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August 1st, 2012 WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs
 

Murmurs: FBI Raids and Accusations of Fake Water Testing

How one company allegedly covers its asphalt.

murmurs_pamplin_3839Bob Pamplin, Jr. - IMAGE: pamplin.org
  • An ex-employee at an R.B. Pamplin Co. subsidiary says the company fired him after he threatened to report its practice of sending false test results to the Department of Environmental Quality and Oregon Department of Transportation. Ryan Gaylor, in a Multnomah County Circuit Court lawsuit, says he was a quality-control manager for K.F. Jacobsen & Co., which sells asphalt to ODOT and the City of Portland. Gaylor alleges the company submitted fraudulent asphalt test results to the state and city. He also alleges the company—fearing it was violating environmental standards—ordered him in 2011 to take water samples from a rain bucket and tell DEQ it came from its wastewater. Gaylor’s attorney declined comment. The company—whose parent is run by Robert B. Pamplin Jr.—didn’t respond to WW’s calls.
  • An FBI raid July 25 of three houses in North and Northeast Portland attracted national attention because the search warrants sought “anti-government or anarchist literature.” Will Potter, a journalist who covers political protests, says the raids were probably connected to Occupy riots on May Day in Seattle. Protesters there broke windows at banks and a federal courthouse. The warrants say the feds were looking for flares, paint and “material for making flags.” Records say agents seized a laptop, two thumb drives, one pair of black shoes and four pairs of black pants.
  • Mayoral candidate Charlie Hales picked an odd time to pay himself back for campaign loans: right after he imposed limits on his contributions for the fall election. Hales used hard-earned donations to pay himself back $25,000 of the $100,000 he loaned his campaign in the spring. Hales also repaid a $25,000 loan from Rejuvenation founder James Kelly. The repayments were disclosed last week. Candidates often wait until after the election to pay loans from supporters or themselves. Hales is currently on unpaid leave from his job as a vice president for streetcar marketer HDR Inc.
  • Well, that figures: Oregon’s coastal waters are caffeinated. So says a study in the new Marine Pollution Bulletin and reported July 30 on National Geographic’s website. A team including Portland State University marine ecologist Elise Granek, the study’s co-author, found seawater samples from 14 coast sites contained up to 45 nanograms of caffeine per liter—enough to affect marine life. An earlier study submerged mussels in caffeinated water to measure the bivalves’ stress responses. “With prolonged exposure, that’s when you start to see effects,” Granek says. The researchers studied caffeine because its presence hints at other contaminants—and in this part of the world, it can only come from humans.
 
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