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Hill to Hall August 16–20

August 16: COVID-19 Delta variant hits Oregon

As the Delta variant makes its rounds and vaccination rates stagnate across the state, Oregon watches its COVID-19 case counts, hospitalizations and deaths climb higher. In just the weekend preceding Aug. 16, there were over 4,300 new COVID-19 cases. Hospitalizations sat at the state’s record high with 752 people, and with deaths at 14. Of these cases, Multnomah County had 504, Washington County had 166 and Clackamas had 296. Oregon’s total case count is 242,843 with around 3,000 people dead.

August 17: Portland Nabisco workers join plants across U.S. in strike

Nabisco workers continue their strike in Portland for the second week against Nabisco parent company Mondelez. The picketing and work stoppage has also reached Aurora, Colorado and Richmond, Virginia. Workers are responding to threats from the company to cut daily overtime pay, premium pays, cuts in health benefits and increases in temporary workers. The company has also been laying off large amounts of employees over the last few years and striking pensions of workers and retirees. The workers are unionized under the Baker, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union.

August 18: Portland schools require vaccinations for employees

With the return to school fast approaching alongside COVID-19’s unrelenting war path, the Portland Public School District announces that it will require proof of vaccination from all of its employees by Aug. 30, a few days before school starts back up in session. This move comes after a few Portland hospitals have also started requiring employees to be vaccinated. The school district maintains that those employees who are not vaccinated by the deadline must receive regular testing, up until the point of vaccination. The labor union representing Portland’s teachers, the Portland Association of Teachers, reports that 98% of its members (over 4,500 members) have already been vaccinated.

August 19: Corvallis-to-the-Sea hiking trail opens

After 50 years of production, a hiking trail has opened between Corvallis and Newport along the Oregon coast. The Corvallis-to-the-Sea TrailC2C for short—comprises 60 miles of trail and is estimated to take three to six days to complete, depending on the experience and skill of the hiker. The idea was conceived by an OSU graduate in the mid-70s, but has been in planning limbo ever since. The trail finally opens to the public on Aug. 21. Apart from being a convenient link between the valley and the coast, the trail also boasts its utility in being used to train for longer trail systems, like the Pacific Crest Trail.

August 20: Right-wing protests expected in Portland

Right-wing terrorist groups Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys are planning events in downtown Portland Sunday, Aug. 22. These events fall on the one-year anniversary of violent clashes between right-wing extremists and anti-fascists in front of the Justice Center, where many right-wing extremists were seen using bear mace and carrying loaded weapons. Portland Police were present at last year’s event, but stood back and watched the violence without intervention. Police Chief Chuck Lovell has made it clear the police intend to also do nothing for the event’s anniversary, saying to Willamette Week, “We’re not going to deploy people to stand in a line or in the middle of violent groups to keep people apart where it doesn’t make tactical sense to do so.”