Election Day quickly approaching in Oregon as voters continue to return ballots

Emily Scarvie

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By Emily Scarvie

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Thursday, Nov. 3 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Election Day is less than a week away; Here's how to return your ballot in Oregon

There’s less than a week until Election Day on Nov. 8 and thanks to Oregon’s mail-in ballot system, voting has already been underway for over a week. Those who are registered to vote in Oregon should have already received their ballot in the mail. Anyone who is not yet registered to vote in Oregon is unfortunately too late, as the deadline was two weeks ago. Voters can still register, but won’t be able to vote in the current election.

Anyone who hasn’t received a ballot but knows they’re registered to vote can look up their voter registration and track their ballot online using the Oregon Secretary of State’s My Vote system. Most counties also have systems to check the status of ballots. In Multnomah County, voters can check via Ballot Trax.

Anyone who’s lost their ballot or it’s been sent to the wrong place can contact their local elections office to request a new one.

Voters can return their ballot by mail or in person at a drop box. Oregon return envelopes are prepaid and don’t need stamps. The deadline to turn in ballots is 8 p.m. on Election Day. All ballots must be in a drop box or mailed and postmarked by Nov. 8 to be counted.

2. Woman arrested after detectives determine Portland apartment fire was set intentionally

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office says a woman has been arrested in connection to an apartment fire that left at least eight people hospitalized and many others without a residence. Detectives arrested 51-year-old Wendy Kay Southam on Wednesday. She’s been charged with first-degree arson, second-degree animal abuse, second-degree assault and first-degree criminal mischief.

On Oct. 29, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue responded to an apartment fire on Southwest Barnes Road. Crews were able to rescue multiple people and pets from the fire, but several hospitalizations were reported. The fire left nearly two dozen residents displaced, though they’ve now been offered new temporary housing by property management. There were no deaths reported.

Following an investigation, it was determined that the fire was set intentionally. Records show Southam lived in the apartment complex at one point, but it’s unclear if she was a current resident at the time of the fire.

The investigation into the incident remains open and anyone with information is asked to contact Washington County Sheriff’s Office detectives at 503-846-2700.

3. Portland State University hosting event to connect local BIPOC community

Portland State University is calling on members of the local BIPOC community for a special summit happening on Friday. According to the website, the university hosted a series of affinity conversations with BIPOC communities between June and October 2022. “We were enlightened and challenged, and we recognized that the opportunities, and challenges require collective, rather than singular, action.”

The “Time to Act: The Future and Thriving of BIPOC Communities Macro Convening” is happening at University Place Hotel from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday. PSU says it will be an opportunity to advance the work that has emerged from past summits and will “be a day of co-creation and mobilizing for action to ensure our thriving shared future.”

PSU is offering childcare services during the event. Participants who are non-PSU affiliated may claim a $125 gift card for their time at the end of the event. PSU is asking people to register online in advance.

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