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April 6th, 2011 5:11 am WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs

Murmurs 4/6/11

  • Children are the future…of tax breaks? Mayor Sam Adams and Commissioner Dan Saltzman have teamed up on a proposal that would give $500 tax credits to Portland businesses that create job-shadowing experiences and internships for high-school students, with a focus as well on teenagers in foster care. If approved Wednesday, April 6, the resolution creating the tax credit would direct the city’s Revenue Bureau to draft an implementation plan for City Council to consider this summer. Adams and Saltzman plan to cap the program at $100,000 a year.
  • A Portland Trail Blazers fan is suing the owners of the Rose Quarter for $105,000 after security guards allegedly confiscated his Nicolas Batum autograph and detained the plaintiff in a dark room. As first reported at wweek.com, Mark Chernobelsky of Southwest Portland says an arena employee took his ticket with Batum’s signature while Chernobelsky was backstage celebrating the Blazers’ victory over the Lakers on April 10, 2009. Chernobelsky’s attorney, Jason Kafoury, says Chernobelsky refused to leave without the ticket and was detained after threatening to call a lawyer. The Rose Quarter has already returned his autographed ticket on the suit filed March 29 in Multnomah County Circuit Court. A Rose Quarter spokesman declined to comment.
  • The history of Portland’s Water Bureau and the Bull Run Watershed will be the subjects of an updated version of the book Water: Portland’s Precious Heritage. There’s nothing extraordinary about the topic. But funding for the project comes from an unusual place. The Water Bureau is tapping ratepayer funds to get the update from the 1983 book’s author, Casey Short. He originally wrote the history at the request of then-Mayor Frank Ivancie. When Short retired in 2009, Commissioner Randy Leonard asked Short to expand the book at a rate of $50 an hour.
    Credits: vivianjohnson.com

    Tom Miller, the new director of Portland’s Bureau of Transportation, is in Madrid and Barcelona this week on a “study mission” with Greenlight Greater Portland, a business-backed economic development group. Miller, who was Mayor Sam Adams’ chief of staff before the mayor made him bureau director in January, skipped a City Council budget work session Tuesday about the transportation bureau’s financial needs in 2012 to travel to Spain. The bureau is paying for Miller’s Spain trip, estimated to cost about $5,000.
  • A recent internal financial audit of Portland Public Schools found the school district isn’t always quick to record students who accumulate more than 10 days of unexcused absences. That’s a problem, because the state funds school districts based on the average number of students in their schools on any given day. Schools that don’t report students who drop out or move, for example, generate money for the district that the district is not eligible to receive. According to the audit, PPS overcounted its student population by 15 students in 2009-10—the equivalent of $90,000. This week, PPS implements a new alert system to make sure schools withdraw students when appropriate.
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