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June 30th, 2010 WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs
 

Tighter Than An Adductor Muscle.

     
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  • Rogue update: American Medical Response has lost its fight to raise rates for ambulance service in Portland (see “Rogue of the Week, WW, May 26, 2010). Hearings Officer Allan Arlow ruled June 25 that the Colorado-based company had failed to make its case for a whopping 12 percent rate increase. AMR holds an exclusive contract to provide ambulance service in Multnomah County and lost nearly $4 million in the past year in lawsuits over sex abuse by former EMT Lannie Haszard and the 2006 death of James Chasse Jr. in police custody.

  • Oregon’s sheriffs last week lost a second courtroom battle to prevent the public from learning who gets to carry concealed handguns. The state Court of Appeals on June 23 upheld a lower-court decision against Jackson County Sheriff Michael Winters, who in 2007 denied the Medford Mail Tribune’s public-records request to learn who in his Southern Oregon county held concealed-handgun licenses. The fight went statewide, with former Multnomah County Sheriff Bob Skipper and current Sheriff Dan Staton both refusing WW’s request for those local gun records. What about now? “The sheriff is looking into that court case, and at this point he is not releasing the concealed-weapons permits,” says Lt. Mary Lindstrand, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office.

  • As Portland Public Schools Superintendent Carole Smith looked to fill a $19 million budget gap for next year, she and the Portland School Board explored cutting all physical-education programs in elementary, middle and K-8 schools. For years, individual school foundations have responded to similar cuts by raising money to buy back teachers. But going into budget talks on June 29, Smith said she would block foundations from backfilling the estimated 60 PE jobs to be eliminated. That’s to avoid situations where wealthy schools get PE back while poor schools don’t. Amy Kohnstamm, a member of Ainsworth Elementary School’s mega-bucks foundation, says some parents who have already raised money for next year will oppose Smith’s decision. “Historically, the decisions about what foundation dollars pay for have been made by principals,” says Kohnstamm.

  • The Portland Timbers say more than 7,000 people so far have put down $50 deposits toward reserving season tickets for next spring when the team debuts in Major League Soccer. The Timbers have been letting fans put down deposits since April 2009. And the team on June 14 announced a price plan for the 20 home games in 2011 that prices a season ticket package between $99 and $1,500. Team spokesman Chris Metz says the Timbers will set a cap within the next month for how many season tickets will be sold to PGE Park, which will seat about 20,000 for soccer.

  • This week’s parking ticket excuse comes from Pabst Brewing Co. delivery truck driver Matt Slessler. At 2:18 pm on Feb. 24, his 2006 Jeep Liberty was cited for parking in a loading zone in front of the Thirsty Lion Pub and behind Kells downtown. Slessler wrote the court: “I was unloading 30 cases of beer…. [The parking attendant]…sat there like a vulture, watched me park, watch me unload freight, and wrote me this ticket…. It just seems sneaky and underhanded….”

  • Starting July 1, Oregon will become the first state to adopt a program for recycling and disposing of old architectural paint. Thanks to House Bill 3037 sponsored last year by the Committee on Sustainability and Economic Development, the “paint stewardship” program will add a per-container fee of up to $1.60 for paint cans larger than a gallon. The fee will help cover an estimated $4 million budget for consumer outreach and education as well as about 80 additional collection sites statewide for architectural paints. “The goal is to expand collection infrastructure so everyone that has waste paint has the opportunity to drop it off for disposal and recycling,” said Alison Keane, executive director for PaintCare, a nonprofit. Current collection and recycling opportunities for architectural paint are now available mostly in urban areas only. The program will be evaluated annually and return to the Legislature in three years to decide if the program and its fees should be made permanent.
 
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