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December 7th, 2011 12:01 am WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs

Murmurs: Self-Financing Fritz, PacifiCorp Fines and a Laika Lawsuit

News to whisper in Michele Bachmann’s ear.

murmurs_amandafritz_3805COMMISSIONER FRITZ
  • City Commissioner Amanda Fritz won her council seat in 2008 with public financing, part of the short-lived experiment in Portland that voters killed last year. Facing re-election in 2012, Fritz hasn’t reported collecting any donation over $100. Fritz disclosed last week she’s loaned herself another $25,000, bringing her self-financing to $50,000. Her challenger, Rep. Mary Nolan (D-Portland), has raised $123,000, all from others.
  • Another award-winning journalist is leaving The Oregonian. Nikole Hannah-Jones, who’s covered race and diversity issues for the newspaper, says she’s joining ProPublica, the Pulitzer-winning online investigative reporting organization. “How can you say no to working for ProPublica?” Hannah-Jones says. (ProPublica’s managing editor, Stephen Engelberg, was once managing editor for investigations at The O.) It’s the latest loss for the state’s biggest daily, which has seen several prominent journalists leave this year. Hannah-Jones, who’s been at the paper for five years, has also been covering Multnomah County. At ProPublica, she says, she will write about “how powerful entities deal with vulnerable communities.”
  • PacifiCorp, Oregon’s second largest utility, agreed last week to a whopper of a fine—$3.925 million, for service failures during a massive power outage in Utah in February 2008. The North American Electric Reliability Council said the outage stemmed from the utility’s lack of preparedness. “NERC determined that PacifiCorp violated 23 different requirements of 15 Reliability Standards,” the Dec. 1, 2011, final order reads. The penalty dwarfs dozens of others NERC has assessed this year. PacifiCorp spokesman Paul Vogel says the company disagreed with NERC but wanted to move on.
  • The successor to Claymation innovator Will Vinton’s studio, Laika, is going to court to enforce the little “™” next to the Claymation brand for its stop-motion animation. Laika filed suit last week in U.S. District Court in Portland against the South Korea-based owners of a software company, alleging that its “Claymation Studio” software infringed its trademark. The software company, Honest Technology Co., Ltd., has offices in Austin, Texas, but lists only a fax number and tech support number on its website; it didn’t respond to an email from WW. A Laika spokesperson declined to comment. Laika, owned by Nike co-founder Phil Knight, has a new movie coming out next year, ParaNorman, a comedy about necromancy and zombies.
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