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January 12th, 2011 12:00 am WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs

A Respite From All The Bad News Out Of Arizona.


  • A late December federal decision moved Washington’s Cowlitz tribe closer to gaining a tribal casino 22 miles north of Portland. That decision and the prospect of another private casino effort threaten the operator of Oregon’s biggest casino, the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde. Salem sources say the Grand Ronde are eyeing Langdon Farms golf course, 19 miles south of Portland as a potential casino location. Grand Ronde spokesman Justin Martin calls the rumors speculation but adds, “If Cowlitz becomes reality, we’ll look at all options.”

  • Speaking of Justin Martin, Portland Public Schools has hired him as a lobbyist in the Oregon Legislature for the next two years. Martin’s contract is worth about $4,300 a month for a total of $105,558. It’s not the first time PPS has turned to Martin; in addition to working for the Grand Ronde, he’s worked for the district since 2005. The difference now is PPS also has an experienced in-house lobbyist on staff. PPS hired David Williams, a former lobbyist for the Oregon School Boards Association, in 2010 to be its new director of government relations at $90,000 a year. Williams says Martin will be his “relief pitcher” and will help PPS lobby on the state and federal level. Martin says he’s “proud of his record” repping PPS.

  • Mayor Sam Adams’ appointment last week of chief of staff Tom Miller to replace Sue Keil as the new director of the Portland Bureau of Transportation means the bureau will have two directors for the next 3 1/2 months. Miller, who steps into the role at the end of January, will work with Keil until May, when she officially retires. Until then, Keil says she’ll train Miller, who managed 25 people in the mayor’s office, to run a 730-person agency with a $230 million budget. Personnel and financial matters that big are “not things he’s been really involved in,” Keil says.

  • As the Portland Police Association mails ballots this week for cops to vote on a proposed labor contract, insiders attending two informational meetings last week on the proposal say the meetings were subdued. But one officer says the cops who attend those meetings already agree with the contract. “A sizable group is still not happy,” another cop says. As first reported at wweek.com Dec. 21, a leaked draft of the contract reveals union leadership appears poised to accept random drug testing and greater police oversight in exchange for a 2 percent raise. Union President Daryl Turner says leadership has not yet set a date for counting ballots.

  • An Oregon man who formerly headed a Portland charity pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on Jan. 10 to conspiring to break the U.S. embargo on Iran. As first reported by WW (see “Mystery Raid,” July 23, 2008), federal agents raided the downtown offices of Child Foundation but gave no reason for confiscating computers and records from the charity run by Iranian-Americans. Federal court documents indicate Mehrdad Yasrebi of Clackamas conspired to funnel money illegally into Iran and help donors write off exaggerated tax deductions. A sentencing hearing for Yasrebi, the foundation head who resigned from Child Foundation last year, is set for May 9.
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