Jonah Edelman, the chief executive of Stand for Children, a national education reform group based in Portland, has been forced to eat his words after bragging in a June 28 video about outfoxing Illinois teachers union leaders and legislators earlier this year. Stand for Children used donations from private equity titans to roll back seniority and teachersâ right to strike. âI can tell you there was a palpable sense of concern, if not shock, on the part of the teachers unions in Illinois...that we had clear political capability to potentially jam this proposal down their throats,â Edelman said June 28 at the Aspen Ideas Festival. As video of those remarks circulated, critics lambasted Edelman, who later sent an apology to the Chicago teachersâ blog that first aired the video. The negative publicity comes after Stand for Childrenâs Oregon chapter successfully led reforms in Salem. Edelman declined to comment.
Câest la vie: Families at the now-defunct Portland French School cannot be happy about bankruptcy court filings showing the school owes creditors $997,000 but has only about $430,000 in cash. Many creditors include families who prepaid next yearâs tuition. The schoolâs biggest creditor? Barran Liebman, the Portland law firm hired to help the school fight a teacher unionization drive. The union won, the school failed and Barran Leibman is owed $71,000.
Eric Lemelson, the Yamhill county vintner and heir to a billion-dollar technology fortune, has quietly made a name for himself as a generous Democratic political contributor: He gave $516,000 in Oregon races in 2010 and another $217,000 in federal races. Now Lemelson is moving into Portland real estate. Records show he recently bought vacant commercial landâabout two-thirds of an acreâat the corner of North Vancouver and Fremont Street for $1.65 million. The site, near Legacy Emanuel Medical Center, is less than a mile from an Irvington house Lemelson bought two years ago for $1.8 million. Lemelson couldnât be reached for comment.
A block on Southwest Ankeny Street between Southwest 2nd and 3rd avenuesâknown as the Barmuda Triangleâis scheduled to open Thursday as a pedestrian-only area through October. Business owners hope this test will persuade the city to build a European-style promenade. The city took up the idea after WW published an article about Central bar owner Dustin Knoxâs efforts to distinguish the area from obnoxious elements nearby (see âDouchebags Not Allowed,â WW, March 23). Conflict arose when Portlandâs Sisters of the Road, a group that advocates for the homeless, worried the plan would deprive the down-and-out of public space in favor of cafe tables. Itâs Portland, so not to worry: The final plan now calls for public seating. Knox says area businesses are kicking in $5,000 to cover costs of the closure.