Last week the Seattle Weekly published a hard-hitting article that sought to shed a different light on a 2000 Oregon killing. Liysa Northon maintains she shot her husband, Chris, in the head at a Wallowa-Whitman National Forest campground because of his long history of abuse. Sheâs now serving a 12-year sentence at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville after pleading guilty to first-degree manslaughter in 2001. Famed true-crime author Ann Rule punctured Northonâs account in her 2003 book Heart Full of Lies. Last week, Oregon freelance journalist Rick Swart published a story in the Weekly that sought to shred Ruleâs version. Now it turns out that Swart, in the 7,200 words he wrote, forgot to tell readers (and his editors) that heâs engaged to Northon, who is scheduled for release in October 2012. âItâs a freelance piece first of all. Iâm selling you a product,â Swart told his red-faced Seattle Weekly editors after the fact. âSo itâs not like youâre my boss and you need to know my personal life.â The alt weekly hasnât taken the story down from its websiteâyet. âNeedless to say,â the editors wrote, âitâs now clear that our philosophy and Swartâs differ. As a result, weâll be double- and triple-checking the facts.â
The first candidate to replace longtime Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schrunk has officially jumped into the race. Kellie Johnson, a former deputy in Schrunkâs office who now works as a disciplinary counsel at the Oregon State Bar, sent an email to potential supporters July 25 saying sheâll make the DAâs office âa more active partner in taking on the public safety challenges we face as a community.â Speculation has been swirling this year that Schrunkâwho has served as DA since 1981âis considering retirement. He would be up for re-election in 2012. Chief Deputy District Attorney Rod Underhill has expressed interest in replacing his boss and is seen as the most likely successor. Schrunk hasnât yet said publicly what he plans to do.
WUOn Tuesday, U.S. Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.) said he plans to resign from Congress, an announcement that comes four days after The Oregonian reported allegations that the seven-term Congressman had sexually assaulted the teenage daughter of an old friend and campaign donor last November. It was the latest and most serious incident in a series of bizarre episodes involving Wu reported in recent months by The O and WW. But what will Wu do with the $343,000 in cash heâs got in his campaign account? (He also owed $41,000, as of June 30.) Federal law says he canât spend it to benefit himself. âThe bottom line is, he canât take the money and run,â says Michael Beckel, spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics. He could give it to charity or other candidates. Wuâs donors can ask for their money back, but heâs under no obligation to return it. Among Democrats, Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian and state Rep. Brad Witt (D-Clatskanie) are looking to run for Wuâs seat. Rob Cornilles (who lost to Wu in the 2010 general election) and state Sen. Bruce Starr (R-Hillsboro) may seek the Republican nomination.