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December 2nd, 2009 WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs
 

Boiled For Your Safe Consumption.

     
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  • Although John Minnis is no Tiger Woods, the secrecy around why Gov. Ted Kulongoski demanded Minnis’ immediate resignation last week as director of the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training is nearly as great. Four sources tell Murmurs the issue that cost Minnis his $120,000 job is the alleged sexual harassment and possible sexual assault of a female subordinate, which is currently the subject of a criminal investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice. Neither Minnis nor his wife, former Oregon House Speaker Karen Minnis, could be reached for comment.

  • Multnomah County commissioners and staff heard about Chair Ted Wheeler’s serious injuries from a skiing accident the same way many Portlanders did—via Twitter and Facebook. Wheeler’s fall Nov. 24 on Mount Bachelor left him with two broken vertebrae and a broken shoulder. Wheeler informed his chief of staff the day of the accident; but others in the county had to wait an extra day, for Wheeler to announce his condition to his thousands of Web followers. For excerpts of our phone interview with Wheeler in the hospital, including his vocal reaction when a nurse removes an IV needle, go to wweek.com. Photo Courtesy of Ted Wheeler.

  • In response to a WW story last month about the backlog of fire inspections in Portland Public Schools, the district plans to hire four more fire-alarm technicians ASAP (see “Fire Drilled,” WW, Nov. 18). As first reported at wweek.com, the district’s facilities manager, Tony Magliano, briefed members of the Portland School Board on Nov. 23 to discuss this option, estimated to cost 309,844 a year.

  • The long-discussed replacement bridge to the ’Couv looks shakier than ever heading into a Dec. 4 project sponsors meeting. On Nov. 17, Metro councilors endorsed withdrawing their earlier approval of the Columbia River Crossing project. And an Oct. 30 letter by state Rep. Jules Bailey (available at wweek.com) trashing the project also is getting wide circulation. The Portland Democrat’s letter assailed Oregon and Washington highway departments for failing to do a cost-benefit analysis, despite spending $80 million so far, and for “shooting in the dark” while they explore cheaper options.

  • The contract to manage six city-owned Smart Park garages is up for bid. In 2003, Star Park and a consortium of minority groups wrested the contract from City Center Parking, and those two entities are expected to battle fiercely for a new five-year deal. There is a mandatory pre-bid meeting Dec. 4; bids are due Jan. 8, and the city expects to award the contract Feb. 18.

  • “No more bullshit, no more lies! We will never compromise!” That was the chant outside Nicholas Ungar Furs on Monday by members of the Portland Animal Defense League. The animal rights group says it’s stepping up its protests each weekday afternoon aimed at closing downtown’s last remaining fur shop. Store owner Horst Grimm declined to comment.

  • Armed with oversized messenger bags and a bicycle, Portland’s Max Kirchoff and his “Riders of Yule” hope to spread a little holiday cheer this year. Their idea, as first reported by BikePortland.org? Bring locally grown noble and Doug firs from tree farms in Western Oregon into Portland homes by bike. TreesByBike.com is now taking reservations for everything from tabletop trees to 7- and 8-footers. “I thought it was a cool intersection between my more extreme lifestyle of only riding a bike everywhere,” Kirchoff tells Murmurs, “and my more traditional lifestyle of liking things like Christmas trees.” And in the spirit of the holiday season, 10 percent of the couriers’ sales will go to the charity of their choice.
 
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