The Skanner News Heart of Northeast Portland
The Skanner News has been a fixture of Northeast Portland since 1975, when Bobbie Doré Foster and Bernie Foster founded the news group to provide advocacy for the predominantly black neighborhoods of North and Northeast Portland; where it has been located since its inception. The Skanner News reports extensively on issues facing African-American, African Refugee, African immigrant, and other minority communities of Portland and the United States. The Skanner is a member of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and Black Press USA which are dedicated to the networking of Black community news. According to the National Newspaper Publishers Association, “the NNPA is comprised of 205 black newspapers. The Black Press gives voice to the unique perspective of African Americans on news, issues, and opinions as they occur and as they impact the black community.” The Skanner follows this mission from its unique building located on Portland, Oregon on Killingsworth Street.
The Skanner’s history in Portland is substantial. Bernie Foster and a group of volunteers petitioned the city of Portland to rename what was once Union Avenue to its current designation as Martin Luther King Avenue. Their work paid off when the name change was approved unanimously by City Council in 1989. This change was very controversial at the time. The year after it’s naming, a group by the name Citizens for Union Avenue gathered to protest the name change. This group even had backing from the Nationalist Movement: a Mississippi-based white nationalist organization. Their protests had no impact on the decision. The Skanner News has reported time and time again on the devastating gentrification occurring in the City of Portland. They routinely write articles about issues like housing, police accountability, music, theater, national news and world wide news. The Skanner is home to a dynamic editorial and commentary section.
Each January, Skanner News hosts “Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast” which gathers the community together and presents scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 to applicants.
Since they founded the paper in 1975, Bernie Foster and Bonnie Foster have remained heavily involved in the paper. Bernie Foster holds his position as publisher and Bonnie Foster as Executive editor. The two have made a truly inspirational impact on their community and continue through the years with the paper’s mission statement: “Challenging People to Shape a Better Future Now”. You can pick up a free issue of The Skanner right next to the main stairwell on the bottom floor of Cascade Hall.