August 2 – Report: City of Portland lagging far behind CO2 emission reduction goals
In a recent 1-Year Progress Report provided to the Portland City Commissioners by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, it was made clear that Portland is far behind the goals set out in July 2020, when the city declared a climate emergency. The declaration outlined over 30 different steps City Hall would take to make Portland greener. The goals of cutting carbon emissions in half by 2030 and reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, similar to those presented by the Biden administration on a national level, have been debated by both sides of the political spectrum. Experts believe current goals of emission cuts are not fast or deep enough to protect against further climate change. “For decades Portland has been a leader in climate action, but now most leading cities are well out in front of where we are,” the report stated.
August 3 – Mayor Wheeler to Portland Police Bureau: Get ready for body cameras
The mayor’s office issued a statement on body worn cameras and has committed to creating a program whereby all police officers must adhere to the requirement of transparency. Many expect this was a preemptive move in expectation of the federal government stepping in and forcing the matter. “I am not alone in supporting police worn body cameras,” Wheeler said in the statement. “At least 75 other large government agencies use body worn cameras for policing.” Portland is the largest U.S. city which does not require body cameras for all police officers.
August 4 – Oregon Sec. of State reveals redistricting commission that has no real power
Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan announced what she termed the “People’s Commission,” which would assist in an advisory capacity in the redrawing of political districts, once the U.S. Census Bureau releases their data on August 12. Technically, state lawmakers have the first chance to set the new district boundaries, however this has only happened twice since 1911, according to reporting. Despite an agreement struck by the Democrats and Republicans regarding the district lines, Fagan’s commission is different from those in other states; most others have a final say in district map construction. Fagan’s gives no power to those participating in the commission. The Oregon Supreme Court ruled lawmakers have until Sept. 27 to pass their own maps.
August 6 – Oregon reaches highest levels of COVID-19 ICU hospitalizations since peak last Dec.
According to data from the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), there are more people in the Intensive Care Unit from COVID-19 in the state now than since the last spike in hospitalizations last Dec. The Delta variant has been blamed for this recent spike in ICU visits, as has the lack of vaccinations in areas where COVID-19 has been spreading so steadily. The patients contracting the Delta variant are far younger than before, according to OHA data. Patients are also getting sicker at a faster rate and appear to be exhibiting more extreme symptoms.