4/21/2023 News Roundup


<<A Marion County grand jury found an Oregon State Police (OSP) trooper’s use of force was justified in a deadly shooting on Interstate 5 near Salem this month.

The Marion County District Attorney’s office released videos showing three different angles of the incident that took place April 10. One perspective came from OSP trooper Andrew Tuttle’s body camera.

A witness’ dashboard camera shows the suspect, 31-year-old Felipe Amezcua Manzo, running into traffic on I 5, pointing a gun at cars and trying to break in. At one point, he fires his gun toward a vehicle, but didn’t hit anyone.

Tuttle’s dashcam video showed Amezcua Manzo running onto the grass shoulder. Tuttle gets out of his car and orders the suspect to get down on the ground. Tuttle’s body cam captured video of the suspect firing at Tuttle first. Tuttle returned fire as he ran back to his patrol car. The two continued to exchange gunfire for several seconds. Eventually, Tuttle hit Amezcua Manzo six times, killing him. Investigators said Tuttle may have been grazed by a bullet but didn’t require medical attention.

While Tuttle waited for backup, body cam video showed a man running up to help. He identified himself as a retired Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputy. Tuttle gave the retired deputy his second gun and they waited together for backup.

“The situational awareness that this officer displayed during this encounter was truly amazing,” said Dr. Keith Taylor, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.

Taylor reviewed the videos from this case.

“I hope [the video] allows the general public to understand the difficulties that officers face when they put on that uniform,” Taylor said.

From his perspective, Taylor said he believes Tuttle did what had to be done, given Amezcua Manzo’s actions.

“Certainly [Amezcua Manzo] didn’t listen to the lawful orders of the officer to drop the weapon and instead responded with bullets,” Taylor said.

Marion County District Attorney Paige Clarkson shared he following statement:

“I am grateful to the Grand Jury for their thoughtful and thorough review of this case. We are fortunate to have law enforcement professionals in this county who responsibly and diligently carry out their investigative duties under Senate Bill 111. This case highlights the risk our police officers are willing to assume on our behalf every day. While this is not the ending anyone would’ve wanted for Mr. Amezcua Manzo, our community owes a debt of gratitude to Trooper Tuttle for his courageous actions.”

Investigators said the gun they recovered from Amezcua Manzo had a blue laser sight and light. Tuttle said the suspect aimed it at his head during the shootout. Ultimately, the grand jury ruled Tuttle’s use of force was justified since Amezcua Manzo didn’t listen to verbal warnings while using deadly force; things Taylor noted they knew because of the video.

“The body cam an indispensable form of evidence,” Taylor said. “The more body cams the better.”>>


<<A Marion County grand jury unanimously determined that lethal force was lawful nine days after an Oregon State Police trooper shot and killed a carjacking suspect on Interstate 5 outside Salem.

The grand jury heard testimony from 12 witnesses, autopsy results, and video and images from the scene. The Salem Police Department conducted the investigation, which shut down two miles of the interstate for ten hours on the day of the shooting, April 10.

Trooper Andrew Tuttle pulled over just before 9 a.m. that day while travelling northbound on I-5 after noticing a stalled semi-trailer truck. He saw its driver being held up at gunpoint at the time, he said.

The trooper’s body camera and the dashboard camera in his police cruiser recorded the entire exchange.

Tuttle noticed a man on the road with a gun as he approached the semi-trailer, subsequently identified as 31-year-old Felipe Amezcua Manzo. Tuttle claimed Manzo was attempting to pry open the truck’s passenger door and looked to point the gun at the truck driver as well as the driver of a nearby SUV who had pulled over.

When Manzo saw Tuttle, he started running east toward a CarMax lot next to I-5.

According to Tuttle’s account of the incident, as he stepped out of the car, he activated his patrol car’s lights and sirens and pulled out his handgun.

