- The Portland Development Commission is preparing to buy out some employees and lay offothers because the agency has few projects. PDC showed union reps draft plans this week and hope to finalize a package by March 15. The draft proposes paying some longtime employees up to $30,000 and six months of medical benefits to quit. Those laid off would get no severance but would receive six months’ medical coverage. Eric Jacobson, president of PDC’s union, says he doesn’t know how many of the 225 employees might go. “The agency can become more efficient without reducing headcount,” he says. PDC spokesman Shawn Uhlman says the agency won’t know until the end of April how many employees it will cut.
- Dozens of people gathered last week at the Emmanuel Temple Church in North Portland to remember Aaron Campbell, James Chasse and other recent victims of police use of force. At the rally organized March 5 by the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice Police Reform, the crowd heard Marva Davis, the mother of Campbell—who was fatally shot Jan. 29 by police—say, “We all have loved ones and we don’t want to see this happen again. ” Coalition members will attend the Citizen Review Committee’s community forum on police reform March 14, from 2 to 4 pm at Portland State University.
- City Council candidate Mary Volm picked up a $2,000 donation this week from Dignity Village’s landlord, Leland Larson. That lifts her fundraising total to $17,000 for her run to replace three-time City Commissioner Dan Saltzman. The incumbent commissioner, who’s limited his donations to $500 per contributor, has raised about $47,000 so far.
- Another Saltzman opponent, Jesse Cornett, has the most money in the race so far—thanks to qualifying for about $150,000 in public campaign financing. That city program was founded on the premise that campaign contributions should be limited. But Cornett hasn’t always supported reforms that seek to cap donations. In 2006, he was treasurer for Protect our Voice, a union-backed PAC opposing state Measures 46 and 47, which sought limits on campaign contributions. Cornett says his two positions don’t contradict each other because Measures 46 and 47 were “incredibly complex,” and would have made it hard to track where money in politics originated.
- Mayor Sam Adams’ education summit next month is titled: “Making Portland the City That Learns.” Now it needs a keynote speaker. The mayor’s office extended an invitation to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, but he had a scheduling conflict. Portland will learn March 12 who will replace Duncan.
CLARIFICATION: Last week’s story “The Final Roundup” said state lawmakers “added 200 full-time employees” to the payroll. In fact, they voted to fund 200 positions that otherwise would have disappeared. Democrats also disputed Republican Rep. Scott Bruun’s assertion that an ODOT renovation project will cost “an extra 30 percent” and that it was not competitively bid. The state is employing the construction-manager/general-contractor approach, which includes aspects of competitive bidding but is not the same thing. Bruun stands by his criticisms.