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Plus, the New York Times turns on Portland and gang violence turned deadly in January.

PORTLAND TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO - Jo Ann HardestyThe race for Portland city Commissioner Dan Saltzman's seat is heating up, with big-name endorsements and large contributions.

In recent days, NAACP of Portland president Jo Ann Hardesty was endorsed by the Portland Association of Teachers. That was something of a surprise, because Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith won the nod from the Northwest Oregon Labor Council.

Not surprisingly, Smith also recently was endorsed by Oregon U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, and received $1,000 from his campaign committee. She worked for Wyden before being elected to the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners.

The largest single contribution in the City Council race went to Northwest Portland neighborhood activist Felicia Williams. On Feb. 11, Williams received $41,000 from her partner, Erik Tucker, the co-founder and chief operating officer of Aronora Inc., where she works. He also gave her a $4,000 contribution and $20,000 loan last year.

Other big contributions in the race include $15,000 to Smith from the Local 48 Electricians PAC, $5,000 to architect Stuart Emmons from developer Lance Killian, and $2,500 to mayoral staffer Andrea Valderrama from developer Marty Kehoe.

New York Times turns on Portland

After fawning over Portland for years, The New York Times suddenly has discovered the city has problems. The national daily focused on Portland to prove methamphetamine has made a comeback, in a Feb. 14 front-page article headlined "Meth, cheaper and deadlier, is surging."

The story opens with what reporter Frances Robles describes as homeless drug users living in a tent on sidewalks outside the train station in Northwest Portland.

"Everybody has meth around here — everybody," the article quotes Sean, a 27-year-old heroin addict as saying. "It's the easiest to find."

According to the article, since Oregon restricted access to ingredients for home-made meth in 2006, Mexican drug cartels have flooded the state with a cheaper and stronger version of the drug.

Now even longtime crack cocaine addicts are switching over to it, the article quotes Portland police Officer Branden Combs as saying.

Gang violence turns deadly

Although total gang violence did not increase in January compared to last year, the number of fatal incidents is spiking.

The Portland Police Bureau's Gang Enforcement Team investigated eight incidents in both January 2017 and 2018. Although no one is usually injured in such incidents, three known gang associates were killed this January. The last one was well-known Hoover gang member Davonte Kerney, who was murdered downtown on Jan. 31.

Adding to the concern, police arrested three men and recovered three firearms in Northeast Portland on the day of Kerney's funeral. Police say it is common for gang members to carry firearms for protection or retaliation while attending or after a gang-related funeral.

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