According to the video from Tuttle’s body-worn camera, Manzo raced to the highway’s grass shoulder and down into a ditch. The trooper yelled at the suspect to “get on the ground” at least six times, according to the footage, but the man ignored the orders and continued to move away from the officer.

Tuttle chased him into the ditch. Manzo then turned back, aimed his gun at the Oregon State Police trooper, and began firing. Tuttle fired back.

Several gunshots can be heard in the video.

The trooper later told investigators that he felt something hit his left arm and began climbing the incline to the side of I-5 to seek cover from the gunshots.

Tuttle continued to shoot unloading the remaining shots in his gun as he retreated toward his patrol car to reload.

He then noticed Manzo shooting at him and firing again. He spotted a “blue light or laser” coming from Manzo’s rifle this time. Tuttle claimed that it temporarily blinded him. “Get on the ground!” he ordered three times more.

The trooper reloaded a third time from behind his police car and fired at least ten more times at the subject.

Tuttle stated that Manzo had fallen on the grass. This is not evident on the body camera footage.

Tuttle called dispatch for the first time since the shootout began, reporting “shots fired” and that the suspect was down.

The video shows that other officers arrived on the scene less than a minute later. Tuttle was examined by an Oregon State Police trooper for any injuries. Tuttle suffered a minor scrape on his left arm that did not need medical treatment. According to the Marion County District Attorney’s office, which issued a news release regarding the grand-jury conclusions Wednesday evening, it’s unclear if he was grazed by a bullet or injured when he fell in the ditch.

According to the investigation, Manzo was shot in the chest, back, and head. Officers on the scene attempted to help him, but he was pronounced dead.

Manzo died as a result of six gunshot wounds, according to an autopsy.

Prior to the confrontation with Tuttle, a camera mounted on the semi-truck captured Manzo aiming his rifle at multiple automobiles on the freeway.

Manzo had at least six prior felony convictions in Oregon and California dating back to 2010, including second-degree robbery, third and fourth-degree assault, and driving while intoxicated.

According to the Marion County District Attorney’s office, the grand jury was not made aware of his criminal history.

Tuttle used lethal force to defend himself and others after Manzo committed or attempted to conduct a violent criminal, according to the grand jury. The jury concluded that once Manzo failed to comply with the trooper’s directions, no other options, such as verbal de-escalation, were available under the circumstances.

Seven individuals have been killed by Oregon State Police troopers since 2019.>>


<<Nine days after an Oregon State Police trooper shot and killed a carjacking suspect on Interstate 5 outside Salem, a Marion County grand jury unanimously concluded the deadly force was justified.

Evidence presented to the grand jury included testimony from 12 witnesses, autopsy results and video and photographs from the scene. The Salem Police Department led the investigation, which closed two miles of the interstate for 10 hours on April 10, the day of the shooting.

Just before 9 a.m. that day, Trooper Andrew Tuttle pulled over while driving northbound on I-5 after spotting a stalled semi-trailer truck.

That’s when he saw its driver being held up at gunpoint, he told investigators.

Tuttle, a U.S. Navy veteran, has worked for Oregon State Police since 2016.

The trooper’s body-worn camera and his patrol car’s dashboard camera captured the encounter in its entirety.

As he pulled up to the semi-trailer, Tuttle saw a man – later identified as 31-year-old Felipe Amezcua Manzo – in the road with a gun in his hand, he said. Manzo was trying to force open the passenger door of the truck, and he appeared to point the gun at the truck driver and also at the driver of a nearby SUV who had pulled over, Tuttle said.

When Manzo noticed Tuttle, he started to run east toward a CarMax lot adjacent to I-5.

Tuttle turned on his patrol-car lights and sirens and pulled out his gun as he stepped from the car, according to his account of the incident.

Manzo ran to the highway’s grass shoulder and down into a ditch, the video from Tuttle’s body-worn camera shows. The trooper yelled at the suspect to “get on the ground” at least six times, the video shows, but the man ignored the commands and kept moving away from the officer.

