9/15/2023 News Roundup


<<Law enforcement officers in Lane County shot and killed someone who allegedly stole a vehicle Thursday morning.

Oregon State Police say they received a call about a stolen vehicle around 9:10 a.m. Thursday. In their press release, OSP did not say where the vehicle was reported stolen nor the kind of vehicle it was but did say that troopers located the vehicle in Coburg.

When troopers tried to stop the driver, the suspect fled, according to state police.

Coburg police later found the vehicle at an apartment complex. When police, county deputies and state troopers responded, at least one officer fired their gun and shot the suspect. The person was picked up by an ambulance but was later declared dead. OSP did not say in their press release whether the person was armed with a weapon.

One officer received non-life-threatening injuries.

As of Thursday afternoon, officers had not publicly released the names of the suspect or the officers involved. Per protocol after a deadly force incident, all of the involved officers are now on “traumatic event leave,” OSP said.

This marks at least the third deadly police shooting in Oregon in a week. Last Thursday, two people were shot and killed by officers in Hillsboro and Rockaway Beach.>>



<<Wheeler announced Wednesday, Sept. 13 that he won’t run for office in the next election, saying he’s instead focused on the city’s current challenges. The following day, he said he hopes to “eliminate unsanctioned camping all across the city” before his term is over, and wants to see the Temporary Alternative Shelter Site scaled up and replicated in other parts of Portland.

Wheeler also highlighted new programs aimed at boosting Portland’s economy and downtown foot traffic, while keeping Portland on its path of reducing gun violence, and removing trash and graffiti from city spaces.

“I want you to know that I’ll be laser focused over the remainder of my term to ensure that Portland is set up for future success,” Wheeler said during Thursday’s media briefing. “I’m doubling down on these efforts and remain committed to the city that I love.”

The mayor touted data that shows a decline in gun-related homicides this year, compared with last year, police recruiting that is finally outpacing turnover, a reduction in property crimes and theft, and an upward trend in case clearance rates at the Portland Police Bureau.

Many of the challenges that have marked Wheeler’s time in office stem from policing, homelessness response, crime, and livability.

“I agree wholeheartedly with an overwhelming number of Portlanders who say that Portlanders deserve a litter and graffiti-free city, a welcoming place for family as well as friends to be proud of,” Wheeler said.

Last year, Wheeler’s office launched the Public Environment Management Office (PEMO), one of a series of emergency declarations “aimed at helping to address homelessness and livability issues in Portland.”

Wheeler called PEMO “one of the most popular city programs in years.”

It’s unclear how the program’s success is measured.

As the pandemic transformed the city’s economy, and rents soared, large office buildings sat empty while the city’s streets saw more and more people living on them. But Portland’s homeless crisis was evident long before the pandemic. While campaigning for his first term in office, Wheeler laid out ambitious plans to end homelessness within his second year in office, by bringing on enough shelter beds to serve everyone living on the streets.

But after seven years, Wheeler is still struggling with how to move people off the streets and into shelter or housing.

One of the solutions Wheeler pitched to revitalize downtown Portland: pressuring employers to bring their workforces back in the office, at least half-time. It’s unclear whether that proposal will gain steam.

Employers and employees have indicated a distaste for the idea.

With mounting public pressure, and city councilors eager to clean up the city and its image, policies on homelessness have dominated the agenda.

This year, Wheeler’s team was largely responsible for launching Portland’s Temporary Alternative Shelter Site (TASS). The plan was initially pitched as a 1,000-person, mass camping site, staffed by the Oregon National Guard, drawing sharp public opposition and comparisons to concentration camps, which Wheeler took exception to. The plan eventually morphed into a larger version of the Safe Rest Village model, and now provides shelter to around 137 people at a former Stacy & Witbeck industrial lot in Southeast Portland.

Wheeler and other city leaders note the homeless crisis isn’t the city’s to solve alone. City commissioners have been vocal about their disapproval and deteriorating relationship with the Joint Office of Homeless Services over its failure to effectively spend money from the Metro Supportive Housing Services Tax.

