A $400 million plan to reduce Interstate 5 congestion in the Rose Quarter has one surprising element: a freeway cover on I-5 at North Vancouver and Williams avenues. The lidâsimilar to the freeway covering in downtown Seattleâwould create at least two developable blocks at the Rose Quarter. Who controls the newly created real estate is up in the airâliterally. âWe donât know,â says Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman Don Hamilton about the âair rightsâ above I-5. âItâs a federal highway, so the feds have jurisdiction. When this has happened before, the feds have leased it.â
An old hand might be returning to the battle over TriMetâs future: Ron Heintzman, a bare-knuckled union boss who led the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757 when it won a controversial 1994 contract that broadly expanded health coverage for retirees. Heintzman is again running for president, and insiders say heâs the frontrunner in the June 15 vote. During five terms as president, from 1988 to 2002, Heintzman was known for his take-no-prisoners negotiating style (see âThe Nasty Battle Inside Local 757,â WW, Nov. 8, 2000). Heâd lead ATU in upcoming contract talks with TriMet. Heintzman didnât respond to WWâs calls by deadline.
Give that white liberal guilt a rest? Turns out Oregon is one of the countryâs least racist states, at least when it comes to Googling. The New York Timesâ Campaign Stops blog reports that a Harvard doctoral candidate, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, found a correlation between Internet searches for racially charged terms and voting patterns for President Obama in 2008. Stephens-Davidowitz found Obama received fewer votes than expected in states where Internet users most often searched for the N-word. Oregon ranked 44th for how often racist terms were searched. West Virginia was No. 1; Utah had the fewest searches. Turns out racially charged terms are nearly as common in Google searches as âweather,â âmigraineâ and âDaily Show.â
Where Not To Put Birds: On June 14, the City of Portland will co-host an architectsâ and developersâ forum on âbird-friendly building design.â A recent Portland Audubon Society report says as many as 1 billion birds a year die from striking buildings, including untold thousands locally. The Audubon Wildlife Care Center says it treated 590 birds (covering 86 native species) after window strikes from 2009 through 2011. The report proposes changes to local design guidelines for windows, faÃ§ades, landscaping and lighting to mitigate bird strikes. The city says itâs not likely to make the guidelines code. âThe resource guide is not about new regulations,â Bureau of Planning and Sustainability Director Susan Anderson says in a news release. One solution: bird-shaped silhouettes on windows, sure to be a boon to local craftsfolk.