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November 10th, 2010 12:00 am WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs

This Week’s Decision Points.


  • Gov.-elect John Kitzhaber turned to a familiar face to run his transition team that will hire staff and create a budget before Kitzhaber takes office Jan. 10. As first reported on Nov. 8 on wweek.com, the Democrat’s choice is Tom Imeson, once chief of staff to former Gov. Neil Goldschmidt. Imeson also directed the transitions for Kitzhaber during his first round as governor in 1994 and Gov. Ted Kulongoski in 2002. Imeson did not return calls seeking comment.

  • On the heels of a damaging financial audit this week that revealed massive cost overruns on a Portland City Hall computer software project, Commissioner Randy Leonard is poised to begin another million-dollar digital development. On Wednesday, City Council likely will approve taking out a $4.4 million commercial bank loan so the Bureau of Development Services can implement a new electronic permitting system. Also on Wednesday, City Council will vote whether to allow Commissioner Nick Fish’s Bureau of Parks & Recreation to borrow $3.8 million for maintenance projects. Commissioner Amanda Fritz (left) has been the only elected official to question the timing of the new borrowing.

  • Portland Public Schools will jump-start its efforts to sell the former Washington-Monroe High School in the Buckman neighborhood just as Superintendent Carole Smith and the board launch a campaign for a $548 million construction bond (see “The Big Ask,”). Washington-Monroe hasn’t been a high school since 1981. But plans in 2008 to convert the building in inner Southeast into condos fell apart amid the recession. Before that time, the 1.3-acre campus was valued at more than $4 million. When the school district issued its official requests for information this week to new developers possibly interested in the site, the campus was valued at $2 million.

  • A potential problem has arisen with Measure 76, which permanently sets aside 15 percent of Oregon Lottery proceeds for parks and wildlife. About 69 percent of state voters supported the measure, which had faced opposition last summer from House Speaker Dave Hunt (D-Gladstone). Hunt agreed to table his opposition if measure supporters agreed to a series of limitations that he planned for the 2011 Legislature to refer to voters. But now that Democrats and Republicans split the House 30-30, Hunt is no position to enforce that deal.

  • Oregon transportation officials are starting a conversation about legalizing lane sharing for motorcyclists. Also known as “lane splitting” or “filtering,” the practice is common in Europe but not in the United States, where it’s legal only in California. The Governor’s Advisory Committee for Motorcycle Safety has released a report on lane sharing and is holding a public meeting Friday, Nov. 19, at 6:30 pm in the Kaiser Permanente Town Hall at 3704 N Interstate Ave. The study says lane splitting may reduce congestion and gas emissions as motorcyclists sneak out of traffic, but it may also put them at risk for collision when drivers change lanes without looking.
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