These tail pipes smell like California. Enviros cashed in last week with news that Oregon is on its way to adopting California's tough emissions standards for new vehicles. The move would be West Coast-wide since Washington is committed to following Oregon's lead.

Ever wonder why older male elephants steal all the ladies from the younger studs on the savannah? A study by researchers from Oregon and New Zealand cites a foul-smelling, dark, oily pheremone for luring the cows away from the young bucks, who emit a more pleasant, honey-scented love potion.

More holiday cheer for the many potential opponents of Gov. Ted Kulongoski: A poll on KATU-TV shows the guv's approval numbers appear to be worsening beyond his already low levels. The mid-December survey of 600 Oregonians showed that 48 percent disapprove of Kulongoski's performance, up from 46 percent in mid-November.


Oregon's U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith lost some of his moderate Republican cred—which plays so well in Our Blue State—when he voted last week to open the Alaskan wilderness to oil drilling. Smith's defense of his vote as part of more complex congressional goings-on will be long forgotten when enviros start running anti-Smith ads.

Portland police are on the defensive again over their November response to a suicidal gunman who was eventually shot and killed. New documents obtained by The Oregonian show a breakdown in communication between hostage negotiators—who got Raymond Gwerder to talk about his purebred collie—and the emergency reaction team, who gave the OK to a sniper who shot Gwerder in the back.

The ongoing debate over ballot initiatives got a little steamier last week with news that B&P Campaign Management, which helps get initiatives on the ballot, has been paying signature gatherers by the John Hancock, rather than by the hour. Oregon law prohibits paying by the signature, which could make forgery and other fraud more tempting for signature gatherers on the prowl.