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October 5th, 2011 WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs
 

Murmurs: Bring those Bags, Brent Barton!

Oh, Blazers! Where shall I go? What shall I do?

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  • Former State Rep. Brent Barton (D-Clackamas) has moved out of his old legislative district so he can run for the seat being vacated by former House Speaker Dave Hunt (D-Gladstone), who’s running for Clackamas County chairman. If he wins, Barton, 31, will help reinvigorate a House D caucus that’s lost one young Portland rep, Ben Cannon, who joined the governor’s staff; and faces losing another, Jefferson Smith, who is running for mayor. Barton—who has moved to Oregon City—would also claim the rare distinction of having carpetbagged into two districts: He moved into his old district from Portland so he could run in 2008.
  • Remember to remember: The citywide ban on plastic grocery bags takes effect on Oct. 15. “Now,” a new City of Portland web page says, “is a great time for Portlanders to get even better at remembering to bring reusable bags!” Memory is a famously mysterious and ephemeral aspect of the human mind. So the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability offers several excruciatingly helpful points of advice for forgetful shoppers: “Store bags near your house keys” and “Put a reminder on your grocery list.” The bureau’s $2.5 million sustainability education and assistance program is responsible for the “Climate Action Now!” campaign, which includes bringyourbagpdx.com. The cost of the campaign itself is unclear. A bureau spokesperson did not return WW’s call.
  • One of the state’s highest-profile public lawyers is out of a job. Henry “Chip” Lazenby, formerly chief counsel to Gov. John Kitzhaber, the Portland Development Commission and Portland State University, has left his latest gig—a $152,000-a-year post as Multnomah County’s top lawyer after less than a year on the job. The county doesn’t comment on personnel matters, but a settlement agreement WW obtained shows Lazenby, 59, will get six months’ salary and benefits—which costs taxpayers more than $110,000—in exchange for his Sept. 30 resignation. Lazenby says the job “just wasn’t a good fit.”
  • Just how long does your cellphone provider hold on to your phone records and text messages? According to a Justice Department internal memo obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union, it depends on the company. As first reported by wired.com, Verizon keeps track of which cell towers your phone has used (which can be used to track your movements) for one year, but Sprint and Nextel hang on to tower usage for 18 to 24 months. Most major carriers  don’t retain your text messages, but Verizon keeps them three to five days. The ACLU got the records as part of their battle against the government’s use of cell-phone data to track our whereabouts. See the memo here.
 
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