Sometimes half a wilderness area is better than none. On Monday, July 24, the U.S. House passed a bill by voice vote to add 77,000 acres of protected wilderness to the Mount Hood National Forest (despite some enviros saying the bill doesn't go far enough). Next stop: the Senate.

Divine intervention I? Actually, it was court intervention that helped the Archdiocese of Portland notch a win last week in its legal fight with plaintiffs claiming priests sexually abused them. Diocese attorneys persuaded a federal bankruptcy judge to declare $36 million in its endowment fund reserved for charity as off-limits in the ongoing litigation battle.

Divine intervention II?: The Ashland-based Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation is getting its religious texts back two years after federal officials seized thousands of the holy materials. The federal government has accused the charity of aiding terrorists.


After repeated gaffes in Multnomah County Sheriff Bernie Giusto's jails, the grand jury tasked annually with monitoring county corrections will swing into duty two months early this year, the Portland Tribune reported last week. Our fave jail blunder: Last month, a male inmate who snuck into a female's cell for a tryst had to ask guards to let him out.

Getting dumped with a "Dear John" letter might sound appealing to some retired Oregon public employees compared with the snail mail they'll get in September. The Oregonian reports that hundreds of state workers who took a lump-sum payment when they retired in 2003, 2004 or spring 2005 must repay an average of $27,900 as part of Oregon's efforts to collect on overpaid pension benefits.

The numbers don't look good for a loose band of radical environmentalists accused of torching a car dealership, power infrastructure and a ski resort in the West last decade. Six accused eco-saboteurs pleaded guilty last week in federal court in Eugene, three are still on the loose, and one committed suicide in an Arizona jail last December.

Mission accomplished! U.S. drug czar John Walters came to Portland last week to announce that we're winning the war against meth. Time to find the next "epidemic."