U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) might appear to be on the ropes, but no big-name Demo contender will step in for a knockout. Either Gordie (a) has compromising pictures of would-be Democratic challengers (maybe U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer wearing nothing but a bowtie and a smile), or (b) those D's are gutless wonders. After Blumenauer announced last week that he won't take on Smith (see WWire at, our money's on "b."

The most dangerous place in Salem? Standing between the state's universities and community colleges and a new budget estimate that projects an extra $152 million for Oregon in 2007-2009. Higher ed, now starved for cash to fund everything from building repairs to financial aid, is loosening its belt for the feeding frenzy.

Adding a little free-market flair to our pseudo-socialist city, Qwest will offer Portland cable junkies an alternative to Comcast, currently our only cable provider. With each mega-company serving up hundreds of channels, Portlanders can finally feel secure in the knowledge that Home Improvement reruns will always be on.


Last week's vote on city charter changes left Mayor Tom Potter claiming that winning three out of four ain't bad. But a look beneath the spin reveals Potter lost a measure to strengthen the mayor's job, and "won" measures that give the rest of City Council more control of the Portland Development Commission and ability to fire more city workers. Might want to hold the confetti, Mayor.

Beaverton has principles. Dubious, expensive, shortsighted principles—but principles nonetheless. Last week, Beaverton city councilors voted 4-1 to continue pursuing a photo-radar case against an on-duty officer, despite advice of counsel to drop the case. That's the kind of brilliant thinking that led Beaverton to run up nearly $1 million in legal bills stonewalling a Nike public-records request last year.

Oregon's timber county residents better start stockpiling canned goods and high-caliber ammo. Josephine, Coos, Curry, Lane and Jackson counties last week rejected property-tax levies to make up for declining federal support payments. The result: a pending total collapse of county services, including basic law enforcement. Should we rename rural Oregon "Iraq Lite"?