Now in office for six months, Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt discusses his criminal justice policies, how they’ve been applied during the Portland protests and riots in 2020, why he supports getting rid of mandatory minimum sentences and his goals moving forward.
This week's episode of "Straight Talk" examines the 2021 "State of the Economy" report with guests, Andrew Hoan, CEO of the Portland Business Alliance, John Tapogna, president of ECONorthwest, and Michelle Neiss, president of DHM research. "I would phrase this really simply as 'fire and ice,'" said Andrew Hoan. "We have had historic wildfires. We just went through historic snow and ice storms. In between it all, the pandemic, ongoing political violence, a layering of crises that has impacted the region much differently than the rest of the nation," he said. ECONorthwest's John Tapogna described the decline in the regional economy. "We're down 15% and it's a very unusual recession caused by something outside the economy, a public health crisis that has created tremendous inequities," he said. "It's very disproportionately impacting lower income households, small businesses and leaving other parts of the economy untouched."
The pandemic has been difficult on everyone, but it has had a disproportionate impact on older adults. They're the most likely to contract COVID-19, to be hospitalized and to die. According to the health policy group, KFF, adults 65 and older account for 16% of the U.S. population, but 80% of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. Not only that, the isolation caused by the pandemic has taken a steep toll on seniors.
Spokesperson for AARP Oregon, Joyce DeMonnin, said the impact is 10-20 times worse for older adults living alone.
"We are seeing a lot of anxiety, frustration, and frankly, a lot of fear because it is this age group that is getting the sickest and passing away," she said.
DeMonnin and Portland geriatric psychiatrists, Dr. Maureen Nash and Dr. Vimal Aga, were guests on this week's episode of "Straight Talk" to discuss how the pandemic has affected older adults and to give them information on resources that can help.
The mayors of Gresham, Beaverton and West Linn all have something in common. They are first-term mayors who took office in January and are breaking barriers. Mayor Travis Stovall is the first Black mayor of Gresham, Oregon's fourth largest city. Mayor Lacey Beaty is the first woman to be mayor of Beaverton, the state's sixth largest city. Beaty and the new mayor of West Linn, Jules Walters, are among just four women in the Metropolitan Mayors Consortium, which represents 26 cities in the Portland-Vancouver region.
They also see opportunities to work together on issues of common interest. The three mayors were guests on this week's episode of KGW's Straight Talk with Laural Porter.
In the bonus podcast episode, KGW's Dan Haggerty sits down for a one-on-one with Republican congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, who represents Southwest Washington, to talk about the impeachment of President Trump, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene being removed from her House committees and the future of the Republican party.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of life. In the first segment this week, Jeff Carr, CEO of Albertina Kerr, discusses the impact the pandemic has had on youth mental health. In the second segment (14:30), Susannah Morgan, the CEO of the Oregon Food Bank, explains how the pandemic has impacted food insecurity in the state.
While many in Oregon and Washington eagerly await getting the COVID-19 vaccine, school leaders in both states are charting a course for schools to reopen even before everyone is vaccinated.
The heads of public schools in Oregon and Washington believe it's critically important to get students back in class, and believe they can do it safely if health safety protocols are followed. The director of the Oregon Department of Education, Colt Gill, and Washington's Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chris Reykdal, were guests on this week's episode of "Straight Talk."
Portland's two newest city commissioners, Mingus Mapps and Carmen Rubio, were sworn into office on Jan. 1 with big plans to move the city ahead in 2021. They discuss what they're working on and what they're hope to accomplish.
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) was on the Senate floor when members of a violent pro-Trump mob broke into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Wyden talked about the incident and called for President Donald Trump to be removed from office on this week's episode of KGW's Straight Talk with Laural Porter.
Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley from Oregon is Laural Porter's guest on this week's episode of KGW's Straight Talk. Merkley discusses how Congress is working on potentially passing a COVID-19 relief bill that many Americans are desperate for. He also reacts to the 2020 election and looks ahead to 2021. This episode was taped on Dec. 17, 2020.