Tuttle followed the suspect into the ditch. That’s when Manzo turned around, aimed the gun at the Oregon State Police trooper and started firing. Tuttle returned fire.

In the video from the body-worn camera, several shots can be heard.

The trooper felt something hit his left arm, he later told investigators, and he started back up the incline to the side of I-5, trying to gain cover from the gunfire.

As Tuttle retreated, he continued to return fire, unloading the remaining rounds in his gun’s chamber.

When Tuttle ran back to his patrol car for cover and to reload his gun, he saw Manzo aiming at him and fire again. This time, he noticed a “blue light or laser” coming from Manzo’s gun. It momentarily blinded him, Tuttle said. He yelled again, three times, “Get on the ground!”

The trooper reloaded a third time from behind his patrol car and fired at the suspect at least 10 more times.

Manzo fell to the grass, Tuttle said. The body camera footage doesn’t show this.

Tuttle called dispatch for the first time since the shootout began, said “shots fired” and that the suspect was down.

More officers arrived on the scene less than a minute later, the video shows. An Oregon State Police trooper checked Tuttle for any wounds.

Tuttle had an abrasion on his left arm that didn’t require medical attention. It’s unclear if he was grazed by a bullet or hurt when he fell in the ditch as he retreated from Manzo, according to the Marion County District Attorney’s office, which sent out a news release about the grand-jury findings Wednesday evening.

Manzo was shot in the chest, back and head, according to the report.

Officers on the scene tried to provide medical aid, but he was pronounced dead.

An autopsy later confirmed Manzo died from six gunshot wounds.

At the scene, a gun with a laser sight and blue light were found next to Manzo’s body, police said. Police also found a “vehicle associated” with Manzo at the scene.

The investigation revealed that, in total, Tuttle fired 47 shots and Manzo fired 13 during the exchange, police said.

Before the shootout with Tuttle, video from a camera affixed to the semi-truck recorded Manzo pointing his gun at several cars on the interstate.

Manzo had at least six previous felony convictions in Oregon and California dating to 2010, including for second-degree robbery, third and fourth-degree assault and driving under the influence of intoxicants.

The grand jury wasn’t informed of his criminal record, the Marion County District Attorney’s office said.

The grand jury determined Tuttle’s use of deadly force was necessary to defend himself and others after Manzo had committed or attempted to commit a violent felony. After Manzo didn’t comply with the trooper’s commands, no additional alternatives, such as verbal de-escalation, were possible in the circumstance, the jury concluded.

Since 2019, Oregon State Police troopers have fatally shot seven people.>>



<<The City of Portland and the police officers union have reached a long-awaited agreement on the adoption of body-worn cameras, Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office announced Thursday night.

A statement from Wheeler’s office did not detail any terms of the agreement — and the devil has always been in the details.

Portland remains the largest city in the U.S. without body cams on its city police officers. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that 80% of large police departments across the country use body cams.

While funding for body cams was once the stated reason why Portland had yet to adopt them, more recent hang-ups have come as a result of disagreements between the City of Portland and the Portland Police Association on policy.

The statement from Mayor Wheeler’s office said the following, in part:

“This policy has been a top priority for Mayor Wheeler’s administration for years, and he and his fellow Commissioners are pleased to have achieved this milestone. The City and the PPA have long agreed that body worn cameras are an important tool for supporting and enhancing public trust in law enforcement.

“It was important to all parties that our policy was consistent with common practice, supported the unique needs of our city, and addressed privacy and transparency concerns highlighted by the community. It was also vital that the policy is usable for officers and supported by science.

“This agreement is the result of positive collaboration between the City and its police officers. We are excited to implement this important tool as soon as possible, and continue to provide opportunities for our officers to demonstrate the work they do every day to make Portland safer for everyone.”

After reaching an impasse in negotiations in February and heading toward arbitration, the city and the PPA released the details of their “final offers.” The two sides couldn’t agree on when and if officers should be able to review body cam footage before doing a written report.

