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January 5th, 2011 12:00 am WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs

News That Fell Out Of The Sky.


  • Less than one week before his Jan. 10 inauguration, Gov.-elect John Kitzhaber has yet to announce his chief of staff or many other hires. By comparison in 2002, then-Gov.-elect Ted Kulongoski had hired Peter Bragdon as his chief of staff on Dec. 4. Two sources say Kitz’s chief of staff will be Curtis Robinhold, a former Kitzhaber staffer who recently returned to Oregon after working for BP’s renewable energy operation. Robinhold and Kitzhaber aide Tom Imeson did not return calls.

  • A Multnomah County grand jury’s annual report on jails and prisons says suicide prevention is its main concern. The corrections grand jury report (to read the report, go to wweek.com/jailsuicides) released Jan. 3 by the District Attorney’s Office says the county’s downtown Detention Center has had two suicides since July 2009, compared with one in the four years prior. The timing is significant because before July 2009 the jail bunked prisoners two to a cell. The jail moved to single-bunking in July 2009 to prevent assaults and rapes. But jail managers also acknowledge that leaving prisoners alone increases the risk of suicide. On a more favorable note, this year’s report heaps praise on Sheriff Dan Staton for further streamlining the jail system, gauging the true costs of running the facilities and for increasing morale among staff.

  • Michele Rossolo has quit as director of FuturePac, the Oregon House Democrats’ campaign arm. Although a Republican tide swept the nation in November, FuturePac earned criticism from some Democratic insiders for ineffective attacks on Republicans, most notably a series of mailers that claimed GOP candidates favored a 30 percent sales tax. “Michele left of her own accord and would not have been forced out if she had wanted to stay,” says House Democratic spokesman Geoff Sugerman. No successor has been named for Rossolo, who says she’s “hanging out with her 1-year-old.”

  • Two notable campaign contributions popped up in recent state fundraising filings: Ted Blaszak, owner of the signature-gathering firm Democracy Resources, gave 5,000 to Multnomah County Chairman Jeff Cogen, a potential 2012 mayoral candidate. And Siemens, the German engineering giant, gave “Yes for Transit” $20,000, which might indicate TriMet will seek another capital bond in the wake of voters’ defeat of a $125 million request in November.

  • Wow! Thanks to all of our unbelievably awesome readers who helped WW’s Give!Guide exceed its $1 million goal for 2010. You donated more than $1.1 million through midnight Dec. 31. On behalf of Give!Guide’s 79 nonprofits, thanks so much for the outstanding generosity.
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