|Fixing Oregon by way of Hawaii: Our idea of Senator Atkinson five-o.|
First it was the eternal coupling of Walt and Jean as the names for Oregon Health & Science University's tram cars. Now it's an anonymous $40 million donation to expand OHSU's South Waterfront campus. Love is in the air...and in the bank on Pill Hill. (See Murmurs, page 13.)
That lightheaded feeling you have is no Valentine's Day buzz. The levels of toxic fumes in Portland's air are well above what's considered safe. But last week, the feds sent benzene-breathing Portlanders a box of chocolates—in the form of tougher benzene restrictions on West Coast gasoline refineries.
Take two lobbyist-paid trips to Maui, then pony up pennies for failing to report them in the morning. Not a bad deal for state Sens. Jason Atkinson (R-Central Point) and David Nelson (R-Pendleton). Both offered last week to pay the state ethics commission $450 and $150 to settle accounts over their Hawaiian holiday.
Congratulations to the Portland Tribune, declared the nation's best non-daily newspaper by the Inland Press Association. Second-place honors in its category went to the Peninsula Gateway in Gig Harbor, Wash., (population 6,765) and third place to the Wednesday Journal in Oak Park, Ill. (population 52,524).
As if being 20-pound rats with bright orange teeth and nipples on their backs isn't enough, nutrias are now scapegoats for attempted manslaughter. A Reedsport man who shot a snorkeler in the head last week says he thought he was aiming at a furry river rodent, not a human.
A mysterious fire destroyed the historic Morning Star Missionary Baptist church in Northeast Portland last week. Although the 88-year-old church suffered irreparable damage, its congregation more than tripled with supporters during an outside service held Sunday.
Mayor Tom Potter, who seized the moral high ground in 2004 with his $100 cap on campaign contributions, took heat last week for an updated ethics filing showing that he accepted free courtside Blazer tickets. Hizzoner valued the ducats at $34, a fraction of what the average Joe would pay.