The PPA wanted no restrictions for officers on reviewing body cam footage whatsoever, even in cases of deadly force.

The city wanted some restrictions on pre-reviewing body cam footage for use of force incidents, with more stringent rules for deadly incidents.

Under that proposal, officers would be allowed to view footage before writing reports that don’t involve force.

After incidents that involve police force, officers would be allowed to view the video only after first providing “a full and candid account of the incident to a supervisor,” which would also be recorded.

If someone died during a police force incident, officers wouldn’t be allowed to view the footage at all under the city’s offer, unless the police chief were to authorize it.

PPA President Aaron Schmautz insisted that unrestricted pre-review is the standard for the “vast majority of agencies” across the country, although The Story found examples of policies similar to the City of Portland’s offer in some comparably-sized cities. In Oregon, most agencies do appear to allow unrestricted pre-review, with the notable exception of the Salem Police Department under its new body cam program.

The argument against pre-review, which comes from organizations like the ACLU. Officers might be motivated in use of force incidents to mold their narrative of events to what can be seen or heard on the video — which often can’t capture the full scene — rather than delivering a report from memory, which they do currently.

The PPA has argued that reviewing body cam footage can only improve an officer’s accuracy in writing reports, and that withholding the ability to review video might serve as a way to unnecessarily snare officers when innocuous lapses in memory occur.>>


<<The city and Portland police union announced late Thursday that they have reached agreement on a policy to equip officers with body-worn cameras, likely ending Portland’s status as having the largest municipal police agency in the nation without the cameras.

The U.S Department of Justice has given condition approval to apply the policy to a two-month pilot project outfitting officers from one patrol precinct and a specialized gun violence team with body cameras.

The City Council must first approve the policy and is expected to consider it Wednesday afternoon.

The compromise averts what was expected to be a protracted, monthslong arbitration process that would have extended what already has been years of delays in having officers wear cameras.

The sticking point has been whether to allow officers who use deadly force to view camera footage before writing their reports or being interviewed by investigators.

Under the negotiated policy obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive, officers who use deadly force will not get to view their camera video until after they provide internal affairs investigators with an audio-recorded initial statement within 48 hours. This will also apply to officers when someone dies in their custody.

During that statement, officers must describe the call, what they observed, the threat they faced, any warnings or de-escalation tactics they used, the force used and if they provided medical aid.

Internal affairs investigators also will not be allowed to view the body camera footage before an officer’s initial statement.

After an initial statement, there will be a break in the internal affairs interview, allowing the investigators and the officer involved and the officer’s lawyer to view the camera footage separately in different rooms.

“Within a reasonable time,” the policy says, internal investigators can continue with the recorded interview and ask the officer to clarify any discrepancies between the initial statement and what the camera footage shows.

Officers cannot face discipline for any allegation of wrongdoing based on a difference or discrepancy between the initial statement and what the footage shows unless the city can prove the officer was being dishonest or trying to deceive investigators, according to a letter of agreement reached with the union.

The compromise policy also states that the Police Bureau “acknowledges the limitations of officer perceptions and memory in stressful events, along with the limitations of video evidence.”

Officers who use deadly force also may be asked by a supervisor, before reviewing their body camera footage, to provide an “on-scene, compelled public safety statement,” according to the policy.

Officers who witness the use of police deadly force will be able to review their body-camera footage before providing a statement or writing a police report.

For force that results in serious physical injury, hospitalization or disability, both officers who used force and those who witnessed the force must provide a full account of what occurred to a supervisor at the scene before viewing camera footage. The on-scene account will be recorded on a body camera. Afterward, the officers can view their body camera footage and prepare a police report.

Officers who use or witness force causing a complaint of pain or a non-serious physical injury or use a less-lethal weapon that doesn’t cause serious physical injury also must provide an on-scene statement to a supervisor before viewing their body camera footage and writing their report. Their on-scene statements won’t be recorded.