“When the public voted for the Supportive Housing Measure, they expected immediate efforts to address homelessness,” Wheeler said. “The unspent funds, coupled with a lack of clear outcomes and measurable data is unacceptable, both to me, and the City Council at large.”

Earlier this year, the council was split on whether to continue the city’s joint agreement with the county. Wheeler is now leading efforts to renegotiate the agreement for JOHS operations and was able to secure $4.7 million from Multnomah County for use on the next TASS location. >>

<<Over the past six months, Wheeler has also championed a time, place, and manner ordinance for homeless camping, essentially banning the city’s unsheltered residents from sleeping or setting up camp in nearly all public spaces from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The city has yet to officially launch the new ordinance, saying they’re giving police time to adjust to enforcing the new rules and educating unhoused people on the ordinance that could lead to citations or jail time.

Just last week, citing an explosion in addiction and the use of fentanyl and methamphetamine on Portland’s streets, Wheeler applauded the City Council’s unanimous decision to ban the use of hard drugs in public, pending a change in state law. The vote drew applause from business leaders, but addiction experts and homeless advocates cautioned the council against such a policy, calling it ineffective and wasteful.

In addition to some of the more draconian measures, Wheeler also applauded the success of the city’s 90-Day Reset programs in Old Town and the Central Eastside. The programs saw increased police patrols, litter removal, homeless sweeps and aesthetic touches like decorative lighting on trees. >>


<<At a news conference on Thursday at Portland City Hall, Mayor Ted Wheeler said it aloud for Portland to hear: he will not run for a third term.>>

<<“That being said, there’s a tremendous amount of work that needs to get done over the next year and a quarter,” Wheeler said. “I did not see any scenario where I could successfully move this work forward while at the same time seeking reelection.”>>

<<“And it remains my goal to eliminate unsanctioned camping all across the city of Portland,” said Wheeler, who also discussed efforts to bring business back to downtown, with help from tax breaks and other incentives.>>


<<“The most important thing I can do right now is not focus on politics, but focus on solutions,” Wheeler said at an hourlong Thursday press conference. “And stepping away from a reelection campaign gives me that opportunity.”

It’s an opportunity many Portlanders are hopeful he’ll seize. After a tenure plagued by crises — ranging from a global pandemic to skyrocketing homelessness to deadly weather events to the death of a City Council member — Wheeler has a chance to exit on a high note.

In a Thursday interview with OPB’s “Think Out Loud,” Wheeler characterized himself as having “platinum armor” after experiencing the various crises. Wheeler, the child of a wealthy timber family, was born and raised in Portland.

He said was humbled by the experience of being mayor, but it was not smooth sailing. Wheeler has been heckled during public events, tear gassed by federal police, attacked online by former President Donald Trump, and become the subject of many critical memes. He’s eager to leave the job’s inherent drama behind.>>



<<A 19-year-old security officer has been arrested after stabbing a man in the Hazelwood Neighborhood, according to the Portland Police Bureau.

Officers with the East Precinct were dispatched at 8:14 a.m. Wednesday to a business complex in the 500 block of Northeast 122nd Avenue.

Arriving police learned a security officer working at the bottle return business got into a physical altercation with a man in the parking lot of a restaurant in the 12100 block of Northeast Glisan Street.

During the altercation, the security officer, identified as 19-year-old Arturo Troncoso Jr., stabbed the man with a knife, PPB said Thursday.

Troncoso Jr. remained on the scene and cooperated with the investigation.

According to police, the man was taken to the hospital and is expected to survive.

Troncoso Jr. was booked him into the Multnomah County Detention Center on a charge of Assault in the Second Degree.>>



<<The director of the federal Bureau of Prisons was scolded Wednesday by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who say her lack of transparency is hampering their ability to help fix the agency, which has long been plagued by staffing shortages, chronic violence and other problems.

Senators complained that Colette Peters appears to have reneged on promises she made when she took the job last year that she’d be candid and open with lawmakers, and that “the buck stops” with her for turning the troubled agency around.

Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. and Mike Lee, R-Utah, said Peters has forced them to wait more than a year for answers to written follow-up questions they sent her after she first appeared before the committee in September 2022, leaving them without information critical to fully understanding how the agency runs.

The clock is still ticking, Cotton and Lee said, trying to get Peters to commit to a firm deadline for responding. She declined, blaming the delay and uncertainty as to when answers would be ready on an ongoing Justice Department review process.

Peters also irked senators by claiming she couldn’t answer even the most basic questions about agency operations — like how many correctional officers are on staff — and by referring to notes and talking points on a tablet computer in front of her.>>

<<The Bureau of Prisons, the Justice Department’s largest law enforcement agency with more than 30,000 employees, 158,000 inmates and an annual budget of about $8 billion, has been under increasing scrutiny from Congress amid myriad crises, many of them exposed by AP reporting.

They include rampant sexual abuse of prisoners by staff and other staff criminal conduct, escapes, high-profile violence and inmate deaths, chronic understaffing that has hampered emergency responses.

Despite the transparency tussles, Durbin said committee Democrats and Republicans alike came away from Peters’ testimony largely in agreement that the Bureau of Prisons “needs significantly more funding” for staffing and infrastructure needs, including a $2 billion maintenance backlog.>>

<<Peters, a reformer who previously ran Oregon’s state prison system, took charge of the federal Bureau of Prisons in August 2022. She replaced Michael Carvajal, a Trump administration holdover who clashed with Congress and upset staff with claims that dwindling staffing levels weren’t a concern.

Peters began Wednesday’s testimony by highlighting steps she’s taken to fix the agency, including overhauling problematic prisons, beefing up the internal affairs office that investigates employee misconduct and changing the agency’s mission to emphasize “principles of normalcy and humanity and core values that emphasize accountability, integrity, respect and compassion.”

Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., who led a subcommittee investigation into the sexual abuse of female prisoners and spearheaded prison reform legislation, acknowledged Peters’ reputation as a reformer and commitment to change. But, he said: “You’ve now been in the post for about a year and Congress expects results.”

And answers. Asked by Cotton how many correctional officers positions are filled amid a staffing crisis that’s led to mandatory double shifts and cooks, teachers and nurses guarding inmates, Peters said: “I don’t have that number in front of me.”

Cotton, citing statistics he obtained, told Peters the answer was 12,731, meaning at least 7,700 budgeted correctional officer positions are not filled. That’s more vacancies than when AP reported on the issue in 2021.

At another point, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., became irritated when Peters failed to provide specifics about steps the agency is taking to thwart prisoners from using contraband phones to orchestrate drug deals.

“No, no, no, no, no,” Graham said, interrupting her.

And then there were the questions asked long ago that still haven’t been addressed.

Lee told Peters he submitted a “short list of questions” to her after he first testified before the committee, on Sept. 29, 2022, and has yet to get a response.

“These are not difficult questions,” Lee said.

Lee noted that witnesses testifying before the committee usually respond to written follow-ups within a week or so. He reminded Peters that, at that first hearing, she’d acknowledged it was important to answer the committee’s questions in a timely fashion.

Lee suggested giving her until the end of the month to respond. Cotton offered an Oct. 13 deadline, but Peters said she wasn’t sure she could meet that, either.

“I’m disappointed that those questions have not yet been answered,” Peters said. “We have been working on them diligently over the last year. It has been a lot of back and forth with the (Justice Department).

I was hoping that they would be cleared this week, they’re not yet.”>>



<<Portland Public Schools are using a new tool to help students and their families dispose of potentially harmful drugs.

At registration, Portland high schoolers got all the information they need for the new school year and each got sent home with a Deterra bag.

Their purpose is to dispose of any drugs that kids may have access to at home.>>

<<Each bag has how-to instructions on the back and can deactivate 45 pills at once, but it also works with other substances.

“You can put anything in these bags. They’re designed for prescription drugs that have been expired or are no longer being used but any substance that you have in your home can be found, if you find fake medications, marijuana, can also go into these bags,” Clair Raujol, the Addiction Prevention Coordinator for Multnomah County’s Behavioral Health Division, said.

