Blogs: Local interest

Each year the Portland Book Festival, presented by the Bank of America, brings thousands of readers to the Southwest Park Blocks for a day-long celebration of all things reading. Needless to say, we're big fans.

MK Reed's Wild Weather

To call attention to any one author inevitably leaves out a stellar line-up - who doesn't want to see Malcolm Gladwell and Rainbow Rowell? But there's so many quality events to choose from, so here are top picks.

Would it be too self-centered to say that we're so looking forward to seeing our library moderators in action? Elleona Budd, Natasha Forrester CampbellLanel JacksonEbonee Bell, Eduardo Arizaga and Alicia Tate will be moderating talks on everything from science comics to dark magic in fantasy.

We're looking forward to hearing from Saeed Jones about his new memoir, How We Fight for Our Lives. David Treuer's Heartbeat of Wounded Knee has made it to the top of many of our reading lists.  Mira Jacobs's graphic memoir Good Talk, about interracial families made it to the top of many library staff lists. And we'd like to hear how cartoonist and animator Graham Annable expresses his love for slots and hockey, when he isn't writing. Romance readers among us have been eagerly awaiting more from Jasmine Guillory, “the queen of contemporary romance” (OprahMag.com). Our teen librarians have long been fans of Gabby Rivera's Juliet Takes a Breath. We're looking forward to the pop-up events, among them Theodore Van Alst reading from his linked short stories, Sacred Smokes. 

We're also excited to hear home town heroes, Renée Watson, Carson Ellis, Mitchell S. Jackson, ... drat! Why did we limit ourselves to only 10? 

And that doesn't even take into account Friday night's Lit Crawl -- the Poetry Karaoke looks especially intriguing.

Take a look at the festival event site and go hang out with book lovers all day long. It's the best time, and we hope to see you there.

Drawing of Lady Justice in front of an American flag.
Life is full of law questions. Whether you are researching laws or looking for legal help, we can suggest some excellent resources to help you out.

First, a caveat: It is against state law for library staff members to engage in any conduct that might constitute the unauthorized practice of law; we may not interpret statutes, cases or regulations, perform legal research, recommend or assist in the preparation of forms, or advise patrons regarding their legal rights.

The following is not a comprehensive list, but it will help you get started. If you have questions or need research suggestions, contact us anytime!


Free & reduced-cost legal help:

 
The OSB Lawyer Referral Service can refer you to a lawyer who may be able to assist you with your legal matter.
 
A statewide non-profit organization that provides access to legal help for people to protect their livelihoods, their health, and their families.
 
An OSB program to help moderate-income Oregonians find affordable legal assistance.
 
A nonprofit law firm that offers sliding-scale legal services.

Legal advocacy and assistance for:

Artists
Consumers
Crime victims
Families
Immigrants and refugees
Inmates
Latinx community
LGBT+ community
Military service members and their dependents
Native American community
People with disabilities
Renters
Russian community
Seniors
Teens
Veterans
Workers

Legal research and forms:

 
General legal information on a variety of topics, provided as a public service by Oregon's lawyers. 
 
Free legal information for low-income Oregonians.
 
Links to resources for users who want to learn more about the law and courts or want to represent themselves in a legal matter.
 
Provides legal reference assistance and more six days a week; you can access various legal forms and complete NOLO legal reference books on common legal topics online, 24/7, through their website. The Washington County Law Library is also open to the public and has many great resources online and in person.
 
Promoting justice by providing all Oregonians with access to legal information and legal research assistance.
 
Forms, court records, and information about going to court.
 
Free online access to court calendars and basic case information for the Oregon circuit courts and the Oregon Tax Court.
 
A legal research tool that lets you search sources of law from Oregon, the U.S. Government and many other western states. 
 
Provides online access to briefs and opinions of the Oregon Supreme and Appellate Courts, legal research guides, and in-person and virtual legal reference services.
 
Information and forms from the federal Judiciary.
 
Includes legislative information and a Guide to Law Online.
 
Learn about your rights as a person living in the United States of America.
 
