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November 16th, 2011 12:01 am WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs

Murmurs: Homesteaders, Fundraisers and the Spirits of Giving

The whole world was watching football.

news-murmurs_3802CHAPMAN - WW Photo Illustration
  • HEY, YOU KIDS! GET OFF MY ANCESTOR’S LAWN! Randy Panek, a descendant of W.W. Chapman, who sold the land for Chapman Square to the City of Portland 141 years ago, was so upset by Occupy Portland’s “homesteading” in the park that he notified Mayor Sam Adams on Oct. 18 he was prepared to go to court to enforce deed restrictions. Turns out the original deed prohibited camping. “I wish to cooperate with the City to remove these homesteaders,” wrote Panek, who lives in Central Oregon. For more on Panek’s exchange with city officials, go to wweek.com.
  • The cash raised in the Portland mayor’s race has surpassed $500,000. The clear leader is businesswoman Eileen Brady, whose fundraising has surged to $276,000—well past former City Commissioner Charlie Hales ($191,000) and state Rep. Jefferson Smith ($116,000). The records also show Brady is going through her money much faster than her opponents—she’s spent 62 percent of her cash, much of it on consultants and polling, leaving her with cash on hand of $103,000. Hales and Smith have nearly as much cash remaining.
  • Citizens for Tax Justice, a left-leaning think tank in Washington, D.C., has run the numbers to see what the effective tax rate is for the nation’s 280 biggest companies after loopholes and tax breaks. The base federal corporate tax rate is 35 percent, but on average large companies paid half of that from 2008 to 2010. Oregon’s biggest company, Nike, was among the few that paid close to that rate—$777 million in taxes on $2.5 billion in profits in those years. But another company with Oregon roots, Con-way, was among 30 corporations that made a profit and still got money back from the government. The report says the freight company received $26 million in federal tax rebates despite reporting $286 million in profits. A spokesman for Con-way—founded in Portland but now based in Ann Arbor, Mich.—did not respond to WW’s request for comment. Approximately 900 people work at the company’s Northwest Portland service center.
  • The 2011 edition of WW’s Give!Guide is off to a roaring start, having raised nearly $90,000 in its first week. That puts our annual effort to support worthy nonprofits 30 percent ahead of last year’s pace—thanks to you, generous readers. To help lubricate the giving spirit, Thursday is Clear Creek Distillery Day. Anyone making a G!G donation on Nov. 17 will be entered to win a box—or two or three—containing one bottle of every spirit currently on sale at Clear Creek. The winner will be announced Nov. 18. You must be 21 or older to qualify. Go to wweek.com/giveguide and let your credit or debit card run wild. Copies of the guide are available in our office.
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