8/6/2023 News Roundup


<<A bomb threat against Oregon Health & Science University is the latest in a string of attacks and harassment against health care facilities, spurred by far-right culture war issues and COVID conspiracies.

The threat, called in Thursday, shut down OHSU’s Richmond Family Health Center throughout the day Friday. According to an email sent to members of the AFSCME union representing OHSU employees, the threat was in response to a story posted on a far-right, anti-trans website alleging a cancer patient had been dropped by the clinic over remarks she made about the LGBTQ+ community.

In the email, union chapter president Michael Stewart said clinic staff and patients evacuated the clinic upon learning of the bomb threat. The Richmond facility is home to a primary care clinic and family medicine walk-in clinic. The clinic is also one of a handful that provide gender-affirming care.

“Richmond employees have endured countless threats of harm, racial slurs, anti-LGBTQIA+ hate speech and more, with little to no recourse,” Stewart’s email said. “As one person put it, ‘Richmond staff have been sharing that they’re worried something like this would happen for a long time now, and now their fears and suspicions have been confirmed.’”

Stewart said the threat came after patient Marlene Barbera became unhappy about a trans flag hanging in the reception area of the Richmond clinic, where she was receiving breast cancer treatment. Multiple far-right media websites shared Barbera’s statements, in which she alleged “gender to be a nonsense and sexed bodies to be a reality.” She said the “transgenderism banner” was hanging like a “Nazi flag behind the reception desk.”

Barbera also alleged she had conflicts with staff in the clinic office and suggested she had offended a trans employee.

According to a letter Barbera said OHSU sent her, the hospital dropped her as a patient “because of ongoing disrespectful and hurtful remarks about our LGBTQ community and staff.”>>

<<The social media account Libs of TikTok, which has millions of followers and is known for posting anti-LGBTQ+ content, posted about Barbera’s account the day before the bomb threat. As of Saturday morning, a tweet sent by the account had 4.3 million views and nearly 11,000 retweets. The account, run by a woman named Chaya Raichik, has a history of directing harassment and threats toward children’s hospitals that provide care to transgender youths and teenagers.

In a March 2022 tweet, Raichik posted criticism of OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital’s gender-affirming care. In August 2022, staff at Boston Children’s hospital received death threats, and the hospital received an anonymous bomb threat after Raichik tweeted over a dozen false claims the hospital was performing hysterectomies on children.

Children’s National in Washington, D.C., received a barrage of threatening emails and phone calls after Raichik made similarly false accusations about the hospital.

Conservative figures who drive their followings through social media have increasingly targeted health care settings since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

St. Luke’s Regional Health in Idaho successfully sued Ammon Bundy, the far-right figure who led the 2016 Malheur National Wildlife Refuge takeover, for more than $50 million last month. The defamation lawsuit alleged Bundy and Diego Rodriguez, the grandfather of an infant removed from the family’s custody over concerns for the child’s health, used Bundy’s People’s Rights network to rally protesters to the hospital and the homes of child protection services employees.

In his email, union president Stewart told his members the attack on OHSU was a direct threat to their trans colleagues and said the union is urging hospital leadership to provide accurate updates about this situation, increase safety protocols and offer employees mental health support.

Rideout said additional security measures have been put in place at Richmond and that OHSU offers wellness resources to its staff.>>


<<A window at the Lan Su Chinese Garden was found shattered overnight by a piece of slate from a guardian statue at Chinatown’s entrance – and those in the community say it was a targeted act of vandalism.

Portland police say these acts are not yet being investigated as a hate crime, but based on the timing and apparent connection, community leaders of Chinatown say they disagree. >>

<<Staff of the Lan Su Chinese Garden arrived Friday morning to find their window shattered by a slab of granite. Nye says she recognized the material matched the base of an iconic lion statue guarding the entrance of the historic neighborhood – about a quarter mile away.

“The fact that somebody at the front of Chinatown, broke off a piece of this iconic Chinatown gate, walked all the way to the end of Chinatown and specifically smashed our window with it sent a very clear message and people are very upset about it,” Nye said.

Nye said the timing of this crime is deeply troubling, as it came just one day before the Oregon Chinese Coalition’s annual Chinese Festival at Pioneer Courthouse Square.>>


<<A Battle Ground man was sentenced to federal prison Thursday for his role in the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol in 2021.

According to court records, Jeffrey Grace, 64, was sentenced to 75 days behind bars after pleading guilty to one charge of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds. His son previously pleaded guilty to the same charge in 2022, though he was sentenced to 21 days in prison.

In Grace’s plea agreement, prosecutors dropped three charges: disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly conduct in a capitol building; and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a capitol building.

Federal prosecutors say Grace and his son, Jeremy, were caught on camera as part of the first wave of people inside the Capitol.>>



<<Portland police said a drunk teenager crashed into a patrol car early on Saturday morning.

According to the Portland Police Bureau, two East Precinct officers were responding to a call around 12:50 a.m. when another vehicle struck them on Northeast Glisan Street, west of Northeast 108th Avenue.

PPB reported that the other driver, a 17-year-old, was headed down the portion of the road designated for parking — in an attempt to pass the officers.>>

<<Officials said the two responding officers were evaluated at a nearby hospital before being released.>>


<<A teenager was arrested overnight on suspicion of driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) after hitting two police officers in a patrol vehicle in Northeast Portland, according to the Portland Police Bureau.

Portland police said a 17-year-old struck a patrol vehicle while two officers were headed to a call on Northeast Glisan Street near Northeast 108th Avenue at around 12:50 a.m. Saturday.>>

<<The two officers were taken to a nearby hospital for evaluation and later released. The drivers name was not released. >>