- When State Treasurer Ted Wheeler urged a moratorium on state borrowing last week, one of the most interested parties was new University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere (see Hotseat, WW, May 19, 2010). Despite the treasurer’s stance, the top Duck still wants lawmakers to borrow $800 million to help fund his school’s endowment. “While the Treasurer’s announcement is worrisome for our state, review of the university’s public endowment proposal and the timing for implementation will continue,” Lariviere wrote in a Sept. 24 email to members of the U of O Foundation. “We do not believe that the treasurer’s announcement affects the feasibility of the proposed public endowment.”
- The latest high-school redesign proposal from Portland Public Schools Superintendent Carole Smith was pitched in part as a cost-saving measure. It calls for closing Marshall High School next fall, yet no one at Monday night’s school board meeting discussed how much money the plan—which calls for keeping Jefferson and Benson high schools open—would actually save. Internal analysis from PPS shows distributing Marshall’s 700 students plus teachers to Cleveland, Franklin and Madison would create one-time costs of about $600,000 in 2011. But the analysis estimates the move would net savings in the first year of $237,000 from utilities, custodial services and administration costs. Those annual savings would grow to $855,000 in future years.
- Mayor Sam Adams rarely misses an opportunity to promote his political initiatives, and the Sept. 26 fatal shooting of 19-year-old Andre Payton outside Old Town’s Barracuda nightclub is no exception. Adams, who has been pushing for new city rules to crack down on illegal handguns, has repeatedly used his Twitter account to discuss the shooting, which he tweeted about three times as a “gun crime” or “gun-related crime.” Meantime, Adams has delayed putting his proposed gun rules before City Council. The rules were due by the end of September. But mayoral spokesman Roy Kaufmann says the deadline has been pushed to the third week of October to give law enforcement more time to vet the proposal.
- Tokers rejoice: The Oregon branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws says state Rep. Peter Buckley (D-Ashland) will introduce a bill in the 2011 legislative session to tax and sell marijuana. The bill from Buckley, co-chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, will closely mirror the so-called “OCTA Light” initiative that failed to collect enough signatures to make it onto the November ballot. Meantime, Oregonians can vote on marijuana legislation in the upcoming Nov. 2 election with Measure 74, the proposed creation of a dispensary system for medical marijuana users.
- Bob Shiprack, a former legislator and an influential Capitol labor voice for more than a decade, is retiring as the lobbyist for the powerful Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council. Shiprack, whose wife Judy is a Multnomah County commissioner, will be replaced by his colleague John Mohlis—who also serves on the Portland Development Commission.
- About 150 protesters calling for an end to police violence rallied peacefully at a Sept. 25 demonstration at Pioneer Square. Holding signs that said things like “Standing on the Side of Love,” demonstrators organized by the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform want to put pressure on Mayor Sam Adams and Police Chief Mike Reese to fire Officer Ronald Frashour, who fatally shot 25-year-old Aaron Campbell in the back last January.
- Hundreds of Portland Catholics passed on Sunday-morning services last weekend to instead rally for the inclusion of women (see “Mass Defection,” WW, Sept. 22, 2010). The Sept. 26 rally at the Park Blocks near Shemanski Fountain was sparked by 81-year-old Irishwowman Jennifer Sleeman’s call for an Ireland-wide boycott of Mass on Sept. 26. The local event, which included song, prayer and testimonials, was not supported by Archbishop John Vlazny, whose spokesman told WW that Catholics should not skip the Eucharist. After what organizers called the “public prayerful witness” event, about 100 attendees filled the Downtown Chapel for a special noon Mass.