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July 2nd, 2003 | Winners & Losers
 

Ups v. Downs

     
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WINNERS

1) Planned Parenthood employees breathed a sigh of relief when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of the Oregon Supreme Court's ruling that anti-abortion activists' "Wanted" posters and website listings of provider names were not protected by the First Amendment.

2) Corporate watchdogs also let out a collective yelp of victory when the Supremes chose not to rule in Nike v. Kasky, a case which would decide whether Nike's creative characterization of its overseas business practices is free speech or false advertising. The case returns to the California courts.

LOSERS

1) Unaffordable excellence: Washington Mutual threatened to turn Shilo Inn founder Mark Hemstreet out of his faux-stucco Lake O abode unless he makes nearly $3.8 million in back payments. Hemstreet, who has a monthly mortgage of almost $25,000, hasn't made a payment since November 2002. No word yet on whether he'll get to keep the little soaps.

2) The Public Utility Commission denied Qwest's request to raise 411 rates. Oregonians now pay 50 cents per directory-assistance call after two free calls per month. In deregulated states, Qwest has pulled the plug on freebies and charged $1.25 per call.

3) Comcast got your number? Then Oregon's only cable provider may be giving it to others. The local cable commission is asking Comcast to explain its practice of sharing customers' private information with others.

4) Oregon's power players--PGE, PacifiCorp, Idaho Power and Bonneville Power Administration--are feeling the feds' heat. Regulators asked them to justify deals made during the 2001 West Coast energy crisis. If feds find companies have "gamed" the rates, they may have to give back the bling.

5) Looks like Crown Pacific CEO Peter Stott could use a shot of Crown Royal. His troubled timber company has declared bankruptcy, while Portland Family Entertainment, of which Stott is a major shareholder, will probably be late on its $300,000 July rent payment to the city for PGE Park.

 
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