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June 25th, 2014 12:01 am WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs

Murmurs: The News We Refuse To Bury.

murmurs_4034WOLFSON - IMAGE: Anna Jaye Goellner
  • The state has a new media outlet this month: The Oregon Optimist, a news website, bills itself as “a project of Oregon Right to Life.” The state’s largest anti-abortion group flexed its considerable muscle in the May primary election, helping four Republican candidates win contested House races. It’s now attempting to speak to a broader audience. The site recently included a story about religious persecution, a feature on anti-abortion activists putting up campaign signs, and even a movie review of How to Train Your Dragon 2. Editors write that they want to provide an alternative to “cynicism, propaganda, and superficial reporting beginning to dominate many news publications.” The website adds, “We do not hide behind our own biases but allow ourselves to write from them and tell you that they exist.”
  • Nonprofit rock-and-talk radio startup KXRY-FM 91.1—better known as XRAY.FM—is in negotiations to merge with indie-rock station KZME-FM 107.1. As reported June 19 by The Portland Tribune and wweek.com, the deal could double XRAY.FM’s signal, which can’t be heard in much of the city. Rob Brading, CEO of KZME owner MetroEast Community Media, says the station wasn’t turning a profit with local music. The merger would also guarantee that progressive talk hosts Carl Wolfson and Thom Hartmann reach a larger audience. “Portland deserves more Portland radio,” Wolfson says, “and they’re going to get it.”
  • The city’s water fights continue, even after voters in May crushed a ballot measure to create a new water and sewer district.  Activists opposed to the city’s plans to disconnect the open-air Mount Tabor reservoirs accused City Commissioners Nick Fish and Amanda Fritz of dissing them by refusing to take questions at a June 16 hearing on the reservoirs. “There was not one person in that audience who felt respected,” Johnny Dwork emailed allies last week, adding that Fish and Fritz left “amidst the outrage and boos of the shocked audience.” Fish staffer Sonia Schmanski says the commissioners declined to answer off-topic questions. “There were people who were upset,” she says. “But this was a ‘kumbaya’ process.” The City Council is scheduled to make a final decision on the reservoirs’ fate in November.
  • Every year, elected officials are required to disclose their personal finances, including real-estate holdings, to the Oregon Government Ethics Commission. State Rep. Dennis Richardson (R-Central Point), the GOP’s candidate for governor, has set a new standard for transparency. When asked what real property he owns, Richardson listed his home and “2 cemetery plots (unoccupied)” at the Memory Gardens in Medford. “They ask all these detailed questions,” Richardson says of the disclosure form. “They wanted me to be thorough, so I was thorough.” 
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