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June 24th, 2009 WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs
 

Unlike Soccer, This Makes No Stadium Demands.

     
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  • WW finally got a response from local New Age guru Eric Pepin to our story (see “Pepin’s Protege,” June 17, 2009) about William Rijken’s claims that Pepin had him strip and, later, asked him to masturbate to gain enlightenment in 2005. After WW left messages for Pepin before publishing the story, Pepin called the day the paper came out to repeat business partner Eric Robison’s claims in the story, that Pepin and others at his Higher Balance Institute never knew the accuser. “I think you’ve been completely bamboozled, ” Pepin says. “You’re way off on this one.” Rijken responded that his claims, which he swore to in an affidavit signed before a notary public, are true.

  • News with a hook: U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley have recommended to President Obama that he appoint Steve Novick to a top administrative post with the Environmental Protection Agency. In a letter obtained by Murmurs, the Democratic senators ask Obama to consider Novick for the job of EPA regional administrator, overseeing the agency’s work in the Northwest. Novick, who lost last year to Merkley in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, says, “It would be a great job.” IMAGE: Soma Honkanen

  • The Oregon Ballet Theatre announced last week it could continue operations after raising about $800,000. Mayor Sam Adams helped by generating $25,000 for the ballet, which is led by Christopher Stowell, whom Adams once dated. Turns out, Adams helped by contacting companies with city contracts for donations. “I thought it was a little strange, but not really, ” says Mike Shaw of Brant Construction, which has a $6 million contract with Portland. Shaw didn’t contribute despite Adams’ calling him directly, then following up with an email. Adams also sought a $25,000 donation from SAP, the software company with a multimillion-dollar contract to update city records. Asked if this was inappropriate, Adams says no: “They’ve already landed the contract.

  • The fallout continues from Metro Council President David Bragdon’s so-far-unsuccessful effort to oust David Woolson, CEO of Metro’s subsidiary, the Metropolitan Exposition Recreation Commission. Last week, Janice Marquis, MERC Commission vice chair, resigned from the seven-person panel. And Monday, incoming Commission Chairman-elect Gary Reynolds pulled the plug. “I am disappointed in the recent breakdown in the working relationship between the Metro Council and the MERC Commission, and believe it could have been handled differently,” Reynolds wrote in his June 22 resignation letter to Bragdon. Metro is scheduled to vote on whether to wrest authority for hiring and firing from the MERC Commission on July 9. (See wweek.com for more backstory.) IMAGE: Darryl James

  • A recent audit of the Portland Schools Foundation reveals the 14-year-old nonprofit dedicated to raising money for public schools was in danger of closing its doors in 2008 for financial reasons. The audit, which became a public record in mid-May, offers no evidence of malfeasance—only poor financial management. Board chairwoman Karen Whitman says the nonprofit’s leaders have scrubbed the $900,000 operating budget to slash costs, and are “confident” the foundation has recovered. “We know exactly where we are,” Whitman says.

  • After a contentious two-hour hearing June 19 on PGE’s Boardman coal plant, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality director Dick Pedersen went off script and apologized to the public and environmentalists for DEQ senior staffer Audrey O’Brien’s actions. O’Brien unilaterally changed regulations governing the financial responsibilities for dumps—specifically, Lakeside Reclamation Landfill in rural Washington County (see “Grapes of Trash,” WW, July 18, 2007). O’Brien’s switch would have sharply reduced owner Howard Grabhorn’s obligation, but Pedersen reversed O’Brien’s change and announced an internal investigation into the circumstances of her decision.
 
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