Neighbors Accuse City Planners of Breaking State Law

A neighborhood association has accused Portland City Hall of violating state law and city code by appointing too many real estate professionals to the Planning and Sustainability Commission. The letter, sent Nov. 17 on behalf of the Multnomah Neighborhood Association in Southwest Portland, says five of the 11 commissioners work "principally" in real estate—two more than state law allows. "We are requesting that the city act immediately to correct the membership violations by replacing at least three of the five members…with citizens who can broadly represent the interests of the general public," writes the neighborhood association's land-use consultant, Eben Fodor. City officials say three of the five members—two lawyers and an architect—don't count as real estate professionals for purposes of the commission.

Unions Will Endorse in Senate Appointment

The competition to succeed state Sen. Richard Devlin (D-Tualatin) is one of the most complex, hotly contested and consequential metro-area legislative appointments in many years. One sign of how meaningful it is: Unions and trial lawyers are taking the unusual step of endorsing choices for a seat that's appointed by county commissioners. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Service Employees International Union and the Oregon Education Association will join the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association in making endorsements because they hope to tilt the balance of the Senate leftward. They'll have plenty of people to choose from: Recently retired Multnomah County lobbyist Claudia Black entered the race Nov. 21, joining, among others, Lake Oswego School Board member Rob Wagner and former state Rep. Greg Macpherson (D-Lake Oswego).

Appeals Court Rules for ODOT in Contentious Case

Score one for the Oregon Department of Transportation. On Nov. 15, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the agency, which in 2010 worked out an arrangement to sell drivers' records to a private vendor for about $10 apiece, five times the price the agency charged for the information. Truckers and insurers, who were forced to pay an additional $15 million a year, sued ODOT, claiming the scheme was an illegal diversion of money dedicated to the state highway fund ("The Driving Records Racket," WW, Dec. 13, 2013). The truckers and insurers won in Marion County Circuit Court, but ODOT won at the court of appeals. Greg Chaimov, who represents the truckers and insurers, says his clients are considering whether to appeal.

Give!Guide Puts on a Show

WW's annual Give!Guide is live and accepting donations at giveguide.org. Giving has surpassed $539,000 from 3,163 donors. Check out Mic Capes on Nov. 22 at White Owl Social Club for a Give!Guide happy hour with raffle drawings and happy-hour pricing.