Gresham In The News

  • OregonLive - News

  • Friday evening Portland-area commute: Heavy congestion on I-5 south from Capitol HWY down past I-205

    The latest Portland traffic updates for Friday night.

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    I-205 south from Capitol Highway into Wilsonville is still really slow. Might think about taking Stafford Road if that is an option.

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    PORTLAND, 4:40 p.m.: Interstate 205 south 

    The right southbound lane of I-205 is blocked near Powell Blvd. Heavy congestion back to Glenn L. Jackson Bridge.

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    TUALATIN, 4:24 p.m.: Interstate 5 south

    Lots of congestion on I-5 south starting at Capitol Highway and stretching down to Elligsen Road.

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    PORTLAND, 4:18 p.m.: Interstate 84 west near Sandy Blvd.

    Westbound traffic is slow on I-84 just before Sandy Blvd. due to a crash.

    UPDATE, 4:24 p.m.: The backup cleared out real quick.

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    Northbound traffic on Highway 217 is jammed due to a crash just past Greenburg Road. It will be a slow ride starting back at the Interstate 5 junction.

    A light rain is currently hitting downtown. There is also a chance that the heavy rain from earlier will return to the area. 

    Follow the Oregonian's commuting alerts on Twitter: @TrafficPortland

  • Same-sex couple in Sweet Cakes controversy should receive $135,000, hearings officer says

    Updated at 2:30 p.m. with lawyers' comments for both parties. The lesbian couple turned away by a Gresham bakery that refused to make them a wedding cake for religious reasons should receive $135,000 in damages for their emotional suffering, a state hearings officer says. Rachel Bowman-Cryer should collect $75,000 and her wife, Laurel Bowman-Cryer, $60,000 from the owners of...

    Updated at 2:30 p.m. with lawyers' comments for both parties.

    The lesbian couple turned away by a Gresham bakery that refused to make them a wedding cake for religious reasons should receive $135,000 in damages for their emotional suffering, a state hearings officer says.

    Rachel Bowman-Cryer should collect $75,000 and her wife, Laurel Bowman-Cryer, $60,000 from the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, an administrative law judge for the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries said in a proposed order released Friday, April 24.

    Bureau prosecutors sought $75,000 for each woman -- $150,000 total -- during a hearing on damages in March.

    The amounts recommended by law judge Alan McCullough, coming after four days of testimony, are not final. State Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian has the final authority to raise, lower or leave the proposed damages as is.

    Friday's ruling comes as the newest development in a legal dispute over a Christian couple's insistence that their religious beliefs against same-sex marriage trump a state law requiring them to serve customers equally.

    The case has gained extensive attention in the national conversation about religious freedom laws designed to exempt business owners from providing services for same-sex weddings. Oregon has no such law.

    Sweet Cakes proposed order
    Read the proposed order.pdf by BOLI Administrative Law Judge Alan McCullough in the complaint filed against the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa.

    The controversy began in January 2013 when Aaron Klein turned away Rachel Bowman-Cryer and her mother at a cake-tasting appointment they had set up with Melissa Klein. Melissa Klein was not at the shop that day.

    In August 2013, the women complained to BOLI. The agency conducted an investigation and in January 2014 brought charges that the Kleins had unlawfully discriminated against the couple because of their sexual orientation.

    In a statement Friday, BOLI said: "The facts of this case clearly demonstrate that the Kleins unlawfully discriminated against the Complainants. Under Oregon law, businesses cannot discriminate or refuse service based on sexual orientation, just as they cannot turn customers away because of race, sex, disability, age or religion. Our agency is committed to fair and thorough enforcement of Oregon civil rights laws, including the Equality Act of 2007."

    The Bowman-Cryers both testified to the emotional stress they attributed to their experience with Sweet Cakes as well as the glare of media attention that soon followed.

    Aaron Klein said his family, too, had suffered because of the case. Reporters came to his home and his shop, he testified during the March hearing.

    The Sweet Cakes by Melissa car was vandalized and broken into twice. Photographers and florists severed ties with the company, eventually forcing Sweet Cakes to close the Gresham shop in September 2013. The business now operates out of the couple's home in Sandy.

    ***

    Paul Thompson, a lawyer for the Bowman-Cryers, said his clients would have no comment on the proposed damages award.