The four-page letter of agreement accompanying the policy says investigators will give officers who use force written instructions before any interview. The instructions stress that video evidence has its limitations but is intended to assist an officer’s memory. “Simply because your perceptions are different than the video does not mean you are lying,” the instruction says.

Justice Department lawyers reviewed the compromise and provided their conditional approval for a two-month pilot project. They reserved their authority to review and evaluate any final policy adopted once the pilot is completed and before all officers are outfitted with cameras.

They said the policy “meets some but not all” of the guidelines that they had recommended.

“However, we see value in the compromise,” the federal lawyers wrote to the city.

“In particular, the proposed directive avoids the risk of litigation in state and federal court, potentially conflicting orders, and the resulting delay in implementing the BWC program,” they wrote.

U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon, who is overseeing a settlement between the federal government and the city on police use of force, had voiced support for the technology at a hearing nine years ago. Last April, Simon approved an amendment to the settlement that required the city to outfit officers with cameras and adopt an appropriate policy governing their use.

City attorneys Thursday night sent copies of the proposed policy to all parties to the ongoing settlement case, including friends of the court, such as the Albina Ministerial Alliance’s Coalition for Justice and Police Reform and the Mental Health Alliance.>>

<<Officers from Central Precinct and the Focused Intervention Team, the unit formed in January 2022 to help curb gun violence and respond to shootings, will be equipped with the cameras during the pilot project.

The bureau expects to use $3.2 million that has been set aside for the body camera pilot program this year. It has selected a vendor, Axon, for the equipment.

The policy urged by the federal Justice Department was stricter. It recommended that officers not review any of the camera recordings before reporting their use of deadly force and completing all other reports or interviews associated with the incident.>>

<<Under the negotiated policy, the Police Bureau’s records division will have the authority to copy, share or publicly release the body camera recordings and manage public requests for the footage. The footage will remain the property of the city and not owned by third-party vendors, though recordings shall be stored with a third-party vendor, the policy says.

The bureau shall release body worn camera recordings of deadly force after a grand jury review is concluded. If no grand jury is convened, the release will be determined by the district attorney, according to the policy. However, the police chief may release footage sooner “when in the public interest,” the policy says.

A clause that drew questions from federal Judge Simon earlier this year remains in the negotiated policy: For officers’ annual performance evaluations, supervisors are to randomly review just three of the officer’s body-worn camera footage per year.>>



<< It’s been less than three years since racial justice protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd roiled Portland during the spring and summer of 2020 — but those years have been long ones, dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the struggle to emerge from its lingering impacts.

You’d be forgiven for forgetting some of the specifics of that long summer. If you have, here’s a refresher.

Floyd died at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer in May of 2020. After video of the event went viral, it set off massive protests in cities throughout the country. Here in Portland, thousands of people marched peacefully — many others did not. It was a summer of clashes between demonstrators and law enforcement.

June 2 was the sixth straight night of protests in Portland, and it was one of many nights to come that saw things get particularly heated between protesters and Portland police.

KGW’s Mike Benner was out reporting that night, catching video and sound of police munitions going off, protesters yelling and car horns honking.

“Just after 9:00, there was a skirmish between police and a splinter group of protesters,” Benner reported. “It appears police used tear gas and flash bangs to disperse the rowdy crowd.”

The night began with peaceful demonstrations, but clashes between law enforcement officers and smaller groups of rioters became more and more intense as the night went on.

Video captured Portland police vehicles speeding through an intersection where protesters were moving barricades, as people narrowly evaded being run down. Eventually the night devolved into an all-out battle between rioters and Portland police.

Portland police didn’t hold back that night as they tried to get rid of the protesters — firing off flash bangs, using their vehicles as battering rams, even spray-painting protesters’ vehicle to try and track people down later. But most of all, police indiscriminately deployed tear gas against the protesters; a lot of it. This is the night colloquially known as “Tear Gas Tuesday.”

