- Portland Public Schools voters will decide this May whether to increase their property taxes to pay for a $548 million construction bond. And donations to the pro-bond campaign have started pouring in. Multnomah County Chairman Jeff Cogen’s campaign fund gave $2,500 recently. And $1,000 has come in from both City Commissioner Nick Fish’s campaign and from former mayoral candidate Sho Dozono via his Azumano Travel business. Also, Mark Edlen, the real-estate developer from Gerding Edlen LLC, gave $5,000. Gerding Edlen stands to gain from PPS’s commitment to renewable energy; in 2009, Gerding Edlen teamed up with PPS to install solar panels on nine schools.
- Repeat offense: After feeling heat from police-accountability activists, Police Chief Mike Reese and Mayor Sam Adams fired Officer Ronald Frashour last month over the fatal January shooting of 25-year-old Aaron Campbell. Now activists are once again calling for the termination of officers, this time Jonathan Kizzar and Kelly Jenson, who fatally shot Darryel Dwayne Ferguson on Dec. 17 outside a Southeast Portland apartment. The case is expected to go to a grand jury next week, says Multnomah County Chief Deputy District Attorney Norm Frink.
- The Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association has raised $60,000 in private donations to maintain seven blocks of century-old linden trees lining Reed College Place (see “Revenge of the Fallen,” WW, Dec. 16, 2009). Mayor Sam Adams promised the Southeast Portland neighborhood that the city would maintain the trees. But the city has not done so. Robert McCullough, a resident active in raising the funds, says Adams shouldn’t view private donations as a way to pay for city services. “The mayor’s job in The City That Works is to keep things working,” McCullough says. Says Adams, “I’m looking forward to the city and the neighborhood continuing to work together.”
- The recounts from November’s general election have barely finished, but one group is already well on its way to the 2012 ballot. A group called Protect Oregon Homes 2012 has raised $250,000 to help pay for the 110,358 signatures required to propose amending the Oregon Constitution to prohibit a real-estate transfer tax. Variations of such a mechanism, effectively a sales tax on property transactions, exist in other states. And although there’s no active push for one here, real-estate interests want to forestall any such possibility. “This is more of a prospective effort,” says Lake Oswego developer Barry Cain.
Thanks to our incredible readers, WW’s Give!Guide has blown past the $500,000 mark in donations. And at 531,000-plus at press time, our holiday helper for 79 area nonprofits is about 20 percent ahead of where it was last year at this time. The deadline for giving is midnight on New Year’s Eve, so please help us make this year’s goal of $1 million by going to wweek.com/giveguide and contributing what you can.