Find out how to file a complaint or appeal a decision related to health information privacy, civil rights, Medicare, and more.

The North Portland Library recently unveiled a special collection devoted to the history and experiences of our region’s Black community. The Black Pacific Northwest Collection features the literature, music, film and other creative expressions of the Black experience in the Pacific Northwest and is part of the Black Resources Collection. The collection includes Raymond Burell’s celebration of the Vancouver Avenue Baptist Church, Lucas N.N. Burke’s history of Portland’s Black Panther movement, the poetry of S. Renee Mitchell and Samiya A. Bashir, and Renée Watson’s award-winning Piecing Me Together.

We knew it was important for the scope to be of local interest but wanted to broaden it beyond the Portland experience, so this collection includes authors and subjects throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho and northern California. You’ll find works by the University of Washington’s emeritus Charles Johnson and works about the late Seattle-based playwright August Wilson. Check out this new collection by visiting the North Portland Library or by searching “Black Pacific Northwest Collection” from the home page.

Help grow the Black Pacific Northwest Collection

This special collection currently features about 200 titles, including works of fiction, nonfiction, films, and even zines — but we’d like to add more, and we need your help! You know the creatives here in our community and beyond — the writers, musicians, filmmakers, historians, social scientists — documenting the rich Black experience in our region. Tell us about them. Have them get in touch with us. Or, if you have written a book, made a record, created a film, compiled a bibliography, let us know. To suggest materials to add to the Black Pacific Northwest collection, please visit North Portland Library or email Kirby at kirbym at multcolib.org.

(Photos are by Cheyenne Thorpe.)

 

Hat Rock Oregon geology

Oregon has an extensive geologic history, which is viewable from roadside videos. There are also videos of various landforms in the state created by geologic actions. Like other Pacific Northwestern states, Oregon has many volcanoes. Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens are two volcanic peaks close to Portland. The geologic history of the whole Pacific Northwest was influenced by the great Missoula Floods which has left its mark on the geology of the Columbia River gorge.  The geology of Eastern Oregon also features the mammal fossil beds at John Day, which include the Painted Hills. The Pacific Northwest also faces the potential of a massive earthquake, due to the Cascadia subduction zone.

 

Signs that say Hope and Despair.
When you are seeking help, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start. This is a selective list of social service organizations and places that offer housing, shelter, mental health counseling, escape from abusive situations and other basic needs for people who are homeless, jobless or going through personal transitions. If you have any questions or need assistance finding services, contact us and we'll be happy to help!

When in doubt, start here: 211info

211info is a comprehensive support hub for referrals to food, shelter, housing, foreclosure assistance, health care, and much more. Calls are confidential, anonymous and free. Certified Information and Referral Specialists assess the situation and refer callers using a locally managed database of over 4,200 programs in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Telephone interpreters are available for help in more than 150 languages. Dial 211 from any phone; text your zip code to 898211; send an email to help@211info.org; or search resources online.

Other resources:

Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare

Cascadia provides mental health counseling for people with psychiatric and substance use challenges. They provide crisis intervention, addictions treatment, and housing services for people who are very low-income.

Multnomah County Mental Health & Addictions Services

Provides mental health services to adults, children and families. They serve Oregon Health Plan members enrolled in Health Share of Oregon/Multnomah Mental Health as well as people who have no insurance or resources. Their Mental Health Call Center is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week; call 503-988-4888, 800-716-9769 (toll free) or 503-988-5866 (TTY).

Northwest Pilot Project

Provides housing and other supportive services for seniors ages 55 and older who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Help finding housing, transportation help, advocacy and referrals to other resources and services. NW Pilot Project recommends calling 503-227-5605 before coming in.

Outside In

Outside In is a community resource for homeless youth.  They provide health services, counseling and shelter, as well as programs and education.

Call to Safety

Offers 24 hour telephone crisis counseling for victims of domestic and sexual violence; call 503-235-5333 or 888-235-5333. The organization also offers support groups and direct service counseling for victims of domestic violence and childhood sexual abuse.