Even though the night became infamous for its choking chemical clouds, we’re only now getting a better idea of how much tear gas was used.

A new study from a group called Forensic Architecture modeled how much tear gas they estimate was deployed throughout the night in Portland on June 2, 2020. The London-based research firm typically looks into cases of suspected war crimes and human rights violations around the world.

Forensic Architecture has also investigated Russian airstrikes in Ukraine and ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem.

But recently, researchers from the firm looked into the way that tear gas was used in Portland — and they found that Portland police deployed so much tear gas that concentrations in the air reached thousands of times above established safe levels in places.

Using videos from social media, news reports, public records and statements from people on the ground, researchers attempted to map out where tear gas — referred to in the report by the more specific term, CS gas — was deployed throughout the city and when.

Forensic Architecture hoped to measure the concentration and spread of gas throughout the night.

“With weapons experts from the Omega Research Foundation, we identified different discharge and explosion patterns in videos from June 2,” the firm said in a video describing its methodology. “These patterns allowed us to assign each munition to a munition type, rule out those which likely didn’t carry any chemical agents, and estimate the minimum quantities of CS and OC in each munition type.”

OC refers to oleoresin capsicum, or “pepper spray.” Researchers took the discharge information and modeled out how much gas would have been present throughout the city. They reported finding at least 138 chemical munitions used across 25 blocks over the course of roughly 3.5 hours.

At the time, PPB was not required to track how many munitions it stockpiled or used, something that the Portland City Council mandated later.

Forensic Architecture paired the data it gathered with weather conditions from that day to simulate how the gas would have spread through the air. Here’s what they found:

“Concentrations of CS reached up to 67 mg per meter cubed. The federal Health and Safety Administration considers that 2 mg per meter cubed is immediately dangerous to life or health — a threshold known to the PPB, according to their own documents.”

Some locations would have had concentrations far above safe levels for a total of 73 minutes, the study found.

“We measured airborne concentrations in a further 15 locations across downtown Portland. These included locations within the protest area, but also others hundreds of meters away,” the firm continued. “The 2 mg threshold was exceeded in every location. In many locations, concentrations were recorded above 100 mg per meter cubed. The highest recorded concentration was 4,500 mg per meter cubed — more than 2,000 times the limit considered life threatening.”

These chemicals in the air didn’t just dissipate harmlessly after that, the report says. Instead they washed into the Willamette River, threatening marine life and farmland.

Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services later took a look at the city’s storm water and sediment downtown. They did find elevated levels of the chemicals found in tear gas in city storm drains, but they reported that those levels dropped by the time they reached the river.

Forensic Architecture’s report disagreed, based on their modeling of how the gas spread through the air.

As for the effects on humans, that’s another story. There were many reports of adverse health conditions from tear gas — both among protesters and people who had nothing to do with them. Some were bystanders caught in the crossfire, or people who lived or worked near the site of the protests.

“It felt as if someone was giving you mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and blowing toxins into your lungs,” one person told KGW. “It was that severe and direct … and it has a burning sensation like never before.”

Many women reported changes to their menstrual cycles after getting tear-gassed.

“My cycle would get much heavier,” one woman said. “I would bleed profusely, the pain was extreme … and I would get really bad headaches, which was something I didn’t really get before.”

For others, it was the lingering trauma of being caught in the facsimile of a warzone.

“I have many accounts of people being hurt around me, people doubling over in pain, throwing up,” said another person. “It is mentally traumatizing because (when) I’m goin’ places I can’t not look over shoulder — when stuff hits the ground I jump.”

Researchers at Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland have been studying the effects of tear gas exposure on people in Portland. Two years ago, researchers surveyed more than 2,000 people about how tear gas had impacted their health. Ninety-four percent of respondents reported adverse health effects.

