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August 26th, 2009 WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs
 

Murmurs

     
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  • The group gathering signatures to refer two legislatively passed income-tax hikes to the January ballot—Oregonians Against Job-Killing Taxes—continues to rake in the cash. On Monday, the anti-tax group reported another $78,000 in contributions, bringing its total to $770,000. The group has already spent $500,000 on ads and signature-gathering. Notable gifts this week came from Associated Oregon Industries ($27,500), Longview Timberlands LLC ($26,000) and Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle ($10,000). The group has until Sept. 25 to gather 55,179 signatures, a low bar for a statewide election. Until the measures qualify for the ballot, the group backing the tax increases, Defend Oregon, doesn’t report on its fundraising.

  • Superintendent Carole Smith’s central office reorganization in June aimed to save money for cash-strapped Portland Public Schools. It does save $1 million overall. But a few administrators are getting raises. Among them: Robb Cowie, the district’s communications director, who will oversee a consolidated Department of Community Involvement and Public Affairs. His salary is increasing 15 percent—from $103,000 to $118,500. And central office veterans such as Willie Poinsette, John Horn and Bev Pruitt will be principals but keep their salaries, which are thousands of dollars more than their principal colleagues. Poinsette, for example, will be the highest-paid PPS principal, earning $125,000.
    CORRECTION: The Murmur about Portland Public Schools was amended to remove the name of Tom Breuckman, the principal of Beach School who was erroneously listed as a principal whose salary was thousands of dollars more than his colleagues. WW regrets the error.

  • Rest easy, mural lovers. A vibrant 350-square-foot mural that’s greeted westbound commuters along Northeast Broadway is safe. Talk Mobile, a concept store for T-Mobile, will rent the space at 424 NE Broadway and has agreed to keep the mural when it moves in by Nov. 1. That ends fears the art would have to be whitewashed to secure a tenant. Landlord Samantha Waltz says she’s elated T-Mobile will allow the mural­—a remnant of when Rhythm Traders occupied the spot. Photo by Mike Perrault

  • American Indian Movement activist Leonard Peltier won’t be free to move to Portland any time soon. The longtime cause célèbre for the left lost his parole bid last week, prompting disappointment among local backers such as Barbara Dills and Peltier’s son Chauncey, who lives in Banks. They had put together a list of “sponsors” who would have helped Peltier live here, if he’d been paroled. Peltier has served 33 years of two consecutive life sentences for killing two FBI officers at the Pine Ridge (S.D.) Reservation in 1975. He won’t be eligible for another hearing until 2024, when he is 79 years old. Supporters have already begun work to seek clemency from President Obama.

  • After Greenpeace canvasser Brent Bissett’s photo showed up last week in a WW piece about street canvassers (“Street of Schemes”), Bissett was reportedly fired by the nonprofit. Bissett’s uncle says his nephew was canned for violating Greenpeace’s “photo policy,” though nobody from Greenpeace’s communication or legal team could explain that policy. Weird, given their employees work on public sidewalks where anyone can snap their photo. But the firing became a moot point when Greenpeace hired Bissett back a few days later, his uncle says. Photo by Mike Perrault

  • Note to bridezillas: Downtown landmark Flowers by Dorcas will be moving across the river from its 26-year home at 525 SW Broadway into a piece of the old Rock ’n’ Roll Cafe space at 4160 NE Sandy Blvd. on Oct. 1. “Our old store was too big and only had one window,” says Melinda Watzig, one of the store’s owners. “This new spot is beautiful and has lots of windows.” Watzig also likes the LEED-certified building’s location on the corner of Northeast 42nd Avenue and Sandy Boulevard.
 
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