Rose City Resource

Street Roots publishes this very comprehensive directory of services for people experiencing homelessness and poverty in Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties.  It is updated twice a year.

Transition Projects

This organization can help with a variety of services including shelter, showers, food box vouchers, clothing, laundry services, Trimet tickets, information and referral, and housing search assistance.

Irie Page is about to turn 14. Instead of, say, a birthday sleepover, she has planned a gift for her community, a free event featuring Mike Domitrz, the founder of the Date Safe Project and a consent educator for kids, teens and adults.  The funny, interactive presentation that he gives to teens and adults is called "Can I Kiss You?", which is also the title of his book. It focuses on how to have healthy, safe relationships and how to both avoid sexual assault and avoid sexually assaulting someone else. Her family raised money online to pay Domitrz's speaking fee, and after the story was covered on the local news, they got all the funding they needed. The event will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 9th in the Lincoln Recital Hall at Portland State University. PSU has waived the rental fees in support of Irie’s event.


I first met this remarkable young woman at the reference desk at my library when she was just a little kid signing up for our Read to the Dogs program. We book lovers who work at the library always notice the passionate readers, the ones who leave with huge stacks of books they’re obviously eager to dive into, and that was Irie. When she was old enough, I suggested that she volunteer for our Summer Reading program, giving out prizes to kids for reading, and she brought huge enthusiasm to this as well. When she told me last summer about the event she was planning, we decided to put together a book display. Irie chose all the books herself. If you can’t get in to see the display, here’s the list.

“After I saw Malala speak, I was inspired to do something for my community,” Irie told me. She originally wanted actress and feminist Emma Watson. "That's not going to happen," her mom told her, and then suggested Domitrz. When Irie happened upon a book here at the library about philanthropy parties, her idea took off.

“I’ve always seen things in the world and thought, ‘That’s messed up. I want to change that,” said Irie. Like Malala, the Pakistani advocate for girls’ rights to education, she decided she could make a difference. She chose to start here, in her own city. 


***EDITED to update Irie's story. This event was a huge success. There was so much community interest that Portland State University gave them a bigger theater in which to hold it, and it was still standing room only, with more than 500 in attendance. I took my middle school-age son and we both found it interesting and inspiring. I was delighted last week when I ran into Irie in the library and she told me she's one of two state honorees for the Prudential Spirit of Community Award. This is a very big deal! She's won $1000, a silver medallion, and a trip to Washington, D.C. At a ceremony in D.C., five national honorees will be chosen from among the state award winners. The staff at my library, who has known Irie for so long, is rooting for her to win the national award, which comes with even more honors and with cash awards for her and for the charity of her choice. We're so proud of her.

 

IRS 1040 form with pen
Multnomah County Library is here to help with tax season. All library locations can access state and federal tax forms and instruction booklets online as they become available. Library staff members are happy to help print what you need. Printing costs 10 cents per page; two-sided printing is available.

Thanks to the AARP, the library will offer filing assistance programs at the Central, Midland, Gresham, Woodstock, and North Portland locations. We can also help refer you to tax professionals.

Federal Hard Copy Forms

This year, libraries will have the Form 1040 and some accompanying instruction booklets. All locations will have reference copies of the 1040 Instructions and Publication 17: Your Federal Income Tax. We can't promise when forms and booklets will be available, or that we won’t run out, but you can always download and print federal tax items from the IRS Forms & Publications page. You can also direct questions to the IRS offices in Oregon. Of special note, neither the 1099 and 1096 forms nor any of the W series (W-2, W-4, etc.) are available for download. Many office supply stores have the 1099 forms or you can contact the IRS directly to have those mailed to you.

State Hard Copy Forms

Public libraries are no longer a distribution center for state tax forms and booklets. If you need Oregon forms or booklets, you can come into the library to print them or do it yourself from the Oregon Department of Revenue page. If you want forms mailed to you, then you can contact the Oregon Department of Revenue via:

Other States

You can stop by the library for assistance printing out tax forms for other states, or you can go to the Federation of Tax Administrators State Tax Forms & Filing Options, which provides links to tax forms for each state.