“What our research showed was that, you know, for people after they were exposed to tear gas, even when they left the vicinity and walked away, they were not having dissipation of those health impacts right away,” said Britta Torgrimson-Ojerio, head researcher for the Kaiser study.

“They were having burning eyes, itchy eyes, itchy skin, coughing, nausea, kind of in the immediate (aftermath). But these symptoms were lasting, for them, through days and even into weeks where people were having gastrointestinal issues — you know, lots of nausea.

“There were people that were having prolonged headaches, people that were continuing to have breathing issues, people reporting eye issues, dizziness. So, kind of a wide range across physiological symptoms — and then, of course, we had people reporting that they were having changes in their menstrual function. And that was a little bit of even longer-term.”

Those reports directly contradicted what Portland police told the press about tear gas at the time.

“(It’s) a substance that if you walk out of it, you really stop feeling effects right away,” a PPB spokesperson said. “You’ll have some residual effects that I’ve encountered it — I might get a little bit of an aftertaste. You’re functional a lot faster, and you’ll suffer a whole lot less long.”

But the Kaiser researcher said that this new report corroborates what people were reporting about the health impacts after being exposed to tear gas.

“We did know that people were exposed. And we asked people to report on the number of days that they were exposed, but we had no way of establishing what types of concentrations they would have been exposed to — and we were also limited at that time, not even understanding which exact chemical agents they were exposed to,” said Torgrimson-Ojerio. “So really what this study is showing us is kind of that range and what the exposure is, and ultimately showing that, based on OSHA standards, the concentrations that were being deployed in this scenario well exceed what would be considered a safe use — and that in fact that these levels, these concentrations are known to cause health issues for people.”

KGW asked Portland police about the new study. A spokesperson said that they are still dealing with pending litigation and can’t comment.

Just a few days after the night that Forensic Architecture studied, protesters sued the city over PPB’s liberal use of tear gas. Mayor Ted Wheeler repeatedly directed Portland police not to use it, and a judge later barred PPB from using it except for circumstances in which a person’s life or safety is at risk. The judge concluded that police had used gas against peaceful protesters.

But months after that ruling, the judge found that PPB was still violating the order. The city ultimately settled with protesters, paying them $250,000.

That summer, much of the attention paid to the use of tear gas and other less-lethal munitions drifted from Portland police to federal law enforcement, as a multi-agency crackdown by the Trump administration made the federal Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse the central focus of nightly protests in the city.

Clashes between protesters and Portland police went on well into 2021, but they gradually became smaller-scale affairs — skirmishes between police and a core of anarchists and other antifascist activists. PPB’s use of tear gas continued, but again under more limited circumstances.

These days, PPB cites some recent restrictions on the use of tear gas and other crowd control munitions, combined with limited staffing, as top reasons why officers often don’t respond to illegal street racing events. But even under tighter state laws, police are allowed to use tear gas in events that legally constitute a riot when an officer reasonably believes it “is necessary to terminate and prevent furtherance of the riotous behavior.”>>



<<Inside the offices of Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency (CRESA) the 911 system gets very busy, with dispatchers taking all kinds of calls from all parts of Clark County.

That includes about 58,000 medical-related 911 calls a year these days.

The majority of the calls are considered emergencies but about 14,000 of them are not. The numbers have been growing quickly in both categories over the past few years.

“So one of our initiatives was the nurse navigation, to try and bring some of those lower acuity calls into a different level of service,” said Robb Milano, division chief who oversees emergency medical services at the Vancouver Fire Department and helped bring the innovative 911 nurse navigation program to the county.

Starting May 16, those calls that don’t require a firefighter paramedic team and an ambulance paramedic crew will now be helped by nurses trained in emergency medical care routed by dispatchers at CRESA.

Proponents say that will help with true life-or-death calls.

“Because often times we won’t have the ambulances to send, and so this is going to make it so we have the resource for the high emergent calls that we get,” said Kris Devore, deputy director at CRESA.

