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September 22nd, 2004 WW Editorial Staff | Winners & Losers
 

This week's direct hits and near misses.

     
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bike thieves - WINNERS
WINNERS

One of Portland's most loathsome interest groups, bike thieves had a field day after bloggers revealed that supposedly nuke-proof Kryptonite locks can be hacked with a Bic pen. Blame Al Gore--he invented the Internet!

Donning sporty eye-patches and brandishing cutlasses (figuratively), computer profs at Portland State University staged a raid on Oregon Graduate Institute. The downtown university snatched 10 tech professors from the Oregon Health & Science University subdivision, instantly upping its digital cred. OHSU did some raiding of its own, plucking Metropolitan Exposition-Recreation Commission chief Mark Williams to oversee its ambitious South Waterfront expansion.

In the tit-for-tat battle over Oregon's workers'-comp market, private-sector insurer Liberty Mutual won a PR victory. The state's ethics czar declined to consider a complaint that Liberty had underreported lobbying expenses. Liberty's win-or-die cage match with state-run SAIF is destined for November's ballot.

LOSERS

The City of Portland's eBay reputation lies in steaming ruins after Water Bureau officials made a highly publicized hash of an auction. The city tried to unload two reservoir covers (don't get us started) worth $425,000 via the popular online market. It canceled the auction when the winning bids came in at a paltry total of $23,200. Unlike experienced eBay entrepreneurs, muni mandarins failed to mandate a minimum bid. The plot thickened Tuesday, when it turned out the lowball bidders were in fact...Water Bureau employees! Do not touch that dial.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski just learned that sometimes even $584,809 of hush money can't keep a skeleton in the closet. The Oregonian uncovered sealed records showing that when he was attorney general, Kulongoski negotiated a settlement with one of a dozen mentally ill children sexually abused at Oregon State Hospital. A gag clause was supposed to keep the case under wraps forever. Guv K says he can't recall details of the case. But hey--who can remember anything that happened way back in 1996?

WW's popular "Winners & Losers" column suffered a dent in its considerable prestige last week. An item regarding the cleanup of Portland Harbor erroneously implied that an impasse between business and environmentalists had derailed the Superfund project. In fact, the falling-out concerned a secondary aspect of the cleanup, which is going forward.

 
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