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July 31st, 2013 WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs
 

Murmurs: The County Dishes On Spendy Jail Food.

murmurs_hawthorneroofs_3939IMAGE: Lisa Gidley
     
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  • Hawthorne Street Fair supporters want to know why they can’t use the entire street for their Aug. 18 celebration. City officials have granted closure of only half a lane of Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard. City Commissioner Steve Novick tells WW that Southeast Division Street—running parallel 11 blocks south—will be closed for sewer streetscape work, and the city doesn’t want both streets closed at the same time. “We are willing to consider the request for future years,” Novick says, “but this year, given the Division closure, is not the time to start the practice.” Hawthorne Boulevard Business Association president Hilda Stevens says closing the street is safer for fairgoers (an estimated 13,000 attended last year), who must dodge cars, and in some cases, face “a level of road rage” from frustrated drivers. Stevens had hoped for a better decision from Novick. “This is a step in the wrong direction,” she says.
  • The Go Go Gadget Repairs ordeal for a Portland woman may finally be over—but with a strange twist. Jennifer Agerstam disputed an inflated repair bill for a cracked cellphone screen and criticized owner Jonathan Mulford in a Yelp review. Mulford hit back with a defamation suit against her in Washington County small-claims court. He withdrew the suit after Murmurs reported it July 3—but that day filed a stalking protective order against Agerstam, claiming she threatened him. Mulford is 6 feet tall and she is 4-foot-11. “Like I pose a threat,” Agerstam says. “Not to throw my own short people under the bus.” Mulford in court documents said he was being harassed by two TV stations and “Willamite Weekly.” The judge threw out the complaint after Mulford failed to show up at a hearing. Mulford—who has since changed his business name to Tablet Repair PDX—didn’t respond to WW’s questions.
  • It’s no longer kosher to go to jail: Multnomah County has stopped serving halal and kosher meals to inmates. Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Steve Alexander tells WW the jails stopped serving the meals Feb. 1 out of budget concerns; kosher foods cost up to four times more than the typical 75-to-85-cent-per-meal fare. Alexander says about 120 inmates were requesting the special meals every day. Now, he says, “religious diets have the choice of vegetarian or vegan.” But the county faces three tort claims from inmates—including convicted double-murder Mark Beebout—who allege the county is ignoring their right to religious accommodation. (Beebout is no longer in the county jail.) A tort claim from inmate Michael Leonard says he’s been getting “the same vegetarian meal of rice and beans daily, and the beans have been undercooked and inedible.”
 
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