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January 27th, 2010 12:00 am WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs

News That’s Bigger Than Greg Oden.


  • Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Bill Bradbury rolled out a new big idea last week: a state-owned bank. His concept aims to keep Oregon dollars here supporting economic development programs rather than propping up out-of-state ventures. Small problem: Article XI, Section 1 of the Oregon Constitution states “the Legislative Assembly shall not have the power to establish, or incorporate any bank or banking company.” Bradbury spokesman Jeremy Wright says Bradbury is aware of the prohibition and anticipates a legislative or constitutional fix. 

  • Portland Parks & Recreation is poised to end a 16-month experiment with single-sex swim sessions at Buckman Pool. The gender-specific sessions arose in response to Muslim women who wanted to swim but didn’t want men to see them in swimsuits (see “A Modest Counterproposal,” WW, Nov. 12, 2008). The once-a-week program averaged two swimmers per session and cost $4,000 a year. It’s now on the list of proposed budget cuts to trim 4 percent from the parks bureau.

  • Mayor Sam Adams is looking for good news to share at his “State of the City” address at City Club on Feb. 5. Expect to hear his plans for a scholarship endowment to give 2,500 Portland high-school students money for college. No details yet about how the city plans to pay for that.

  • A central tenet of Portland Public Schools’ high-school redesign has been further undermined. At a School Board meeting Monday night, PPS staffers revealed that students who attend language immersion programs could get waivers letting them attend high schools other than their neighborhood schools. Ending neighborhood-to-neighborhood transfers had been a key element of balancing enrollment in PPS.

  • What is it about Republicans and cage fighters? In 2008, Matt “The Law” Lindland got choked out by septuagenarian Suzanne VanOrman (D-Hood River) in House District 52. This year, Chael Sonnen—a former All-American wrestler at the University of Oregon and now the sixth-ranked middleweight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship—wants to represent House District 37 in Washington and Clackamas counties. While Oregon lawmakers battle in Salem next month, Sonnen will be among the featured fighters on Feb. 6 at UFC 109: Relentless in Las Vegas.

  • Oregon’s newest growth industry? Exotic garbage! The U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking public comment on a plan that could bring as much as 150,000 tons of Hawaiian trash a year? through Portland en route to the Columbia Gorge. Friends of the Columbia Gorge attorney Nathan Baker says the idea raises a lot of questions. “Among other things, we’re worried about the importation of pests and exotic plants that don’t currently live here,” he says “and the impact of shipping garbage across the Pacific.”

  • Thirty-ninth Avenue isn’t the only Portland address getting a new name. As residents of César E. Chávez Boulevard adjust their stationery, so will City of Portland bureaucrats. Beginning in Februrary, Portland employees’ email addresses will end with portlandoregon.gov instead of ci.portland.or.us to match the city’s new website. Both addresses will work for two years to minimize confusion and the cost of getting new business cards.
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