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May 5th, 2010 WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs
 

News Even Leaner Than Oregon Kids

     
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  • More fallout from Commissioner Randy Leonard’s “HIT squad” (see “Randyland,” WW, Nov. 11, 2009): Veteran Portland firefighter Gerald Alvarez notified the city in April that he intends to sue. “The Fire Commissioner [Randy Leonard] has repeatedly made public statements of his intent to attack the Downtown Deli and Greek Cusina and these attacks ultimately included the claimant,” wrote Alvarez’s attorney, Victor Calzaretta. “The claimant [Alverez] [sic] was victimized by the Commissioner when the claimant refused to join the Commissioner’s role of a ‘Hit Squad’ to attack citizens and other members of the business community. This includes false accusation of the claimant engaging in bribery.” Leonard, a former firefighter, says Alvarez got his “full rights” in a fire bureau investigation and that neither he nor any city official has discussed Alvarez by name in public.

  • Signs from the recession: The city bureau that issues construction permits in Portland is taking another hit. On Monday, the Bureau of Development Services’ director, Paul Scarlett, announced the bureau must shed another 15 to 18 jobs immediately. That’s at least a 10 percent cut for the bureau, which has about 160 employees after cutting half of its positions last year.

  • A 2009 vote Commissioner Dan Saltzman took as a member of the five-person allocation committee for the Portland Children’s Levy is in the spotlight. As first reported by the Portland Mercury, Saltzman voted to give a three-year $600,000 grant to CARES Northwest, a medical facility that helps victims of child abuse. That organization employs Saltzman’s girlfriend, Liz Burns. Saltzman and the City Attorney’s Office say that’s not a conflict of interest because he and his girlfriend are financially independent. Jesse Cornett and Mary Volm, two of the candidates running against Saltzman, disagree. Other members of the committee, which voted 5-0 to support the grant, defend Saltzman. Committee member Alissa Keny-Guyer—who is supporting Saltzman’s re-election—says, “I don’t think there’s a conflict of interest,” because Saltzman didn’t stand to benefit personally.

  • Ralph Nader returns to Portland this weekend to offer his progressive’s take on President Obama’s presidency so far. Sponsored by the Progressive Party of Oregon, the consumer advocate and former presidential candidate will be at First Unitarian Church (1211 SW Main St.) this Saturday, May 8. Nader will be available at 7:30 pm to sign copies of his books before speaking at 8 pm. The suggested donation at the door is $5 or whatever you can give. For information, contact 250-0327 or pmkauffman@gmail.com.

  • Inspired by the Gandhi precept “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” a 54-year-old Portland woman who was once homeless is walking 1,863 miles to raise money to combat homelessness. Lynn McPherson started April 20 in Vancouver, B.C., and plans to finish Aug. 3 in Tijuana, Mexico. She will be in Portland on May 11 where staff and clients of the Portland Rescue Mission will walk with her along the waterfront. McPherson is asking people to donate $18.63, one penny for every mile she walks, to their local homeless shelter.
 
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