School worker in Oregon quits after making ‘picking cotton’ remarks

PORTLAND, Ore. — The North Clackamas School District says an employee has resigned following an investigation into “inappropriate racialized comments” made last week, the district confirmed Tuesday.

A district spokesperson said an instructional assistant made references to slave and manual labor during lunch May 31 at Linwood Elementary School in Milwaukie the Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

Fifth-grade parent Syreeta Spencer said the employee reprimanded a group of students, which Spencer described as mostly students of color, for being too loud during lunch.

The employee told the students they were lucky they weren’t “picking cotton and cleaning or painting a house.”

District officials said the employee was put on leave June 5, several days after the incident. The investigation ended two days later with the employee’s resignation.

Spencer said the school is playing host to a conversation for students to share experiences and ask questions related to minority issues.

Businesses, hospitals pledge $49 million for homeless housing in the Seattle area

SEATTLE — Tech companies, hospitals and others have pledged nearly $49 million to help construct eight buildings to house chronically homeless in the Seattle area.

The Seattle Times reported Tuesday that Swedish Health Services, Premera Blue Cross and Providence St. Joseph Health announced $15 million in donations last month to support a Seattle nonprofit developer.

Plymouth Housing has launched a $75 million campaign to double its units in Seattle. It operates facilities for chronically homeless people where they have access to health care, social services and treatment. Amazon and Microsoft have each pledged $5 million for the campaign

Plymouth said the donations will help it leverage as much as $250 million in public funds for the project.

Washington clears one company for fatal crane collapse in Seattle

SEATTLE — Washington has cleared one of five companies being investigated for a construction accident that killed four people.

The Seattle Times reported Monday that the state Department of Labor and Industries said Monday it has closed its investigation into Seaburg Construction without finding any violations.

A tower crane collapsed in late April at the South Lake Union construction project in Seattle and struck six vehicles. Two ironworkers who were in the crane and two people in cars died.

Some experts say the collapse resulted from premature removal of bolts fastening sections together.

Officials said Seaburg provided crane operators, but was not involved in dismantling the crane when it collapsed.

Sole woman at Washington facility for sex offenders released

TACOMA — The only woman at a Washington treatment facility for sexually violent predators has been released.

The News Tribune reported 61-year-old Laura Faye McCollum entered the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island in 1997 after serving more than five years in prison for first-degree child rape.

A state Department of Social and Health Services spokesperson said McCollum moved into a Lakewood residence Tuesday.

A judge signed off on the conditional release in April after a psychologist reported that McCollum had progressed in her treatment and no longer met the criteria for civil commitment. She was required to register as a sex offender and ordered to participate in sex offender treatment.

McCollum was the first woman committed to the facility. A second woman was later committed and released.

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