* The queen of Portland's drag scene may be dethroned! Murmurs has learned that the board of directors of the Imperial Sovereign Rose Court (think Royal Rosarians in high heels) has received a petition to strip Chloe Stone, Rose Empress XLV, of her current title. The dramatic turn of events comes, unfortunately, in the middle of Gay Pride Week. The petition claims that Stone has "brought embarrassment and shame [to the court]...with words, derogatory slurs and inappropriate actions." According to board secretary Scott Seibert, the complaint, which was signed by 76 members, may stem from a recent event in the 'Couv, which reportedly ended with a confrontation involving last year's Empress, Poison Waters. Reports of what happened at this usually distinguished formal affair include name-calling, cat-fighting, drink-spilling and wig-tossing. But the most shocking moment came when the crown reportedly fell off Stone's head and shattered into three pieces.
* The question rumbling through the Big O offices last week: Is Sandy Rowe heading to The New York Times? In fallout from the Jayson Blair fiasco, the nation's paper of record is looking for a new editor. Odds are, it will be a current or former staffer, which would rule out The Oregonian's editor. But if the NYT breaks that tradition, Rowe could make the short list. With three Pulitzers under her pearls, she's is an attractive candidate, particularly given that during her reign as president for the American Society of Newspaper Editors she focused on the topic of media ethics. Rowe says she doesn't indulge in such speculation. "There is no list, as far as I know," she says.
* A lawsuit against the sheriff's office alleging wrongful termination and improper leaks to the media, filed by former corrections deputy Rodger Cross, was thrown out after a judge agreed with the county's motion for summary judgment. WW had earlier quashed a subpoena that attempted to force the paper to reveal its sources for a story linking Cross to misconduct at the jail (see "The Strong Arm of the Law," WW, Aug. 23, 2000).
* A Portland jury rejected the lawsuit a California woman filed against Waste Management Inc. after her schizophrenic brother was crushed to death inside a WMI trash compactor six years ago (see "Crushed By Indifference?," WW, Nov. 27, 2002). To escape the bitter cold of a January night, Richard Phelps, 47, crawled into a dumpster, which was then emptied into a garbage truck--with Phelps inside--and compacted. While the jury absolved Waste Management of responsibility for the death, it also took the unusual step of calling for regulations to lock dumpsters so homeless people can't crawl into them.
* Does it ever seem to you that our political leaders in Washington have fallen under the influence of dark supernatural forces? Well, now there's something you can do about it! A group known as the Cascadia Magical Activists will cast an "unbinding spell" outside the upcoming Western States Republican Leadership Conference in Portland this week to "remove the thrall that ensorcels much of the Congressional, Executive, and Judicial branches of the United States government." Dressed in "full ritual garb," the local sorcerers will try to free our representatives from the hex that has clouded their thinking. Check out the fun at the Jantzen Beach DoubleTree Hotel at 7 pm Friday, June 13, or email CascadiaMagicalActivists_info @yahoo.com.