    "This is a proposed order and we view this matter as continuing to be active litigation," he said.

    Anna Harmon, one of three attorneys representing the Kleins, said, "It's a shocking result and it shows the state's relentless campaign to punish Oregonians who live and work according to their faith."

    "The important thing to realize is this," she added, "This is real money that Aaron and Melissa are going to have to pay that otherwise would be used to pay their mortgage and feed their kids."

    Lars Larson, the Portland-based talk radio host who broke the story more than two years ago, tweeted about the case Friday. He said, "Aaron and Melissa Klein of Sweet Cakes by Melissa need your help w/ a devastating fine from the state of Oregon," and linked to a fundraising site for the couple.

    The Support Sweet Cakes by Melissa web page on GoFundMe.com is authorized by the Kleins, said Harmon. As of 2:30 p.m. Friday, about $9,000 had been raised toward a goal of $150,000.

    Harmon said her clients have 10 days to file exceptions to McCullough's proposed order. They also have the right to appeal Avakian's final order to the Oregon Court of Appeals.

    "The proposed order is 110 pages long," Harmon said. "We just got it this morning and haven't had a chance of analyzing it thoroughly," she said. "To the extent it calls for $135,000 in damages, you can be sure we'll object to that."

    The LGBT advocacy group Basic Rights Oregon issued a statement praising BOLI's actions.

    "This case struck a chord with many Oregonians because allowing businesses to deny goods and services to people because of who they are and whom they love is hurtful and wrong," said Jeana Frazzini, Basic Rights Oregon's co-director.

    "The business owners in the case believed they had the right to deny services because of their religious beliefs," said Nancy Haque, also a co-director. "Religious freedom is a fundamental part of America, and is written into our state's constitution already. But those beliefs don't entitle any of us to discriminate against others. Religious liberty should not be used to discriminate against people."

    Check back with OregonLive for updates on this story.

    -- George Rede

    grede@oregonian.com
    503-294-4004
    @georgerede

  • Ella Donaghu gearing up; N. Medford sprinter overcomes injury: Oregon high school sports news (links)

    Henley softball player drives in 10 runs; Philomath pole vault record

    A glance at high school sports coverage across the state:

    Girls track: Grant distance star Ella Donaghu, rebounding from mono, plans to run at Centennial Invitational (The Oregonian)

    Boys track: North Medford junior Tyren Wolfe rebounds from broken femur to become school’s all-time best sprinter (Mail Tribune)

    Boys track: Another Philomath pole vault record falls (Gazette Times)

    Boys track: Oregon City edges Barlow to improve to 4-0 in Mt. Hood Conference (Clackamas Review)


    Baseball: Ty Smith’s grand slam lifts Crescent Valley over Central 12-8 (Gazette Times)

    Baseball: West Albany sophomore Evan Cyrus shuts down North Salem (Democrat Herald)

    Softball: McKenna Armantrout hits two homers, drives in 10 runs in Henley’s 19-9 win over Mazama (Herald and News)


  • Portland Metro Friday Traffic: Showers expected for the morning drive; lane closures tonight on I-205

    Vancouver-area drivers should be aware of intermittent double-lane closures tonight on southbound I-205 between Mill Plain Boulevard and SR 500 for stripping and lane shifts.


    Commuters can expect off-and-on showers this morning and cold bus stops as the temps will remain fairly chilly.

    Vancouver-area drivers should be aware of intermittent double-lane closures tonight on southbound I-205 between Mill Plain Boulevard and SR 500 for stripping and lane shifts. Expect delays Friday evening from 8 p.m. until Saturday morning around 10 a.m.

    NORTHEAST PORTLAND 7:33 a.m.; Crews heading to a reported auto vs. pedestrian crash Northeast 122nd Avenue and Fremont Street.

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    UPDATE BEAVERTON 7:41 a.m.; Non-injury crash on Southwest Scholls Ferry Road and Summer Lake Drive. CLEARED.

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    UPDATE NORTHEAST PORTLAND 6:20 a.m.; Injury crash involving a sweeper truck at Northeast 141st Avenue and Glisan Street. Westbound lanes blocked.

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    UPDATE BROADWAY BRIDGE 6:25 a.m.; Stalled vehicle mid-span westbound on the bridge, blocking a lane. STALL CLEARED.

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    SOUTHEAST PORTLAND 6:01 a.m.; injury crash on southeast 103rd Drive and Stark Street.

    Check back throughout the morning for the latest commuting updates and follow us on Twitter: @trafficportland

  • Portland Metro Friday Forecast: Cool and showery today and to start the weekend; high of 55

    It's fairly cool as well with lows this morning in the lower 40s and highs today only reaching 55. The weekend seems to offer a bit more in the way of sun as Saturday will start wet, but clear to partly-sunny skies by mid-afternoon.

    A broad upper level low is centered near Vancouver Island and circulating plenty of moisture into the Pacific Northwest.  Expect to use that umbrella or rain coat today as showers start out light in the morning, then increase by noon.  

    It's fairly cool as well with lows this morning in the lower 40s and highs today only reaching 55.  

    The weekend seems to offer a bit more in the way of sun as Saturday will start wet, but clear to partly-sunny skies by mid-afternoon. Sunday is mostly cloudy again with some sun breaks, highs in the low 60s.

  • Thursday evening Portland-area commute: Crash on Highway 26 east near the Zoo

    The latest Portland traffic updates for Thursday night.

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    PORTLAND, 5:43 p.m.: Highway 26 eastbound

    A crash near the Zoo is blocking eastbound traffic. The jam stretches back to Scholls Ferry/Skyline.

    UPDATE, 6:18 p.m.: Crash is clear. Jam thinning out.

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    UPDATE, 4:41 p.m.: Interstate 84 at 33rd Ave.

    The crash is clear but the jam remains back to 162nd Avenue. Dont go this way. Any other road is better. Perhaps try Powell Blvd.

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    ALOHA, 4:35 p.m.: TV Highway near 198th Ave.

    Traffic is slow both directions on Tualatin Valley Highway near 198th Ave. due to a crash.

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    GLADSTONE, 3:58 p.m.: Interstate 205 north

    I-205 north is jammed from just past Highway 213 all the way back to Interstate 5 due to a crash. Might want to avoid that route.

    ***

    The left and middle lanes of Interstate 84 westbound are blocked by a crash. Traffic jammed back across Interstate 205 to 122nd Ave.

    UPDATE. 4:36 p.m.: Traffic is still jammed all the way back to 162nd Ave. 

    Follow the Oregonian's commuting alerts on Twitter: @TrafficPortland

  • Labor, business leaders help bolster career education

    Businesses and industry leaders have joined to help support career education in Oregon schools, with the goal of introducing students to jobs in high demand technical fields.

    Brad Avakian, Oregon's top labor official, knew career programs were disappearing from Oregon schools. But when parents at a 2009 town hall at Prineville High School told Avakian how concerned they were for their children's futures, he decided to do something about it.

    After the gathering, the state labor commissioner set up meetings with trade unions, contractors, chamber of commerce groups and educators, among others. The coalition began meeting frequently near the end of 2009 and have expanded and remained a unified front in the push to expand high school career and technical training.

    Two years later, those groups helped pass legislation creating the CTE Revitalization Grant fund. The Oregon Department of Education helps manage the grants, which have funneled about $13 million to schools across the state. Additional funds support student leadership organizations.

    "What we found was that these very diverse groups, that don't always walk into the capital holding hands together, were all exactly on the same page with this being a top priority for public education in Oregon," Avakian said. "That was an unbeatable combination."

    A bill to refill the grants is making its way through the legislature.

    Since the creation of the grant program, funding has been spread to all corners of the state to support traditional trade programs and advanced science, technology, engineering and math classes. Some grants have created new courses and others have expanded or updated existing offerings, all with the goal of creating programs that become permanent. Grant funded programs must include a community partnership, whether that's with a community college, business or other group.

    "It's an opportunity for them to have a real, legitimate connection with the students," said Laura Roach, ODE director of secondary and post-secondary transitions, and "students get a chance to explore their industry. It has a lot of potential beyond just informing the curriculum and contributing resources." 

    Now that the state is emerging from the recession, when unemployment climbed to 12 percent in 2009, some employers say they are having a hard time finding qualified applicants to fill skilled jobs.

    Educators, legislators, labor and industry leaders have all taken notice.

    Brad AvakianLabor Commissioner Brad Avakian. 

    "Oregon was really failing its businesses by not creating opportunities for young people to find a pathway and get the skills that are needed by industry sectors here," Avakian said, adding that career education also broadens a student's perspective.

