Weekday Wrap: Equity plays big role in I-5 Bridge replacement and a coalition spreads opioid awareness

By OPB staff (OPB)
Dec. 6, 2022 2:55 p.m.

Stories you may have missed from staff reports and our news partners around the region

Equity front and center on Interstate 5 Bridge replacement project

Equity has not historically been a primary concern on transportation projects, as was apparent when part of Portland’s historically Black Albina neighborhood was destroyed in the creation of the Rose Quarter and Interstate 5. Greg Johnson, the Interstate 5 replacement project’s administrator, knows the harms of transportation projects firsthand; his family was forced to move so a highway could be built on their home’s land. “I think that some of the things that we’re doing will get duplicated around the country,” Johnson said. “Having a principal equity officer, a principal climate officer, those things are new and different for transportation projects and mega projects in general.” (William Seekamp/The Columbian)

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Coalition spreads opioid awareness, offers mobile resources

As opiate-related deaths continue to rise, Klamath County community members joined together to celebrate the launch of the new Street Outreach Mobile Services, a multifaceted program intended to spread opioid awareness and provide countywide access to life-saving resources. Consisting of two units, the mobile facilities will offer important information on harm reduction, rapid access to detox treatment, support from peer specialists and distribution of Narcan — a nasal spray that reverses the effects of opioid overdoses. (Molly O’Brien/Herald & News)

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Gates gets grant to improve water system after wildfires

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U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced on Thursday that the city of Gates will receive a $400,000 grant to install a backup power source at its reservoir. During the September 2020 wildfires, Gates lost roughly half of its structures, which in turn exposed service lines and caused major system leaks. The fire damage left the city’s reservoir and pump station unfit for use, which is why it plans to build a backup system that can remain resilient without electricity. (Tracy Loew/Statesman Journal)

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Vancouver body armor company owner faces federal charges

Jeffrey Meining is the owner of Bulletproof-It, LLC, which sells body armor to federal, state and local law enforcement and fire departments, along with the U.S. military. He’s accused of federal wire fraud after investigators say he forged safety test records and claimed falsely that his products were made in the U.S. He is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Portland on Dec. 7, court records show. (Becca Robbins/The Columbian)

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Clark County’s ‘sales tax leakage’ decreases

Clark County Finance Director Mark Gassaway says the county loses revenue when locals head to tax-free Oregon for their shopping. But the so-called “sales tax leakage” has been on the decline for the last few years. “In the latest analysis, our range of sales tax loss is somewhere between $2.1 (million) to $5.9 million,” Gassaway said. “Two years ago, in the same analysis, it was somewhere between $2.7 (million) and $8.7 million.” The report also showed Clark County is now 19th among the state’s 39 counties in sales tax per capita. Gassaway said that’s a slight improvement over 2021, when the county was ranked 21st, and 2019, when it was 22nd. (Shari Phiel/The Columbian)

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