- The effort to ban plastic shopping bags in Portland heats up again when enviros rally July 14 at City Hall. Worth noting: Commissioner Nick Fish accepted $1,000 donations in May from grocery giants Safeway and Kroger, which owns Fred Meyer. Grocers have expressed concern about previous plastic bag proposals in part because one alternative—paper bags—is more expensive. Fish, however, says he supports recently announced statewide efforts to end the use of plastic shopping bags. He also says the grocery-store donors haven’t lobbied him. “There were no discussions about the bag issue,” Fish says.
- Multnomah County voters will decide on several proposed charter changes this November. Among the provisions OK’d last week by commissioners for the ballot is one that would let elected officials run for a different office without sacrificing their current post. County Chair Jeff Cogen, regarded as a prime mayoral candidate, says he’s not focused on political prospects now but to “check back with me in 2011.” One other political note: Emerald Bogue has landed a job as a policy analyst in Cogen’s office. Bogue is a former staffer for Mayor Sam Adams and campaign manager for Cogen and City Commissioner Dan Saltzman in this year’s primary election.
- Add another “incomplete” to Portland Public Schools’ report card on delays that include deferred decisions on the high-school redesign and the budget. Talks with the 1,400-person Portland Federation of Teachers and Classified Employees, hit an unexpected snag last month. The union says Superintendent Carole Smith told members the School Board would not ratify a tentative agreement with the union’s educational assistants, school secretaries, library assistants, campus clerks, campus monitors and interpreters. PPS says it’s holding off on a vote until it settles its budget.
- A company with deep investment from Oregon goes public Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange. The Oregon Investment Council began investing public-employee pension funds in 1981 with leveraged buyout firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. Oregon pensioners have benefited from KKR’s wizardry ever since—the OIC committed another $3 billion in 2008 to KKR. Founders Henry Kravis and George Roberts made pensioners money, but made themselves more: In March, Forbes estimated their combined net worth to be $8 billion.
- Time moves slowly for Oregon’s federal judicial appointments. Federal judge Garr King announced his retirement almost three years ago; ex-U.S. Attorney Karin Immergut stepped down last July, and King’s colleague Ancer Haggerty announced his retirement last August. Yet no replacements have been made. Panels named by U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley (both D-Ore.) long ago settled on finalists. And legal sources say the feds have been backgrounding Oregon Department of Justice lawyer Amanda Marshall for the U.S. attorney’s job; while Portland lawyer Michael Simon and Washington County Court Judge Marco Hernandez are the likely next federal judges. Wyden spokesman Tom Towslee says, “It’s in the White House’s hands.”