Category Archives: Mara Grunbaum

Extra! Extra!

may0109page11Tomorrow is May Day and Street Roots is marking the day and with a package of stories reflecting on the immigrant labor experience during these remarkable times. It’s the perfect read before or after the march, or on Saturday morning over coffee, or Sunday after the morning spin. It’s all waiting for you Friday morning in the welcoming hands of your trusted neighborhood vendor. Here’s a preview of what’s inside:

The Raid: Two years after a devastating raid at the Del Monte plant in Portland, the women who came together to survive the aftermath push for greater understanding of the immigrant experience. Guest writer Robin Schauffler reports, along with featured artwork by Adam Arms.

Immigrant workers face extremes of economic crisis: Some of the lowest-wage workers face being blamed
for the economic downturn as they struggle to survive it. Mara Grunbaum and Joanne Zuhl report.

Squatters rights in the age of foreclosures: Cassandra Koslen interviews Max Rameau while he tours Portland talking about his work in Miami to connect the rising numbers of homeless families with the rising numbers of  empty houses.

Not like the others: An interview with Jay Cowen, a friend of Hunter S. Thompson who has released a new book on the famous writer.

The economics of happiness: It’s not as much about what you have, as what other people don’t have.

Plus, updates on the sit-lie debate in City Council, commentary from Washington County, the Western Regional Advocacy Project, and a great picture of Vance Schweigert, our vendor profile for this edition. A big thank you to all our volunteers who make the paper possible (and awesome!). Stop by your vendor and say hello, toss a smile and pick up the latest Street Roots. As always, we love to hear from you on our blog, or at

Posted by Joanne Zuhl

Extra! Extra!

march2009page11Smile and the whole world smiles with you! Give it a try, starting with your neighborhood vendor who is always happy to see you. The new paper comes out tomorrow, the first day of spring, and a perfect way celebrate is to pick up your copy hot off the press. Here’s a sneak peak:

Bitter blood: Portland residents who survived the brutal Khmer Rouge regime document their stories in a new oral history project. Mara Grunbaum reports on this remarkable Portland project to capture the voices of a population that lived through the unspeakable.

Reckoning with poverty in Native America: Stacey Ives recounts the trauma of isolation and poverty through the memories of her own youth. It’s a stirring telling of how bigotry and racism can pull the strings of homelessness and poverty.

Northern exposure: Northeast Portland may never be what it once was, but Maxine Fitzpatrick wants to make sure it can once again be a home for everyone. Joanne Zuhl talks with Fitzpatrick, the executive director of a community development corporation that works to improve the livability of Northeast Portland.

Labor pushes for single-payer plan: Tom Leedham, Portland Teamster and chairman of the Taft-Hartley Health Care Trust, talks about the potential, and necessity, of a single-payer, universal health care plan.

The Murnane Wharf: Is it forgetten? Portland author Michael Munk (The Portland Red Guide) writes about the man behind the long-neglected Murnane Wharf near the Burnside Bridge. Francis J. Murnane was a Portland organizer and activist with the longshoreman; the Wharf was named in his honor. But that memory risks being lost to renovations if the city falls back on its promise.

All that, plus a great profile on vendor Jojo Brittain, comments and essays by people in our community, and the best poetry money can buy. And throw in your two cents on our blog, or by writing to the editor at We always love hearing from you!

Two more cases add to ‘The List’ trial

And oh yeah, the police want stimulus money to expand it…

This morning, Multnomah County Judge Dale Koch heard two more cases pertaining to the Portland Police Bureau’s “secret list” of downtown offenders. More than 400 people are on Central Precinct Officer Jeff Meyers’ list of chronic arrestees. If arrested again, those individuals can face harsher charges than those not on the list. (For more background, see earlier coverage in Street Roots.)

The city says the Neighborhood Livability Crime Enforcement Program (NLCEP) gets treatment, housing and support for addicts who would not get it otherwise, and that it improves neighborhood safety. They cite an 80 percent drop in recidivism since the program’s advent in 2003.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s all because of us,” Myers said at a February meeting of the city’s Public Safety Action Committee, “but I think it probably is.”

Myers has kept the list, which is compiled from blind runs on arrest data, since 2003. At the same meeting, police said they have requested incoming stimulus money to expand the program to Gresham, where they say they would focus on methamphetamine users.

“Our well is going dry” of offenders downtown, said program coordinator Bill Sinnott.

Over the last several months, American Civil Liberties Union attorney Elden Rosenthal and county public defenders argued before Judge Koch on behalf of three defendants whose drug possession arrests are being charged as felonies because they appear on the list. The attorneys say the list is unconstitutional because it is based on arrests rather than convictions, because it selects a particular group of people for harsher punishment, and because individuals on the list are not notified or able to appeal their status.

Thaddeus Betz of Multnomah Public Defenders appeared this morning on behalf of two additional defendants who are on the list. Betz argued that the list also constitutes a bill of attainder — a legislative act that singles out a particular group for punishment without trial — which is prohibited by the United States Constitution.

“A single police officer decides what is a livability crime, and a single police officer decides what neighborhood those livability crimes are going to apply to,” Betz said, referring to Myers. “If you get arrested a hundred times in an Eastside neighborhood, you will never be on the list.”

Deandro Shaver, one of this morning’s defendants, has had 20 prior felony convictions in the last 13 years. The other defendant, Jamie Rodenbaugh, has had only one.

“The goal of NLCEP is to not let Ms. Rodenbaugh turn into Mr. Shaver,” prosecutor David Hannon told the judge.

The defense attorneys want the felony charges dismissed or reduced to misdemeanors. Koch is expected to deliver a decision on the five cases and the constitutionality of the list at the end of the month.

Posted by Mara Grunbaum