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November 18th, 2009 WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs
 

Going Rogue Each Week

     
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  • Meet the new boss; same as the old boss. When Dan Staton was sworn in as interim Multnomah County Sheriff on Nov. 5, we hoped he would reverse former Sheriff Bob Skipper’s refusal to hand over the names of people who hold concealed handgun licenses. Those records have long been open under the state’s public records law. But Skipper decided to keep them secret, claiming they were exempt from disclosure. As first reported on wweek.com, Staton also is denying WW’s request to release the records, blocking any public oversight of how the sheriff’s office decides who can pack heat.

  • The two senior Oregon Zoo employees who stepped down less than a week before a blistering audit (see wweek.com for more) of the zoo’s construction practices were offered severance payments, WW has learned. Former deputy director Carmen Hannold declined severance. But construction chief Steve Chaney took the offered $3,291, two weeks’ pay.

  • Portland’s Planning Commission is adding a new wrinkle to the ongoing dispute surrounding Portland Public Schools’ K-8s. Last week, the planning commission voted tentatively to require that PPS conduct “conditional use” reviews when any elementary or middle school converts to a K-8. The proposed change is a response to dozens of zoning code violations filed against PPS by neighborhood activists. If City Council OK’s the change, it would require retroactive reviews of K-8 reconfigurations that started in 2004. The upshot? Schools that added grades may need to add transportation infrastructure and other safety features.

  • Angus Duncan, founder and president of the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, is in demand these days. He is being considered for a job in the Federal Department of Energy that would put him in place to revamp the nation’s aging transmission grid. If Duncan doesn’t get that top post as assistant secretary for electricity delivery and energy security, he is also considered a leading contender to fill one of two vacancies on Oregon’s Public Utility Commission. “I have not talked to the governor’s office about the PUC,” Duncan says. “But the governor and our two senators have been very supportive” for the federal job.

  • Charles Hopson, deputy superintendent with Portland Public Schools, is one of three semi-finalists for a job as the superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota. Hopson, 51, was principal of Franklin High School in Southeast Portland before his promotion in 2008 to the district’s central office. He was one of six candidates announced last week in the Minnesota district of 38,500 students. This week, the field was narrowed to three.

  • WW’s Give!Guide had collected more than $50,000 less than one week into our annual fundraiser for 79 incredible nonprofits. But we’re hoping you can find it in your heart to donate throughout the holidays. We’ll even reward you with a bunch of incentives. Please go to wweek.com to see what goodies you can get for contributing and how you can give through Dec. 31.
 
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