Portland's City Council is scheduled to vote this week on a controversial $620,000-a-year contract with the Portland Business Alliance to provide cleaning services and security for some downtown parks and restrooms. Murmurs has learned that the contract, which comes up for a vote Wednesday, Sept. 20, was negotiated down from the PBA's original $720,000 bid. But it's still more than $50,000 higher than the $567,000 originally proposed by the contract's other finalist, Wackenhut. Another bidder, Alert Security Asset Protection, argued unsuccessfully that not separating cleaning and security services into two different contracts slanted the deal toward PBA, which has held the contract since 1997 (see "Cleaning Up with the PBA," WW, July 19, 2006).
Tired of hearing about Catholic priests and little boys? Here are some heterosexual allegations of an affair between a married woman and a supposedly celibate priest. Stephen Beyer filed a $3.5 million lawsuit this month in Multnomah County Circuit Court against the Catholic Archdiocese of Portland for what he alleges is its failure to stop an affair between his ex-priest at St. John the Apostle Parish in Oregon City and his now ex-wife, Barbara Beyer. Neither Stephen Beyer's attorney nor archdiocese spokesman Bud Bunce would comment for Murmurs. But the lawsuit says Beyer's wife worked as a bookkeeper in the parish for the priest, Richard Wallace, and that Wallace counseled the couple between 2000 and 2002.
About a hundred gay and lesbian Mormons are coming to town for their 28th annual national conference next month. And who better than Multnomah County Commissioner Serena Cruz Walsh to be keynote speaker? Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons helps its members reconcile their faith with a religion that considers them sinners. Cruz, a straight and married woman who worked to legalize gay marriage in the county before the courts overturned that effort, was raised Mormon (but says she no longer practices because she found some of its beliefs and members racist, sexist and homophobic). Those interested in attending the conference on Oct. 20-22 can register at affirmation.org.
Metro wants you to know that staples, paperclips and tape don't have to be removed before papers can be recycled. So our regional government kicked off a $120,000 campaign Tuesday to tell that to residents and businesses in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties. Metro's ultimate aim: eliminating the 84,000 tons of recyclable paper sent to landfills in the Portland area each year. The campaign's other objective is to encourage every business to give each employee a deskside recycling box. For more information, call 234-3000 or visit recycleatwork.com.
An 18-year-old Reed College freshman is among 30 gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered students to get a scholarship awarded by a Chicago-based gay rights foundation. The Point Foundation works to provide tuition money and mentoring for students who feel marginalized because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. And the foundation picked Reedie Celia La Luz from a pool of more than 1,300 applicants for the multiyear scholarship, which this year will cover the $6,000 in tuition costs not picked up by Reed's financial aid. "When I found out I won, I was totally dumbfounded," says La Luz, who grew up in San Francisco struggling both with her family's poverty and endless teasing from her peers. She joined LYRIC, a queer youth center, and worked with its Out Loud radio program, producing radio essays about being young and gay in the Bay Area. La Luz has been paired with mentor Zoe Trope, a Portland writer, and hopes to intern at KBOO Radio.
Fourteen students are suing Grassroots Campaigns Inc. for wages they claim the nationwide contractor for the Democratic National Committee owes them for their local work as canvassers in 2004 for the failed John Kerry campaign. According to the complaint filed last month in Multnomah County Circuit Court, Grassroots paid the students the federal minimum wage of $5.15 an hour, instead of Oregon's then-minimum wage of $7.05 an hour. The suit seeks the wages each student is owed, plus a $1,692 penalty per student. Grassroots national canvas director Wes Jones says the students were paid properly and legally.