* Developer John Russell will step down as the Portland Development Commission's chairman and leave the five-member volunteer board July 9. That change caught many unawares, including one of PDC's biggest customers. "It was a complete surprise," says Pearl District developer Homer Williams. "It just floored me." One theory making the rounds is that Russell's fellow commissioners found him insufficiently interested in low-income housing and too close to Mayor Vera Katz. WW was unable to contact Russell, but three commissioners reached on Monday denied such speculation. "I wish he was staying on," says Matt Hennessee, who, like his colleagues, said he didn't know why Russell was leaving.
* The Portland Business Alliance continues to shrink following the loss in late May of its lucrative contract to manage the city's parking garages. On the heels of a handful of layoffs announced earlier comes the departure of two of PBA boss Kim Kimbrough's top lieutenants: Rob DeGraff, a holdover from the previous administration, and Tom Turner, who came to town with Kimbrough and is leaving to run a booster group in Nashville.
* Hold on to your garters, girls: Portland has another connection to grunge-goddess-cum-clothes-whore Courtney Love. Murmurs hears the former Old Town street kid has nabbed this city's on-the-verge-of-something-big frock star Holly Stalder (of indie-design outlet Seaplane) to sew her up a batch of brand-new garb for the Hole-y One's upcoming tour.
* After months when their future hung by a thread, the residents of the Taft Hotel have something to cheer about. Home to scores of the disabled and the mentally ill, the 80-room hotel was originally slated to close July 30, thanks to Oregon's ongoing mental-health crisis. But a coalition of agencies, including Concepts for Community Living, REACH, Northwest Pilot Project, and the city's Bureau of Housing and Community Development hammered out a deal whereby CCL will take over management of the Taft from Cascadia Behavioral Health Care, which operated the facility at a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.
* When Ken Turner found a TriMet cash box lying in the intersection of Southwest 6th Avenue and Yamhill Street on June 18, his first and only thought was to return it. He gave the box, which held about $200, to the first TriMet maintenance employee he could find. After the requisite bureaucratic miscommunication and problems involving key employees being on vacation, an appreciative TriMet finally got its act together and settled on a suitable reward: 10 all-zone passes! Only one problem: Turner, who is homeless, doesn't use mass transit.
* Former Ducks star and current NFL QB Joey Harrington added yet another feather to his Oregon cap last Thursday when he kicked off the new Harrington Family Foundation charity with a benefit concert for Shriners Children's Hospital at the Crystal Ballroom. An accomplished jazz pianist, Harrington--christened that evening as "The Piano Man"--jammed on stage with the likes of Jason Mraz and Blues Traveler's John Popper and Chad Kinchla. By the end of the night, they'd raised $30,000 for the hospital.
Frockin' Hole star.Joey had 'em feeling all right.