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Plus, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is interested in learning how local groups could use the never-opened Wapato Jail to help the homeless.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Former Oregon Department of Corrections Director Michael Francke in Salem before his death.The ongoing podcast on questions surrounding the 1989 killing of Oregon Department of Corrections Director Michael Francke has attracted a large national following.

With six of 12 episodes released, "Murder in Oregon: Who Killed Michael Francke?" is the overall No. 4 podcast on Amazon and No. 2 in the true crime category.

Co-written and co-produced by former Oregonian and Portland Tribune columnist Phil Stanford, the podcast is digging into the question of whether Francke was assassinated by corrupt corrections officials. It features Francke's brothers, Kevin and Patrick, who believe that is the case, along with Stanford.

A federal judge in Portland has overturned the conviction of petty Salem criminal Frank Gable, who was convicted of the murder and sentenced to life without parole in 1991. He has been released from prison while the Oregon Department of Justice appeals the ruling, which concluded Gable probably is innocent and did not receive a fair trial.

Wapato back in news

The fight to open the never-used Wapato Jail for the homeless is not over yet. An official with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development toured the former Multnomah County facility Monday, Dec. 2.

The tour was arranged by developer Jordan Schnitzer, who bought Wapato for $5 million in 2018 and has been trying to open it as a homeless shelter and service center ever since.

Inspecting it was Jeffrey Morris, the administrator of the regional HUD office that serves Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska. He said HUD is interested in how local groups might use it to help the homeless.

The idea is controversial. Multnomah County officials and homeless service providers oppose opening Wapato for the homeless and President Donald Trump's early-stage initiative to get the homeless off the streets of West Coast cities.


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