Oregon Sen. Lee Beyer (D-Springfield), chairman of the Senate Business and Transportation Committee, made headlines last week when he told a Washington state legislator in an email that the Columbia River Crossing project was âdead in our state.â The story, first reported by The Columbian, left out Beyerâs proposed solution for one of the projectâs vexing challenges: how to collect tolls from Washington commuters. âA person who chooses not to pay their mailed ticket could have their car booted,â Beyer wrote Jan. 17 to Washington Sen. Ann Rivers (R-La Center), whose constituents make up two-thirds of the bridgeâs traffic. Rivers tells WW the idea would only create ill will. âI just donât see where that would be acceptable,â she says.
Last weekâs cover story on the Portland Development Commissionâs failure to revive the East Portland neighborhood of Lents (âRazed and Confused,â WW, Jan. 22, 2014) drew quick action from Lents Neighborhood Association chairman Jesse Cornett and three other local activists. They sent PDC director Patrick Quinton and Mayor Charlie Hales an open letter urging a new strategy for a revived Lents business district. âWhile we are not ready to declare failure on the effort yet, it may be time to retool it,â the letter says. âGovernment has continued to use the same tools that have historically worked and been at a loss when those tools havenât.â Meanwhile, the PDC is reviewing proposals for three of the 19 vacant lots the city owns in Lents. Ideas include a mixed-use building, a bicycle delivery service for fruit, and a pasture for the iconic Belmont goats.
Anti-TriMet blogger Lane Jensen has avoided jail time for harassing TriMet spokeswoman Roberta Altstadt with repeated texts (âA Visit From the TriMet Squad,â Oct. 30, 2013). He pleaded no contest Jan. 17 to one misdemeanor charge of telephonic harassment (prosecutors dropped the other 30), and during sentencing Jan. 24 was barred from having any contact with Altstadt for three years. Jensen, who has since deleted his website, doesnât know whether he will blog again.
Local tech millionaire Nitin Khanna has reached an out-of-court settlement with the woman who accused him of raping her the night before his 2012 wedding. Lawyers for both parties confirmed the settlement, first reported Jan. 24 by The Oregonian. Khannaâs accuser, Lori Fale, brought the $2.3 million sexual battery lawsuit after police and prosecutors in Yamhill County, where the incident allegedly took place, declined to charge Khanna. WW broke the story of the case and how Fale had taken the unusual step of publicizing and crowdfunding her lawsuit on YouCaring.com (âDotcom Before the Storm,â WW, Jan. 15, 2013).