    Looking ahead, industry leaders are turning to young adults. A workplace study by Portland-based Worksystems projects that within the next seven years, manufacturing careers will grow 19 percent, health by 28 percent, and IT/Software fields by 32 percent.

    Employers will also be replacing skilled workers nearing retirement, in addition to filling new jobs. Most carpenters, cement masons and plumbers are now in their late 40s or early 50s, Avakian said.  Maureen Fallt, who works in Portland General Electric talent management, said the company needs employees in multiple fields, from line workers and dispatchers to drafters and surveyors.

    Oregon government and business leaders want to see those jobs go to Oregonians.

    According to Kyle Ritchey-Noll, executive director of Oregon Learns, an Oregon Business Council initiative, many of Oregon's technical jobs have been filled by people from out of state or left vacant.

    Ritchey-Noll is working with an Oregon employer coalition, which set a goal to double the number of people earning career, technical or science, technology, engineering and math, related degrees or certificates within 10 years.

    "A group of employers came together and were really concerned, as they remain concerned, about them having a sufficient number of students with the skills and degrees in the STEM-related disciplines to fill these openings," she said. "There weren't enough Oregonians who had that skill set."

    Although career exploration might be fostered in the classroom, it's just as important for students to make connections outside of school. That's where nonprofit Portland Workforce Alliance steps in, according to Executive Director Kevin Jeans Gail. Portland Workforce Alliance creates career experiences for students from offering tours of businesses to hosting career days and camps.

    "Our mission is to be more like a bridge between the classroom and the workplace," he said, adding that education alone doesn't have the means to fully teach students about different careers.

    The alliance's Northwest Youth Careers Expo, attended by more than 6,000 students, turned the Oregon Convention Center into a bustling hive of exploration this year. More than 100 employers set up exhibits where students could learn about a variety of careers.

    "It kind of gives you a general scope of what jobs are out there," said Grant High School sophomore Shane Bryan, who had stopped at PGE station to try out a line working demonstration. "You get a good idea."

    Scott Munger, director of human resources for Gunderson LLC, a marine and rail heavy manufacturing company, talked with students at an expo booth while others tried out a welding station. Munger said it's imperative to introduce students to the company and career options. Gunderson had about 485 employees in July of 2013, and could have up to 1,450 this summer, he said.

    Gunderson has reached out to several high schools within a 50-mile radius of the Northwest Portland facility to offer training opportunities and jobs, Munger said.

    "We knew that we needed to partner with high schools," he said. "It gives the kids hope and some direction. They have a way to make a living."

    --Laura Frazier

    lfrazier@oregonian.com
    503-294-4035
    @frazier_laura

  • Two pathways to career success started in high school

    Two Oregon high school graduates say high school programs helped them find a career path. State education and industry leaders and working to bolster career and technical education programs in schools.

    As career programs are returning to schools across Oregon, many graduates are now leaving high school and heading into the workforce or starting college with a career path in mind.

    Torri Whitchurch 

    Torri WhitchurchTorri Whitchurch
     

    Torri Whitchurch, 23, always considered herself an artist. But she didn't see a professional future in art until she took graphic design classes at McNary High School in Keizer.

    "Without it I would never have been able to be where I am now," she said. 

    At McNary, Whitchurch she said she quickly picked up the advanced software used in class and took every available digital design and photography offering. McNary offers a host of career programs and multiple digital arts classes. Statewide, programs under the umbrella of arts, information and communications have surged, with 62 programs offered during the 2013-2014 school year compared to 49 the year prior.

    With a career path in mind, Whitchurch went on to earn a degree in digital arts at the University of Oregon. After graduation, she answered a Craigslist ad for a graphic designer and landed a position with housing developer Pahlisch Homes in Bend.

    Without access to design classes in high school, Whitchurch said she likely would have sought out a more general business degree. She appreciates that her job is unique and creative, and said one day she'd like to run her own studio.

    "It was comforting to know right off the bat that I wasn't going to do something generic," she said. "I like the freedom of it, and I like the fact that you can take barely anything and really create something beautiful."

    Taylor Maher

    For Taylor Maher, a career in construction was a path to a comfortable wage right out of high school.

