Gabi DiPaulo


Wildfires across Oregon have been raging since Monday while spreading rapidly. Photo courtesy of Carlos Fuentes.

Oregon wildfires fueled by eastern winds force thousands of evacuations

More than 300,000 acres are burning due to rapidly spreading wildfires across the state of Oregon as of Wednesday, forcing thousands of residents to evacuate their homes and killing at least two people. Nine counties have been evacuated so far, according to Statesman Journal. Oregon is not alone; unprecedented numbers of wildfires are burning across California and Washington. 

Members of the UP community who are located in Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington should brace themselves for high winds and fire warnings tonight.

High wind and critical fire warnings issued in Greater Portland Area

High wind and critical fire warnings have been issued in Northern Oregon and Southern Washington from 5 p.m. Monday until 1 p.m. Tuesday. Members of the UP community located in these areas should be aware of “potentially historic” wind speeds, with gusts ranging 40-55 mph according to the National Weather Service (NWS) Storm Prediction Center. 

2020-2021 Editor-in-Chief Gabi DiPaulo welcomes students to another year on The Bluff (figuratively speaking, of course).

Letter from the editor: Thank you for logging on, let us begin.

The visible glue of the University of Portland community has dissolved. For at least the fall semester, the university that we all knew has lost its physical roots, and the things that constitute a University of Portland student - the University Park residence or dorm pride, dark circles from long hours in the library and the clutched Franz coffee cup - are no longer as visible. Now, we rely on other, less obvious markers. 

The University of Portland announced in an email Thursday night that the fall semester, beginning Aug. 24, will be almost exclusively online.

Fall semester to be almost exclusively online

University President Fr. Mark Poorman announced in an email Thursday night that  "nearly all classes" in University of Portland’s fall semester will be exclusively online, citing the rise in COVID-19 infections in Oregon and around the country as the cause. The email also mentioned Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s announcement of new coronavirus-related metrics for reopening schools, which have led to school districts to delay in-person instruction. 

Members of Villa Maria Hall's 2019 Move-In Crew carry luggage and boxes to the dorms in August 2019. In an email brief sent to incoming freshmen and their parents on Friday, the University announced the possibility that the 2020 fall semester will have a late start due to COVID-19.

University of Portland considering late start to fall semester

In an email sent to prospective incoming freshmen and their parents on Friday, the University outlined possible scenarios for how COVID-19 might affect the upcoming fall semester, which under normal circumstances would begin Aug. 24. This is the first official message from the University regarding the fall semester since it was announced that UP would not be returning to in-person instruction before summer. 

In years past, commencement has been held in Chile's Center. Now in the weeks before graduation, campuses nationwide are closed down, leaving the class of 2020 to walk a virtual stage in their living rooms.

First-generation seniors: 'I wish they fought harder for us'

Around one-fifth of the UP student body are first-generation students (FGEN). It means that they are the first in their family to obtain a four-year degree — the first in the family to walk a stage at college graduation. To many, graduation meant more than a paper degree or a cap and gown. It was an emblem of accomplishment to span generations before them. It was not only for the students but for their families. 

The novel coronavirus pandemic fell during Lenten season, making celebrations of Palm Sunday and Easter far different from tradition. Photo by Grant Whitty on Unsplash.

Lenten season perseveres in face of coronavirus

More than a month ago on Ash Wednesday, members of the University of Portland trailing out from the Chapel of Christ the Teacher were asked why they celebrated Lent. Some students were renewing their Catholic faith; others were just beginning their journey. The Beacon reached out to seven community members to see how their celebration of Lent has been affected by the coronavirus.