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May 6th, 2009 12:00 am WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs

Wash Your Hands Before Reading This.


  • Speculation is building that the solution to Mayor Sam Adams’ Memorial Coliseum problem is for Merritt Paulson to sell his AAA Portland Beavers baseball team. Adams made the preservation of AAA baseball a core principle for the 18-member committee he assembled to review Paulson’s baseball-soccer deal earlier this year. After getting blasted for proposing demolition of the Coliseum to clear ground for baseball, does Adams still stand by that principle? Sorta. “It is a core principle as long as we have a prudent financial plan,” Adams told WW. “Merritt hasn’t mentioned [the possibility of selling the team] to me.” Paulson says through a spokesman. He has “no intention of selling or moving the team out of Portland” provided the city come up with a home for the Beavers.

  • The head of the Portland Police Mounted Patrol Unit has been put on leave pending an investigation into alleged misappropriation of city property. Sources say Sgt. Brian Ossenkop, a 16-year Police Bureau veteran who headed six officers patrolling downtown on horseback, was taken off duty last month after a report that property went missing around the unit’s headquarters on Northwest Naito Parkway. Ossenkop did not respond to a phone call and email seeking comment.

  • The City of Portland won’t get more power to approve or reject the design of new housing developments based on their aesthetics. Senate Bill 907, which had been introduced in the Legislature by state Sen. Rod Monroe (D-Portland), died in committee last week. At a press conference last month, Mayor Sam Adams decried the prevalence of unattractive housing in some parts of the city and urged state lawmakers to approve the bill. But KATU reported Monday the bill’s failure was the result of Adams’ diminishing clout in Salem.

  • One of the more interesting disclosures in public officials’ recently filed statements of economic interest comes from state Sen. Jason Atkinson (R-Central Point). Atkinson, who ran for guv in 2006 and may do so again next year, disclosed doing consulting work for utility giant PacifiCorp in 2007-2008. Atkinson tells Murmurs he got paid “2k-3k” monthly for “advising the company and creating relationships with various groups in Northern California.” That region is part of ongoing settlement talks in the Klamath Basin water wars. Atkinson, whose work for a company with broad legislative interests is unusual among lawmakers, discloses a potential conflict whenever PacifiCorp-related legislation arises.

  • More trouble for Gary Bertoni, a prominent defense lawyer for clients who are juveniles. The City of Portland filed suit against Bertoni and the three other partners for allegedly failing to pay 14,514.88 in business income taxes, business license fees and penalties. The lawsuit comes as the Oregon State Bar is investigating whether Bertoni committed the serious legal no-no of dipping into his clients’ trust account for personal use (see “A Matter of Trust,” WW, Nov. 26, 2008). Bertoni declined comment.

  • The Dykes on Bikes who normally lead the LGBTQ Pride Festival downtown parade will be charged for the first time in 15 years at the June 14 event. Festival organizers at Pride NW Inc. attribute the new $5 registration fee per bike to higher permit prices levied by the city and increased insurance because of more participants. Says Pride NW Vice President Hank Renfrow, “It is not much of a fee, but it is about getting everyone to participate.” Renfrow estimates 50 bikes will lead this year’s parade. Participants can register online at pridenw.org.

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