Hicks Could Be Oregon's Next U.S. Attorney
Nearly nine months after President Donald J. Trump took office and more than two years after former U.S. Attorney for Oregon Amanda Marshall resigned, there is no nominee for the state's top federal law enforcement post. Sources in the legal community say Oregon House Minority Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) is no longer the front-runner for the job. Instead, the White House is considering interim U.S. Attorney Billy Williams and former state Rep. Wally Hicks (R-Grants Pass). Hicks is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a veteran of the Iraq war, a former prosecutor and currently the elected legal counsel for Josephine County. Asked if he is under consideration, Hicks tells WW, "That's accurate to my knowledge." Williams' office declined comment.
Anti-Freeway Campaign Launches in Portland
A new coalition called "No More Freeway Expansions" is asking the Portland City Council to kill a proposed $450 million widening of Interstate 5 between the Fremont Bridge and I-84. At least 18 groups, including the Audubon Society of Portland and 350PDX, have signed a letter that says the mostly state-funded project is inconsistent with Portland's climate policy and Vision Zero, which aims to end traffic fatalities by boosting safety on the city's most dangerous streets. "We believe this project will have little impact on congestion," the letter reads, "and the safety benefit will largely be in avoiding crashes that result in property damage or minor injuries."
DOJ Investigator Gets His Job Back
Last week, an arbitrator gave former Oregon Department of Justice investigator Jim Williams his job back. Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum fired Williams last year after she determined he had improperly used an online surveillance tool to track DOJ civil rights director Erious Johnson. The arbitrator found Williams had not received proper training and was simply following orders—orders about which he had expressed reservations. In a statement, Rosenblum (who is married to Richard Meeker, co-owner of WW's parent company) says she's disappointed by the decision.
Clackamas County DA Decries ACLU Advocacy
The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon touched a nerve when it launched a new campaign aimed at alerting voters to the powerful position DAs play in the criminal justice system (see story). Clackamas County District Attorney John Foote responded Aug. 29 with harsh words, saying the state's leading advocate for civil rights had transformed into a "radical political action committee." Foote says the campaign's timing—an election cycle for some district attorneys in Oregon is about to kick off—and its proximity to partisan races is inappropriate for a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. ACLU of Oregon executive director David Rogers denies any impropriety. "DAs like him are so unaccustomed to the idea that they would and should be held accountable that the very idea sends him off the rails," Rogers says. "Guess what? That's democracy."