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July 8th, 2009 12:00 am WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs

We’re Not Dead Fish Going With The Flow.


  • A former Portland NAACP leader who beat an attempted-murder rap in the Columbia Gorge is suing the City of The Dalles, Wasco County and multiple police and law-enforcement officials there. Robert Larry, head of the Portland NAACP from 2002 to 2004, claims in a federal civil-rights lawsuit filed last month he faced a conspiracy of false arrest and wrongful prosecution after his ex-girlfriend attacked him during a 2005 stop at a McDonald’s in The Dalles (see “Mr. Larry’s Strange Trip, WW, Oct. 31, 2007). A judge acquitted Larry of all felony charges at trial but Larry was found guilty of a misdemeanor for recklessly endangering his then-6-year-old son and sentenced to 18 months’ probation. Larry seeks unspecified damages plus reforms to law enforcement in The Dalles. City Attorney Gene Parker and Wasco County DA Eric Nisley didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.

  • State Rep. Brian Clem (D-Salem) made a splash by borrowing $500,000 from his mother-in-law and musing this week about a 2010 gubernatorial run (with the key caveat that he won’t if ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber does). Meanwhile, Steve Shields (oregonaspirations.com), a former high-tech exec from Corvallis, has filed an exploratory committee for that race and has been introducing himself to Democratic insiders. Shields may lack Clem’s high-profile advisers—such as Jon Isaacs, a top aide to U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, and BlueOregon co-founder Kari Chisholm, who built Clem’s exploratory website. But he’s more likely to actually run, since most politicos say Kitzhaber will enter the race. Clem says he expects Kitz’s decision by Labor Day.

  • City Council will consider two soccer-related ordinances Thursday afternoon, July 9. The first would allow Timbers owner Merritt Paulson to renovate PGE Park for Major League Soccer without seeking a competitive bid. The second is the city’s pre-development agreement with Paulson, which was supposed to be signed by April 15. But the Council won’t vote on either ordinance for at least two weeks. Mayor Sam Adams will be in Taiwan on city business July 13-18. Commissioner Dan Saltzman will be on vacation July 11-22. And Commissioner Amanda Fritz will be out on personal business July 15 and 16.

  • Former U.S. Senate hopeful Steve Novick and his former top staffer, Jake Weigler, have new jobs. In a reprise of an earlier gig, Novick will be doing tax research for the union-backed Our Oregon to prep for an income-tax ballot measure battle. Weigler becomes press secretary to state Superintendent of Education Susan Castillo. Castillo is considering whether to run for a third term next year. Her decision may affect House Rules Committee Chair Arnie Roblan (D-Coos Bay), a retired principal who has expressed interest in the Department of Education post. As for Novick, also a contender for a high-level appointment to a federal EPA gig, he’s mothballing the campaign lawn signs. Says Novick: “To paraphrase Bruce Babbitt, paraphrasing Richard Nixon—you folks in the media won’t have Steve Novick to puff up anymore.”

  • The campaign to, as it were, re-erect the Hung Far Low sign in Chinatown has a new public component. This week, T-shirts promoting the cause (ReerectHungFarLow.com) went on sale at Backspace, 115 NW 5th Ave., and Ping restaurant, 102 NW 4th Ave. To help restore the iconic sign in its old location, $10 from each $18 T-shirt will go toward the $40,000 restoration. The sign advertised chop suey in Chinatown until last fall, long after the restaurant it belonged to moved to Southeast 82nd Avenue. 

  • The city may be donating a piece of land to the Burnside Skatepark for a satellite location. But the Bureau of Environmental Services must first determine if a sewer pipe underneath the land the bureau owns would be blocked by a skatepark, says Tom Miller, Mayor Sam Adams’ chief of staff. Once BES completes its assessment, the skaters must determine whether it makes sense to work around any of the pipe’s constraints. The land on Block 69 is about two blocks north of the existing skatepark at East Burnside Street and 2nd Avenue.
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