- The estate of a woman who died of pneumonia in the Multnomah County Detention Center after guards allegedly ignored her cries for help is suing the county for $1 million. Holly Jean Casey, a 36-year-old homeless heroin addict, was arrested in 2008 for an outstanding warrant en route to the ER. After telling jail staff she had pneumonia, she spent the night on her cell’s floor calling for help and pushing the call button, according to the Dec. 30 federal lawsuit. She was found dead the next morning of pneumonia. The suit also names jail medical-services provider Maxim Healthcare Services Inc. and 10 jail staffers as defendants.
- Signs of a thaw in the chill between city commissioners Dan Saltzman and Randy Leonard? Leonard called off a Jan. 5 work session on Police Bureau force policies. The reason? Saltzman, who oversees the bureau, convinced Leonard his goal of increasing oversight of the cops is best achieved quietly, working with colleagues to draft a solution. The heart-to-heart came after weeks of silence between the two over tiffs about a fire boat and arming Water Bureau security. But the kumbaya not last forever—Leonard tells WW that increased oversight of police bureau discipline will be his No. 1 priority this year, possibly putting him at odds with police commissioner Saltzman.
- City Council will consider a resolution Wednesday, Jan. 6, to allow Portland Timbers/Beavers owner Merritt Paulson’s company access to PGE Park for limited construction work. The city and Paulson had hoped to have a final financial deal by now for revamping the stadium for Major League Soccer in 2011. But that hasn’t happened, and Paulson faces a tight deadline to begin rejiggering the city-owned stadium. It appears the resolution will precede a final development agreement by only a few weeks; Mayor Sam Adams’ office has indicated it will file a development agreement next week for consideration on Jan. 20.
- After two years of battling with Commissioner Randy Leonard’s multi-agency code compliance team (a.k.a. the “HIT squad”), Greek Cusina owner Ted Papas closed his 36-year-old restaurant last week. Papas says he’ll sell the eatery’s signature purple octopus on eBay and vows to sue the city for subjective code enforcement. In a statement, Leonard (see “Randyland,” WW, Nov. 11 and 18, 2009) blamed Papas. “He was given every opportunity to live up to his responsibility to provide a safe structure for his employees and patrons,” Leonard says.
- In-freakin’-credible! Despite a shaky economy, you astounded us with your generosity to WW’s 2009 Give!Guide. Readers donated more than $910,000 to the guide’s 79 nonprofits. That’s a 12 percent jump from last year.
- Whipsawed by high energy prices, brutal Chinese competition for waste paper and the declining demand for newsprint, Oregon City-based Blue Heron Paper (see “Beaten to the Pulp,” WW, Feb. 13, 2008) declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week. The company vows to keep its 101-year-old mill cranking while it reorganizes.
CORRECTION: Last week’s Murmurs column incorrectly reported Lee Brown’s local law enforcement role in the 1970s. He was Multnomah County sheriff. WW regrets the error.