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Where pot is concerned, legal or not, poverty’s a player

This fall, Oregon voters could make the state the third in the country to legalize marijuana for recreational use. However, what that might mean for Oregonians depends on where they fall on the economic spectrum.

If Oregon voters approve Measure 91, which would legalize and regulate pot, people who live in federally subsidized housing — the primary low-income housing service in the United States — will risk being evicted if they use the drug while the rest of the state can smoke to their heart’s content.

Featured Article

Coming soon to a uniform near you: body cameras

Law enforcement and police accountability advocates alike are warming to the idea of requiring officers to film their encounters with citizens – a trend that promises to profoundly change law enforcement.

Proponents of the idea expect that equipping officers with cameras could bring an unprecedented level of transparency, fairness and accountability to police work. 

However, it also raises a new set of worries.

Current issue on the streets

Charles McGee III: ‘Every single day inspires me to do the work that I do.’

Charles McGee III and I sit outside a coffee shop one late afternoon, but we are far from alone. We are interrupted multiple times by passersby who know him and can’t help but say hello. He greets each one like an old friend.

“And how’s your mother doing?” he asks in conversation with a woman, walking her dog. He is curious to know about others, and others are curious about him. Even in his office, his phone buzzes constantly with messages and alerts from the mass of people trying to get a hold of him.

Empowering minds: Black Parent Initiative confronts the challenges facing black youths and their families

It’s warm on this summer day in the Southeast Portland art gallery, but local artist Robert Collins stands unfazed — decked out in a slate blue three-piece suit complete with matching fedora. The sun streams through two walls of windows and lands on the opposite side where Robert’s paintings hang. Robert greets the well-wishers streaming through the door. All are here to celebrate Robert’s artistic accomplishments and, of course, to wish him a happy 15th birthday. With a savviness to match his wardrobe, Robert reminds his guests, “Remember! All the paintings are for sale!”

Community development’s golden rule: Come together

Oregon has a history of ingenuity and innovation. We have worked hard to come together and build communities and public systems — roads, schools, cities and towns — that sustain us.

Yet, that central lesson of coming together is often forgotten.

Let’s remember it. It may be the only way we can get out of our current affordable housing crisis.

Living and learning — a day in a life in Portland

After being in and out of homelessness since age 26, Justin Harris finally had some steady housing in Portland through Transition Projects. But when his brother Bryan left their hometown in the Yakima Valley to join him, he moved back to the streets.

“I would’ve been staying inside and my brother would’ve been on the street,” Justin said. “I can’t do that. A lot of people don’t really understand that, but it seems pretty cut and dry to me.”

State should support innovative programs to house students

There were nearly 3,200 unaccompanied minor students in Oregon schools in the 2012-13 school year, according to the Department of Education. But those numbers only represent the children reported to the department by their school district’s homeless liaison. And like most figures associated with a population encouraged to hide, the actual number is expected to be much higher.

That’s an appalling figure in the land of milk and honey, where resources run rich for some, and wither for others.

October Archives

For the Record: Oct 10-23, 2014

Family values: Portland filmmaker Beth Harrington on her project documenting June Carter and Johnny Cash

Where pot is concerned, legal or not, poverty’s a player

Legalize, regulate pot, says state addiction expert

Answering the big question: Why I’m here

Home Work: How some schools are creating innovative solutions for unaccompanied homeless students

Jensine Larsen and the heart of a universal pulse

For the Record: Sept 26-Oct 9, 2014

Let’s be real about the sacrifices, necessity in ending displacement

Coming soon to a uniform near you: body cameras

Finding hope in the youth of El Salvador: José Gomez’s vision of a better world

September Archives

‘Why do women stay?’ is the wrong question to ask

Homeless plans come and go, but progress needs sustainability

Warrant Day? Perhaps the avalanche of reality the system needs

Street Books: What I learned from Ben