In just seconds the unwanted substances sitting in your medicine cabinet can be rendered useless by just putting them in one of the Deterra bags with some water. You can then toss the bag into the trash.>>

<<Multnomah County donated thousands of these bags to Portland Public Schools hoping to help spark a conversation among families about substance use as our community sees opioid addiction claim lives.>>


<<A leading addiction recovery advocacy group this week pressed state leaders to respond with more urgency to Oregon’s addiction crisis, calling for a long list of new policies, including directing police to seize even small amounts of street drugs.

Oregon Recovers proposed a 12-step approach to reducing fatal drug overdoses and alcohol-related deaths and reducing waiting lists for detox, residential treatment and recovery housing within six months.

According to Oregon Recovers, 18% of Oregonians 12 and older report having an untreated substance use disorder. Excessive drinking is the third-leading cause of preventable death and disease and the state has among the highest rates of methamphetamine and heroin use in the country, the group says.

“We need short-term solutions and we need long-term solutions,” said Mike Marshall, executive director of Oregon Recovers. “We need them to be purposeful in reducing the addiction crisis.”>>

<<The law, approved as Measure 110 by voters in 2020, both decriminalized possession of small amounts of street drugs and funneled hundreds of millions of tax dollars into treatment and services that support recovery. Marshall, who opposed Measure 110, said his organization supports “amending but not ending” Measure 110. He said the group wants to “restore consequences to encourage recovery.”

Oregon Recovers is an advocacy organization representing people who are recovering from addiction and workers who help them. It receives funding from treatment providers among other sources.

He said police should be empowered to confiscate all illegal drugs, no matter the quantity. The approach would reduce open drug use, drive up prices for street drugs and could lead people to seek treatment.

He said people who rack up multiple low-level violations for drug possession within one year should face a misdemeanor charge and the state should create a “rapid expungement” process linked to treatment and recovery participation.

People who suffer from substance abuse addiction respond to consequences, he said. “That is the science of recovery, the science of addiction,” he said.>>

<<The proposal goes beyond changes to drug decriminalization. Oregon Recovers wants more treatment beds for adults and juveniles alike and a statewide coordinated response to addiction with an eye toward reducing alcohol and cannabis consumption by 25% by 2025.

The group wants to see more mobile detox centers that act as temporary field hospitals providing support for people to withdraw from drugs, stabilize and get access to treatment and recovery housing. And it is pushing the state to promote addiction prevention and recovery.

Marshall’s group also wants to see higher prices for alcohol and cannabis.

The group’s plan doesn’t detail how to pay for the proposals. Marshall has unsuccessfully lobbied for raising alcohol surcharges and taxes, which he argued would cover the costs.>>



<<The 25-year-old man accused of stabbing two teenagers on a MAX train earlier this month was arrested days before the incident, but Multnomah County Jail nurses refused to admit the suspect for medical reasons, officials said.

A Portland police officer instead released Adrian Cummins on Aug. 30 and issued him a citation — and a future court date, as KGW first reported.

A review of court records in Oregon and Florida, where Cummins lived until at least 2022, shows Cummins had a history of missing court hearings, probation check-ins and other mandatory meetings with law enforcement.>>

<<Cummins first came to the attention of Portland police in April when officers learned he was wanted in Florida on a probation violation for possessing a controlled substance. The warrant was issued in October 2022.

Police found Cummins after he was shot in the face in North Portland for allegedly refusing to leave a motorhome on April 5, police spokesperson Sgt. Kevin Allen said. Police arrested the suspect in the shooting, and Cummins was treated at a hospital. He spent a week in custody, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office records show.

Later that month, on April 27, police responded to the MAX station on Southwest 2nd Avenue and Yamhill Street downtown, where Cummins and another man told officers they’d both agreed to fight on the train before spilling out onto the platform.

TriMet surveillance footage showed what police said was a gun fall from Cummins’ possession, and they later said he also had a silencer in his bag. He was arrested that day on allegations of being a felon in possession of a firearm and having a silencer — then was released April 28, jail records show.>>

He did not show up for court June 2, records show.

