IMAGE: martin thiel
* In the past couple of years, the City of Portland has spent about $470,000 in legal fees battling Qwest over franchise fees and other issues. Federal prosecutors and securities regulators are currently investigating Qwest's accounting practices, and the company has been fined heavily by the Oregon Public Utilities Commission for various infractions. Some might see irony, then, in the keynote address at the Portland Business Alliance's May 21 Annual Breakfast. Qwest CEO Richard Notebaert will hold forth on "Pursuing Common Objectives: How Business Contributes to the Greater Community."
* Hell hath no fury like a scorned library clerk! Just ask the folks at Reed College, where three dozen student workers at the library's circulation desk are trying to organize a union with help from the Industrial Workers of the World. Gripes about the jobs, some of which are work-study positions, include minimum-wage paychecks, scrapped seniority rights and anemic official response to their demands. If the union drive succeeds, the Reedies will be among the first unionized undergrads in the nation.
* Despite announcing layoffs and pay cuts last week, Oregon Symphony president Tony Woodcock remains bullish on long-range plans for a multipurpose performance hall for the opera, ballet and symphony to be built within 10 years. "I like to believe that two years down the line the economy will get better and we'll be able to put this to the top of the agenda," Woodcock says.
* Alexis Dow, the elected watchdog at Metro, is widely disliked on its ruling council, and people say it's no coincidence that the second-term auditor is looking at a $71,000 hit to her $671,000 budget. "I'm being singled out," Dow says. "Metro's budget for people and services is going down 5 percent, but I'm getting hit for 10 percent." Metro analyst Jeff Stone denies Dow is facing a bigger cut than other departments; she says those departments are losing one-time money rather than operating funds.