- Longtime Portland marijuana activist Paul Stanford (see “King Bong,” WW, Dec. 12, 2007) has been arrested on charges of tax fraud. The Oregon Department of Justice said Tuesday that Stanford faces two counts of failure to file personal income taxes for 2008 and 2009. Stanford, who heads a nationwide chain of medical-marijuana clinics, has a reputation as a controversial figure in pot activist circles. The IRS last year revoked the tax-exempt status of Stanford’s Portland-based clinic, the Hemp and Cannabis Foundation. Stanford did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
- Ultimate fighter and former Republican candidate Matt “The Law” Lindland faces a $122,880 lawsuit alleging he stole six pot plants. As first reported on wweek.com, the suit filed last week in Multnomah County Circuit Court claims Lindland offered to let Gonzalo Aldana Gamboa grow pot last year under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program on Lindland’s Eagle Creek property. The March 3 lawsuit alleges Lindland helped move the mature plants to his shed to dry, but when Gamboa returned a month later, Lindland would not give him the harvest. Lindland, who lost a 2008 run for state House District 52, did not reply to email and phone messages seeking comment.
- Some big news about the proposed plastic bag ban came out of Oregon Republicans’ annual Dorchester conference last weekend. Rep. Vic Gilliam, co-sponsor of the proposed bag ban, said Senate Bill 1009 will only get out of committee if its proposed 5-cent fee for paper bags is removed. That fee helped earn support for the bag ban from the powerful Northwest Grocery Association, led by Gilliam’s brother, Joe. Grocery interests have given $13,000 since December 2009 to Vic Gilliam, a Salem Republican who earned a 24 percent rating for the 2009 legislative session from the Oregon League of Conservation Voters. Vic Gilliam was unavailable for comment.
- The churn continues in Mayor Sam Adams’ office ahead of his expected 2012 re-election bid. Adams this week hired former WW culture editor Caryn Brooks to be his “policy coordinator,” at a salary of $50,000. And his ex-economic development director, Kimberly Schneider Branam, whose husband is former City Council candidate John Branam, began at the Portland Development Commission. The transfer nearly doubled her pay from $69,000 in Adams’ office to $135,000 at PDC. That hike comes at a time when PDC is preparing to lay off about 20 staffers because of declining revenue from urban renewal districts.
- Commissioner Amanda Fritz plans to open Portland’s newly proposed Office of Equity by this summer. And she plans to conduct a national search to find a new director for the office, one of Mayor Sam Adams’ midterm initiatives. Other aspects of the new bureau remain uncertain.
In 2008, then-Mayor Tom Potter created the Office of Human Relations to
address racial inequality and other forms of discrimination. Fritz says
the new equity office probably will take on those tasks as well as
subsume the Office of Human Relations, whose current director may step