A month later, police cited Cummins — whom they identified as transient — on July 4 for possessing what police said was fentanyl at Southwest Fifth Avenue and Oak Street.

On July 7, police responded to reports of a man swinging a knife at a security guard at Union Station. Officers arrested Cummins at Northwest 6th Avenue and Irving Street and confiscated a knife from him, Allen said. Cummins had abscesses on his face and police called for medical assistance.

Cummins was taken to a hospital and medical officials said he would need to stay overnight, Allen said. Police decided to issue Cummins a citation for menacing and unlawful use of a weapon.

He again failed to appear in court on Aug. 10, and Multnomah County Circuit Judge Angel Lucero issued a bench warrant for his arrest.

Portland State University officers arrested Cummins again on Aug. 23, police said. Campus officers attempted to book Cummins into jail, but he was turned away again for medical reasons, as reported by Oregon Public Broadcasting. He was issued a citation for carrying knives and released, OPB reported.

Portland police later stopped Cummins for jaywalking near Southwest Broadway and Oak Street Aug. 30. Officers noted the warrant issued for the menacing incident at Union Station and arrested him. He was taken to Multnomah County jail again but was refused booking for a “potentially infectious medical condition,” police said. Police did not elaborate on Cummins’ health, but bacteria in abscesses can be contagious.

He was served a citation and released.

Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson John Plock said that when someone is refused at the jail for medical reasons, the officer who brought the person to jail can release them by issuing a citation, taking the person to a hospital under supervision or temporarily holding the person.

On Sept. 2, TriMet surveillance footage showed a white man in a black sweatshirt emblazoned with the word “villain” jump from his seat after two Black teenagers walked by him on the MAX Green Line. The person police identified as Cummins then shouted a racist slur at the teens, one of the teens told police, and then stabbed that teen in the left arm and the other teen, a Parkrose High School student, in the chest.

As rescuers rushed the badly injured teen with a chest wound to Oregon Health & Science University for open-heart surgery, Cummins bolted four blocks.

At a Lents neighborhood convenience store at Southeast 92nd and Flavel Street, Cummins allegedly stole snacks, including a Little Debbie oatmeal cream pie, pulled a 3.5-inch serrated knife on a clerk and a customer and then fled.

Cummins has a criminal history dating as far back as 2014 when he was a teenager, according to Florida records. Florida police arrested him numerous times in Seminole, Orange and Flagler counties. Charges included domestic violence, drug use, theft, kidnapping and sexual assault, among others.

Several of the arrests were for missing court dates or violating parole, court records show.

Cummins was sentenced to three years in prison in Orange County for kidnapping, sexual battery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after he held a woman hostage in her apartment in 2017, according to court records.

The victim reported that she invited Cummins to her apartment to watch movies. He then used a kitchen knife to threaten her, locking the door and forcing her to take off her clothes. He attempted multiple times to sexually assault her, strangled her and abused her dog, WKMG 6 reported.

Local news also reported that Cummins forced the woman to make him dinner, and after attempting to sexually assault her again, left the apartment.

Cummins was released in July 2020, booking records show.

One year later, Cummins was arrested again in Flagler County for allegedly stealing a car from North Carolina. Deputies allegedly found a folded up dollar bill with traces of fentanyl, according to reporting by The Observer. He was not sent to prison but was sentenced to four additional years of probation, records show.

Cummins was indicted on 12 charges in the Sept. 2 stabbing, including second-degree attempted murder, two counts of first-degree bias crime and three counts of unlawful use of a weapon, among others.

Cummins’ attorney, Alicia Hercher, entered not guilty pleas Wednesday in Multnomah County Circuit Court on his behalf.

He remains in the Multnomah County Detention Center.>>



<<The Seattle PD is now receiving national attention for joking about a young woman, Jaahnavi Kandula, who was killed after being hit by a police officer going 74 miles per hour while she was trying to walk across the street. The situation is horrific in many ways, and I want to pay my deepest condolences to Kandula’s family. In a statement to the Seattle Times, her uncle said  “The family has nothing to say. Except I wonder if these men’s daughters or granddaughters have value. A life is a life.”

