News Briefs

Drifting tsunami debris from Japan danger to Oregon coast, TriMet planning $74 million MAX train upgrade, PSU recognizes Sexual Assault Awareness Month with workshops, PSU graduate students propose entertainment-centric development in Hillsboro, HUD campus presentation to cover housing discrimination, civil rights

Drifting tsunami debris from Japan danger to Oregon coast

Oregonians, especially those living on the coast, are recommended to take precautions pertaining to the inevitable impact of post-tsunami ocean debris. Residue from the tsunami that ravaged Japan in March 2011 has already started accumulating on parts of the West Coast and could reach the Oregon coast in the coming months.

According to an article published in The Oregonian on March 29, smaller debris such as plastic cups and buoys has already been found on Oregon beaches. It’s possible that larger debris, which could include hazardous and toxic materials, could also wash ashore.

Outreach organizations around the state are hurriedly attempting to prepare local communities for what to do in the case of an emergency.

“The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is tracking the debris generated by the Japanese earthquake. I take any threat to the Oregon coast seriously and millions of tons of debris headed our way sounds serious to me,” Sen. Ron Wyden said in a January press release.

A full list of planned awareness-raising workshops can be found at Portland’s local seminar is set to take place on April 15 at the Ecotrust Natural Capital Center from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

TriMet planning $74 million MAX train upgrade

Portland’s MAX trains will soon be undergoing an expensive makeover.

A contract is expected to be signed in the next month between TriMet and Siemens Building Technologies to finalize a construction project for 18 new trains, costing $74 million. The U.S. government will pay half, while the Oregon State government and TriMet will pay the other half. The new trains will be used for the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail line and will be included as a part of the plan for the transit-only bridge that is set to be finished by 2015.

“Funding for this contract will come from the Project Full Funding Grant Agreement, which is expected this spring,” said TriMet in an official resolution memo relating to the project.

The resolution memo also indicated that Siemens’ proposal was accepted, out of three that were given, due to its superior technical and price scores compared to those of the proposals from CAF USA and Stradler.

PSU recognizes Sexual Assault Awareness Month with workshops

Throughout April, Portland State will be raising awareness for sexual assault-related issues at various workshops in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

The Queer Resource Center will be holding a Queer Consent Workshop on April 17 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Viking Information Center. The workshop will discuss the idea of consent within homosexual or transsexual relationships and give students resources to go to in case they have questions or need help. Additionally, the Queer Resource Center will host a workshop created by the Sex Workers Outreach Coalition, titled “Safety and Sex Work—Info and Tools for Negotiating Risks in the Trade.” It will be held on April 23 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in Smith Memorial Student Union, room 401. The workshop will address the topic of safety concerns for employees working within the sex industry.

Both presentations are free of charge, open to all students and co-sponsored by the Queer Resource Center and the Women’s Resource Center.

More information about all other Sexual Assault Awareness Month events can be found at, according to transgender access coordinator for the Queer Resource Center Kirsten Keith’s online press release.

PSU graduate students propose entertainment-centric development in Hillsboro

Hillsboro residents may soon find themselves with a haven for entertainment and recreation, courtesy of a group of Portland State graduate students.

In January, The Standard and StanCorp Mortgage Investors LLC challenged six PSU graduate students in the Center for Real Estate to discover and create the best land-use plan for a 16-acre lot in Hillsboro owned by The Standard. On April 2, the panel of six PSU graduate students unveiled its proposal, which would convert the plot into an entertainment-focused district. The district would include a movie theater, sports bar arcade and a number of retail shops and restaurants, with some residential housing as well.

While officials at StanCorp could not confirm the use of the land for such a purpose at this time, they did affirm that the proposal seemed extremely reasonable and entirely possible.

Specific ideas for the proposed area include a Dave & Buster’s restaurant, a hotel modeled in the design of a Hyatt Place and a Regal Cinema, which would replace the current Hillsboro Regal Cinema, whose property lease will expire in 2020.

HUD campus presentation to cover housing discrimination, civil rights

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will be giving a presentation on the Portland State campus next week that will cover housing and relevant civil rights issues in today’s society.

The department’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity will be presenting in the Smith Memorial Student Union building on the second floor on April 11 from noon to 1:15 p.m. Speakers will cover topics such as the Fair Housing Act and civil rights enforcement as it relates to fair housing, and they will also discuss possible careers and internships in the field of civil rights activism.

Students interested in the department and the work that it does can visit the U.S. Department of HUD’s official website at or contact the organizer of the event, Jim Kordich, at [email protected]