A GROUP OF North Portland residents is dead set against an organized homeless camp that's flourished on North Greeley in recent months. But with Mayor Charlie Hales' office saying it will formally issue a permit to a segment of that camp, Hazelnut Grove, the Overlook Neighborhood Association has hit on a questionable strategy.
In a vote December 16, the association decided to send a letter to Hales, in part demanding the city take down the full first and last names of campers staying in the camp, once it's permitted. That would mean the association could make a public records request for that information, and then run its own background checks on Hazelnut Grove campers.
"We are confident you will agree that these reasonable conditions will improve the health, safety, and well-being of all involved," the association wrote in the letter, sent December 21.
Don't expect Hales' office to agree to create a list of campers. DIRK VANDERHART
OREGON'S US SENATORS say you have a right to know when a private college or university wants to discriminate against LGBT students.
Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley joined six other lawmakers on December 18 in signing a letter to US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan asking for his help. The eight senators want the US Department of Education to post information online whenever a private school asks for an exemption to Title IX, a federal law that prohibits from discrimination on the basis of sex.
The letter comes as religious universities around the country are receiving such exemptions, amounting to formal permission to discriminate against students and faculty.
"At a very minimum, we believe students, parents, and taxpayers have a right to know when institutions of higher education—as recipients of tax dollars—seek and receive exemptions under Title IX as well as the justifications for those exemptions," the letter says.
As the Mercury's reported, Multnomah University, a tiny Christian school in Northeast Portland, requested Title IX exemptions in February, seeking permission to discriminate against transgender students. DVH
IT LOOKS LIKE the Oregon Legislature will once again take up cities' ability to require developers to include affordable housing in new projects.
Senator Michael Dembrow (D-Portland) confirms to the Mercury he'll introduce a bill during the 2016 legislative session that, if passed, would lift the state's preemption on inclusionary zoning—passed in the '90s at the behest of developers.
Since then, affordable housing advocates have been trying to overturn that law. They got close last legislative session—House Bill 2564 made it through the House but died in the Senate. The bill would have only applied to for-sale units, whereas the bill Dembrow plans to introduce will apply to rentals as well, something that's particularly important for Portland, where the bulk of new construction is in multi-family buildings. SHELBY R. KING