Incumbent Portland City Commissioners rarely loseâonly two have since 1970. But Rep. Mary Nolan (D-Southwest Portland), who announced Tuesday that sheâll challenge Position 1 incumbent Amanda Fritz, stands as good a chance as anyone of beating the odds. Nolanâs official campaign launch came with high-profile endorsements from former Gov. Barbara Roberts and former Secretary of State Norma Paulus, and the inclusion of a high-powered political consultant, Ben Unger. âCity Hall is where I can be most effective,â says Nolan, a six-term lawmaker who has raised $18,000 since June 30. Fritz clearly has her work cut out for her; she hasnât reported raising a penny since loaning her campaign $25,000 on June 9.
When the Portland French School announced closure on April 30 after 22 years, many families lost more than cultural opportunities for their kids. At least nine families have filed complaints with Attorney General John Kroger, alleging that the Southwest Portland language-immersion school took prepaid tuition (at nearly $13,000 per child) from them for 2011-12 but has not refunded the dough. One Southeast Portland family forked over nearly $40,000. The school filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy on June 29 but has not yet filed a statement of creditors, which will show who else is owed money and how much. If large, secured creditors (such as banks) are waiting in line to collect, parents may have little hope of collecting even partial repayment from the school.
A prisoner serving a life sentence for kidnapping and murder is suing The Oregonian for $44 million after the daily cast him a snitch. In the suit filed June 28 in Multnomah County Circuit Court, Damien Douglas, 37, says Latino inmates in the Oregon State Penitentiary have threatened and assaulted him as a result of a June 2010 story by reporter Stuart Tomlinson; the story claimed Douglas gave cops information about a Latino suspect in a 2001 murder committed during a home-invasion robbery in Lake Oswego. Douglas says in the lawsuit that he never snitched. But as a libel claim, this one is dubiousâDouglas also says in the suit that heâs been trying to clear his name in prison to avoid further retaliation. Oregonian Editor Peter Bhatia did not return a call for comment.
Portland activist Erin DeRamus, who tried to break Israelâs blockade of the Gaza Strip (see Hotseat, WW, June 22, 2011), is headed home after Greek authorities turned back the ship she and 35 other Americans were on. Members of the 10-boat international flotilla say several of their ships suffered propeller damage in sabotage by unknown attackers. Complaints from Israel that the boats were unseaworthy resulted in more delays. After passing inspections in Greece, the flotilla finally sailed July 1, but the Greek coast guard refused passage to all but one small French vessel out of alleged safety concerns. âIsrael has been able to outsource its naval blockade of Gaza to Greece,â says Leslie Cagan, a New York-based spokeswoman for the American ship The Audacity of Hope.