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#HomeSweetPDX

Our staff is documenting the effects on Portland's homebuyers market as investors buy thousands of homes with cash. Add your photographs of the collection by using the hashtag #HomeSweetPDX on Instagram.

 

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Document: Governor Kate Brown Ethics Policy Summary

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Photo: Clackamas County Records Management

Photo: Leah Nash for InvestigateWest

Carol Hopkins, Clackamas Co. Records Management Supervisor, keeps boxes of court records organized at an off-site storage facility. Any notes taken by grand jurors as they hear testimony are stored here under tight security. We needed a judge's order just to access the warehouse and take this photo.

Read our full report on secrecy in the Oregon grand jury system.

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Secret testimony: Inside Oregon's grand juries

With grand jury reform elsewhere focused on eliminating racial bias and curbing police use of force, Oregon remains an outlier. It is one of just 14 states that do not regularly record the citizen grand juries that charge people with felonies.

InvestigateWest set out to understand this secretive process as a renewed push for reform has found support in the Oregon Legislature. Photography by Leah Nash for InvestigateWest.

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Map: Where in the U.S. are grand juries recorded?

With grand jury reform elsewhere focused on eliminating racial bias and curbing police use of force, Oregon remains an outlier. It is one of just 14 states that do not regularly record the citizen grand juries that charge people with felonies.

InvestigateWest set out to understand this secretive process as a renewed push for reform has found support in the Oregon Legislature.

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Robert McClure's picture

How government and Boeing fought to curtail Duwamish River cleanup

Photography: Paul Joseph Brown/ecosystemphoto.com

After a decade of studies that cost millions of dollars, the time had come for the people living around Seattle’s biggest toxic mess to tell the government what a cleanup should look like.

On a spring night in 2013, Spanish-speaking residents of south Seattle approached a microphone that sat beneath the basketball hoop at the South Park Community Center. One by one, they envisioned a new future for the Duwamish River and the neighborhoods it passes through. Today those neighborhoods of South Park and Georgetown are home to some of King County’s highest rates of hospitalization for childhood asthma. Locals regularly fish the river, despite government prohibitions due to high levels of toxic chemicals in seafood caught there.

Clean up as much as you can, the people said, overwhelmingly.

Stolen Wages

For many Washington workers hoping to recover a few thousand dollars or less in wages, their best alternative is often to file a complaint with the Department of Labor & Industries. But justice is often neither swift nor certain. Labor & Industries has just 16 investigators to pursue up to 4,000 cases per year. The complaints include alleged minimum wage violations and outright refusal to pay for work done.

Read our related article, "Washington, Seattle Struggle to Help Workers Collect Millions in Stolen Wages"

Millions of dollars at stake

Since 2009, Labor & Industries has collected more than $11.6 million in unpaid wages for workers in Washington. Yet that's only a little more than half the total wages the state has declared workers are owed: Nearly $10 million in unpaid wages remain uncollected, even as the average wait for a worker to recover the pay due has shortened to just over the state-mandated 60 days.

Hover over each bar to see how major industries in Washington state measure up in total upaid wages and how much the state has collected.

Document: Brennan Center Review of Wage Theft Literature

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