Clueless parents, unite! You never bothered to help your teenage daughter avoid the dreaded bump. But an initiative newly qualified on Oregon's November ballot would now let you be "involved" and "supportive" if she's under 18 and wants an abortion. Translation? If voters approve the measure, docs would be required to send written notice of a teenager's plan to her parents.

Working-class Oregonians who often pay payday lenders up to 500 percent in annual interest for short-term loans may be getting a break (or some well-timed campaign-season help). Gov. Ted Kulongoski last week promoted a new initiative by Oregon credit unions to offer similar payday-type loans but at much lower interest rates.

Opponents of same-sex unions did some back-slapping last week, as the Washington Supreme Court upheld that state's gay-marriage ban in a 5-4 decision. The opinion was based, in part, on protecting the species, noting that "limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples furthers procreation, essential to survival."


Davy Jones' Locker appears to have parked again off the Oregon Coast. The yearly patch of de-oxygenated water—a "dead zone" scientists attribute in part to global warming—has grown this year, claiming thousands of fish, crabs and other creatures of the deep.

Franz Bakery can expect an extra helping of federal surveillance for the next three years, but not because the men in black have a problem with white bread. According to a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the parent company of our local wonder bakery failed to prevent long-running problems with sexual and racial harassment. Franz agreed to be monitored as part of a deal to settle the suit.

A judge put a major cramp last week in Portland's most street-stylish cyclists, riders of fixed-gear bikes. On a "fixie," every push of the pedal corresponds to an equal movement of the wheel—there's no gliding or coasting, and to stop, riders must seize up their leg muscles to halt the motion of the pedals and thus the wheel. Last week, Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Pro Tem Gregg Lowe ruled that such joint-wrenching bikes must also have old-fashioned brakes. No style in that whatsoever.