Dusty adding machine keys
Online Filing

Once the tax season officially opens, both the IRS and Oregon Department of Revenue will have listings for online filing services. Remember, state and federal taxes are due by April 15th this year.

You can find tax preparation assistance through the AARP's Tax-Aide Locator, CASH Oregon and the IRS's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

 

When it seems like the rain is never going to stop, don’t despair! Whether your tastes run more towards Portland puppets or Troutdale trains, Multnomah County has no shortage of fascinating and quirky museums that won’t cost you anything. (Check the links for updated hours and contact information.)

Whimsy. Revisit the toys of your (or your grandparents') childhood at Kidd's Toy Museum. And if your pipsqueaks are pleading to ponder a plethora of puppets, perhaps Ping Pong's Pint Size Puppet Museum is your pleasure.

Safety. Witness the evolution of fire fighting at the Historic Belmont Firehouse. You also might find the Portland Police Museum rather arresting.

History. We love that the Gresham Historical Society museum is housed in an original Carnegie library! Not to be outdone, the Troutdale Historical Society has three museums: The Barn Exhibit Hall, and The Harlow House. And don’t forget, the expansive and amazing Oregon Historical Society is free to all Multnomah County residents; just be sure to bring a proof of residency that includes photo identification.

Miscellany. Check up on medical history with the fascinating exhibits in the Main Library of Oregon Health & Science University or the Dr. Ernest E. Starr Memorial Museum of Dental Anomalies in the OHSU School of Dentistry. If you're interested in "the art and industry of the cast letterform," then the Museum of Metal Typography is definitely your type. Then float on over to the Lincoln Street Kayak and Canoe Museum to learn more about indigenous small watercraft and suck up some cleaning history at the Vacuum Museum at Stark's Vacuums.

Free Museum Day Portland and Portland on the Cheap both have information about when paid admission museums might cut you a break!

P.S. More in the mood for an art gallery ? Check out Rainy Days, Part 1: Free Art.

When it seems like the rain is never (ever) going to stop, don’t despair!

Multnomah County has a lot of hidden art to see that will get you out of the house and won’t cost you anything.

The area’s colleges and universities are a treasure trove of free art galleries! Here are links to some all over town:

Government buildings are a great place to see rotating exhibits, usually by local artists. Experience interactive and experimental media installations in the Portland Building Installation Space; visit the art gallery in the Gresham City Council Chamber Foyer; and check out the current exhibition at Central Library’s Collins Gallery.

The Regional Arts & Culture Council has a searchable database of public art around the county. (Tip: Click on Advanced Options to search by Collection and Discipline.)

View work by local photographers at Blue Sky Gallery, originally founded as the Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts.

Learn more about contemporary art in the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s Resource Room. It is both an archive and library, housing over 3,500 artist publications, magazines, and audio and video recordings, as well as a video archive of performances and lectures presented by PICA over the span of the organization's history.

But wait, there's more! Check out Rainy Days, Part 2: Free Museums!

Finding affordable housing is hard. How do you search for rentals? What do you do if you get an eviction notice? How can you get along with your landlord while knowing your rights? Get started here:

Looking for housing

Here are a few places to start your search. While you search, be aware of scams! Be careful of ads that ask for advance payment for housing.  If a listing looks too good to be true, it probably is.

If you have limited income or other special needs for housing:

If you've received an eviction notice or a big rent increase:

  • 211info can help with renter resources including deposit fee assistance, eviction prevention, housing search assistance, neighbor and landlord mediation, renters rights, and renting classes.

  • Oregon CAT - Community Alliance of Tenants is an organization made up of low-wage workers, families with children, people living with disabilities, seniors, and people of color.  They offer advice about rent increases and no-cause evictions. You can call their Renters’ Rights Hotline (503) 288-0130. They provide information on finding emergency shelter, how to research a prospective landlord, and what to do if your landlord refuses to make repairs.

Contact us if  you'd like help getting connected to the right housing resource.

 

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