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February 1st, 2012 12:01 am WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs

Murmurs: Salem Spam, Animal Psych, and Smith’s Slip.

murmurs_repdennisrichardson_3813DENNIS RICHARDSON - IMAGE: dennisrichardson.org
  • Thousands of people have been getting emails from state Rep. Dennis Richardson (R-Central Point) recently and haven’t been sure why. Turns out Richardson, co-chairman of the budget-writing Ways & Means Committee, has collected 100,000 email addresses by filing public-records requests for them with state agencies. Richardson is using the addresses to seek advice and help in solving the state’s budget crisis. Richardson’s building of a mailing list from the very agencies he oversees has left some recipients angry. Rep. Val Hoyle (D-Eugene) told Richardson in an email it was inappropriate “to use state workers’ time and scarce taxpayer dollars to harvest people’s personal emails.” Richardson says he’s received 6,000 responses—nearly all positive—and has apologized to those who are aggrieved.
  • Want to know what goes on between your dog’s floppy ears? Multnomah County has answers. The county’s animal shelter is sponsoring the “Masters in Behavior” conference dedicated to animal psychology and behavior. The conference, Feb. 4-6 at the Sheraton Portland Airport, is intended to train shelter workers, but is open to the public and will include “assessing an animal’s personality” to help in “preventing house soiling and separation anxiety.” Sessions include “Coyotes in Our Neighborhoods” and “Learning From Cats in Science.” The county says it expects registration fees will cover the conference’s $7,000 cost.
  • Mayoral candidate and former City Commissioner Charlie Hales is promising, if elected, to persuade Columbia Sportswear to bring its headquarters—and approximately 1,600 employees—back to Portland. Columbia fled to Washington County in 2000 after a real-estate dispute involving then-Mayor Vera Katz and her chief of staff, current Mayor Sam Adams. Columbia CEO Tim Boyle has donated $5,000 to Hales’ campaign; he didn’t respond to WW’s query whether Hales’ pitch had a prayer.
  • Many suspect state Rep. Jefferson Smith’s ambitions go far beyond Portland City Hall—but maybe he should get elected mayor before revealing them. Last week, Smith held a fundraising event at Bossanova Ballroom. The next day, at a mayoral candidates forum sponsored by Occupy Portland and the Green and Progressive parties, Smith said his political values were a big reason voters should elect him governor. “I’m sorry,” he said after the laughter died down. “We had a big party last night, and I’ve been working all day.”
  • What other Portland political news are you missing? Quite a bit if you’re not visiting our new election website, PDX Votes. Check it out at wweek.com/pdxvotes.
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