Lawsuit Fights Fairview's Medical Marijuana Ban
A lawsuit is challenging the decision of a town in east Multnomah County to keep out medical marijuana growers. Industrial park owner Gary Troutner sued the city of Fairview on June 27 for shutting down four indoor medical marijuana growing operations that rented space Troutner owns. In a March letter to Troutner, a city official cited Fairview Municipal Code, which bans the production of medical marijuana. Troutner required his tenants to comply, and they moved out, costing him $4,170 a month in rent. State law allows cities to opt out of allowing medical weed dispensaries and processors—but Troutner's attorney, Bear Wilner-Nugent, says Fairview overreached by banning medical growers. "[Fairview] has no authority to adopt city code provisions that conflict with and are pre-empted by state law," writes Wilner-Nugent. Ashley Driscoll, Fairview's attorney, declined to comment.
Minority Contracting Committee Sheds Members
Three of nine members of a Portland committee designed to help minority contractors secure city deals have announced they're leaving the group. The resignations of Andrew Colas, Rosa Martinez and Tony Jones are the latest bump in the road for Mayor Charlie Hales' Equitable Contracting and Purchasing Commission, whose members complained in January they were being ignored. "We have to devote our time to where it's more valued in creating an effective change," wrote Martinez, president of Professional Minority Group, a Southeast Portland abatement contractor, on June 24. "Unfortunately, I haven't seen it in this commission." Hales says in a statement that he accepts their decisions. "The city," he says, "will continue moving forward with the important work of ensuring minority and women contractors, and those in the workforce, are an integral part of building this city."
Casino Battle Turns to Sewage
Tensions around the Cowlitz tribe's plans to open a mega-casino in La Center, Wash., 16 miles north of Portland, are on the rise. Now the Grand Ronde tribe, whose Spirit Mountain Casino would lose business to the Cowlitz facility, is casting doubt on the environmental safety of the plan. On June 27, Reynold Leno, council chairman of the Grand Ronde tribe, wrote to the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs and state and federal regulators, warning of potential environmental damage from the Cowlitz tribe's plan to inject treated wastewater into the ground. "We are alarmed by the Cowlitz tribe's decision to inject wastewater from its casino into the Troutdale Aquifer—the only source of drinking water for most of the surrounding community," Leno wrote. A previous lawsuit filed by Clark County and Washington state card-room operators blocked the Cowlitz from tapping into La Center's sewer system. The $510 million casino is scheduled to open next spring. In a statement, Cowlitz tribal chairman William Iyall says the Grand Ronde's concerns are without merit. His tribe is spending $15 million on a system that he says "meets or exceeds" EPA clean-water standards.