- In 2009, no legislators fought harder against proposed Metolius Basin destination resorts than Sen. Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) and Rep. Brian Clem (D-Salem). Now, Banfield Pet Hospital founder Scott Campbell’s proposed 575-unit resort on his 5,000-acre Grant County ranch would require even greater zoning changes than the Metolius developments lawmakers nixed. But Burdick and Clem have changed their tunes. At press time, they were working feverishly to pass a bill to allow Campbell to build his dude ranch. Burdick was unavailable for comment, but Clem says the difference is that tourists would come and go at Campbell’s ranch, injecting money and jobs into Grant County, whereas the Metolius developments would have just been rural subdivisions with less economic benefit.
- The Mercatus Center at George Mason University has declared Oregon the top state in the union for personal freedom. The center is a think tank funded by the Koch brothers—billionaire industrialists from Kansas with a long history of supporting right-wing causes. How does one quantify freedom? The authors considered same-sex partnership rights a leading freedom factor, but they figured the right to carry a high-powered assault rifle was even more important in assigning an overall score. Oregon’s weak campaign-finance regulations also worked in the state’s favor. Naked bike rides were not a factor in the analysis. Medical weed was. The report recommended that Oregon cut state spending, eliminate occupational licensing, and “maintain, if not reduce, the minimum wage.” Because what says “freedom” better than stagnant wages?
- Portland’s legal community is buzzing about a job posting blasted out by email June 13 to members of Oregon Women Lawyers and the Oregon Minority Lawyers Association. The ad seeks a full-time campaign manager
with “knowledge of the Portland-area legal community” to run the
campaign of a candidate for an unspecified elected office. Several
well-placed sources in law and politics say the ad was placed on behalf
of Kellie Johnson in anticipation that longtime Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schrunk, 69, will soon announce his retirement (see “Schrunk’s Successor,” WW, Feb. 9, 2011). Johnson is a former deputy in Schrunk’s office who now works as a disciplinary counsel at the Oregon State Bar.
- The landmark Hawthorne neighborhood mural that depicts seven famous writers may soon be restored. Taggers marred the mural—focusing on Dostoyevsky and Tennessee Williams (without making clear the literary connection). New Orleans artist Jane Brewster, who lived in Portland when she designed the 1997 mural, raised the alarm that the painting needed to be saved and restored. Galen Murphy, manager at House of Vintage, located in the building on which the mural is painted, says the money has been raised and an artist hired to begin restoration as soon as this weekend, weather permitting. A post on reddit.com says the vandals are part of a graffiti crew named TMR—”This Mural’s Ruined.”