The nurse navigators are already working for American Medical Response at a hub in Texas; AMR says they are not only emergency specialists, but trained in doing telephone triage so they know what to ask callers when assessing their needs.

From there nurses can help 911 callers get set up and if needed transported to clinics or possibly onto a telehealth appointment for their medical issues.

This is better for the callers and for the entire health care system, from first responders, to overburdened hospital emergency rooms, according to Rocco Roncarati, AMR’s regional operations director in Southwest Washington.

“The two most expensive routes to medical care are the ambulance and the emergency room; if we can take those patients and divert them to the appropriate level of care it saves the patient cost, it benefits the EMS system and makes those resources available for the more critical calls,” said Roncarati.

It is important to note that you should always call 911 for urgent and potentially life threatening emergencies, and if ever in doubt, it’s best to make the call.

“So we would want to make sure that they do continue to use the 911 system if they do need it, but again their primary care physician is also a good resources for lower level type issues that they’re having,” said Milano.

The nurse navigation program starts up May 16, when Clark County joins 10 other states and Washington DC, where nurses have already been added to the 911 ranks.>>



<<Two years ago, Blue Mountain Community College teamed up with other colleges across the state to convince the Oregon Department of Corrections to continue the colleges’ adult education and GED programs in state prisons. At a special meeting last week, the BMCC Board of Education voted to end their programs at the direction of the college president.

The move resulted in 17 layoffs at a school that’s already seen layoffs and budget cuts in recent years. And it’s now unclear who will provide education in an area that houses thousands of state prisoners.

In a joint statement from the Corrections Department and the state Higher Education Coordinating Commission, the agencies said they are looking into ways to continue offering those programs without interruption once the contract ends June 30. They did not specify who would be taking over those duties.

The latest round of layoffs once again put BMCC’s faculty and classified unions at odds with administration, which is arguing that the corrections GED and adult education programs don’t align with the college’s future.>>

<<Browning recommended the board drop the college’s GED and adult education programming at state prisons in Pendleton, Umatilla and Baker City in favor of entering the “for-credit arena.” Under a newly revived U.S. Department of Education program, inmates could take lower level college courses in subjects like reading, history and math by obtaining federal Pell grants.

Browning said he hoped the laid-off employees would come back to BMCC to teach for the new for-credit program, but the college hadn’t applied for eligibility yet and he didn’t know how many positions it would create.

Browning also made a financial argument. When the Oregon Department of Corrections wanted to end all of its community college contracts and take its educational offerings in-house in 2021, the Legislature intervened and made the Higher Education Coordinating Commission the middleman between DOC and the community colleges that provide classes behind bars.>>



<<Both violent crime and property crime decreased in many of Oregon’s largest cities from 2021 to 2022, according to preliminary data released by the FBI. Portland was among them.

On April 17, the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission compiled a report using the FBI’s preliminary data to show how crimes trended from 2021 to 2022 in the state’s cities with populations over 100,000. This includes Bend, Eugene, Gresham, Hillsboro, Portland and Salem.

“Overall, Oregon’s most populated cities have experienced a nearly 9 percent decrease in violent index crime from 2021 to 2022, largely influenced by significant decreases in Bend, Eugene and Portland,” the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission wrote.

It’s a vast improvement compared to the 11.8% increase in violent crime these cities saw between 2020 and 2021. The state said this indicates that the concerning increase in violent crime during the COVID-19 pandemic may be reversing, at least in these large cities.

Two of these larger cities, Hillsboro and Salem, reported increases in violent crime. Hillsboro’s violent crime increased by 7.8% from 2021 to 2022. Salem’s increased by 3%.

Property crime also rose 17.9% in Hillsboro in 2022, according to the data.

Portland, the city that reported a record-breaking 96 homicides in 2022, actually had a 10.6% decrease in violent crime, according to the data.

Property crime was also down 2.1%. >>