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July 17th, 2013 WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs
 

Murmurs: Deputy Fife Rides the Portland Streetcar.

murmurs_oregonian_3937ILLUSTRATION: Kevin Mercer
  • There’s more trouble for Diversified Abilities, a Happy Valley company designated by the state as a qualified rehabilitation facility (“Janitorial Mess,” WW, June 26, 2013). As WW reported, Diversified Abilities faces $382,000 in federal and state tax liens for failing to pay employee withholding taxes. On July 8, the Oregon Employment Department filed a notice of garnishment with Portland State University, which has given Diversified Abilities a no-bid janitorial contract. The Employment Department declined to comment, but records show the agency is seeking $201,753 from Diversified Abilities for unemployment insurance unpaid since 2008. Diversified Abilities CEO Ann Toth declined to comment.
  • The Oregon Government Ethics Commission unanimously voted July 12 to investigate potential state ethics law violations by Gov. John Kitzhaber’s top adviser on the Columbia River Crossing. The commission found there appears to be “a substantial objective basis” that Patricia McCaig violated laws against conflicts of interest and failing to disclose her lobbying activities. McCaig led Kitzhaber’s efforts to win funding for the $3.4 billion project in the Oregon Legislature (“The Woman Behind the Bridge,” WW, Feb. 27, 2013). McCaig earned more than $417,000 working as a consultant for top CRC contractor David Evans and Associates while also working as the governor’s top adviser on the CRC. McCaig told the commission her actions have been legal and above board. Even though the governor has said the CRC project has been halted, a spokeswoman for Kitzhaber says, “Patricia’s position has not changed.”
  • Loyal subscribers of The Oregonian have wondered if they will get a break on the cost of the newspaper once the paper drops to a four-day-a-week delivery starting Oct. 1. The answer: not much. The paper is telling current subscribers its new delivery rate will be $5 a week—down from the current rate of $6, the newspaper’s website says. While that buys three fewer delivered papers, subscribers will get access to an online edition that looks like the print version.
  • There’s a new fare enforcement officer in town. The Portland Streetcar, finally, is preparing to hand out citations for riders who don’t pay to ride. WW reported in March the streetcar has collected barely half the fares projected since last fall. Streetcar officials are now considering a fare hike from $1 to $2 in January 2014. The fine for not paying a fare will be $175—the same amount levied by TriMet. The lone streetcar fare inspector is getting trained how to hand out citations. “We can’t issue a ticket until he’s fully certified,” Portland Streetcar director Rick Gustafson says. “My understanding is he’s very close.”
 
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