U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith was for the war before he was against it. But the Oregon Republican's reversal last week at least provides him a shred of cover when he faces his war-weary constituents for re-election in 2008. D's will hit Smith hard on Iraq, but he can now counter with being the first senator in his party to call for a quick withdrawal of troops.

Yes, the city's homeless won some love with Mayor Tom Potter's announcement Monday that City Hall's new livability/street nuisance initiative includes a center open during the day for them. But we're cheering just as loudly for the initiative's plan to open public restrooms downtown. That late-night walk from the bar to the car just got a little easier.

Are you stoked? Thanks to weather-damaged Highway 35 reopening a week earlier than expected, more than 7,500 skiers and snowboarders finally were able to get to Mount Hood Meadows last weekend. That's three times the typical opening-day number.


Local Catholics may be getting the arm when the collection plate comes around on Sundays. Mediation over sex-abuse allegations against priests ended Monday with word that the Archdiocese of Portland had reached a settlement in about 150 cases for a still-unspecified multimillion-dollar figure. No word yet either on the number of Hail Marys prescribed.

Unhappy holidays for Freightliner workers who got placed on pins and needles with word that job cuts are coming this spring at the Portland truck maker. Labor officials tell The Oregonian they expect about 500 cuts of the 1,700-person union work force in late March or early April at Freightliner, a subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler.

So much for the promise of untold riches in garage sales. Mississippi Records owner Eric Isaacson and a Canadian friend learned this week that the $155,405.25 profit they thought they'd made on a 75-cent garage-sale purchase of a Velvet Underground acetate record was false. The winning bid they received on eBay was phony, according to Canadian press reports.