People stand in line outside of Blanchet House, a homeless service provider in Old Town Chinatown. The nonprofit has seen demand rise and donations plunge.

People stand in line outside of Blanchet House, a homeless service provider in Old Town Chinatown. The nonprofit has seen demand rise and donations plunge.

Jonathan Levinson/OPB

 

  

  • Last week President Trump used the Defense Production Act to declare that meat processing plants are critical infrastructure. That means they need to find a way to stay open, while also practicing social distancing. Processing plants, like one in Walla Walla County, Washington, have been hotbeds for the spread of COVID-19. Nathan Parker runs the meat lab at Oregon State University. He tells us how Oregon’s meat processors and producers will be affected by the new order.

 

  

  • Researchers in Seattle have been creating genetic maps of the new coronavirus since the earliest days of the pandemic. This sequencing helps us to understand how the virus spreads, and how quickly it mutates. Pavitra Roychoudhury is one of the researchers at the University of Washington doing this work.

 

  

  • This May, Portland area voters are being asked to weigh in on a business and personal tax to raise an annual $250 million for homeless services. The regional government Metro says money raised from the measure would go to services such as case management, rent assistance, addiction and recovery services, mental health care and employment support. The measure would add a 1% tax on profits for businesses with annual sales of more than $5 million. Additionally, individuals making more than $125,000 per year and couples earning more than $200,000 would have a 1% marginal income tax. We hear from Portland Business Alliance president and CEO Andrew Hoan, who is in favor of the measure and Cascade Policy Institute research director Eric Fruits, who is opposed to it.

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