While this incident is uniquely terrible, the kind of callousness expressed by the police officers in this situation isn’t only found in their department. To me, the crash also demonstrates the devil-may-care approach police officers take to traffic violence, whether or not it’s perpetrated by one of their own. Perhaps this isn’t the group of people we should be relying on to make sure people are able to walk in cities without being subject to brutal attacks by drivers. Rest in peace, Jaahnavi Kandula. >>



<<Last month, Chloé Clay, a public defender working in Washington County, filed a lawsuit against the county, alleging racial discrimination at the Law Enforcement Center in Hillsboro, only a month after she started her career as an attorney.>>

<<While it wasn’t her first encounter with racism as an attorney, she said one incident last November stuck out. It was at the Law Enforcement Center in Hillsboro, where the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and jail are located, a few blocks from the county courthouse.

Clay said she had to get some paperwork from the jail before court on Nov. 14. She hurried over to pick it up, but saw that the jail lobby was locked. She didn’t realize at the time that deputies would close it for breaks and shift changes. She approached the first deputy she saw.

“I then encountered Deputy Lyle the first time,” she said, “I explained to him, ‘hey, I have a plea petition in the jail. I’m an attorney. I really need to get it. I have court at 9 a.m. I’m in a hurry.'”

The deputy, named in the lawsuit as Deputy David Lyle, claimed to be too busy to help, Clay said, so she sought out other employees working there. Eventually she learned that the only staff with access to the jail were the Washington County deputies. Since she knew some deputies were inside the public courtroom, she walked through the double doors — but, she said, she was stopped short.

“I got probably right to the metal detector, and Deputy Lyle then says something to the effect of, ‘where are you going?’ I said, ‘I’m going in the courtroom.’ He was like, ‘come back over here.'”

According to the recently filed lawsuit, the deputy did not let her inside. Instead, he demanded to see her ID. Clay said she didn’t have it on her, but offered to give him her bar number.

Clay said she watched the same deputy let other white attorneys into the courtroom that morning, without questioning them. Clay said the deputy began to walk her out of the building, but they crossed paths with the court-certified interpreter who stopped to say hello.

“Then Deputy Lyle goes, ‘oh, so you know her?’ And she turns and goes, ‘of course I do. This is Chloé. She’s an attorney.'”

Clay said she turned away and walked into the courtroom. In no time, she got the documents she needed from the jail, and headed over to court. >>

<<In August, Clay filed the lawsuit against Washington County, alleging unlawful discrimination.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office told KGW that Lyle is still employed and not on any leave. A spokesperson confirmed an investigation was conducted regarding the allegations, but the sheriff’s office could not share more details due to potential litigation.>>



<<A 39-year-old man was sentenced to more than five years in federal prison on Thursday after authorities say he assaulted his probation officer in 2021.

According to court documents, Andre Eugene Shaw was on supervised release when two probation officers visited his home on April 14, 2021.

He had been on probation for extorting individuals, producing child porn and possessing a cell phone while under restriction.

The probation officers say they found a cell phone in Shaw’s hallway closet, but when they tried to take it away, Shaw hit one of the officers in the face. Police say he “grabbed the officer by her shirt and pushed her to the ground before fleeing the residence.”

The second officer chased Shaw on foot while ordering him to stop, but he kept running until he was out of view. A short time later, Shaw walked back with his hands behind his head to be arrested.

The probation officer left the scene with cuts on her lip and nose, and the cell phone Shaw had kept in the closet was never recovered.

Shaw was first charged with assaulting a federal officer on April 16, 2021. A month later, a federal grand jury indicted Shaw on two counts of assaulting a federal officer and resisting a person authorized to make searches or seizures.

According to Shaw’s criminal history, he had also previously assaulted a staff member at a community reentry center in 2019. Court documents show that when staff attempted to take away his cell phone, he “ripped it out of a staff member’s hand and swallowed the SIM card.” The incident resulted in 14 months in prison.

Shaw will now serve 63 months and three years of supervised release.>>