    Taylor Maher Taylor Maher

    While a junior at Portland's Marshall High School, which has since closed, Maher signed up for a summer construction program through the Pacific Northwest Carpenters Institute. He'd considered college, but said the program  presented a new career option.

    After graduating in 2009, he became an apprentice with contractor Fred Shearer & Sons, starting at $16 an hour. Maher says he enjoys the pace and physical work construction requires and preferred to learn on the job.

    "It's fulfilling to be able to look back when it's all said and done at a nice finished product," he said from a job site in downtown Portland. "I would recommend it to anybody."

    Now 24 and a foreman, Maher said he's making $37 an hour. Maher said he'd lived in apartments growing up, but is now proud to be a homeowner and enable his wife to stay home with their daughters, ages three and six months.

    Heading straight into the professional world made him grow up faster than his friends, he said, and he's never regretted it. If Maher hadn't been introduced to construction during high school, he's not sure what career path he would have taken. "I don't know where I'd be," he said.

    --Laura Frazier

    lfrazier@oregonian.com
    503-294-4035
    @frazier_laura

  • After years of decline, Oregon rebuilds school-to-career programs

    In the past 15 years the number of career and technical programs in Oregon schools have been cut nearly in half. Now, the state is focusing on restoring those CTE programs to give students more options and fit industry needs. Watch video

    Electrician-turned-teacher Guy Marchione was tired of watching his students graduate from high school and end up "sitting on the couch and wondering, 'What do I do with my life?' "

    "That's what I wanted to stop," the Reedsport teacher said. "I wanted to have something in place similar to what we do with college-bound students."

    Calling on his connections with trade and industry groups in the coastal community, Marchione created high school classes that prepare students for professional apprenticeships in welding, electrical work and heavy equipment operations.

    Oregon hopes to encourage more hands on, industry-relevant classes through a renewed commitment to career and technical education. The state kicked in a $250,000 grant to help launch Marchione's program this year, and about a dozen of his high school juniors are enrolled and learning skills to equip them for the workforce. 

    Similar stories are playing out across Oregon.

    Over the past 15 years, as employment trends increasingly favored skilled workers, Oregon public schools cut the number of career and technical education programs nearly in half, according to an analysis by The Oregonian/Oregonlive. Now education and industry leaders are restoring programs for traditional careers in manufacturing and trades and creating new ones in such high-demand areas as technology and health services.

    "There's a growing awareness that these kinds of CTE classes are needed, but we still have a long way to go," said Kevin Jeans Gail, executive director of Portland Workforce Alliance. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get those students committed to family wage jobs." 

    Leaders of two big state agencies, the Department of Education and Bureau of Labor and Industries, have partnered in recent years to restore career education, and not just for the roughly 35 percent of Oregon high school graduates who don't go to college. 

    In 2013, about 58 percent of Oregon high school graduates who earned at least one credit from a career and technical program went on to higher education. Many of the high school programs encompass science, technology, engineering or math, which can be stepping stones to careers in fields such as engineering or medicine. 

    Since 2011, when Oregon created the CTE Revitalization Grant fund, schools across the state have received about $13 million to restore or create programs, covering everything from advanced engineering to fabrication.

    But there are far more grant applications than resources. About 61 percent of grant applications were not funded and more than half of all Oregon middle and high school students had no access to programs last year. Career and Technical Education  Programs of Study

    School to career

    Andrew Shelton, 22, said he knew growing up that he was interested in learning a trade. Instead of attending Lincoln High School in Portland, he enrolled in Benson Polytechnic High School's electrical program, which introduces students to basic electronics and then gives juniors and seniors the chance to move onto more advanced circuits and wiring.

    As a junior, Shelton was hired as an apprentice at Precision Castparts, making $12 an hour. He worked part-time during his junior and senior school years, and full-time during the summers. "The stuff I learned at Benson was directly applicable to what I was learning there," he said of his apprenticeship.

    As he continued as an apprentice, Shelton realized that he wanted to move up to management, meaning he would need a college degree. "I wanted to be that person who knows how to fix everything," he said, and it would be a way to support a family.

    Shelton is now working toward his degree in electrical and computer engineering at Oregon State University in Corvallis.

    He said his apprenticeship got him on the right career path and also paid for his first year of college.  "It all started with my apprenticeship," Shelton said. "I was really lucky to get that job."

