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September 8th, 2010 12:00 am WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs

The Back-to-School Edition.


  • The University of Oregon Foundation is gearing up to pursue new President Richard Lariviere’s dream of independence for the University of Oregon. The Foundation has hired heavyweight lobbyist Dave Barrows, a veteran of more than 50 years in the Capitol, to persuade lawmakers to loosen controls on the U of O, which gets less than 10 percent of its budget from state coffers but still gets its marching orders from Salem. The Foundation also hired the influential Gallatin Group, which has close ties to both parties, to push Lariviere’s quest to get the state to undertake an unprecedented $800 million bond issuance for a U of O endowment—which the foundation would fundraise to match.

  • Gov. Ted Kulongoski used to speak wistfully about retiring to Central Oregon for a life of hiking and canoeing after his second term ends in mid-January. But over the summer, the Democrat bought a $510,000 house not in Baker, where he once talked of settling, but in Portland’s Laurelhurst neighborhood, where he lived before moving into the governor’s mansion in 2003. Kulongoski, who will turn 70 in November, has not yet decided what he’ll do when he leaves office. “He’s very focused on being governor until January, and then he’ll figure that out,” says Anna Richter Taylor, a spokeswoman for the governor.

  • Let the penis jokes fly. The iconic Hung Far Low sign officially returned to its former home in Old Town/Chinatown on Thursday, Sept. 2, after city taxpayers footed $45,000 of the sign’s $77,000 “re-erection.” The 82-year-old sign means “red flower” or “bridge” in Cantonese. The 2,000-pound sign came down in 2008 after roofers discovered its support structure had deteriorated and posed a safety hazard.

  • Help wanted: Metro, the regional government that operates the Oregon Zoo, the Oregon Convention Center and the Portland Expo Center, is hiring again. And this time it’s not a journalist (see “Metro’s Page,” WW, Aug. 11, 2010). If you can lift 40 pounds and have a clean driving record, you may be eligible to be a Metro puppeteer. Metro, which pays its puppet masters $14.77 an hour, has employed part-time puppeteers for 15 years. It’s part of Metro’s mission to teach elementary-school kids about recycling and Mother Earth. Add that to your “who knew?” list. WEB BONUS: Metro may not have any videos of their puppet shows online, but you can check out some images and accompanying songs here!

  • Last fall, after a devastating fire at Portland Public Schools’ Marysville K-8 School, WW revealed the school district faced a months-long backlog of fire-alarm inspections at PPS schools. In response to that article (see “Fire Drilled,” WW, Nov. 18, 2009), PPS hired four more fire-alarm inspectors and vowed to get caught up. When school started Tuesday, PPS says one school still hadn’t had a full inspection: Benson Polytechnic High School. But Tony Magliano, director of facilities for PPS, says the district should complete the safety review by October, and that the alarms remain operational even as the district tests them.
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