may be bereft in the blogosphere if the blogger known as One True b!X (a.k.a. Christopher Frankonis) puts his
(http://communique.portland.or.us/) site on hiatus. Communique's fanatically complete reporting on public hearings and musings on policy have a big following, but the site's lack of financial support may require b!X to pull the plug after two and a half years. If Communique dies, City Hall nerds may be forced to burn their cubicle time on Commissioner Sam Adams' just-launched blog (http://www.commissionersam.com/).
There may be a roadblock in Portland lawyer Jennifer Palmquist's class-action settlement from Qwest on behalf of about 120,000 Oregonians who got cell-phone roaming fees and other charges (see "One Woman's Qwest," WW, May 4, 2005). The payout-which could go as high as $20 million-won't be finalized as scheduled July 5 if Palmquist's former firm gets its way. The firm, Garvey Schubert Barer, has filed court documents threatening to sue everyone involved: Palmquist, Qwest, even the 120,000 recipients-to-be. Garvey Schubert Barer claims it's owed more than $400,000 for work Palmquist and others did on the case before she left the firm. "If Garvey had a right to sue the individuals in the class, which they do not, and prevailed, they could get a $3-plus charge from each person,'' Palmquist says.
Former Portland assistant police chief Mark Paresi is under the gun in Nevada, where he's chief of the North Las Vegas police department. According to press reports, Paresi-who became chief in North Las Vegas three years ago-has acknowledged creating a $12-per-hour internship position for the 19-year-old daughter of a city councilwoman. Paresi, who was considered for the Portland chief's job in 1999, defends himself against nepotism charges from local Nevada good-government types by saying the hire was part of a new outreach program to encourage young people to become cops.
Critical Mass' monthly protest bike ride will take a serious tone this Friday to remember two cyclists killed recently by motorists. And while organizers worry whether cops will allow participants to stop twice along the routes for memorial ceremonies, they're also facing a longer-term internal debate about the future of the ride. The question: whether to get permits allowing the ride to roll through stop signs or whether to keep it as is-stopping the mass at each red light and stop sign. The rides leave at 6 pm from the North Park Blocks.
Oregon lawmakers are essentially taking a "who cares'' stance on news last month that the Oregon Department of Forestry admitted it had been cutting way too many trees in Tillamook, Elliott and Clatsop state forests in Portland's back yard (see "The Coast Is Clearcut," March 6, 2002). Legislators on House and Senate budget subcommittees last week demanded that the department keep its harvest levels unsustainably high-or else ODF's request for 13 additional permanent positions would not go through. The forestry department initially found a roughly 30 percent overcut, thus further endangering several species already on the critical list. But the department recently modified its findings, now saying the overcut is closer to 17 percent.
The new head of the national abortion-rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America makes a three-day visit to Oregon starting Thursday. Nancy Keenan will be meeting with the state's policy makers, pro-choice advocates and others to talk up a message stressing prevention of unintended pregnancies through better access to birth control and sex education. The idea behind a message that abortion-rights advocates call common-sense: solidify base support while winning over voters who call themselves "pro-life."
Black community activist Richard Brown went off the script at the recent Meth Summit, a much-hyped conference at the Oregon Convention Center attended by a who's who of law enforcement and local government. Brown interrupted the proceedings last Friday with an outburst accusing officials of obsessing over meth and ignoring equally vexing problems with other drugs, like crack cocaine and heroin. The reason? Meth primarily affects white users and white property owners who fall victim to burglaries and identity theft.