Inquiry Clears Hernandez of Wrongdoing
State Rep. Diego Hernandez (D-East Portland) has been cleared of accusations that he maintained a list of female lobbyists, ranking them by "attractiveness and certain physical attributes." A Sept. 15 letter sent to Hernandez by deputy legislative counsel Jessica Santiago says a state inquiry found no evidence he created such a list. Hernandez requested the inquiry himself after rumors of the list circulated in the Capitol. "This incident is a symptom of larger institutional problems at our State Capitol," Hernandez says in a statement. "It reveals that the Capitol is a place where discrimination, harassment, misogyny, and bullying behavior exists and all too often goes unchecked. I made the decision to respond to these awful rumors in a public way because I want to change this institution for the better."
State Flops on Funding Columbia River Levees
The Oregon Legislature's failure to provide $267,000 in funding for the ongoing investigation and planned repair of the Columbia River levees has undermined the coalition of agencies working toward fixing the earthen walls that protect North and Northeast Portland from catastrophic floods. WW reported this month that lawmakers had fallen behind in funding the levee project. Now the Multnomah County Drainage District, which oversees the levees, tells local governments that state funding isn't going to arrive. "The state is unable to commit," district officials wrote in a Sept. 13 email. Levee partners worry the state's dropping out of the project could weaken Oregon's bid for highly competitive federal funding to help pay the multimillion-dollar repair bill.
Unwanted Lingerie Shop Shuttered in East Portland
A lingerie-modeling shop opened by a member of a prominent strip-club family has shut down after pressure from the East Portland neighborhood of Parkrose. Christian Desmarais, whose mother was convicted in June of conspiring to promote prostitution at the Sugar Shack and other clubs, opened Tush Lingerie Modeling last month along Northeast 105th Avenue. Neighbors objected. The owner of the property, Evangeline Salvador, has terminated the lease with Tush. "While the expensive fight is not yet over for Ms. Salvador, it is for the Parkrose community," Salvador's attorney Phil Nelson wrote in a statement Sept. 6 to neighborhood residents. Desmarais could not be reached for comment.
More Candidates Eye Saltzman's Seat
In the week since City Commissioner Dan Saltzman announced his plans not to seek a sixth term in 2018, the race to replace him has grown crowded with possible successors. On Sept. 18, Felicia Williams, 40, an Air Force veteran and president of the Downtown Neighborhood Association, announced her plans to run. Metro Councilor Sam Chase, a former chief of staff to Commissioner Nick Fish, says he's seriously exploring a bid. The leading contenders for the seat are two African-American women: Jo Ann Hardesty, a former legislator and president of the NAACP of Portland, and Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith.