Sen. Rod Monroe Sued, Challenged for Re-election
It's been a challenging week for state Sen. Rod Monroe (D-East Portland). On July 31, former state Rep. Shemia Fagan announced she will challenge Monroe in the 2018 Democratic primary. Fagan is running to Monroe's left, and criticized his opposition to a package of tenant protections, including a restriction on "no-cause" evictions. "I know what housing insecurity means to a family," Fagan said in announcing her candidacy to WW. The next day, a former tenant of an apartment complex Monroe owns in East Portland sued him and the property management company for $3 million in Multnomah County Circuit Court, saying she was injured by slipping in a puddle caused by a leaky roof Monroe failed to fix. Monroe did not return calls seeking comment.
Wyden to Sessions: Stop Hiding Your Reefer Policy
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is pushing Attorney General Jeff Sessions for answers about any changes to Department of Justice marijuana policy. Sessions—who has been a vocal opponent of state-legalized cannabis—has been accepting recommendations from a Trump-appointed task force on crime reduction and public safety since late February. On Aug. 1, Wyden sent Sessions a letter demanding he reveal the task force's conclusions. "The public deserves to know whether recommendations from the marijuana subcommittee are being used behind the scenes at DOJ to justify federal actions that undermine states' rights to set their own marijuana laws," Wyden wrote.
Eudaly Picks New Director for Neighborhood Office
City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly has taken another step in her effort to overhaul a troubled bureau. In an email to staff sent July 31, Eudaly announced she had hired Suk Rhee, vice president of strategy and community partnership for Northwest Health Foundation, to head the Office of Neighborhood Involvement. "She is a big-picture thinker," Eudaly wrote. Rhee will start Aug. 21. In March, Eudaly pushed out longtime director, Amalia Alarcón de Morris, who'd led the bureau for 11 years.
WW Wins 7 National Journalism Prizes
From the Department of Shameless Self-Promotion: Willamette Week took home seven prizes at the 2017 Association of Alternative Newsmedia Awards, including four first-place awards. Rachel Monahan received a first prize for beat reporting, for five stories on Portland's housing shortage. Matthew Korfhage received the top award for food writing. The best special section published by an alt-weekly last year was Going Coastal, edited by Martin Cizmar. And the WW editorial staff won the first-place public service award for "Resist"—a cover story, published one week after the November election and six nights of street protests, evaluating the threats Donald Trump's presidency posed to Portland. The four first-place awards were the most for any alternative newspaper in the nation.