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July 1st, 2009 WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs
 

Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough.

     
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  • As first reported Tuesday on wweek.com, Multnomah County Sheriff Bob Skipper failed his first attempt to pass a police certification course. Even though Skipper legally required basic training because he’d been out of active duty for so long, the Legislature this spring spared Skipper, 70, that requirement, which includes physical tests. Lawmakers instead required he pass a written course on Oregon law. Skipper failed that course with a 66 percent average; it takes 75 percent to pass. Skipper says he put too much pressure on himself and will retake the tests. Out of more than 40 people who take the course each year, officials say only two others have failed on their first try in recent years.

  • Trouble in the garden of weedin’: A grower who helped harvest some of Oregon’s best medical cannabis is suing his former boss for back wages. Paul Stanford, head of the Portland-based nonprofit Hemp and Cannabis Foundation chain of medical marijuana clinics (see “King Bong,” WW, Dec. 12, 2007) swept the Oregon Medical Cannabis Awards last year for his Lemon Pledge, Train Wreck and Dynamite strains (see “Rolling to Victory,” WW, Dec. 17, 2008). Now Stanford’s head gardener, Andrew Hangerud, is suing him in Multnomah County Circuit Court claiming he was fired and locked out of Stanford’s garden in outer East Portland on May 26. Hangerud seeks $1,171 in back wages and $10,000 for equipment he says he left in the garden. Stanford didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.

  • Jobs aren’t the only thing being cut at Portland’s Bureau of Development Services. As part of cost-cutting at the bureau, city officials are also slashing cash for “nuisance abatement,” a program that lets the city clean up neighborhood eyesores like garbage piles in front yards. The $300,000 planned in the 2009-2010 budget for the program has been cut to $40,000, which has one neighborhood activist in Northeast Portland scratching her head. “I can’t imagine they would do anything so foolish,” says Valerie Curry, Argay Neighborhood Association president. “This is what makes the city halfway-civilized.”

  • When Senate Bill 618 went into effect June 24, well-intentioned lawmakers had no idea the havoc they created. The measure removed military discharge papers from documents classified as public records. But in Multnomah County, discharge papers get recorded with a vast flow of property records. Removing discharge records has meant the public no longer has free access to property records, liens and other documents. “It was an unintended consequence and we’re trying to deal with it,” says county spokesman Shawn Cunningham. On the good side of new bills, SB 326—which expanded ballot access to independent candidates—passed amid late deal-making. “More than 400,000 voters who belong to neither major party are better off today,” says co-sponsor Sen. Rick Metsger, (D-Welches).

  • Former Multnomah County Commissioner Maria Rojo de Steffey met last week with current commissioners to hand out swag bags and show off ratings equipment as a consultant for TV ratings company Nielsen Media Research. Rojo says she left her job as associate publisher for El Hispanic News in April after surgery and took the part-time Nielsen gig.

  • There’s some dissent among Street Roots vendors over a column newspaper director Israel Bayer wrote on June 18. Bayer’s statement in the paper sold by homeless people that “we shouldn’t punish a minority of vendors who may use some money made from the sales of Street Roots for drugs or booze” prompted vendor Mike DeBee to protest last weekend outside the Hollywood Farmers Market. DeBee refused to sell the paper, saying he represents other drug-free vendors mad about being tarred unfairly as substance abusers. Bayer responds that DeBee is the only vendor to make a formal complaint and notes that he’s offered DeBee space in the paper to share his view. To read more about the debate, go to streetroots.wordpress.com.
 
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