    A reason to stay in school

    Career and technical education programs also keep students engaged in school and boost graduation rates. 

    According to the Oregon Department of Education, 86 percent of Oregon students who earned at least one career program credit graduated on time in 2013.  That compares with Oregon's overall on-time graduation rate of 69 percent that school year, one of the worst in the country.

    Benson High School teacher JaNae Jamison graduated from the school's dental assisting program and worked in the field for more than a decade before returning to Benson to teach the same program. She sees first-hand how following a career path leads to diplomas.

    "The CTE class helps them stay in school, but it also gets them the other credits that they need," she said. Her students graduate prepared to become certified dental assistants, and they've mastered essential core classes along the way. 

    At Sprague High School in Salem, students talked about school and jobs as they crowded around athletic training tables in a sports medicine lab. "It feels like I'm getting more done," said junior Jenna Barna, who's interested in a career in medicine. "I'm not wasting my time. You can get on the fast track."

    In a Sherwood High School engineering lab this fall, students worked with computer-aided drafting software and a 3-D printer. Junior Jack Runge spent one class designing a key-chain on his computer.

    "It's a great opportunity for me to get into engineering," Runge said. "It's a great outlet for my ideas." 

    Beyond shop class

    Funding has helped expand and start programs covering a wide variety of career and technical education fields.   

    Manufacturing and construction dominate programs, but state grants cover six career fields, agriculture, food and natural resource systems, arts, information and communications, business and management, health sciences, human resources and industrial and engineering systems.

    The grants introduce more students to career options and can create a pipeline to living wage jobs. Skilled workers in fields such as manufacturing can make more than three times as much as unskilled workers in leisure or hospitality jobs, according to a 2013 workforce report.

    Last year, the Beaverton School District used a grant to increase internships though the Health & Science School, Sisters schools enhanced offerings in manufacturing, engineering and design and Clackamas County schools districts improved manufacturing programs in Estacada, Molalla and at the Sabin-Schellenberg Professional Technical Center in Milwaukie.

    The Sherwood School District landed about $494,500 to fund development of a mobile fabrication lab, run by high school teacher John Niebergall. Through the Fab Lab grant, Niebergall travels from school to school by RV, providing equipment, teaching students how to use it and showing teachers how to build a career program. 

    At a stop in Gaston in December, Niebergall taught students how to design stickers with a computer program and then create them with a vinyl cutter. He's also traveled to Vernonia, Hermiston and Klamath Falls. 

    "All this in my mind is 'how do I teach a kid to be an entrepreneur'," Niebergall said. "The economy is built on that."

    Unequal opportunity

    Even as the number of programs statewide continues to rise, student access to career and technical programs varies widely among districts.

    Of the 20 largest school districts in the state, all but one offers state-certified Programs of Study. In 2006, ODE created the Program of Study designation, which outlines several requirements career programs must meet.

    The exception is Lake Oswego, the state's 18th-largest district, which has no programs to offer its 6,900 students. Spokeswoman Nancy Duin said the district has not recovered programs eliminated decades ago, but has added some engineering classes in recent years and worked to set up partnerships with community colleges. 

    The Salem-Keizer School District has one of the state's most impressive array of offerings, 30 career programs distributed among six high schools, ranging from automotive to child development and culinary classes. Each program serves from 150 to 200 students a year, according to CTE coordinator Jim Orth. Most high schools have several programs, though one school has two. 

    Even so, the district once had 54 programs and is working to rebuild opportunities. The district is working with Mountain West Investment Corporation, a Salem real estate development group, to create a 150,000-square foot career center at a former manufacturing facility.  

    The center is scheduled to open to open in September with residential construction and manufacturing programs, eventually offering up to a dozen new programs and serving roughly 1,200 students.

    "It's really about workforce development," Orth said. "We need to do our job to get kids ready."

    Last year, the district received nearly $1 million to support a variety of projects, including the expansion of a fire science program and creation of a home construction and restaurant management course. McNary High School used grant funds to create a commercial grade kitchen for its program in restaurant management, where students learn cooking techniques and operate a bistro with help from a professional mentor chef. 

    Senior Cheyenne Shepherd said the program gives her sense of what a culinary career would be like.  "You feel really inspired to do more," she said. "It's really nice to have opportunities."

