Bethany Barnes, The Oregonian

Bethany Barnes

The Oregonian

Portland, OR, United States

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Past articles by Bethany:

Advocates for black children silence Portland school board

Protesters briefly brought a school board meeting in the whitest major city in America to a standstill Tuesday with an emotional rendition of a song considered the black national anthem. → Read More

Investigators say Portland teacher contract endangers children

The scathing investigative report, unveiled at an emotional school board meeting, comes in response to an Oregonian/OregonLive August 2017 investigation, "Benefit of the Doubt: How Portland Public Schools helped an educator evade allegations of sexual misconduct." → Read More


Want to ‘Give voice to the voiceless?’ Five lessons from Portland’s housing crisis

"If newsrooms want coverage to be diverse, newsrooms must back up that aim with an investment of time," writes The Oregonian's Bethany Barnes. Here's how she invested her reporting time. → Read More

Portland principal says policy kept Mitch Whitehurst's past hidden, she felt 'powerless'

In her first public comments about Mitch Whitehurst, LaShawn Lee said she believes the state's largest school district needs to take a hard look at a policy that withholds certain personnel records of teachers from their principal. → Read More

Portland Public Schools still needs to fix its broken system

Oregon's largest school district has a lot to do to catch up to federal requirements for protecting students from sexual harassment and sexual misconduct at school. → Read More

How a student's call to action against sexual violence in Portland Public Schools is making a difference

U.S. colleges have faced their day of reckoning over federal requirements to keep students safe from sexual violence and its fallout. But so far, public schools serving younger students have lagged. Now, with the help of a student, Oregon's largest district plans to step up. → Read More

Fire Risks: Most Portland Schools Lack Sprinklers, Need Better Alarms

Portland Public Schools is widely known for dangers such as lead-tainted water and old, risky buildings that are unlikely to withstand an earthquake. → Read More

As Portland school year opens, district faces homework on hazards

If Portland Public Schools officials had to write the quintessential "What I Did This Summer" essay come Monday, when most classes resume, they wouldn't lack material. The district has been busy since May, when The Oregonian/OregonLive first reported two schools had high levels of lead in drinking water. Officials had kept the results secret and let students and staff drink tainted water. → Read More

Portland Public Schools 'rap music' ban sparks allegations of racism

Portland Public Schools has banned rap music from its buses, deeming the genre "inappropriate." Teri Brady, senior director of transportation at Portland Public Schools, sent a directive to bus drivers in March banning "religious, rap music, or talk show programs." The memo included a list of acceptable stations, broken down into three genres: Pop, country and jazz. → Read More

Complaint: Portland district discriminated against gifted students with disabilities

In a complaint filed with Portland Public Schools, three families say district officials illegally relied on their children's disabilities when denying them entry to a gifted program they were otherwise qualified to attend. → Read More

Portland School Board picks former Centennial superintendent as interim leader

The Portland Public School Board on Tuesday announced, then approved, its lone finalist for interim superintendent: Bob McKean, former superintendent of the Centennial School District — and an occasional wildland firefighter. → Read More

Paid leave drags on for top officials involved in Portland schools lead crisis

Portland Public Schools is still paying two top facilities administrators placed on leave amid a lead scandal that ousted the district's longtime superintendent. → Read More

Candidates revealed? Portland schools zeroing in on interim leader

Three former Portland-area superintendents and a former deputy Portland superintendent are among the people who spent time behind a closed door with the Portland school board on Thursday, in a session the board said was to discuss a personnel matter. → Read More

Vast void in Portland school leadership dogs district

Portland Public Schools has an infrastructure problem that goes beyond dangerous school buildings. The embattled district must rebuild much of its administration, starting at the top. While the school board hunts for an interim superintendent, the list of critical management roles that are also empty is long. → Read More

Portland Public Schools' estimate shows 39 people might have high lead levels

Lead testing for students and staff at Portland Public Schools indicates 39 people might have high levels of lead. → Read More

Why the Portland School Board is delaying a $750 million bond

School board members had been hustling to place the measure on November's ballot. But in an about-face Monday night, the board decided to delay — citing fallout from an ongoing lead scandal and questions about how best to spend what would be the largest local bond proposal in state history. → Read More

Ousted over lead, Carole Smith leaves a legacy of advancing racial equity

Observers who've watched Smith's tenure – including board members, parents, minority activists and principals — insist she should and will be remembered not for this summer's lead scandal but for what some say are game-changing accomplishments. → Read More

Portland school board plans speedy search for interim superintendent

Portland school board members are scrambling to find an interim superintendent during a time of mounting district scrutiny. → Read More

Lead in Portland school water: Investigation reveals ineptitude, dishonesty behind the flubs

Portland Public Schools kept such poor track of lead it was impossible for district officials to understand water quality within their own buildings, to according to a local law firm's investigation. → Read More

Report: Portland Public Schools gave media flawed data on lead

The former top spokesman for Portland Public Schools knowingly gave a journalist flawed information on the district's water testing, according to a local law firm's investigation into the district's lead crisis. → Read More