County Justice Department Offers "Toxic Whiteness" Training

In the past year, Multnomah County's criminal justice system has been under scrutiny for racial inequities. One report found that black Portlanders are disproportionately represented in the county's jails, and another report, produced within the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, found that, once in the jails, black inmates are disproportionately subject to the use of force. In an apparent attempt to address bias, the county's Department of Community Justice, which oversees juvenile offenders and adults on parole and probation, this week offered employees training to "promote healing from toxic whiteness" and "liberate themselves from white supremacy." County spokesman Dave Austin says although the county believes strongly in equity, the training was not officially sanctioned, nor were taxpayer dollars used.

Portland's Bicycle Lobby is Inflating

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance is changing its name and expanding its mission. Now in its 26th year, the BTA will become the Street Trust, with a focus on bicyclists, walkers and transit users, and is adding a new 501(c)(4) arm that eventually will allow it to endorse candidates, says Rob Sadowsky, executive director. "We've promised this won't take resources away from bikes," he says. "Its intent is to grow our constituency base so we can do more, not less." The Street Trust will unveil its new logo Sept. 24 at its annual Alice Awards fundraiser.

Appeals Court Reverses SAIF Decision

There has been a sudden U-turn in the long-running saga of John Plotkin, who was fired from his $320,000-a-year job running the state-owned workers' compensation insurer SAIF Corp. in May 2014 after just three months on the job. In a Sept. 8 decision, the Oregon Court of Appeals reversed an earlier ruling in Marion County Circuit Court in which a judge threw out Plotkin's lawsuit against his predecessor as CEO, Brenda Rocklin, awarding Rocklin attorney fees and dismissing Plotkin's claim that she conspired to undermine him. The Court of Appeals ruled the Marion County decision failed to consider abundant evidence of a "furtive and unorthodox" campaign against Plotkin involving Rocklin and senior SAIF officials. "It was a great victory," says Dana Sullivan, one of Plotkin's attorneys. Bill Gary, Rocklin's attorney, says the decision was wrong and he's considering an appeal to the Oregon Supreme Court.