    In the North Clackamas School District, students are bused to an expansive technical center that offers 15 programs in career fields ranging from law enforcement to cosmetology. According to Principal Karen Phillips, 95 percent of North Clackamas graduates take at least one of the center's courses.

    By comparison, programs in Portland Public Schools are more modest, given the size of the study body and distribution of classes. 

    With the addition of nine new programs this year, Portland has 29 career programs. Benson, the district's flagship program, has eight programs, more than any other school. Other Portland schools have two to five programs, but Lincoln has just one. Roosevelt and Jefferson have no certified programs, although both schools offer individual courses. 

    Next year, the district plans to add 11 new programs of study at schools including Roosevelt and Lincoln, according to Jeanne Yerkovich, the district's senior program manager. The district's proposed budget also outlines funding for middle school career education. 

    The district's goal is to get every student within reach of a CTE program, said Antonio Lopez, Portland Public Schools assistant superintendent.

    "We want our kids to leave with skills for the 21st century," he said. "They will be the drivers of the economy for the next century. This is just one of the things we have to systematize."

    --Laura Frazier

    lfrazier@oregonian.com
    503-294-4035
    @frazier_laura

  • Multnomah County commissioners seal law-enforcement deal after hearing concerns

    The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the law enforcement deal Thursday morning between the sheriff's office and Troutdale, after hearing arguments for and against the proposal from City Council members.

    Police patrolling the streets of Troutdale will begin working for Multnomah County's sheriff in July, but residents may not notice a change in uniforms or the branding on vehicles.

    The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the law enforcement deal Thursday morning between the sheriff's office and Troutdale, after hearing arguments for and against the proposal from City Council members.

    District Map.jpg

    The 10-year deal means the city will pay the county millions a year to provide law enforcement services to more than 16,000 residents. Troutdale joins Wood Village and Maywood Park in contracting with the sheriff's office for services.

    Supporters have said the deal is less expensive for city taxpayers than paying to run a police department. The deal also means the city's 26 police staff will see raises in July in order to match the wages at the sheriff's office.

    "This process has been vetted so well that I can't see any flaws in it," Sheriff Dan Staton said.

    The first year cost is $3.7 million. The remaining years won't be as expensive, but the contract allows for pay increases negotiated with the Deputy Sheriff's Association.

    "Most of the council agreed that this was a long-term partnership with Multnomah County," Mayor Doug Daoust said. "In my heart, I really see it as a win."

    But opponents of the deal including City Councilors Glenn White and Rich Allen have said the process was not transparent to the public.

    The law enforcement services that the deal brings "were already being provided by taxes paid to the county," White said.

    White said last month's 4-to-3 vote by the city council was the largest financial decision in Troutdale's history and the public process was inadequate.

    Last month, opponents to the proposal asked city leaders to slow down and requested a citizen vote. Supporters, including Staton, said vacancies at the sheriff's office needed to be filled by Troutdale officers and could not be left open much longer.

    Those vacancies have meant more overtime costs, Staton has said.

    Supporters have pointed to five public meetings that began last year, but opponents said the public's attention began in early March.

    During a March 3 City Council work session at the police department in a room full of curious residents, several said that meeting was the first time they heard details of the proposal. Weeks later, council members approved the deal in front of more than 100 residents during a 2.5 hour meeting.

    Commissioner Diane McKeel, who represents city residents on the board, attended both of the meetings in March and also supported the deal.

    "I've seen our sheriff's office work to satisfy all the questions," McKeel said.

    Commissioners Jules Bailey, Judy Shiprack and Loretta Smith all voiced support for the deal.

    County Chairwoman Deborah Kafoury said the board would not just vote and walk away and promised active participation. The deal will better serve the citizens, and it's a better use of taxpayer dollars, Kafoury said.

    Daoust said he plans to have meetings with neighborhoods and other groups to answer any questions the public may have about the deal. 

    The county will also lease the majority of Troutdale's police department. Staton plans to move more than 80 deputies to the new location to serve eastern county areas.

    Chief Deputy Linda Yankee told commissioners Thursday 39 staff will remain at the east Portland facility including concealed handgun licensing units, warrant strike teams, special investigative unit and administrative support. On Tuesday, commissioners were told more than 60 staff would remain in at the Portland facility.

    -- Tony Hernandez
    thernandez@oregonian.com
    503-294-5928
    @tonyhreports

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