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March 20th, 2013 12:01 am WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs

Murmurs: Bogdanski Files Suit Against Art Tax and a Farewell to Kathie Durbin

But can you use the bill as rolling papers?

murmurs_3920DURBIN - IMAGE: Elizabeth Feryl
  • It’s not like Jack Bogdanski to be coy. The Lewis & Clark Law School professor, best known by the nom de blog Bojack, is ever willing to skewer local officials and the media. But this week he hinted in a post that someone had filed a lawsuit against the city over Portland’s new arts tax. And how about that—Bogdanski himself (as first reported by wweek.com) is the lone plaintiff in the suit, filed March 7 in Oregon Tax Court. Bogdanski alleges the city’s $35-per-person arts tax violates the state constitution’s ban on head or poll taxes. “I’m going to let my court papers speak for themselves,” he tells WW by email. “Judges don’t appreciate lawyers trying their cases in the press.”
  • In the campaign to legalize marijuana in Oregon, the big money has arrived. Drug Policy Alliance, a New York marijuana legalization group associated with billionaire financier George Soros, sunk $1.3 million into the successful measure to legalize dope in Washington state in 2012. Now, DPA is investing in Oregon to make pot legal here. And it’s moved beyond traditional true believers into the ranks of professional political operatives. The group has hired Gard Communications and  Salem lobbyists Gary Oxley and Shawn Miller to push a legalization measure, House Bill 3371. If lawmakers don’t greenlight the bill, backers will look to an initiative petition for the 2014 ballot.
  • St. Mary’s Academy, the private all-girls school, is making a big splash in the city’s sluggish real-estate market. St. Mary’s spokeswoman Mary Ann Albright tells WW the school has agreed to purchase the city block where the University Station post office operated, at 1505 SW 6th Ave. The site is owned by a German investor. Terms of the transaction have not been made public.
  • Portland has lost a journalism hero. Kathie Durbin, 68, a longtime Portland-area journalist and author, died March 15 of cancer. During her 40-plus years as a reporter, Durbin worked for WW, The Oregonian, The Register-Guard in Eugene and The Columbian in Vancouver, Wash. She won awards for her investigative and environmental reporting, including groundbreaking investigations into the overcutting of Northwest forests and the northern spotted owl debate in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Durbin’s relentless reporting, clear prose and suffer-no-fools style will be missed—as will her tenacity. Told a month ago her cancer was terminal, Durbin closed her hospital room door to visitors for two days to finish the last three chapters of her final book, The Columbia River Gorge: Bridging a Great Divide, to be published by OSU Press. A memorial begins at 3 pm March 24 at Holman’s Funeral Service, 2610 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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