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April 14th, 2010 WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs
 

Never Write Off This Column.

     
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  • Two huge hurdles loom as City Council prepares to hear a resolution that seeks to advance Mayor Sam Adams’ redevelopment plan for Memorial Coliseum. Adams’ plan calls on the Portland Development Commission to invite proposal requests from the Trail Blazers, the Veterans Memorial Arts and Athletic Center and the Memorial Athletic Recreation Center. One unknown heading into the April 14 council hearing relates to money. Nobody will know until this fall how much public cash might be in play because that’s when boundaries of the Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area might be redrawn to include the Rose Quarter. Also at issue? The Blazers’ operating agreement at the coliseum. The mayor says the agreement isn’t a barrier to the two non-Blazer proposals. But several members of his Rose Quarter stakeholder group disagree. And in a March 16 letter to Adams, the team says it “reserves the right to decide in its sole discretion” whether it will agree to any changes to the operating agreement.

  • Portland Public Schools is alarming advocates for immigrant and refugee students by making more changes to its programs for teaching English as a second language. The latest relates to the staffing ratio. Under the old system, PPS gave schools part-time ESL teachers if, after their first full-time teacher, they needed less than a second full-time teacher. No more. That means Cleveland High School, which expects 53 ESL students next year, will get two ESL teachers, while Madison High, which expects 89, will also only get two ESL teachers.

  • Damon Woodcock, a transgender former Portland cop who claimed discrimination at the Police Bureau (see “Crossing the Line,” WW, Feb. 6, 2002), died March 28 at age 50. Woodcock, who joined the police bureau full-time in 1991 as Debbie, was a highly decorated officer and claimed he faced harassment after switching locker rooms at Central Precinct in 1999 following a sex change. In 2001 he won a $205,000 negotiated settlement on a stress claim. A memorial service was held April 10 at Sunset Presbyterian Church in Northwest Portland for Woodcock, who died of colon cancer.

  • Gov. Ted Kulongoski and legislative and city leaders will meet this week to seek a solution for the financially troubled Oregon Historical Society. The perennially cash-short OHS at first worked with arts groups to explore a local tax for funding. That idea foundered. Kulongoski and others then decided to pursue a more permanent funding stream. “The governor does not support a local tax and believes any solution must be a statewide one,” says spokeswoman Anna Richter-Taylor.

  • A Portland woman is aiming to collect 400 donated mountain bikes to help South African children get to school. Jenny Leonard, a 23-year-old Reed College graduate who studied in South Africa in 2008, is collecting the bikes from 10 am to 4 pm on April 24 at the old Washington-Monroe High School site (Southeast 12th Avenue and Stark Street). Leonard has already raised $9,000 from family and friends to ship the bikes, and is in contact with an organization in Cape Town to distribute them.
 
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