Two Oregon Leaders Stepping Offstage

Two of the field generals in the wars between Oregon business and organized labor are fading away. Sandra McDonough, CEO of the Portland Business Alliance, has told many people she will retire after this year, her 13th at the helm of the city's largest business group. McDonough, a former utility executive and newspaper reporter, is going out on a high note. She's the 2017 recipient of the Glenn L. Jackson Leadership Award, given each year by Willamette University's Atkinson Graduate School of Management in memory of Jackson, a legendary Oregon power broker in the 1960s and '70s. Another state leader—and McDonough's sometime nemesis—Our Oregon executive director Ben Unger, is also stepping down. Unger will relocate to Atlanta following the legislative session, ending three years atop the public-employee, union-backed advocacy group that dominated statewide ballot measures for years until a bruising loss on Measure 97 last year. Unger says he's not sure what he'll do in Georgia or who will replace him. "We haven't made those plans, yet," he says.

Cully Rent Hike Gets Even Steeper

Residents of the Normandy Apartments, home to 26 public-school students whose families were facing 100 percent rent increases, won a reprieve from an April 1 rent hike that would have forced kids to move during the school year. But the relief was short-lived. The landlord of the apartment complex in Northeast Portland's Cully neighborhood was forced to resend the rent-hike notice after failing to deliver it properly, delaying the increase until July, when rent will go up even higher: 125 percent. Two-bedroom apartments that rented for $620 a month will cost $1,395 a month. "This meets the families' immediate priority to stay through the end of the school year," says Cameron Harrington, a member of nonprofit group Living Cully. "But almost all of the families are looking for new places to live now." Under a new city ordinance, landlord Ira Virden will have to pay relocation costs for tenants who move because the rent hike exceeds 10 percent in one year.

Prosecutors Won't File Charges in Baby's Death

Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill's office last week determined prosecutors will not bring criminal charges against a homeless, mentally ill woman who gave birth near an East Portland homeless camp Jan. 9 during a bitter cold snap. As WW first reported, the baby died under circumstances that have never been fully explained. There were initial indications that the child was alive and staff at Oregon Health & Science University spent 25 minutes trying to revive the baby. State Medical Examiner Karen Gunson later ruled the baby was stillborn. The mother, who records show had a history of mental illness, was admitted for psychiatric evaluation after Gunson's ruling. Underhill's office considered charging the mother but told Oregon Public Broadcasting on April 15 there was no case. "The child was stillborn," deputy district attorney Charles Mickley told OPB. "Consequently, there is no homicide in the present case."