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March 6th, 2013 WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs
 

Murmurs: After a Death, Rolling Back the Sidewalk Debate.

murmurs_sidewalk_3918IMAGE: ronitphoto.com
  • Political pressure has been increasing on Mayor Charlie Hales to restore $1.2 million for sidewalk construction on Southeast 136th Avenue, after a 5-year-old girl, Morgan Maynard-Cook, was struck and killed by a car Feb. 28 on the East Portland road. The accident occurred less than a mile from where Hales’ new Bureau of Transportation director, Toby Widmer, proposed cutting the project to fund road paving elsewhere—even though residents warned that 136th was dangerous for children walking home from school (“Whacking Cracks,” WW, Feb. 27, 2013). Hales has since declared “public safety has to be our North Star” and distanced himself from the plan. He has also reached out to Rep. Shemia Fagan (D-East Portland), who with 10 other legislators sent a letter demanding the City Council approve building the sidewalk.
  • K-12 supporters saw reason to cheer the legislative budget released Monday: It provides $300 million more for schools than Gov. John Kitzhaber’s budget and nearly 15 percent above 2011-13 funding. But the legislative budget includes a big slight to Kitzhaber’s education czar, Rudy Crew. As WW reported in our recent profile (“Wrecking Crew,” WW, Jan. 16, 2013), the state education chief wants $120 million for new teacher training centers. Legislators omitted that money, saying it would unfairly take away resources for special education. Kitzhaber spokesman Tim Raphael says the training centers remain a priority. “There may be other ways to fund the investment,” Raphael says.
  • Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland, the campaign to fluoridate Portland’s drinking water, has raised $50,000 thanks to some hefty political contributions in advance of the May 21 city ballot measure battle over the issue. The campaign has collected checks of $5,000 each from the Nurses United Political Action Committee, the Oregon Dental Hygienists’ Association and Healthy Teeth for a Lifetime. The anti-fluoridation committee, Clean Water Portland, has raised $15,000 to date.
  • Clackamas County Counsel Stephen Madkour has filed an Oregon State Bar complaint against a county attorney he fired. As first reported on wweek.com, Madkour alleges Scot Sideras improperly used his position to help oust County Administrator Steve Wheeler. Wheeler, 60, resigned Feb. 25. The complaint, filed Feb. 27, contains a four-page handwritten memo by Sideras for incoming Chairman John Ludlow of the Board of County Commissioners on how to get rid of Wheeler. Sideras tells WW he wrote the documents at the behest of Ludlow—but before Ludlow took office Jan. 7. “I am extremely confident that I will be exonerated by the bar.” Sideras says.
 
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