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February 19th, 2014 WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs
 

Murmurs: News Busier Than Damian Lillard

murmurs_4016NOVICK - IMAGE: Daryl James
     
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  • The Portland Association of Teachers and Portland Public Schools averted a strike with a tentative contract agreement Feb. 18, but the Portland Parents Coalition—which earlier filed a complaint alleging the district failed to meet the legal minimum number of instructional hours (see “Fast Times at PPS High”, WW, Oct. 30, 2013), a legacy of the last contract—wants to see the agreement before it’s signed. “We ask that you commit to holding a forum in which you (the Board) share the content and meaning of the agreement, and answer questions related to it for your constituents,” parent Lisa Zuniga wrote to the School Board. PPS spokeswoman Christine Miles says the board hasn’t had time to review the request.
  • City Commissioner Steve Novick has responded to the deaths of two people crossing streets in East Portland last weekend by committing to a policy of street-safety investments designed to eliminate pedestrian fatalities. The deaths of Yan Huang, 78, along Southeast Division Street and Douglas Norman Miller, 60, on Southeast Powell Boulevard mark the fifth and sixth people killed walking on Portland streets in the past three months. The fatalities sparked a renewed campaign pressuring City Hall to spend more money on pedestrian safety. Novick is seeking $1 million for flashing beacons at crosswalks. Mayor Charlie Hales says he doesn’t want to commit to any new policy yet—he’s focused on finding new taxes and fees to fund streets and sidewalks. “That’s likely to go to voters this year,” says Hales spokesman Dana Haynes. “And that’s a real, long-term effort to make streets safer.” 
  • The city of Portland is getting out of the toilet-sales game. City Commissioner Nick Fish says the city is abandoning its scheme to sell the Portland Loo—former Commissioner Randy Leonard’s patented outdoor toilet—to other cities in order to pay the cleaning bill for the six public toilets Portland has already installed. WW reported last year that the loo marketing program was selling less than half the toilets required to break even (“Money Bucket,” WW, May 15, 2013). Fish says now that the city has settled a lawsuit against the makers of a knockoff street toilet, Portland officials can finalize a deal with the loo’s builder, Madden Fabrication, to take over the sales program. “Randy had the right idea,” Fish says, “but that doesn’t mean the city has to be in the loo business.”
 
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