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January 2nd, 2013 12:01 am WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs

Murmurs: Hales Prioritizes Safety in Wake of Newtown.

All the news of interest so far this year.

murmurs1_3909Mayor Charlie Hales - IMAGE: Kenton Waltz
  • New Portland Mayor Charlie Hales is making a response to the Newtown, Conn., school massacre a top priority for his first week in office. Hales has scheduled a meeting this week with Police Chief Mike Reese and the superintendents of all six school districts within Portland’s city limits. The topic: increased school security. “I want to know where we stand as a city on school safety planning,” Hales says. Hales says he wants to reduce risks, but adds, “I don’t want to over-promise, because there’s too many guns out there.” Hales also says he plans to talk with regional leaders, including Multnomah County Chairman Jeff Cogen and state Sen. Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) about tightening gun control in Oregon. “We’ve gotten too practiced at a sequence in which we say, ‘These victims were wonderful people, they’re in a better place now, and let’s take strength from how sweet and virtuous those lost family members were,’” Hales says. “I want us to stay angry and focused on action, not just mourning. 
  • Former Portland City Council candidate and soon-to-be-ex-state Rep. Mary Nolan (D-Portland) is a candidate for the top job at Planned Parenthood of the Columbia-Willamette. As wweek.com first reported last week, the nonprofit confirmed Nolan—who lost a bid to unseat City Commissioner Amanda Fritz in November—is a candidate for the CEO position. She would replace David Greenberg, who left his $196,000-a-year post last year following contentious contract negotiations with the Service Employees International Union. Nolan, 58, may be more politically in line with Planned Parenthood and its supporters than the previous finalist, Judy Peppler, who backed Republican John McCain’s 2008 presidential run and Republican Chris Dudley’s campaign for Oregon governor in 2010. Nolan also confirmed she’s talking with Planned Parenthood but declined further comment. “My take on it is, I don’t want to have a public take on it,” Nolan says.
  • Incoming Metro Councilor Bob Stacey isn’t wasting any time in challenging the agency’s stance on the Columbia River Crossing, the $3.5 billion megaproject that would replace the Interstate 5 Bridge and run light rail to Vancouver. Stacey wants tolls added to Interstate 205—a move he says would prevent travelers from ducking tolls scheduled for the new I-5 Bridge. Projections already show tolls paid by traffic using the CRC will fall short of projections. Current plans don’t include I-205 tolls, and federal law says existing freeways can’t add tolls without a major expansion or reconstruction project. Stacey says he’s confident there are ways to put tolls in place—even if it takes a long time to get approved. “If you ask, and you have congressional support for your ask,” Stacey says, “there will be a way to do it.”
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