1) The Archdiocese of Portland got some welcome news last week when plaintiffs in 65 clergy abuse cases settled their lawsuits in mediation. Attorneys for the defendants, who claimed they were abused as children by Roman Catholic clergy, would not disclose the settlement amounts, but church officials say they are pleased with the outcome. Mediation failed to resolve 35 other lawsuits against the archdiocese.
2) Finally, there's hope for longtime critics of Oregon's "kicker" law, which requires the state to give back tax revenues that exceed projections. Two bills that would allow the state to keep surpluses for a rainy-day fund are still alive and kicking in Salem, and last week one of them, House Bill 3611, got the support of GOP honcho Kevin Mannix.
1) Attorney General John Ashcroft and his Homeland Security lackeys were served up a heaping helping of locally grown crow when Sheikh Mohamed Abdirahman Kariye, the Portland imam nabbed under a flurry of speculation over alleged ties to al Qaeda, was sentenced last week. After an eight-month ordeal, Kariye was nailed not for terrorist activities but for public-health-insurance fraud. Oooh, we're shaking! Kariye received five years' probation and was ordered to pay fines and restitution totaling $6,000.
2) Classical-music lovers hummed the blues when James DePreist, one of Oregon's few cultural superstars, stepped down as maestro of the Oregon Symphony after an astonishing 23-year run.
3) Fir-huggers shuddered this week when the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Healthy Forest Restoration Act, co-sponsored by Hood River Republican Greg Walden. The act enfeebles public participation in forest control and permits logging with minimal environmental analysis in areas up to 20 million acres.